Top 10 Cars With Character for Halloween as Selected by AutoBuying101.com
Halloween is here, and folks of all ages will be dressing up as their favorite characters and heading to Halloween parties or hitting the streets for tricks or treats. This got us thinking about some very distinctive-looking cars; vehicles with character to spare. So without further ado, here are AutoBuying101.com’s Top 10 Cars With Character for Halloween.
Incredible Hulk Pick: Hyundai Veloster
Hyundai is one automaker that is definitely not playing it safe. The so-called “fluidic sculpture” styling on all their vehicles is daring and adventurous, but none are as unexpected and head-turning as the Veloster. This is a car that smashes styling conventions like, well, the Hulk. And though the diminutive Veloster is far from hulking in size, it is incredible in its various features.
The asymmetrical door arrangement, with a single door on the driver side and two smaller doors on the passenger side is unorthodox but highly versatile. Plus, the “shooting brake” profile allows for cargo space that, for a car this small, is indeed incredible. But it’s the Veloster’s angry scowl of a face that really reminds us of the big green beast.
The base Veloster may lack to power to connote Hulk-like menace, but the new Veloster Turbo remedies that situation, making it a bona fide contender in the hot hatch segment.
Base MSRP: $17,450.00
Hwy MPG: 40 mpg
City MPG: 28 mpg
Iron Man Pick: Chevrolet Camaro
Pony car lovers have seen a glorious renaissance of the breed. The Big Three American makes all have revived (or resuscitated) a revered nameplate and created cars that offer great looks, thrilling performance, and real bang for the buck. The one that we consider the superhero of the group though, is the Chevrolet Camaro. The headlights peeking through the swept-back arch of the recessed grill make us think of the eye slits of Iron Man’s mask. The styling is straight off the concept show car stand with muscular flanks and just enough retro cues to remind of its heritage.
And the Camaro has the oomph to earn superhero comparison. The ZL1 has supercar credibility, giving its stablemate Corvette a run for the money, the SS is a high-performance bargain, and even the standard V6 model has way more than enough go to elevate it above consolation prize status. The cherry on top is some outstanding gas mileage for cars this powerful.
Base MSRP: $23,345.00
Hwy MPG: 28 mpg
City MPG: 17 mpg
Angry Birds Pick: Chevrolet Sonic
You know what made us angry? The old Chevrolet Aveo, that’s what. In a world full of highly competent subcompacts, the Aveo was embarrassingly inadequate. The only reason to even consider purchasing one was its miniscule price and/or chronic automotive apathy. It was, quite simply, a Green Piggie.
Busting through that wretched reputation comes the outstanding Chevrolet Sonic. This, finally, is a genuine competitor in the competitor in the subcompact segment. Solidly built, real fun to drive, great gas mileage; it checks all the right boxes for a fine budget ride. The zippy 1.4 liter turbocharged 4-cylinder is the mill that will provide the widest grins and the best gas mileage, at 40 MPG.
The styling is a real standout as well. With “angry eyes” headlights flanking its screaming beak-like proboscis, the Sonic looks ready to wreak some Angry Birds havoc. The interior design squawks for attention as well, showing off its sculpted dash, topped with a motorcycle-inspired instrument bezel.
Base MSRP: $14,800.00
Hwy MPG: 35 mpg
City MPG: 26 mpg
Pikachu Pick: FIAT 500
The FIAT 500 heralds the Italian automaker’s return to the U.S. in the cutest way possible. How can you help but love this darling little Italian buggie? All round and stubby with those wide eyes and happy face, if it had cheeks you’d want to pinch them. The adorableness factor is off the charts.
The 500 offers affordable transportation in a stylish and space efficient package. Even with its tiny footprint, four adults can reasonably fit inside, although the rear occupants may prefer shorter trips. As you would expect from a car this size, gas mileage is outstanding.
While the styling reminds us of Pikachu, the FIAT 500, like our favorite Pokemon, has another trick up its sleeve. Just as Pikachu can counter his cuteness with powerful jolts of electricity, the 500 offers us the Abarth, a rip-snorting turbocharged version that radically alters this car’s personality. The Abarth is hot hatch to rival the MINI Cooper S.
Base MSRP: $16,000.00
Hwy MPG: 40 mpg
City MPG: 28 mpg
Predator Pick: Lexus LS 460
Lexus had a small quandary. The sold cars like crazy, so by no means do you need to feel sorry for them, but they lacked personality. They had no distinct corporate identity. BMW has their twin kidney grille and Hofmeister kink, Mercedes has the iconic three-pointed star capping a grille steeped in heritage, heck, even Infiniti has managed to create its own visual identity. But Lexus just soldiered on, making excellent but bland luxury vehicles.
Well, the stylists have apparently awoken at Lexus, and suddenly there’s something resembling a corporate face in their showrooms. Whether you like that face or not is another question, but at least there’s a face to talk about. The new Lexus hourglass grille open is highly evocative of the Predator of movie fame, and that is an aggressive face indeed.
This identity is being applied up an down the Lexus line, but its boldest application to date is on the new 2013 LS. What was one the most anonymous of luxury limos, the new LS announces itself loudly with that gaping Predator maw. The only thing missing are fangs.
