Beat Blue Monday with these 8 cars to make you smile

  • January 16 2017 - the most depressing day of the year
  • Beat the blues with an amazing drive
  • Jump in your car and escape organised bad moods

Blue Monday – January 16 2017 – is apparently the most depressing day of the year. 

Whether it‘s due to impending Christmas credit card bills, Dry January meaning you can’t indulge in a cheery pint, or the weather likely to be rubbish, today is supposedly the most grim day of the year. 

The idea of Blue Monday was originally created by a holiday company, based on calculations of debt and weather conditions. But even though it began as a marketing campaign, the thought has caught on, perhaps as a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

This year, swipe January 16 aside and refuse to be blue with Team Parkers’ choice of eight cars that will make you smile, whatever day of the year it is. 

Ford Focus RS

Even just staring at the wing will cheer you up

The Ford Focus RS is the ultimate January pick-me-up – thriving on all of the things that make this month so spectacularly bleak. Grip from the all-wheel drive system helps you get the turbocharged 2.3-litre engine’s 350hp on to the road whatever the weather, adding massive excitement to a boring, frosty commute. Its twin-tailpipe exhaust system provides rally-spec crackles and bangs loud enough to out-rumble your stomach regardless of post-Christmas diet, too. Best of all, if you’ve got no petrol money while waiting for the January paycheck, you can still cheer yourself up by looking out of an upstairs window at that massive wing. 

Adam Binnie, Deputy Road Test Editor

MINI Cooper

Beat Blue Monday with a MINI Cooper

You don’t even need the fastest or most expensive MINI to have a bit of fun. The MINI Cooper is blessed with a characterful and eager 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine that’s great fun to drive even around town. The ‘Maximum go-kart feel’ driving mode may sound a little gimmicky, but at least it’s true to its word darting from corner to corner with sharp steering and low-slung driving position. You can personalise the exterior styling to your heart’s content and the interior is full of quirky touches to keep you entertained when you’re sitting in traffic, too. 

Tom Goodlad, Staff Writer

Skoda Superb

It looks like your dad's diesel...

A Skoda Superb with the 280hp turbocharged engine. It looks like your dad’s diesel, but it will punch it out with the fastest sports cars, and cover continents without breaking a sweat. And have you seen how much room is in the back? I love them.

Keith Adams, Editor

Hyundai i20 1.0 100 Turbo Edition

Eager and tuneful Hyundai

A low price, an eager, tuneful 1.0-litre petrol engine that barely uses any fuel and plenty of standard kit make this a great Blue Monday-beating supermini in my book. The cabin is comfy enough to shrink any commute, while the fun handling put a big smile on my face when I last drove one around the Cotswolds. Standard sat-nav, rear parking sensors, automatic wipers, plus a five-year unlimited mileage warranty, are the icing on the cake, successfully helping to banish any post-Christmas blues – all for a satisfyingly affordable £13,275 or well under £200 per month on a 48-month contract (with £1,000 deposit).

Chris Lloyd, Finance Editor

Renault Twizy

The Renault Twizy isn't strictly a car...

One car that never fails to conjure an inane grin across my face isn’t, strictly speaking, a car at all: legalese defines the all-electric Renault Twizy as a quadricycle. Well, stick it to the bureaucrats and enjoy one of the most hilarious driving experiences you can have at any speed, which is just as well as I’ve yet to get one above 53mph. Lively rear-wheel drive handling makes the Twizy’s back end a hoot on roundabouts, while its doorlessness exposes you – and your tandem passenger – to most of the elements, most of the time. Cobwebs blown away for a smidgen less than £7,000 new. Thoroughly flawed in so many ways, yet I yearn for one more than a date browsing autojumbles with Susie Dent. Sigh.

Keith Jones, Continuity Editor

Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo Edition 

Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo Edition

It’s wet, it’s cold and the roads are clogged up because half the country is on strike. It’s days like these when you just wish you were in the south of France. And thanks to Skoda, you can be! Sort of… The Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo Edition is the perfect four-wheeled remedy to those January blues, combining sharp styling, keen practicality and a price tag to put a Southern Rail season ticket to shame. Opt for the 90hp 1.2-litre petrol engine and you’ve got a zippy little motor which is quick off the line and positively parsimonious when it comes to fuel consumption. Kept the receipt for that Fiesta, did you? 

James Dennison, Junior Staff Writer

Land Rover Defender

Get a dog if you don't already have one...

Dislike going to the gym? Well, here’s your daily workout. No car currently on sale will require as much effort to manoeuvre as one of these, and manhandling all the controls will be a great form of stress relief. Just like a faithful old dog, it’ll be a pain to get moving, slow to react but be completely loveable. In fact, get a dog if you don’t have one already; it’ll be the perfect accessory.

You can customise to your heart’s content, but there is an automatic gearbox conversion to make life easier – just don’t expect it to be as relaxing as a Range Rover. 

Lawrence Cheung, Web Producer

Volkswagen Up

The up! keeps you upbeat!

How can you feel down when you’re in a VW Up? The name itself just won’t let you. Stable, reliable, but bags of fun in this little package – it always brings a smile to my face whether clogged in traffic or whizzing down the back roads. Surprisingly nippy for its size, it’s cute, and putting your foot down in the low gears makes it sound like Chewbacca. Overtaking an Audi TT in the Up can’t fail to cheer me up. See – it even makes you use the word ‘up’ more than normal. 

Sophie Knight, Features Editor