Since you gave me a choice I’ll do both of them as a whole.
The first character I first fell in love with: Lightning McQueen. I was only a kid when the first movie came out (5 about to turn 6; I’m 14 now) and I totally had a crazy crush. I even put on a little white dress and got married to his diecast. Yeah, I was a super weird kid.
The character I never expected to love as much as I do now: Acer. The first few months of my Cars 2 obsession I saw him as one of “those two bad guys,” but then I started to appreciate both Acer and Grem as characters with very different personalities. It seemed like although Acer tries really hard to be a tough guy, he actually just needs a hug, and he’d probably be pretty nice to anyone who isn’t mean to him.
The character everyone else loves that I don’t: Rod Redline, definitely. I don’t get it… he had 5 minutes of screen time before his death, and suddenly all the fangirls are screaming over him and making trashy Mary Sues that somehow rescue him from being killed?! This actually really frustrates me.
The character I love that everyone else hates: Holley Shiftwell. A lot of people don’t like her for some reason, but I think she’s cool. I haven’t had a chance to include her in A Leaf on the Lemon Tree yet, but I definitely will if and when it makes sense to do so.
The character I used to love but don’t any longer: Going back to the first one, Lightning McQueen. I mean, I still like him, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t really have a crush on him anymore. There’s still the “Lightning McQutiepie” nickname that I’ll never stop using, though.
The character I would totally smooch: Francesco… ehehehe.
The character I’d want to be like: Sally. She’s really sweet and cares a lot about other cars’ feelings, and she just has a nice personality overall.
The character I’d slap: Since Nicole Tesla doesn’t count, Professor Zündapp. I have a feeling he was the one who convinced Acer and Grem to work on the oil rig, which ultimately ruined both of their lives.
A pairing that I love: I’m kind of ashamed to say this, but Lightning McQueen and Miles Axlerod. Their little interaction before the wasabi incident was cute and funny, and it was obvious from his facial expressions that Axlerod had a huge crush, haha.
A pairing that I despise: Hmmm… there aren’t really any, between the canon characters at least. I really hate seeing Car/Human pairings though. Mainly because the human is almost always a self-insert Mary Sue that fell through a portal or something into the Cars world.