Pope Francis' choice of wheels eschews classic popemobiles
Pope Francis waves as he sits in front of a car after praying in front of the statue of the Virgin Mary, in Rome, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013. Pope Francis, in the heart of Rome's fanciest shopping district, prayed on Sunday that the poor are never forgotten. His appearance at the foot of the Spanish Steps follows a papal tradition of public prayer before a statue representing Mary on Dec. 8, a church holiday honoring the mother of Jesus. Then, in a departure from past popes who would sit in the back seat of a chauffeured Vatican car, Francis sat up front, next to the driver, whom he chatted with as he was driven across town. After a brief stop to pray at Rome's St. Mary Major Basilica, Francis returned to Vatican City. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Pope Francis gets in a car as South Korean President Park Geun-hye, center, smiles upon his arrival at Seoul Air Base in Seongnam, South Korea, Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. Pope Francis arrived for a five-day visit to South Korea to participate in a Catholic youth festival and to preside over a beatification ceremony for 124 Korean martyrs. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon. Pool)
** FILE ** Pope John Paul II has changed his popemobile for a brand new Ferrari Mondial Cabriolet for a day, as he visits a Ferrari manufacturer in Fiorano, Italy, in this Saturday, June 4, 1988, file photo. Ferrari president Luca Cordero di Montezemolo said, in Rome, Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2004, he would present the pope with a new Ferrari 1:5 scale model on the occasion of the 26th anniversary of his pontificate. (AP Photo/stf)
Pope John Paul II salutes the crowd from his popemobile as he arrives at the Chamber of Deputies, in Rome, Thursday, Nov. 14 2002. John Paul II is the first pontiff to address the Italian parliament, in joint session, a symbolic homage to Italy, a country whose capture of Rome in 1870 ended the Vatican temporal rule. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
In this picture made available by the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI shakes hands with Mercedes Benz CEO Dieter Zetsche in front of the new popemobile presented to the Pontiff at the Vatican, Friday, Dec. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano)
Pope John Paul II on his popemobile arrives at a jubilee ceremony in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Saturday, March 11, 2000. Pilgrims from Italian and foreign dioceses participated in the open air ceremony. (AP Photo/Marco Ravagli)
In this Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013 picture made available by the Vatican newspaper l'Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis looks at a Renault 4L donated to him by Rev. Renzo Zocca, not pictured, as he speaks with Zocca's assistant Luigi Macchioni, left, at the Vatican. Rev. Zocca, 69, told the Associated Press on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013 that he has dedicated his life to helping the needy on the outskirts of Verona, so when he saw that Pope Francis' priority was to reach out to the world's poor and inspire the Catholic leaders to go to slums and peripheries to preach, he decided to donate what he calls his 29-year-old &quot;car of the French farmers&quot; as a symbol of this approach. The pontiff invited Rev. Zocca for a private audience and on that occasion the priest had the car brought to the Vatican. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano)
In this Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013 picture made available by the Vatican newspaper l'Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis, right, speaks with Rev. Renzo Zocca, second from right, and owner of the Renault 4L seen at left, his assistant Luigi Macchioni, and car-body repairer Stefano Veronesi, fourth from right, after he was donated the car by Zocca, at the Vatican. Rev. Zocca, 69, told the Associated Press Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013, that he has dedicated his life to helping the needy in the peripheries of Verona, so when he saw that Pope Francis' priority was to reach out to the world's poor and inspire the Catholic leaders to go to slums and peripheries to preach, he decided to donate what he calls his 29-year-old "car of the French farmers" as a symbol of this approach. The pontiff invited Rev. Zocca for a private audience and on that occasion the priest had the car brought to the Vatican. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, ho)
Pope Benedict XVI, left, flanked by his secretary Georg Gaenswein waves from his car as he arrives for a visit at the House of the Verbites, in nearby town of Nemi, near Rome, Monday, July 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)
Pope Benedict XVI waves from his car when arriving at the Roman Catholic shrine of Our Lady of Fatima, Wednesday, May 12, 2010, in Fatima, central Portugal. The Pope started a four-day visit to Portugal Tuesday. (AP Photo/Armando Franca)
Pope Benedict XVI waves from his car after celebrating an open-air mass at the Turany airport in Brno, Czech Republic, Sunday, Sept. 27, 2009. The Pontiff arrived to the Czech Republic for a three-day visit on Saturday. (AP Photo/Bela Szandelszky)
** COMBO ** In this two-picutre combo, Pope Benedict XVI kisses a boy as he greets the faithful from his car, during the weekly general audience at the Vatican, Wednesday Aug. 30, 2006. (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)
Pope John Paul II reaches out to a child as he tours St. Peter's square in an open-topped vehicle Wednesday, May 1, 1996 during an outdoor general audience to celebrate May Day. (AP Photo/Bruno Mosconi)
** ADVANCE FOR SUNDAY, MARCH 30 **FILE**Pope John Paul II responds from his vehicle to the enthusiastic crowd outside St. Matthew's Cathedral in Washington, D.C., in this Oct. 6, 1979 file photo, as he leaves for a meeting at the White House with Pres. Jimmy Carter. (AP Photo)
The bullet-proof vehicle carrying Pope John Paul II is surrounded by Filipinos waving their arms in greeting as it enters the grounds of the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Philippines, Friday, Jan. 13, 1995. The pope appealed to young Asian Catholics to join religious orders and devote their lives to spreading the faith in the coming century. (AP Photo/Alberto Marquez)
Pope John Paul II waves from the back of a vehicle, accompanied by Swazi Bishop Louis Ndlovu, after his arrival in Matsapa, Swaziland, Sept. 16, 1988. The Pope is on the fourth leg of his five-nation visit to Southern Africa. (AP Photo)
Pope John Paul II lifts a child in his arms as he stands in the back of his vehicle, surrounded by a crowd in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Vatican City, April 11, 1979. (AP Photo)
Faithful take photos in front of Pope mobile after the announcement that Pope Francis visit to the Policlinico Gemelli Hospital was canceled, in Rome, Friday, June 27,2014. Pope Francis has canceled a planned visit to one of Rome's main hospitals â the latest in a string of ailments that have raised questions about the 77-year-old pontiff's health. Francis had been due to visit the Gemelli hospital and celebrate a Mass there Friday afternoon. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Pope Francis waves from a rain-covered pope-mobile as he leaves after his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014. Pope Francis is urging delegates attending the Syria peace conference in Switzerland to do everything they can to negotiate a cease-fire and launch "decisive" steps toward reconciliation and reconstruction. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Pope Benedict XVI, aboard his pope mobile, arrives to the Spanish steps Saturday Dec. 8 , 2012. The pope was keeping up a holiday tradition to pray near a statue of the Virgin Mary in a square near Rome's poshest shopping area. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Pope Benedict XVI arrives in his pope mobile in front of the St. Mary's cathedral for a mess in Erfurt, Germany, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2011. Pope Benedict XVI is on a four-day official visit to his homeland Germany. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Pope Benedict XVI waves to pilgrims as he passes the Sydney Opera House in his Pope mobile after addressing thousands of pilgrims at Barangaroo on his first day of official duties during World Youth Day activities in Sydney, Australia, Thursday, July 17, 2008. (AP Photo/Will Burgess, Pool)
Greeted by Bosnian wellwishers, Pope John Paul II rides his pope mobile on the infamous Sniper Alley leading to downtown Sarajevo Saturday April 12 1997. Undaunted by a cache of explosives found on his travel route, Pope John Paul II plunged into his peace mission to Sarajevo on Saturday, wading into crowds and declaring Never again war. Riding along with the Pope is Bosnia Cardinal Vinko Puljic. (AP PHOTO/Hidajet Delic)
Rome's Cardinal Vicar Agostino Vallini greets Pope Francis, seen inside his car as he leaves after landing from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, at Ciampino's military airport, on the outskirts of Rome, Monday, July 29, 2013. The pontiff returned after a week in Brazil. (AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca)
A float depicting Pope Benedict in a driving school car passes by during the Rose Monday parade in Mainz, western Germany, on Monday, Feb. 19, 2007. Thousands of spectators attended the traditional street carnival parade in the state of Rhineland-Palatinates's capital. (AP Photo/Bernd Kammerer)
Pope Benedict XVI delivers his blessing as he arrives in his pope-mobile in St. Peter's Square for his weekly general audience, at the Vatican, Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
BACK TO SLIDE
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- Pope Francis' choice of wheels during his five-day South Korean visit has surprised many in this painfully self-conscious country, where big shots rarely hit the streets in anything but expensive luxury cars.
After his arrival Thursday, the pope left the airport in a compact black Kia that many South Koreans would consider too humble a conveyance for a globally powerful figure.
In a live television broadcast, the pope climbed into the backseat of the boxy Kia Soul, rolled down the window and waved.
For the man called "The People's Pope" the choice makes sense. He has eschewed the bulletproof "popemobiles" that his predecessors used on foreign trips and urged priests around the world to travel in low-key cars.
Here's a look at some vehicles that past popes have traveled in.