International Day of Happiness: seven cars that can fill you with joy

Speed, style, prestige or performance: what makes you smile?

Whether or not money can make you more happy is an age-old debate, but money can buy you cars. And cars can make you deliriously euphoric, whether it’s the joy of ownership, the rapture of the drive or the fulfilment of working on a machine.

To mark International Day of Happiness on March 20, we suggest a list of motors that can inspire ebullience — and may even result in a manic perma-grin.

Aston Martin DBS Superleggera: chase away the blues

If you’ve watched the James Bond movie No Time To Die, you’ll have witnessed the end sequence where Madeleine Swann is driving 007’s classic Aston Martin V8 Vantage in the stunning locale of Matera, Italy, to the soundtrack of We have all the Time in the World by Louis Armstrong. It’s a sentimental sequence, soothing an audience shaken and stirred by Daniel Craig’s intense and emotional final mission.

Aston Martin is inextricably linked with the fictional British superspy, which makes owning an Aston oh so satisfying. The DBS is equipped with a 715bhp V12, which gives it a top speed of more than 340 kilometres per hour, just what you need when you want to chase away the blues.

Morgan sports cars: happiness is always in style

Morgan Super 3.

Tell the world toodle pip as you don your finest Saville Row tweed, stringback gloves and suede driving loafers while charging off in a sports car from Morgan Motors. These offer classic British roadster style, durable modern mechanicals and irresistible charm.

No supercar will attract the attention and adoration that a Morgan will. Not only will you revel in old-school motoring engagement, but bystanders will be smiling, waving and snapping away with smartphones. For even more eccentric exuberance, and to enchant further, opt for the bonkers but brilliant new three-wheeled Super 3.

Suzuki Jimny: cheap and cheerful

The Jimny can scrabble over anything.

About Dh70,000 ($19,000) will get you the cheekiest little off-roader in existence, and that’s not to belittle its mountain-goat-like, scrabble-over-anything ability. The Suzuki Jimny wants to be a Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon when it grows up, but growing up is for dullards.

Its delightful boxy simplicity is as endearing as it is lit, and it’s raw and visceral enough behind the wheel to remind you what makes driving fun. You won’t be going anywhere fast in this, and highways are not its scene, but it’ll make you smile, for sure.

Rolls-Royce Dawn: feel-good vibes

Rolls-Royce Black Badge Dawn. Photo: Rolls-Royce Motor Cars

It's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's a new life for me. Oh, and I'm feeling good. So croons Nina Simone in her 1965 song Feeling Good. And talking of dawns, when it comes to the ultimate in indulgence, extravagance and self-satisfaction, nothing can beat the sheer opulence and ego-bolstering majesty of a Rolls-Royce.

When it comes to feel-good factor, the Dawn dials the knob up to 10 and then rips it off in a rhapsody of ecstasy that’s testament to the spirit of the fabled Flying Lady.

Ford Bronco: happiness is the path not taken

Go off-roading in this beast. Photo: Rachel Mummey / Bloomberg

Embrace the path less driven. From here you need to go all Crocodile Dundee and escape the cocoon, break free of dejection, embrace the elements and go a little wild. As explorer Sir Richard Burton said: “The gladdest moment in human life is a departure into unknown lands.”

To do that, you need something that’s as single-minded, purposeful and outlandish as your ambitions. Pick up the new Ford Bronco, ditch the roof and doors at home and, as philosopher Dagobert D Runes recommended, “go cover the earth before it covers you”. Just beholding one thus unadorned can fill even the most sedentary heart with excitement.

Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat: joy of performance

Power is an intoxicant, and muscle cars pack the most powerful punches of all. Depending on spec, the Dodge Challenger offers up to 800bhp. If it hooks up, it’ll give you whiplash. But mostly it’ll sit there in a thick smoky cloud of its own making, shredding its rear tyres and wrecking decibel metres; the engine noise challenged only by the cackles of laughter it elicits from its driver.

The Hellcat combines rocket science with classic charisma, and the result is quite simply dripping in cool. It makes you happy whether you’re seeing off all-comers on the quarter-mile or cruising the Corniche real slow.

Tesla Model X: happy planet

Get eco-friendly in a Tesla. Photo: Reuters

If your personal good cheer comes from being kind to the planet and your fellow humans, cutting emissions rather than engaging in raucous burnouts is your gig. For that you need a zero-emissions EV, such as the Tesla Model X.

Not only can you take friends along with you, but you can also prank them with the euphemistically named Emissions Testing Mode, which simulates flatulence among your passengers. And when they suss the gag, celebrate by flicking on the dancing mode as the Tesla flails its rear gullwing doors, flashes its lights and discos with delight.

Updated: March 18, 2022, 6:34 PM