2014 Perodua Axia SE

There’s a startling uniformity to most of the cars on our roads. One of the main reasons is that many of them share the same parts as each other. If you thought the Seat Leon felt familiar, it’s because it’s basically a Volkswagen Golf with a different bodywork. Most of the infamous micro-cars are all exactly the same under the bonnet too.

The fierce ubiquity of the Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa, and Volkswagen Polo is becoming boring.

Of course, they’re all great cars. There’s a reason they’re best-sellers, and we can’t really fault them for that. But, driving is about fun. It’s about showing a flair and embracing something new. With this post, we’re forgetting the dull copycats, and looking to the cars you’ve never heard of. Granted, they have their faults too.

But, it’s time for Ford, Volkswagen et al to give up the spotlight, just for a moment, and let the underdogs shine.

Via – Via are an American truck and SUV company that specialize in electric motoring. I’m sure you’re already thinking: Doesn’t America have enough SUV and Truck manufacturers? Well, yes they do. However, Via are trying to do something a little different. By using only electric engines, they’re subverting the traditional ‘gas guzzler’ perception of these big cars. We were impressed by Via’s ideology, so we took one for a drive. It was certainly impressive. Our model returned nearly 100 mpg, and had one of the best ranges we’ve seen in a hybrid engine.

Dacia – Romania isn’t exactly the first country that comes to mind when you think of car manufacture. Germany, Japan, and USA perhaps, but not Croatia. Dacia are changing that with a fantastic range of budget cars.

They’re certainly not setting any records for style or speed. But, their ‘cheapest-car-on-the-road’ tagline shouldn’t put you off either.Dacia hold their own in the budget car market. In the throws of the recession, they’ve seen their star rise.

Abarth Punto Evo

Abarth – Abarth began life as a racing manufacturer in Italy. In the 1970s, they were ingested by the Fiat corporation. The Abarth team were then responsible for building Fiat’s rally cars throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s. As for their road cars, they were sadly left behind, until the ‘00s.

Now Fiat use the Abarth name on a number of their high-performance small cars. If you’re in the market for a supermini, we recommend looking at the used Abarth before trawling the usual Fiestas, Polos, and Corsas.

Perodua – When you think of the Malaysian car industry, you typically think of Proton. In fact, Proton put Malaysia on the map in the auto world. However, there’s another manufacturer hiding in the Oceanic territory: Perodua. They’ve quietly been making some brilliant hatchbacks and family cars, selling to over 30% of Malaysian drivers.

Now they’re starting to expand worldwide. Entry level cars will start cheap, so it’s like to become a good investment.

You don’t have to follow the crowd and pick a sensible Vauxhall Corsa. Look further afield and expand your horizons.