also, i’d like to know how you thought 10mpg US for a family SUV was even remotely OK. a 2003 Ford Explorer with a Modular can get 15mpg combined.
I never thought it was good, but I did think it would be passable.
well you were clearly misinformed, just as Knightophonix was with the cat. just gotta roll with it all.
I mean we all had to make sacrifices with this challenge, and the interest came from who made what sacrifices. Some of made the right ones, others made the wrong ones. When I designed the Summit LT my goal was definitely a luxury SUV with a focus on comfort, drivability, safety, and prestige above all else. I didn’t intend for it to be the fastest, or the best offroader, or apparently the best mileage. That was the compromise I made, and in this challenge it didn’t pay off. But I made a bet which was that the family not only wanted a new car, but a more premium car, and I stuck to that bet. And to be fair, fuel economy was at the midway point of priority, so it’s not like I should have tried to go all out with mileage. But as you said, you just gotta roll with it.
I have to admit I underestimated the budget with my entry, hence the marked up price of $27,250, and, had I actually gone closer to the $32,000 limit, I would have been able to make my car better, 30mpg UK is pitiful, even for a 2l i5. The place that my car failed though was in its load weight capacity, while setting up the suspension, I used imperial units (lbs), but the figures in the ruleset were given as metric (kgs) and I failed to compensate. On the design front, it would have fared better with a European mindset with regards to such as that’s what I based it on.
Happy to see I made it to round 2! Just one little comment: an open diff is perfectly normal for an MPV/Minivan. Plus, nobody shopping for a minivan really even knows what a differential is. Still, nice job with the reviews, and I look forward to the next round of reviews.
That was one of the complaints with my van, and I found it odd because I don’t think any minivan in 2003 had an LSD. And Chrysler was the only brand to offer AWD, if I remember correctly
Nope, Toyota offered AWD in the Sienna at the time as well. They’re still the only ones currently offering AWD in a minivan in the US.
They started offering AWD in 2004 with the new generation And yeah they’re the only ones still doing it. If Chrysler didn’t have the exquisit stow-n-go system they would offer it too.
Apologies for the delay, but the final part of this CSR will be posted tomorrow night EST. I had some unplanned stuff come up IRL…
For the sienna yes, it was not till the early naughties that they introduced AWD. However they sold the Toyota Previa S/C All-Trac starting in 1991… its all wheel drive, supercharged… and a boring normal looking minivan with far too much 90’s grey plastic.
Ahh I forgot about the Previa. Haha that thing looked really weird, it wasn’t normal looking
The weirdest thing about that particular generation of Previa (sold as the Estima in Japan, and as the Tarago in Australia) was that it was actually mid-engined. However, unlike most other mid-engined cars, its engine sat underneath the floor and between the front seats - a bizarre configuration to say the least. It’s almost a pity that its successor was a much more conventional front-engined, front-wheel-drive minivan, just like its US-market equivalent, the Sienna.
The engine location is totally normal if you think about the body as a cab over truck and a lot of bigger vans used to be built this way since they had the width between driver and passenger to do so. Look at an old bedford for example. Its less common for MPV’s for sure, although the AWD idea with open front\rear and LSD center made sense for markets that get snow on roads (including parts of japan).
Setting diffs individually is certainly something I wish automation allowed, even if I understand the tradeoff isn’t worth it complexity\dev time for the campaign.
I’m actually speaking from experience here. My family owns a 2013 Sienna, and it was actually the first car I ever drove. However, it’s only FWD, as we don’t get snow here in California. Before that, we had a 2004 Sienna, also FWD. The Sienna is an excellent minivan that is fantastic for the long road trips we take as a family.
Right haha. I kinda want a Sienna but they’re too expensive for my 15 year old self. My point was that the first generation never had AWD, and they started offering it in 2004. Unless you meant the 2004 models that (may?) have been available in 2003.
I personally like the Chrysler minivans better though. Yeah yeah, reliable Toyota, Chrysler is garbage blah blah… my experience says otherwise haha. We’ve had 2, a Caravan and currently a T&C with the 4.0L. Both have been awesome, and my grandparents have had 2 Caravans and 2 Jeeps, all hassle free.
You should both take the chance to drive a 1st Gen Honda Odyssey if giving the chance. It feels so light for it’s size, and has zero blind spots.
CSR79 Test Drives
After they were finished looking through car ads, Monica printed out their shortlist complete with the address of the nearest dealership, their hours, the nearest food places, all the essentials. Mike and Monica planned to take the whole family and spend the weekend test driving all 15 cars that they picked out. Their insurance (after some stern words said by Mike) arranged the delivery of a loaner minivan they could use.
Out of all the cars they test drove, here are the highlights.
These are in not in the order of the results.
Albatross V350 (ZSCHMEEZ)
As they arrived to the Albatross dealership, which was located right off the highway conveniently. Monica reiterated that “…remember this is the cheapest car by far on our list, but who knows? It might be a stunner.”
As no one else other than Mike were invested in the initial search, they barely acknowledged her statement, but soon after, they saw the new V350 sitting in the lot to the right of the showroom.
“Doesn’t really look like a stunner…” remarks Lizbeth.
Bill was too invested in his GBA to comment, something about a track on a rainbow.
“Ooh ooh a blue car! Can we get a blue car?” says Justin.
“Hmm, looks a tad plain…” says Karen.
“Yeah, even in person it’s a bit bare,” adds Monica
Hastily, Mike tries to defend the car “Wait wait, let’s at least give it a drive.”
Almost on cue, the sales rep came out and ran through some of the specs of the vehicle.
“…6 seats…24 mpg…228 hp, should be plenty for your family!”
First, the whole family piled into the car and ooh and ahhed at the full leather seating, fully adjustable captain’s seats, and the somewhat classy interior. Afterwards, Mike and the sales rep gave it a quick test drive, and the sales rep continued to rail through the specs during the drive.
Mike and the sales rep were back relatively quickly, and Mike gave his initial thoughts.
“Drives pretty nicely, I think you’ll like the ride.”
So they all piled into the Albatross for a second test drive, this time leaving the rep behind.
The engine proved to be no slouch as Mike floored it up the closest highway ramp. Everyone else was shocked at the sudden acceleration. Lizbeth seemed to creak a smile as the engine revved up.
Karen noted “There is quite a bit of road noise at times, but it is indeed comfortable.”
Mike thanked the rep for his time. He was very impressed at the amount of car available for the price, but they still had more cars to judge.
Most of the next test drives went similarly.
Ninomiya Zephyranthes (Urbanliner)
Lisbeth: “…The what?”
Mike: “Oh I won’t even try anymore we’ll just ask the rep.”
Rep: “You’re test driving the Zephyranthes right?”
Everyone minus Bill: “Oh THAT’S how you say it…”
The rep froze and had a mild look of frustration (-_-). This was definitely not the first time…
7 seats meant they can do 1 test drive to save time. Despite being a smaller car, it was still equally as comfortable as some of the other cars. Bill was actually impressed by something “The speakers sound pretty great!” Mike did his (what was becoming to everyone but the sales reps) usual “floor-it-up-the-nearest-highway-ramp” test, and while it was not as quick as the V350, it still was fairly nippy. Everyone still had a vague look of fear on their face, except Lizbeth, who had that same faint smile.
Following the test drive, Mike asked the rep about the fuel it takes.
“Yeah it uses premium, not regular, we have to remind our buyers all the time haha!”
Considering the fuel economy of 25 mpg, Mike wasn’t too impressed.
Karen on the other hand navigated the to trunk, folded the seats down, and said,
“Wow I’m impressed!, looks like it can hold a ton of stuff despite its small size. It’s like the Tardis or something.”
“And it has a roof rack in case we ever needed even more storage!” added Monica.
In terms of aesthetics, the general consensus was that it looked “okay.” Karen noted that though there was a lot of stuff going on, some of it didn’t work well with each other.
After more mulling about the car, the family thanked the rep for his time and departed.
JHW NaviStar S (JohnWaldock)
Karen: “Ooh, the exterior stands out. I kinda like it.”
Lizbeth: “So do I!”
As usual, the sales rep greeted them, and started talking through the specs.
They sat inside the car whlie it was still parked up and poked around the interior. They sank into the leather seats which were indeed as comfy as they looked.
“Are there airbags in all the windows?” asked Karen.
The rep responded, “No, but there are airbags for the driver and the front passenger, and the frame has been cleverly engineered with crumple zones to soften the blow of a potential crash.”
“Well let’s give it a spin!” said Mike.
This minivan again had 7 seats, so they did one test drive.
On Mike’s usual “floor-it-up-the-nearest-highway-ramp” test though this one was a little bit different. The angry purr of the inline five was soon accompanied with the faint kick and hiss and of the turbocharger, all to the pleasure of Lizbeth’s ears, and all kept at bay by the built in traction control system. Unfortunately, the party ended early as the car approached its conservative rev limit of 6000. In reality, the car was only powered by a modest 170 hp, but it was still super satisfying.
Mike mentioned that he had slightly less confidence behind the wheel (emphasis on slightly) compared to other cars, but everyone else commented that the ride quality was excellent, in the upper echelon of the cars that they tested.
Oh, and all this car was still a solid $3000 below their budget, capping off what seems like an excellent van for Mike and Karen’s family.
React AdventureAir (SheepInACart)
The family were quite unprepared with what they saw upon arriving at the React dealership.
“…is that the car?” asked Lizbeth.
Rally lights adorn the roof of the vehicle just in case you need a few extra high beams on the road. The roof rack is reinforced and squared off; if React said you could transport a SOFA on top of it, it’d be hard not to believe them. The spare tire hangs off the minivan’s 7th door in a hard plastic case as a result of React squeezing as much interior cargo area out of the car. No chrome populates this vehicle, only plastic. Cheap and easily replaceable of course. It’s a minivan built for the mud trails, at least aesthetically, but advertised as a highway eater. Well, is it truly just wearing a clever disguise?.
The sales rep, as usual, gave Mike the rundown of the car
“…adjustable air suspension, 32.4 mpg…264 hp and AWD”
Mike was clearly impressed with some of the specs.
Inside, there were surprisingly less seats than there were doors so the test drive went like the A350’s. Mike went and came back from his initial test drive with great news.
“It felt like gliding on, well, air, and, despite its rugged appearance, driving it felt as instinctual as walking…”
They all piled in, using their own personal door, sank into the leather seats and waved the rep goodbye for now. Quickly, the family echoed Mike’s sentiments about the comfort, and the car, with its excellent load capacity, seemed unfazed by the additional weight. However, Mike’s personal “floor-it-up-the-nearest-highway-ramp” test was approaching. Surely, with it’s excellent power to weight, it should pass with flying colors.
Mike punched the throttle, and soon after, everyone was pushed back into their seat, and the cabin was filled with a cacophony of 6-cylinder fury, much louder than any car before. Karen was clearly unhappy, while Lizbeth seemed to be enjoying the noise after the initial shock faded away.
Mike said “…the rep said it had a pair of mufflers attached to the exhaust. It shouldn’t be making anything close to this much noise.”
“Well if this is a ‘feature’ I’m not letting this fly,” barked Karen.
They returned to the dealership and, after a brief bit of praise for the car, asked about what happened on the ramp.
“Oh, of course, the AdventureAir is equipped with a novel feature that gives it extra power when driven hard. It allows the exhaust flow to bypass those pesky constricting mufflers.”
Karen was still unamused and made sure to let Mike know it through her suggestive glances.
“Ah, good to know, well like I said, I really enjoyed this car and thanks for showing me around it!”
They left for yet another dealer. As amazing as the car was, no one is sure whether Karen can tolerate such a feature like that muffler bypass.
Hertzedes-Menz T-Class (Leedar)
“You all are about to experience your first taste of German Engineering™.” Mike announces.
At last, the family pulled up the the Hertzedes-Menz dealership, and amongst the sea of silver show cars rests the T-Class MPV.
“I know the headlight arrangement is sort of their thing, but I’m not a big fan of how it looks on this one.” says Karen.
They start inspecting the car from the outside when the sale rep comes and does the usual sales rep spiel. However, unlike the aesthetic design, the specs sound more and more impressive.
“Yes, 33.8 mpg on standard fuel…over 2000L of cargo capacity including the roof rack… its hydropneumatic suspension gives you one of the smoothest rides in its class.”
Slowly, the rep piques the interest of each family member.
This car seems to have some hidden potential
They all climb in the the car to look around and push on the buttons scattered around the cabin; the 6 seats are made of leather like many of the other cars. All are fully adjustable captain’s seats.
