Back during the economic recession of the late 2000s, auto companies were rightfully concerned that mounting student debt and a sparse job market would hinder Millennials from being financially able to purchase cars, at least to the degree that generations before them had. Luckily, with their generation now the largest demographic in the U.S. workforce and surpassing Gen X in new car buying as of 2014, it appears those worries might be over.
In owning a car, there is a promise of freedom—but Millennials want more. Namely, they want rides that boast the latest technology, allowing them to sync their smartphones for hands-free calling and texting, stream their favorite tunes, and catch up on podcasts. And they want to get the most out of their miles, through options like hybrids and electric vehicles. Whatever the tech involved, cars help Millennials pursue their passions and unlock opportunity.
Take Sarah Gormley as an example. An Atlanta-based wedding photographer, she says her zippy new Honda Civic is crucial to the success of running her own small business—she markets herself as a traveling wedding photographer and estimates that about 80 percent of her gigs are out of town. “I love the freedom that a car allows me when traveling, making it easier to visit friends or other attractions between jobs, which is a lovely thing when I’m away from home so often,” she says. “I also often drive rather than use other forms of transportation in order to avoid travel delays and complications.” She chose her ride because of its reliability, room for all of her equipment, and excellent fuel efficiency—a must for all of her traveling needs.
Sarah’s car has become an extension of the things she values and prioritized in other areas of her life—she’s been known to spend days before a road trip to a wedding cooking travel-friendly snacks from her garden, watering fresh herbs on her dashboard, bringing her dog along with her on trips, taking a more scenic route through nature and even making stops for hikes and picnics along the way. “Traveling for about 30 weekends a year can be daunting, but I love what I do so much that I wouldn’t trade it for the world, and having a car allows me the work/life balance that makes it all possible,” Sarah says. “Our generation is so lucky to work in a world where you don’t have to sit at a desk to make money or pursue your passion. As a creative and a small-business owner, having a car gives me so much freedom to find the right clients, surround myself with an energy that is right for me, and to shape my business and my life into what I want it to look like.”
For Muriel Vega, an Atlanta-based editor of a tech blog and arts website, not having an official office space means having the freedom to both work and glean inspiration from anywhere—thanks to her car, a sleek Chevrolet Cruze. “I have a lot of events, meetings and in-person interviews throughout the day for work, and my car is an essential tool for my everyday hustle,” she explains. “It takes me to my next assignment, and then to a nearby coffee shop to finish my work and meet my deadlines.” Muriel, who says she needed the reliability that a newer car affords, also uses her car to attend the myriad art openings happening all over the city on any given weekend, as well as when making her seasonal charity donations of used clothing to those in need. Plus, it keeps her connected, with features like bluetooth capabilities that allow her to make phone calls without constantly pulling over, and gives her the freedom to get away from it all without having to hop on a plane. “I love taking my dogs on short hikes, and my new car is big enough to transport all of us to the nearest trail. Best of all, my car takes me on road trips that we often plan to get out of the city. I love traveling, and my car helps alleviate my wanderlust,” she says. “There’s nothing more exciting than driving across a state line.”
Whether you’re looking for an impressive MPG, a certain amount of space, or the latest tech amenities, a new car is one of the best investments a Millennial can make, enabling the freedom to chase your biggest dreams—one mile at a time.
Whatever your professional and personal ambitions may be, Kelley Blue Book has all the resources you need to help you find the best new car to help you on your journey.