Canadians looking to impress on their next romantic date might want to stay clear of on-demand car services, taxis or even public transit, according to the findings of a recent survey that explores the role of the automobile in modern-day dating. In fact, a whopping 92 per cent of Canadians say they find it appealing when their date shows up with their own ride. And don’t even think about ‘borrowing the car’ for the occasion – close to half of the population surveyed (48 per cent) reported that they would find a borrowed vehicle unattractive or “embarrassing beyond words.”

While expectations around car ownership are high, there’s a clear shift away from traditional dating customs and ride-related rituals once thought to embody good manners and chivalrous behaviour – particularly among the younger generation of Canadian singletons navigating the modern-day dating scene. Although it’s appealing to 95 per cent of Canadians aged 18-34 that their date has their own vehicle, they’re also the age group who most indicated that they would prefer a text message, over their date coming to the front door, to announce their arrival.

“People, regardless of their age, tend to equate certain ideals with certain possessions – to many, owning a car symbolizes freedom, success and reliability, all qualities that might appeal to potential dates,” says renowned sexologist Dr. Jess O’Reilly, PhD. “However, in today’s age of mobile dating and quick swipe culture, a space that’s dominated by a younger generation of ‘single and looking’, there’s not a lot of time placed on those, once revered, traditional notions of chivalry.”

It seems for the millennial set, chivalry truly has taken a back seat. While half of the survey respondents 55 years and older indicated that their date opening the car door for them was a “classy act” earning “definite bonus points,” only 31 per cent of millennials agreed. In fact, millennials were the group most likely to perceive a car door being opened for them as “cheesy.” Similarly, when it comes to car cleanliness, millennials were the group least concerned with how tidy their date’s vehicle was, as nearly one third indicated it was “not very important” or “not an issue.”

“There are obvious discrepancies between generations in terms of how we date and what we consider important dating etiquette and behaviour,” says Dr. O’Reilly. “It will be interesting to see how this shift evolves the future of dating and whether these classically accepted customs, such as arriving on time, holding the car door open for your date or getting out of the car to pick them up at their front door, will eventually disappear altogether with the next generation.”

One area where generations share the same sentiment pointing towards good etiquette and behaviour is safe driving. Eighty-three per cent of Canadians stated that there would be “no chance” or a second date would be less likely if their date drove in an erratic, aggressive or unsafe manner. Thankfully, there is still an emphasis placed on responsible driving and ensuring safety for your date, and Canadians of all ages, including millennials (79 per cent) and those 35 years and older (85 per cent), can agree that this is an important factor when it comes to dating.

Other highlights from the survey include:

  • Style and comfort wins over bulk or flash: When it comes to being picked up for a first date, 39 per cent of Canadians ranked a coupe/sedan as the number one type of vehicle they would like their date to arrive in, followed by an SUV (27 per cent) and a convertible (20 per cent)
  • Leave your hog, hatchback or hemi at home: The least popular categories of automobiles for a first date are pick-up trucks (8%), hatchbacks (4%), and finally motorcycles (3%).
  • Young, but not impressionable: More than two-thirds (69 per cent) of all Canadians would prefer their date announce their arrival by coming to the door to greet them. Canadians aged 35-54 (71 per cent) and 55+ (83 per cent) are significantly more likely than millennials (50 per cent) to prefer this when being picked up on a date.
  • Clean up your act ladies and gents: Seventy-nine per cent of Canadians say vehicle cleanliness is important when entering a date’s car for the first time. Women (81 per cent) are more likely than men (75 per cent) to say their date’s vehicle cleanliness is important.
  • Skip this step if you’re in Quebec: Ontarians (83 per cent), Albertans (82 per cent), British Columbians (81 per cent), and Atlantic Canadians (81 per cent) are the most likely to find their date’s vehicle cleanliness to be important, while Quebecers (68 per cent) are the least likely.
  • Honk if you hate second dates: A mere one per cent of Canadians indicated that they’d prefer their date honk their car horn to announce their arrival.
  • Opening the door leads to more: Opening the car door for your date was appreciated or viewed as chivalrous by 83 per cent of males and 87 per cent of females.
  • Men less bothered by unsafe driving: Twenty-two per cent say it doesn’t matter, compared to only eight per cent of women. Conversely, women (40 per cent) are twice as likely as men (18 per cent) to say there would be no chance of another date if their date was driving dangerously.
  • Please avoid these four things: Drinking alcohol or using drugs is cited by three-quarters (74 per cent) of Canadians as being the worst activity their date could do while driving, followed by texting (12 per cent), road rage (11 per cent), and talking about an ex (4 per cent).


The online survey was conductedin late January 2017 among Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to education, age, gender and region (and in Quebec, language) Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.