Variety is the spice of life - Morris Ox
...and I really wish I could find it somewhere.

I get to try a fair few cars via business, but I'm getting increasingly bored with the blandness of them.

No matter what the badge, you can spot a VAG product a mile off, Mercs are Mercs, BMWs are BMWs, Hondas are top-endy, Toyotas are soullessly efficient...I could go on. Worse still, even a lot of the Italian and French stuff - a byword for individuality years ago - suffers from a bad case of 'me too' disease.

Just where are the interesting, different, quirky machines these days (even if they are less than 100% dependable).

Top marks to anyone who can flag up a modern day equivalent of the likes of an Alfasud/GTV, Citroen DS/CX etc.

Where have all these 'stuff conformity' heroes gone?
Variety is the spice of life - Pugugly {P}
Honda Insight ?
Renault Megane ?
Variety is the spice of life - sean
Mercedes Maybach

VW Phaeton

Lamborghini Countach

VW Lupo

VW Golf 5

VW Touran

Chrysler PT cruiser


Fiat Multipla

Mercedes SLK

Smart car

VW Bus (not yet, but nearly)

Come on BRs help me.
Variety is the spice of life - Morris Ox

I'll dive straight in now and disqualify a load of those.

Not driven a Maybach, but I have had the pleasure (?) of sitting in one. Stunningly efficient, yes. Utterly predictable too. No surprise, no delight.

Ditto the Phaeton, I'm afraid. Did what it said on the box. Same with most VAG products on the touch/feel front and don't call it brand distinctiveness because it's not. Touareg V10 was just the same, which probably sounds unbelievably condescending, but there you go.

SLK a strange combination of flash and tedious.

Smart yes, Multipla...novelty of the shape is wearing off for me. Doesn't leave much else because it's mechanically undistinguished.
Variety is the spice of life - THe Growler
I like your post MO.

True story.

I rented a Fiesta in May at Heathrow and drove it for two days back and forth and remarked to my daughter that I thought it didn't really do Ford much justice, bland and all that. She said Dad, it's not a Fiesta it's a Fiat Puno.

Now if you asked me now the brand of my washing machine I would have to go and look at it to check. See what I mean?
Variety is the spice of life - matt35 {P}
My British Racing Green X Type - covered, as usual, with four different colours of birdpoo?
Variety is the spice of life - Morris Ox
Like the cut of your jib there, Matt
Variety is the spice of life - trancer
I would feel rather spicy in a TVR. Tuscan would be my choice, but a Tamora or T350 would be fine too.
Variety is the spice of life - Vaughan
A Noble M10 would do for me, but they didn't exactly make a lot of them - rarer than a..well, a very rare thing.

Variety is the spice of life - Morris Ox
I see what you mean about TVRs and Nobles etc., but high performance or extreme luxury cars are not where I'm coming from.

This is a lament about the disappearance of anything remotely original from mainstream car designs, the disappearance of national characteristics, the utter predictability and blandness of design and the driving experience today.

Where are the minastream cars which are fun, suprising, the cars which you love or hate?
Variety is the spice of life - Dwight Van Driver
Mountfield do a four wheeler and its at the cutting edge of technology?

Variety is the spice of life - Altea Ego
I dont believe this, some people moan about all cars being the same, and then other people moan about Renault Aventime and Vel Satis for being too different and laughing at their failure to sell.
Variety is the spice of life - Morris Ox
There was some bravery with the shape of these cars, but underneath they were/are thoroughly conventional.

If you look at vehicles like the DS/CX, Renault 5, Alfasud/GTV etc, they were fundamentally practical but either groundbreaking or different. The Avantime was different but not very practical.

I can live with the Vel Satis extrior, I quite like its interior. Mechanically and dynamically it's so-so.

I guess the true greats are the groundbreakers and all we seem to have these days is a variety of badges adorning something called the Me Too.
Variety is the spice of life - THe Growler
Could it be that the combined nature of automobile design, costings, regulation and legislation, market positioning, competitive pricing, production costs, costs of warranty, costs of marketing and sales, has all been so relentlessly defined by computer technology to such a fine art in a fiercely competitive environment so that all manufacturers are basically on the same page with the same cost model.

So that when that spotty little chap in Finance (let's call it Accounts that's what it really is) presses the "Enter" key orgiastically after months of secret meetings, good lunches, and laying in the long grass peering through binoculars at the opposition's efforts and signing off on the ludicrously expensive and fanciful commercial that Marketing want to put on prime time, and the MD breaks out the Spanish champagne and ham sandwiches in the Goat and Compasses, that:





At last, the Fiord Punesta!!!
Variety is the spice of life - Morris Ox
Spot on as ever, Growler.

What occurs to me about national characteristics is that just about the only country I can think if that actually exhibits them anymore is the States, believe it or not.

Big country, big cars, often basic technology. We might snigger at them over here (and snort at the economy) but big engines in large cars/trucks suit the territory.

I struggle, frankly, to think of anywhere else.
Variety is the spice of life - THe Growler
M.O. it's the way the world is going (pauses to reposition dentures and park Zimmer frame while fumbling for glasses).

That's why I like trucks. If it looks like a truck, drives like a truck and makes a noise like a truck it must be a truck.

/Donald Rumsfeld mode to OFF
Variety is the spice of life - trancer
I am not sure I understand the question. You want something unique and different, yet mainstream?. It seems that high performance and uncompromising luxury also does not constitute enough of a difference.

How about a mainstream car with a unique feature/s?. That Renault Clio with the mid-mounted V6. A Prelude with 4 wheel steering. A Civic Hybrid.

