Cars with Character

Why do most cars lack character?  They look like they have all been designed by the same person.  All sedans look alike.  All SUVs look alike.  It’s a conspiracy to make us all into automatons.  Good little soldiers in our little boxes going to work in our cubicles and staring at rectangle screens.

Well, to be fair, there are a few cars with character.  You have crazy expensive cars like Ferrari and Aston Martin and such.  Plus classic cars from the 50’s and 60’s.  But what about the common man; is character only for the very wealthy?

There are some choices.  You have the Fiat, Mini Cooper and Smart Cars.  These are “clown cars”, very small and hundreds of clowns pop out of them (I think).  They have character, but very small interiors.  I have three kids and long legs.  What else we got with some leg room?

Honorable mention car with character: VW Beetle.

There are boxy cars like the Scion, Honda Element, Kia Soul and the Nissan Cube. Interestingly, the Honda Element has been discontinued.  Maybe the fact that they hadn’t updated the car once in 11 years might have contributed to it.

Anyway, I previously had a Nissan Altima Hybrid.  It looked like every other car and made me sad.  Plus it only got 29 miles to the gallon.  For a hybrid, that sucks.  It didn’t have a fancy display or any cool options. I didn’t like it.

So I decided I should be leasing cars anyway, not buying.  That way, I could get the latest, greatest electronics every three years.  I liked the Nissan Cube, although the Kia Soul was growing on me. I got this one.



It’s not an expensive car, so I was able to trick it out with lots of options.  It has lots of interesting details which (to me) give it some character.  The round windows and wrap around back are cool.  Nice sound system, drives fine.

On the downside, it has some space issues.  Like the steering wheel is a bit too far and the pedals are a bit too close, no matter how I arrange them.  Also, it probably wouldn’t drive well in snow.  (Not that I ski all that often)

Most importantly, it has a little character.  My plea to all car designers is to go out of the box.  Create cars that have character and differentiation.  Make something different.  I want to be inspired. I see concept cars all the time that are gorgeous.  Let me buy those!

I may be, but hope not, the only person who thinks this way.  I want cars to be more expressive.

2 replies on “Cars with Character”

I completely agree. Unfortunately, by the time most concept cars go through the rigorous safety requirements, most of the character gets designed out in favor of safety. There are, as you say, a few beautiful exceptions. Not many, alas.

Whatya think?