There’s little point in investing time and effort in perfecting your look if you’re then going to get into the automotive equivalent of worn-out Crocs for your stylish arrival. There are plenty of classic cars that suit timeless and modern looks alike (browse the classifieds at Classic Cars for Sale for some inspiration), but if you don’t want the hassle and expense of running something half a century old and unlikely to be happy with the latest fuels, there are plenty of up to date autos that retain a sense of style.
There’s something for everyone, too – whether you’re into rugged pursuits or enjoying the city lifestyle, transport with taste is just a few clicks away these days, with many manufacturers offering online purchasing, leasing and even subscription models, such as Care by Volvo. All you need to do is choose the car, colour and trim to complement your look.
This year’s Car of the Year Awards from Parkers highlight the stand-out models as the ones most focused on suiting a specific lifestyle – for instance the Skoda Enyaq, is appealing for its no-nonsense, high-quality approach to the electric family car.
BMW’s focus on driving pleasure isn’t just about cornering speed and performance, though there’s plenty of that. The latest 4 Series offers relaxed open-air cruising for four adults, with a wide range of engines and a wide-open view of the sky that delivers an exhilarating roadster-style experience behind the wheel. Better yet, there’s a good variety of interior trims and colours, if you have the budget. With a fully insulated roof it’s no fair-weather companion, either.
If you want timeless style, look to Italy. The Fiat 500’s shape isn’t a direct copy of the original, but it’s successfully evocative of the 1950s classic and now, thanks to electric power, the grille-less snub nose makes even more sense. With up to 200 miles of range, the option of a quick and easy full-length sunroof cabriolet, and plenty of room for two adults and lots of kit with the seats folded, or a young family with them in place, it’s a small car to grow on. Subtle curves and matte paint look best, and the interior fabrics are recycled sea plastics – green is more fashionable than ever.
Aspiring to the tweed and gravitas of the country lifestyle falls apart when your Qashqai can’t cut it off the beaten track; but you don’t want to sacrifice on-road comfort. Enter the Land Rover Defender. It’s nothing like the glorified tractor of old, with refinement, speed and even economy on offer when it’s on tarmac, yet all the capability you need to climb mountains and ford rivers in search of the perfect getaway. It’s a car that can accessorise, too, with saddlebag storage, ladders and roof tents all completing the adventurous lifestyle. It’s a serious Land Rover with all the credibility and respect the badge inspires – and no-one need know that you’re enjoying more creature comforts than the average family SUV can offer.
Why stop being fashionable when there’s work to do? Not only is it the best van to drive, the Ford Transit Custom offers a variety of models to suit your lifestyle, from the standard and classless original that looks good in white, black and every shade in between, to the ruggedised Active and grippy Trail models. There’s even a plug-in hybrid model, and an off-the-shelf camper with a bespoke feel.
Made it to the top of the ladder? Why are you even considering a car to drive – not that the Mercedes S-Class discourages driving, as the latest version feels smaller, lighter and more welcoming behind the wheel. Naturally there’s an almost limitless scope for personalisation and bespoke finishes, but even off-the-peg the S-Class cossets and soothes passengers so an eight-hour drive can feel more comfortable than a two-hour flight.
Choosing the right car can transform your sense of self, calmness and excitement around getting out and about – or indeed, just make the inevitable drudgery of commuting more enjoyable. Finding one with style in a world of similar designs is tricky – but as the award-winners above show, not impossible.