1. Honda Civic Turbo
Honda probably didn’t do quite as much as its fans hoped it would when it facelifted the 10th-generation Civic. But what it did right was to black out the front grille and give the wheels a complementary gunmetal-like finish. These extremely subtle updates work incredibly well with the ‘Passion Red Pearl’ paintjob, proving once and for all that a red Civic can be edgy and classy at the same time. It also continues to deliver a solid drive despite its age; don’t let its fresher C-segment rivals fool you.
2. Toyota Vios GR-S
The Vios isn’t a car you’d typically bet on making these types of lists frequently, but UMW Toyota Motor certainly did a commendable job with the GR-S. Sure, it looked like a bit of a poser beside the GR Yaris when the two were launched simultaneously. But a GR-esque bumper, 17-inch wheels sportier dampers and recalibrated transmission – it’s still a CVT, though – make for a fair, if not resounding, justification for the liberal use of Gazoo Racing branding. Oh, and it looks pretty neat in red too.
3. Proton X50
In a market flooded with cars painted in safe and neutral colours to keep the books balanced, the Proton X50 has one of the more adventurous palettes we’ve seen in a mass-volume car in recent times. When was the last time you were able to pick out red, orange and blue from the same brochure, for a sub-RM100k car at that? The ‘Passion Red’ paintjob is an especially good fit for the SUV with an incredibly long waiting list as it complements the red accents on the grille and Brembo-esque brake calipers too.
4. Mitsubishi Xpander
From WRC to the Dakar Rally, Mitsubishi has quite the illustrious motorsports history and a fair share of iconic red cars to go with it. It’s the go-to colour for most Lancers, Evo or not. And although the brand has had to let some of its sporty ambitions go in recent years, that DNA is still prevalent in its more practical and passenger-oriented offerings. Even the recently-launched Xpander, a small but tall-ish MPV with a questionable name and similarly questionable number of airbags, looks the part in red. It may be a rather utilitarian machine at its core, but its bold design cues definitely deserve some applause.
5. Volvo S60 T8 R Design
A car we’ve reviewed thoroughly on many occasions – though never in red – the S60 T8 is one of the cooler looking entries in a hotly-contested arena of premium sedans thanks to the tasty set of R Design accessories that comes as standard. There’s over 400hp of combined (petrol and electric) output to match this Scandinavian swagger. And buyers can dial the sportiness up a notch with the Fusion Red paintjob that you won’t be able to find in other T8 models that prefer to trod down the path to minimalism and sophistication instead.
6. Hyundai Sonata
The eighth-generation Sonata was easily one of the most aesthetically brazen cars we've seen in in the sub-RM200k (after SST discount) price bracket when it made its Malaysian debut last year. It’s a pretty competent D-segment saloon too despite hiding a rather conventional 2.5-litre powertrain beneath its glamorous sheet metal. It has size – it’s the longest car in its class at 4,900mm from nose to tail – and the presence to match. And If you thought our gray tester was handsome, wait till you see the real thing in red.
7. Mercedes-Benz GLB
If you’ve read our take on the GLB35, you’d know that it first caught our eye as a fresh-faced crossover at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show looking smashing in ‘Designo Patagonial’ red. The good news is you don’t have to pay your way to the top of the GLB’s food chain for this eye-popping combo, as the similarly crimson GLB250 depicted suggests. In fact, most Mercs look great in metallic red – think E-Class and CLS – but they’re limited as CKD operations rarely gamble with colours that might clog up inventories. Bummer.
8. Any Mazda
Soul Red and Kodo Design are a match made in heaven. When Mazda perfected this formula, the Hiroshima-based company turned these instantly identifiable traits into the cornerstone of each one of its product presentations. The cars that Mazda would display at international motor shows would almost always be decked out exclusively in this colour, with very rare exceptions given to special models like the all-electric MX-30. The same can be said about the images it uses online and for marketing purposes; its cars really do look great in red.