Here are 9 adorable cars with happy faces

Even before Disney gave us characters like Lightning McQueen and Doc Hudson, certain cars have always had facial expressions if you looked hard enough. Today, the trend seems to be leaning toward angry cars with scowls; in fact, I’d run out of fingers and toes if I had to count them.

But four-wheeled transportation doesn’t always have to convey a message of anger and impatience. If you’re perpetually cheery and have an affinity for fluffy animals, flowers, sunshine and unicorns, chances are, there’s a car out there with a smile, even if they’re difficult to come across. Be sure to flip through our gallery, and when you’re done, scroll down to see a handful of our favorites.

1959-1961 Austin-Healey Sprite

You can't be angry when you're driving a first-generation Austin Healey Sprite.

You can’t be angry when you’re driving a first-generation Austin-Healey Sprite.
Supplied, Wikimedia

When I hear Austin Healey, I immediately think the 3000, a swanky roadster manufactured in the 1960s. However, the long-defunct British automaker had another diminutive roadster up its sleeve, known as the Sprite. It’s not particularly fast (or reliable; it is a British vehicle from the 1960s, after all), but the first-generation Sprite won the hearts of many throughout its three-year life cycle from 1958 to 1961 thanks to its “Frogeye” headlights mounted on the hood. It’s said that the Sprite’s designers originally wanted the headlights to be pop-up units. But because they couldn’t figure out the linkages, the designers mounted the lights on the body instead. No complaints about them here.

1992-1998 Daihatsu Opti

Don't you just want to pinch the Daihatsu Opti's cheeks?

Don’t you just want to pinch the Daihatsu Opti’s cheeks?
Supplied, Wikimedia

Oh, Daihatsu. This Japanese automaker isn’t just associated with weird nameplates, it also does adorable cars with faces very well. Case in point, the first-generation Daihatsu Opti, which was introduced in 1992 into Japan’s crowded Kei car segment. Its powertrains were exactly what you’d expect from a pint-sized hatchback – powered by a 659cc engine good for no more than 45 horsepower, the Opti won’t win any races. Instead, its smiling, bug-eyed face makes up for it, especially when you’re urging it to accelerate.

2010-2013 Mazda3

You'd have a difficult time finding someone who hasn't made fun of the second-generation Mazda3.

You’d have a difficult time finding someone who hasn’t made fun of the second-generation Mazda3.
Handout, Mazda

Since its introduction in 2004, the Mazda3 has been one of the most solid compact cars you can buy. They’re fun to drive, reasonably reliable and, in the case of the latest 2014 model, not unlike an honour student that has raked in droves of awards and accolades for Mazda. Then there’s the styling – the new 3 wears Mazda’s Kodo design language, which translates to “soul of motion”. It’s a significant departure from its predecessor, which couldn’t help but look clumsy with that massive, gaping smile up front. Not that the second-generation Mazda3 was a weak car – it just so happened to be the butt of many jokes.

Almost anything by Peugeot

Peugeot wants to eventually return to North America. Hopefully that means we'll see some happy French cars.

Peugeot wants to eventually return to North America. Hopefully that means we’ll see some happy French cars.
Handout, Peugeot

It’s been a very long time since we last saw anything officially sold by Peugeot in North America. It’s a shame, really, because almost every offering in its lineup appears to be wearing a clumsy smile, much like the second-gen Mazda3. Peugeot is in the midst of something of a transformation and is considering an eventual return to North America; hopefully, we’ll see some of its happy-looking cars in the U.S. and Canada, like the 308 hatchback pictured here. With that chrome trim in the grille, it almost looks like it’s wearing braces.

Did we miss one? Suggest your favourite perpetually-happy car in the comments below!

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About Nick Tragianis