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Stylish, practical cars

But the really important question is: what do women want in a car?

Finding the answer keeps carmakers tossing and turning at night, because they are well aware that women choose more than half the vehicles sold in Australia. There are all the ones they buy for themselves, as well as the deciding vote on most of the ones bought by households.

Sorry, fellas. It’s true. No matter how much you want that souped-up sports car, unless the head of household finances agrees you may as well back away from the vehicle now.

One of the earliest attempts to deliver a car for women was the mid-1950s Dodge La Femme. It was actually a 1955 Dodge Custom Royal Lancer under the skin, but the Detroit designers camouflaged that skin as thoroughly as a make-up artist doing Vogue covers.

The car was decked out in pink paint, with an interior covered in pink vinyl, set off by pink rosebud tapestry. And to show that this was not merely a cynical marketing exercise, Dodge kitted the car with accessories they thought reflected the growing independence of post-World War II women moving into meaningful career paths - a pink handbag complete with office essentials like a matching powder compact, lipstick case and comb.

Sales estimates run as low as less than 1000 cars. And the pink panderer was quickly dropped from the Dodge range at the end of the following year.

Australia’s own Carla Zampatti tweaked a Ford specifically for women in the 1980s, but whether it won women - with accessories including a hanging hook for handbags - is still open to question.

However, Dodge and Ford weren’t completely on the wrong track. Women want a car to be stylish, but also practical. Luckily, these days there are quite a few vehicles that fit the bill – without playing the pink paint card. These are the best style picks for women today, from a woman's perspective, with the figures for the basic car.

Don’t agree with these? Let us know what YOU think women want in a car in our poll at left.

LIGHT
Mazda2
Price: from $16,030
Engine: 76kW/137Nm 1.5-litre petrol
Transmission: manual
Economy: 6.4L/km
Emissions: 152g/km
The baby 2 has cute and slightly edgy looks, is compact with usable space, and the long doors make it easy to get in the back seat. The auto will be preferred by most, but it adds to the weight of the little car.
Close calls: Ford Fiesta from $16,990; Peugeot 207 from $22,490.

SMALL
BMW 1-Series
Price: from $38,900
Engine: 160kW/270Nm 2.0-litre petrol
Transmission: manual
Economy: 8.2L/km
Emissions: 190g/km
A pocket-sized entry in German prestige – without breaking the pocket. Looks stunning, an amazing amount of room, and great to drive.
Close calls: Mazda3 from $21,330; Hyundai i30 from $20,390.

MEDIUM
Ford Mondeo

Price: from $31,990
Engine: 118kW/208Nm 2.3-litre petrol
Transmission: manual
Economy: 9.5L/km
Emissions: 227g/km
The best thing Ford has brought to Australia in … ever, possibly. Enough space to make you wonder if you’ll ever need a larger car, elegant design and well built.
Close calls: Mazda6 from $31,834; Audi A5 Sportback from $78,400.

LARGE
Audi A6
Price: from $74,500
Engine: 125kW/350Nm 2.0-litre petrol
Transmission: automatic
Economy: 5.8L/km
Emissions: 153g/km
There’s not a high chic quotient in this class - where the homegrown Falcon and Commodore lean more to aggressive styling - so the Audi’s restrained elegance makes it a clear winner.
Close calls: Honda Accord from $36,381Mercedes-Benz E-Class from $80,900.

PEOPLE MOVER
Honda Odyssey

Price: from $46,166
Engine: 132kW/218Nm 2.5-litre petrol
Transmission: manual
Economy: 8.9L/km
Emissions: 212g/km
In a class that’s dominated by lumpy boxes, the Odyssey is a sleek stand-out. It's low-slung, car-like and leading with a fashionable face.
Close calls: Citroen C4 Grand Picasso from $39,990; Chrysler Voyager $60,990.

SPORTY
BMW Mini Cooper Clubman

Price: from $36,600
Engine: 88kW/160Nm 1.6-litre petrol
Transmission: automatic
Economy: 6.8L/km
Emissions: 163g/km
A bonsai wagon with go-kart street cred and revamped retro lines, this one will get admiring glances from everybody.
Close calls: Kia Cerato Koup from $23,690; Audi S3 from $69,100.

CONVERTIBLE
Volkswagen Eos

Price: from $47,990
Engine: 103kW/320Nm diesel
Transmission: automatic
Economy: 6.0L/km
Emissions: 158g/km
The EOS is streamlined and sophisticated, looks equally good with the roof open or closed – and has enough room in the back to get a couple of extra friends in for short trips.
Close calls: BMW Z4 from $86,200; Lexus IS250C from $80,150. 

SUV
Hyundai ix35

Price: from $26,990
Engine: 122kW/197Nm petrol
Transmission: manual
Economy: 8.5L/km
Emissions: 201g/km
There’s heaps of practicality but precious little style in the SUV paddocks. But Hyundai’s new compact ix35 proves you can have both. Ultra-modern lines, trim shape and space to spare.
Close calls: Jeep Wrangler (medium) from $31,590; Land Rover Range Rover Sport (large) from $99,900.

Pricing

Year Price From Price To
2010 $5,060 $11,770

View all Ford Mondeo pricing and specifications

Pricing Guides

$8,990
Based on 140 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$3,670
Highest Price
$11,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
Genki 1.5L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $5,900 – 11,990 2010 Mazda 2 2010 Genki Pricing and Specs
Maxx 1.5L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $3,670 – 9,990 2010 Mazda 2 2010 Maxx Pricing and Specs
Neo 1.5L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $6,490 – 11,888 2010 Mazda 2 2010 Neo Pricing and Specs
Maxx 1.5L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $3,670 – 9,990 2010 Mazda 2 2010 Maxx Pricing and Specs