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The old adage "clothes make the man" rings true when it comes to impressing women – but it pales compared with your car. Experts say your wheels reveal more about you than you think.

"Forget clothes – cars really do make the man. Your car, like your clothes, is a reflection of you," says Sue McGarvie, an Ottawa-based clinical sex and relationship therapist.

Barbara Tong, who's single and works in Toronto's financial district, agrees. "What men drive is indicative of who they are."

A man behind the wheel of a beater "shows a lack of respect for himself and for me," McGarvie says. "Women want Timothy Dalton, they all want the cool car – they want the guy that doesn't try too hard," she says. "It's the James Bond phenomenon – international man of mystery."

The bad-boy image personified by Harley-Davidson is also a turn-on. "He's bad. He's dangerous. He's passionate," McGarvie says. "He's going to give you a wild ride, drop you off and you're going to walk away with a smile on your face and you'll remember it when you're 80. That's the thinking with boys with bikes."

But Tong doesn't buy into that. "I'm not going on a motorcycle," she says. "I did when I was 20. Been there, done that. I didn't do my hair to put on a helmet!"

Instead, a guy driving a big truck impresses Tong. "A guy who picks me up in a truck is manly, rugged, free-spirited, outdoorsy, grounded and not status-chasing."

McGarvie warns men about trying too hard. "Don't overcompensate – it's not about the size of your package. It's about who you are.

"Women like cool cars as long as it's not in our face. It's the cars with the big, souped-up gold rims and tires that you have to be careful of," McGarvie says. "It smacks of aggression."

McGarvie says the coolest car on the road is a Mini. "Mark Wahlberg drove it in The Italian Job. It's cool. It says fun and freedom. You're going to take me away and be adventurous."

Driving a green car ranks high, too. "I remember the Stanley Cup playoffs when the Sens were playing the Anaheim Ducks. And there is Scott Niedermayer – a good Canadian boy and the captain – driving a Prius,"McGarvie says. "This guy could afford any car and he's driving a hybrid."

But don't discount the lure of a Lambo or a Ferrari.

"If you're 25, a guy in a Lamborghini is pretty damn cool 'cause it's way out of your stratosphere in terms of what you know and what you like," McGarvie says.

But for women older than 30, it's a different story.

"You think, 'Player, dangerous and maybe fun for a night,' but that's it," McGarvie says. "Most women would much rather have somebody who doesn't have to try so hard, at least if you're an adult."

Regardless of the age, make and model of a vehicle, it's important to keep the vehicle clean. Dog hair and dirty ashtrays are a turn-off. But don't go overboard.

"You need to be really cautious if you're with somebody who has OCD and he's worried about making sure your boots are completely clean," McGarvie says. "I've been in a car with somebody like that – he made me throw my feet outside the car and kick my shoes together six to seven times. When I put them inside, I could see him wince. You've got winter mud mats – get over yourself. It's a car!"

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