Would any of those be closer to what you are after?.
Variety is the spice of life - teabelly
Citroen Pluriel? It's the only car I can think of that does something a little different.

I know what you mean about dull modern cars. I look around and think if I had the money to buy new there just wasn't anything worth spending it on under 45k (tvr tuscan money) or even 70k (new aston martin money). Although a highly tuned mitsubishi Evo is a serious temptation....

Maybe a kit car might be more exciting? My own favourites are the banks europa (you can squeeze in a 3 litre alfa v6 engine) and the hawk stratos replica. There is also Banham engineering that turn old Metros into more interesting vehicles. Perhaps that guy that builds cars out of sofas and sheds could help in your quest!?

Variety is the spice of life - HisHonour {P}
When I was 17 I had a very interesting car - a Renault Dauphine. Sometimes it would fall over at 23 mph on a gentle right hand bend and sometimes it wouldn't - you never knew which it would do. They don't make cars like that any longer.
Variety is the spice of life - THe Growler
...guess they were long enough already ho-ho. Eggshell bodies and 6 volt electrics with an engine in the rear that sounded (when it cvould be persuaded to run) like a bag of spanners. This was part of the systematic strategy of Gallic revenge on the British, which continues to this day. Let us not even contemplate the frightful Renault Floride, the appalling Caravelle (which unlike the eponymous airliner of the period which was actually very nice to fly in) and the unspeakable R1100 which brough with it designed-in rust at no extra cost. I might mention the Simca Aronde so beloved of venomous Parisian taxi-drivers, but I won't. It would have been much more use melted down into those black cast iron jobs strategically placed for gentlemen in need, whose fragrance would titillate the casual stroller's nostrils on a hot summer's day in Montmartre.

In days gone by we were blessed with all this variété d'épice de la vie, perhaps after all we should not be so hard on the cookie-cutter jelly-mould accountant-designed one-size-fits-all cars, MO.

My neighbour became so upset with his Dauphine he actually traded it in for a Standard Vanguard. That a mere car can drive a man to such desperation can only be marvelled at.
Variety is the spice of life - Morris Ox
Right. This is the nearest I can get today to anything which has some trace of originality in its design, delight in its driving, some sense of national characteristic, or sheer, b*****-minded quirkiness. Not all of them suit me, but I take my hat off to the fact that they exist.

Bentley Arnage, Bristol Blenheim, Caterham Seven, Citroen Berlingo/Pluriel, Honda Insight, Jaguar XJ, Land Rover Defender, Lotus Elise, MG TF, Morgan, Mini, Mitsubishi Evo, Renault Espace, Subaru Legacy/Impreza...

Really rather proves the point. I couldn't find anything mainstream, though I'll admit I ummed and ahhed about the Citroen C5 because it looks different and has some technical originality in the undercarriage. But there's still too much of what everybody else does in it.
Variety is the spice of life - J Bonington Jagworth
"DS/CX, Renault 5, Alfasud/GTV"

I'd like to add the NSU RO80, which to my eyes still looks modern. Great shame that NSU was ruined after they'd sorted the engine. I think the new Mazda RX8 deserves a mention, and the new Citroen C2 looks promising, although like the Ka, it may just be cute.
Variety is the spice of life - LHM

One of the problems - at least here in the UK - is the deep-rooted conservatism (small 'c') when it comes to buying cars. No matter how aesthetically different or novel a car may be, it's still an uphill struggle to sell it to a British audience. In a nation which embraces boil-in-the-bag fish, flat-pack furniture and "'Allo 'Allo!", it comes as no surprise that we prefer our meat 'n two veg cars - cowering away from anything suspiciously different or (heaven forbid) foreign.

Citroen was, for many years, a by-word for innovation and 'quirkiness' (and, alas, rust...) - but they had trouble selling that quirkiness to the UK market - including the press. Once swallowed up by its new masters, Peugeot set about removing the 'quirkiness' from Citroen models until it was producing worthy, practical, reliable - but ultimately boring cars. "Where's that Citroen quirkiness gone!!", shouted the motoring press - it seemed that Citroen just couldn't win!

My everyday drive is a Volvo S80 - a conservative, anodyne car if ever there was. But every now and again I'll get out the CX GTi Turbo, just to remind me that cars needn't be quite so conventional.... :-)
Variety is the spice of life - Martin Devon
Triumph vitesse. Rover 3500 P6 Rover 3500sdi both manual and auto and JENSEN INTERCEPTOR. (Fired at every other lampost and caused stirrings in the nether regions. (Don't ask).

Growler for P.M.

Variety is the spice of life - J Bonington Jagworth
"CX GTi Turbo"

I do rather fancy one of those, and they are ridiculously cheap. I suppose it could be a bit risky, though...
Variety is the spice of life - LHM

'Risky'? Let's just call it 'adventurous'!

Variety can indeed be the spice of life :-)

Variety is the spice of life - J Bonington Jagworth
Thanks, LHM. If I do take the plunge (and I admit it's not likely to be a huge investment), is there anything in particular I should look out for? It would be a Series 2, I expect.
Variety is the spice of life - exmondeoman
Thanks, LHM. If I do take the plunge (and I admit
it's not likely to be a huge investment), is there anything
in particular I should look out for? It would be a
Series 2, I expect.

Have a look at the technical thread at
where there's lots of useful info....
Variety is the spice of life - J Bonington Jagworth
Thank you, EMM. Might have known it was on here somewhere... :-)

Value my car