Base MSRP: $71,990.00
Hwy MPG: 24 mpg
City MPG: 16 mpg
Salvador Dali Pick: Lincoln MKZ
Much like the aforementioned Lexus dilemma, Lincoln for years found themselves struggling to define themselves. Their best seller was the fleet staple Town Car, and only the enormous Navigator distinguished itself visually, but whether that was in a good way is debatable. The big difference was that Lexus sales were robust, and Lincoln was on the brink of extinction.
Now Lincoln has stolen a page from Cadillac’s book (as well as their design chief) and have placed a premium on interesting design. Witness the new MKZ. It’s no longer a badge-engineered Ford Focus, there are no vaguely copycat styling cues (looking at you, MKS), it’s a bold design that stakes its own territory in the crowded entry-level luxury segment.
Leading the way is a split grille upswept to sides, tipped with thin, pointed headlights. They’ll tell you it’s meant to evoke the wings of an eagle in flight. We say it reminds us of Salvador Dali’s outlandish moustache. Also garish are the gas mileage figures for the hybrid version; 45 MPG across the board for city, highway and combined.
Base MSRP: $35,925.00
Hwy MPG: 33 mpg
City MPG: 22 mpg
Mater Pick: BMW X1
As mentioned previously, we love, respect, and sometimes revere the famous BMW twin kidney grille. It’s hard to imagine a designer inventing such a thing today, but a BMW simply wouldn’t be a BMW without it. That being said (this term always being a precursor to a gut punch), the application of this grille on the new subcompact ute X1 reminds us a bit of buck teeth. We see BMW X1, we’re thinking of Mater from the Cars movies.
By no means is it homely though; it’s rather sporty for the genre. And in addition to the facial resemblance, it shares Mater’s can-do attitude as well. Available all-wheel-drive will keep you going when the weather takes a turn for the worse, and in keeping with BMW’s Ultimate Driving Machine credo, it’s great to drive. In either 4-cylinder or 6-cylinder flavors, twin turbos aid and abet brisk motivation.
The X1 is friendly to your wallet as well, with excellent gas mileage and a starting price right around the 30k mark. With all its fine attributes, you’ll start to find the BMW X1’s toothy grin to be endearing.
Base MSRP: $30,650.00
Hwy MPG: 34 mpg
City MPG: 24 mpg
Samurai Pick: Kia Optima
Like parent company Hyundai, Kia has made a point of incorporating bold styling as a core component for their growth. It’s working. Starting with the funky Soul, Kia’s products have been opening eyes for more than just their value. The midsize Optima is the latest, and perhaps boldest, expression of their design direction.
The signature element of their designs that carries through the entire line is the unique grill design they call the Tiger Nose. Some have described it as a dog bone, but that pinched mouth reminds us of the built-in angry expression of a samurai mask.
Insert obligatory samurai metaphor here: The Optima’s sharp styling slices through the blandness of the midsize segment like the steely edge of a samurai sword. Well y’know, it actually does. With class leaders Accord and Camry always playing it safe, the Kia Optima is using whatever advantage it can to make headway in the most competitive segment in the business.
With efficient hybrid and torquey turbo variants to augment the standard configuration, the Kia Optima is more than just a pretty face.
Base MSRP: $21,200.00
Hwy MPG: 35 mpg
City MPG: 24 mpg
Joker Pick: Fisker Karma
The odd irony of the electric car business: The goal is to save money on fuel, but the forerunners of the trend are so expensive that only the well-to-do can afford them. They become vanity vehicles for celebrities desirous of eco-cred. So perhaps we need to think of them in another way. It’s not so much about saving money on gas as it is reducing our dependence on foreign oil. And while expensive, they are blazing the technology trail for others to follow with ever-cheaper alternatives, like the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf.
The Fisker Karma is definitely the former. With a price tag in six digits, this is a car for Leo DiCaprio and Justin Bieber, not someone looking to save a few bucks on their daily commute. So naturally, along with the cutting edge electric tech, the Karma has looks befitting its lofty price. First there’s that face, with the grill running the full width, curling up in a sinister smirk at the ends. It screams Jack Nicholson-era Joker. If you’ve ever seen concept drawings of cars, and then wondered why the actual car winds up looking like a dumbed-down, squished and frumpy interpretation, the Fisker Karma will cause no such consternation. Impossibly long and low-slung, it looks like it went from charcoal on paper to sheetmetal with no steps in between.
Base MSRP: $102,000.00
Hwy MPG: 21 mpg
City MPG: 20 mpg
Aston Martin Pick: Ford Fusion
All our other picks have imagined cars as people and characters. The Ford Fusion is dressing up for Halloween as another car. We are probably the umpteenth publication to note the new Fusion’s striking resemblance to Aston Martins. By no means are we deriding the Fusion for this. A sleek, comfortable family sedan with an Aston Martin face, terrific gas mileage, starting at just over 20 grand? Yes, please.
Like the aforementioned Optima, Ford is hoping that fetching style will be a differentiator for midsize shoppers. Besides the pretty face, you may notice a hint of Audi A7 in the nearly fastback profile. But there’s more to the new Fusion than just good looks.
Ford, like Chevrolet with the Malibu and Hyundai with the Sonata, is betting that consumers are willing to forgo V6 engines in exchange for better fuel economy. The only powerplants available on the Fusion are 4-cylinders. If you still want the kick in the pants of a 6-cylinder, your choice will be the 2.0 liter EcoBoost mill, which is turbo-boosted to the tune of 240 hp and 270 lb-ft of torque.
Base MSRP: $21,700.00
Hwy MPG: 34 mpg
City MPG: 22 mpg