In the hipster world, there are a lot of options when it comes to transportation. Walking is naturally a fantastic choice as you can burn off your almond milk matcha-latte without becoming one of those annoying gym-rats.
You can also bike around town, which is even better if you find yourself a bike with no gears from the 1970s that has a basket for your Whole Foods items.
For hipsters, unicycles are even an option if you know how to ride one—anything that is a bit quirky, different, or looks like someone in 1885 might have used it to get around, it’s an alternative. If you live in a city with public transportation, supporting the use of more eco-friendly mobility on a budget is something we love.
Hipsters Who Need Cars
However, for some hipsters, as much as you might want to ride a subway or a steampunk invention to cart you around, you still need a car. Believe it or not, some hipsters have to reside in more rural areas but still must drive to jobs and can’t manage a 10-mile walk every day.
So, perhaps you require a traditional vehicle, but you don’t want to sacrifice your hipster-ness while driving. No worries, we compiled a list of cars that work with a hipster lifestyle.
One of the first things to consider when it comes to hipster cars is what runs the motor. In other words, are you driving an electric vehicle, a hybrid, or to some hipsters the best of all options, bio-diesel.
Biodiesel comes from vegetable or animal fats instead of from oil drilled out of the ground. In other words, cooking oil, even filtered used cooking oil, can often run your vehicle.
This practice reuses the oils while also being less harmful to the environment. What hipster doesn’t want a car powered by soybean oil? As a bonus, your exhaust can smell a bit like Mongolian Barbeque or any other restaurant where oils sizzle close enough to take in the aroma.
Another vital principle behind hipster vehicle choices is the concept of recycling, in this case, buying a used car. Buying a brand new automobile that runs on gasoline is the antithesis of hipster.
So, if you must fill up your tank at a gas station instead of the back of a restaurant, the goal is to find something used and recycle that vehicle. Get ready to drive a stick shift if you don’t already know how, because a real hipster would know how to operate a clutch and when to switch to third gear, right?
If you are aiming for a hipster car when buying used, it’s not as simple as looking for any old vehicle. You want something that will stand out as retro, unusual, or ugly-70s-chic.
Nothing says “hipster” quite like the choice to drive a vehicle featuring a belt that looks like a bowling alley lane. Wood paneling on cars was popular in the ‘70s and ‘80s, and if you can find a vehicle in running condition from that era, this is a decent hipster option.
Lots of station wagons featured wood paneling, but you can also find it on robust vehicles like the Jeep Wagoneer, too. Speaking of station wagons, if you want a retro hipster car, the Plymouth Reliant with woodgrain and a converted engine to biodiesel is pretty cool if you ask us.
Vans are a considerable part of the world of hipster cars, especially with the reduced-footprint trend of “van life.” For a hipster vehicle, you don’t want a modern van with entertainment screens in the back.
No, you want something a little uglier by traditional standards. Something that makes you think of VHS tapes, corduroy pants, and the era of the original Transformers cartoons.
Vans like the Toyota HiAce Camper or the LiteAce Minivan are what we have in mind. The Volkswagen Samba Bus or Type 2 is another classic option for the counterculture lifestyle, although this van is a bit more well-known and mainstream. We like the Volkswagen Samba for the beach life/surfer hipsters type.
Who needs crumple zones when you’re driving such an iconic van? (But in all seriousness, buckle up in these old-school rides, as you’re practically sitting in the windshield.)
Fifty Shades of Brown
When it comes to the ideal hipster car, there are several color options to look for, but brown is king in this arena. Sure, you can go with an unusual hue like an Army or avocado green.
That might be our second choice for the best hipster car color.
However, any shade of brown, beige, mud, Earth, or tweed ‘70s professor jacket is what we would pick for a hipster vehicle color. You can even seek out a copper or bronze metallic finish on your ride for that throwback, ugly-is-beautiful automobile look.
Find yourself a tan or mustard yellow car with brown wood paneling, and you’ve struck gold. Speaking of gold, a muted gold and other dull shades of yellow fall close to the family of brown.
Therefore, we rank these colors highly for hipster cars, too.
The Chevrolet El Camino is another option we like for a counterculture vehicle because it used to have a reputation for being, well, less than attractive. Before hipsters had a name to identify as a group, we knew a couple of people who wanted the El Camino for this exact reason.
It was ironic. It was not loved by everyone. It was like driving a middle finger to the establishment of high-end sports cars and luxury vehicles. In other words, it was hipster before hipsters.
A genuinely positive feature of the El Camino or any vehicle like it is the functionality of it. You can ride in it like a car, but you get a truck bed to transport items like a pick-up truck.
That means you can do more DIY projects, carry home more significant items from thrift stores, or buy lots of stuff from a farmer’s market without worrying if it will fit in a tiny trunk.
If You Must Succumb to Buying a New Car
Okay, so what if you are only halfway hipsters and want an eco-friendly car, but also want something new that will run without worrying about constant breakdowns and finding repair parts compatible with vehicles from the ‘70s, ‘80s, or even the ‘90s?
Hipsters love their Subarus, and we have exciting news: Subaru offers the hybrid Crosstrek, and it boasts 90 miles per gallon (mpg) even while being an all-wheel-drive vehicle.
That’s a substantial improvement in gas mileage compared to most modern cars, and it’s also safer than vintage cars for those hipsters who have families or drive in wintery conditions.
The Mitsubishi Mirage is another contemporary car we love for the hipster lifestyle. It’s city-friendly, comes in a few funky colors, and while it’s not a hybrid, it has pretty fantastic gas mileage at 36 mpg city and 43 mpg highway.
Some other hybrid or electric cars we love for hipsters:
- The Smart EQ Fortwo (yes, Smart cars still exist)
- The Volkswagen e-Golf
- The Fiat 500e which is 100 percent electric
Fortunately, more and more car companies are releasing electric or hybrid models of existing vehicles or new automobiles that are entirely electric. If you cannot manage a bio-diesel conversion, only the most annoying of the hipster population would begrudge you for driving an electric car.
If you are doing anything to reduce your carbon footprint, even if that means you must drive a new electric vehicle with modern conveniences in a pleasing color and zero wood paneling, well, we all have to make sacrifices because of climate change.
For that reason, we don’t care if the vehicle is from 2020 instead of looking like something from 1920. If you’re doing your part to be environmentally-friendly while driving, we’ll tap our kombucha bottle to yours to cheers you for doing your part.
You have a lot of options when it comes to buying a hipster car, and the beauty of going for something counterculture is that there are not only a couple of vehicles you can choose from to fit in with the crowd. The point is not to fit in, so find something retro, something unusual, even ugly, and if it speaks to you, go for it.
Older cars will usually require a lot more maintenance and repairs, so plan that into your budget for buying a vehicle. Occasional breakdowns will probably be part of life if you want to drive something that is 30-years-old, but it will be unlike most of the automobiles on the road.
If you can learn to love the upkeep, a retro ride can be fantastic. If you prefer a modern electric car, we want to thank you for quitting the gas dependence, too. Drive on, hipsters, adventure is waiting.