Sometimes a car isn’t great, or even particularly good, but you can’t help liking it. Time for the Autocar team to reveal their irrational objects of desire.
Kia Soul - James Attwood
There’s nothing irrational about liking the new Kia Soul EV. But before an all-electric makeover infused with Kia’s new-found sense of style, in its first two generations the Soul was an odd-looking, weirdly shaped compact crossover. It was pitched as ‘urban cool’ but mostly looked a bit odd. It wasn’t even all that spacious: while the boxy shape offered plenty of head room, it had limited leg room and a deceptively small boot. It didn’t ride very well, either. Despite that, it somehow worked. It was compact, with wheel-on-each-corner handling that was amusing if not dynamic. Perhaps that ‘funky’ styling worked: I wanted to like it and was prepared to look past its flaws. Happily, the new Soul doesn’t require such blinkered thinking: it’s become the great car I always knew it could be.
Rover Streetwise - Matt Prior
Embarrassing Dad is an enduring television trope. “What’s this? It’s got a good beat,” says Hugh Dennis, trying to still be down with the kids. In a motoring context, Embarrassing Dad would call a car ‘Streetwise’. The 2003 Streetwise, based on the likeable but dated Rover 25, was MG Rover squeezing the remaining juices from the lemons BMW left behind when it sold the company. And it was good to drive, retaining the inherent character of the 25, a fun, nimble hatchback. So spare a thought for the Streetwise. It’s got a good beat.