Perodua Kenari: Never mind the badge, just enjoy the ride

The Kenari wears a Jaguar grille on its Noddy-car face, and put a huge smile on Sean O'Grady's

Maybe the answer lies in which cars manage to leave a smile on my face. Being a natural miserablist, a man whose first reaction to the news that London had won the 2012 Olympics was to groan at the increase in my council tax, this is not easy. My old Mini City E certainly cheered me up; so did the delightful and so sadly overlooked Vauxhall VX220 sports car; so did the now departed MG ZS180 V6 I took to the Goodwood Festival of Speed last year; so did the Jaguar XK8 convertible I once spent a happy few summer days in. There a few others, too, but too few to mention.

You see, most modern cars seem to be made to impress rather than entertain. "Wonder at our build quality" (Audi) the makers seem to be saying or "observe the technical prowess of our gadgets department" (Toyota) or "look at the walnut on that" (Bentley).

Well, it's nice to be shocked and awed, but there are times when I'd rather have fun. Which brings me to the fabulous Perodua Kenari.

Yes, fab. You won't hear many car writers saying that, because Perodua, like the other Malaysian maker Proton, plus Tata of India and the Korean Hyundai/ Kia and SsangYong badges are often treated with a disdain bordering on racism. This is really just a product of mankind's hard-wired desire to find something to be snobby about, whether its what postcode you live in, what label you've got on your smalls or what car you own. Just as criminals who mug pensioners or deal heroin need "nonces" to look down on in jail, so, it seems, those of us on the outside need budget brands to orient ourselves in our beneficent consumer society.

So people look down on the Perodua with its resolutely Cubist lines. Well, as Elvis Presley once sang: "You're so square, baby/ I don't care". I never tired of the Perodua's looks and found its Jaguar-grille-stuck-on-a- Noddy-car face wonderfully audacious. From any angle it looks interesting, but especially from the side, which emphasises the baby MPV's vast headroom.

The real fun starts when you get going. It's just like an old Citroën 2CV in the way it rolls and rolls as you corner hard but refuses to let go of the road. I had much more success in keeping it stable than did the presenters of the BBC's Top Gear show, who wheeled it out for ritual humiliation on their track a few weeks ago. The 989cc engine revs like a Ferrari, well, Honda at any rate, and I loved spotting where they had cut corners on cost and equipment. Electric windows were there on mine, disappointingly, but there was no remote central locking, no air conditioning, and no steering wheel controls for the stereo, as you'd find on the average Clio, say. Great; less to go wrong. Nor is this some old hand-me-down design; it's actually based on the Daihatsu Move, (not sold here), so it's fairly up-to date. All for £6,205.

Your Kenari will depreciate faster than a "Michael Howard for PM" T-shirt, but as it costs so little in the first place you'll not lose much in absolute terms. Cheaper by smiles.

Suggested Topics
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

    £26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A luxury beauty house with a nu...

    Recruitment Genius: Housekeepers - Immediate Start

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This company are currently recruiting new exp...

    Recruitment Genius: Head Concierge

    £25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning Property Man...

    Recruitment Genius: Content, SEO and PPC Executive

    £20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

    Day In a Page

    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific
    In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

    In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

    Dame Colette Bowe - interview
    When do the creative juices dry up?

    When do the creative juices dry up?

    David Lodge thinks he knows
    The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

    Fashion's Cher moment

    Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
    Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

    Health fears over school cancer jab

    Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
    Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

    'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

    Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
    Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

    Weather warning

    Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
    LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

    High hopes for LSD

    Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
    German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

    Saving Private Brandt

    A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral