Cars women love (and why!)

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX -- More than two-thirds of new car purchase decisions are either heavily or directly influenced by women, according to J.D. Power and Associates. And there are certain cars out there that female drivers just seem to love.

"More women are buying these particular vehicles than men," says auto expert Jim Prueter. And while this trend isn't new, automakers are responding to it in a bigger way than ever before.

The number one thing women want in a car is the same thing they want in all of their relationships: trust. So they seek out brands that they know and trust.

So, what are some of the most trustworthy cars on the market? AAA compiled its Top 10 list of Cars Women Love based on input from auto manufacturers and industry analysts like Ward's Automotive, TrueCar Inc. and Automotive News. AAA Car Buying's take is included as well.

The Ford Focus, priced at $16,200, is one of the best-looking compact sedans on the market. It can be equipped with voice navigation, leather seats, a self-parking feature and more. For those who are environmentally conscious, an electric model is also available.

"You can get it equipped with navigation or leather seats," Prueter tells us. "You can go up or down. There's a range of options on that, so it's very popular to personalize that car."

Some say the Volkswagen Jetta, priced at $16,720, was designed with women in mind. Its classic good looks, roomy interior, excellent visibility and low starting price have made it a female favorite for a number of years. Women also say that the Jetta feels more premium than a Chevy, Ford, Hyundai or Nissan.

The research also showed that women love to have choices. And with more than 1 million ways to personalize a Mini Cooper.  it's no surprise that this vehicle has developed such a strong female following.

The Mini Cooper has a low entry price at $19,700. It also gets excellent fuel economy and is loaded with interesting looks and features. It's about the most fun you can have behind the wheel of a car.

"I don't think there's a vehicle that's more fun to drive," says Prueter.

According to the folks at Volkswagen, the Beetle, priced at $19,995, has been a favorite among women since day one. It's cute, practical and fun to drive.

"I think the world's a better place because of VW Beetles," laughs Prueter. "They're just fun to have, and they're cute and everybody loves them."

At $20,310, the Nissan Rogue is one of the most practical cars on the market. Drivers like its small outside, roomy inside, excellent visibility and affordability.

The Toyota Camry's reputation for value, reliability, resale and safety make it a top choice among female buyers. Priced at $22,235, the Camry does everything well without breaking the bank. Plus, it has plenty of  room, enough for friends and family.

There was a time when it seemed only men drove Jeep Wranglers, priced at $22,295. The introduction of the four-door Wrangler has changed all that. For women or men who live an active lifestyle, it would be tough to find a better match than the Wrangler.

Ford has redesigned the Escape, which costs $22,470. The 2013 model went from "boxy" to "sleek and curvy." The popular new look helped the Escape to replace the Honda CR-V as the best-selling crossover utility vehicle among women.

The Acura TL, priced at $35,905, offers a sporty driving experience and edgy design. It also provides the thing many female drivers love most about a car, an impeccable reliability record.

The Lexus RX, with a price tag of $39,660, is the best-selling luxury SUV on the market. The RX is attractive and has one of the most luxurious interiors of any SUV. Plus, you can't beat its record for exceptional quality, reliability, resale value or safety.

"It sells like crazy," says Prueter. "Women love this. It's great value if you can afford it."

If you're in the market for a car, give AAA Car Buying a call. This is a free service AAA offers as one of many automotive solutions. For more information, visit http://www.az.aaa.com/automotive/car-buying.