Afterwards, Mike and the rep take it for a quick loop, and when they return Mike reports
“This might be the best riding car we’ve come across so far. I said that one of the other cars felt like gliding on air, but this one feels like you’re sitting on a nice fluffy cloud, it’s that smooth.”
So as expected, they all eagerly pile into the car and Mike takes them all for a spin, waving the rep goodbye for now.
As they trundled down the boulevard, the hydropneumatic suspension gently rolled the car and its occupants over the countless bumps and holes in the road.
“God, it’s like the car is just melting into the road and across the bumps, you feel almost nothing…” says Monica, praising the car.
“Yes, I finally won!” Bill says out loud, accidentally. He was driving on another road made out of rainbows during this ride.
But the infamous test was approaching, Mike spotted a highway ramp and everyone else in the car braced themselves for what was about to happen…
The 6 cylinder revved up, the turbo quietly spooled (to the delight of Lizbeth’s ears), and the car…kind of pulled. It was much lighter than many of the larger cars that they tested, about 300-500 kg lighter in fact, but both the automatic transmission and the hydropneumatic suspension robbed a noticeable part of the 159 hp that the engine produces. Mike also found out the hard way that it was rear wheel drive, as the ESC kicked in just as the minivan got a little squirrely on the slick, rocky ramp (due to nearby construction) after launching from a near standstill.
“Not quite as quick as some of the others but still not bad, glad that the car had stability control, hope you guy are alright.”
“Yeah” “We’re fine” “All good” They were definitely used to the test.
They returned the car to the dealer after the experience, and thanked the rep very much for the test drive, and they went on their way.
Pastinuji Freewind (Lordred)
“Okay, we’re pulling up to the Pastin…u…gee…dealership!” reported Monica.
They all piled out of their temp car and looked for the Freewind.
Justin: “Ooh oooh is that it?”
Mike: “No that’s one of their cargo vans.”
Lisbeth: “How about this one?”
Monica: “No that’s not it either.”
Karen: “Let’s stop this game before it gets silly and talk a rep.”
They met up with the sale rep and did their usual introductions and it turns out that the Freewind was accidently obscured behind a few of their larger models.
Karen: “Are you sure this is the Freewind? It only has 5 seats.”
Mike: “Yeah this is definitely it. Like I said to Monica while we were searching for cars, 5 seats shouldn’t be a deal breaker.”
They started to examine the car…
“Hmm…aesthetically, it’s a bit more plain than I remembered. The overall design is still pretty nice.” says Monica.
“Yeah and the specs are pretty strong too, 31 mpg, 214 horsepo…”
“Oh can we please test drive it? Remember, this was the car I really wanted to check out?” says Lizbeth, interrupting, well, everyone.
“Oookay, but this only has 5 seats, someone has to sit out.” says Mike
Karen volunteers, sigh “I’ll sit out and watch Bill, the rep can come along with you.”
Bill doesn’t really respond so they assume he’s fine with it.
So Mike, Monica, Lizbeth, Justin, and the rep pile into the car.
“I mean, it’s a bit cramped in the back, but the ride isn’t too bad, the seats are pretty comfortable, the stereo system is really good…” says Monica.
But a highway loomed in the distance. Mike’s test was imminent…
They turn onto the ramp, coast for a little bit and Mike smashes the throttle, to the surprise of the rep…
The straight 5 roared, and the turbo soon followed with a kick and an angry hiss. Everyone was pushed back into their seat much harder than many of the other cars they had tested. Over the engine noise filling the cabin, Lizbeth was chuckling with enjoyment as the transmission let the engine rev past the power peak of 214 hp and bounce off the 7700 rpm redline before shifting. She thought back to the posters in her room, the raging 5 cylinder hanging off the front of the Audi Sport quattro S1, the huge turbo in the back of the MP4/4 as it whipped around Silverstone to a race win, and the screaming quad-rotor in the back of the Le-Mans winning 787B.
“That was a bit quicker than I expected.” says Monica
“That…was…awesome…thatwasawesomethatwasawesome!” exclaims Lisbeth.
Although everyone was kind of excited, no one could really understand why LIzbeth was that excited all of a sudden…
They got the car back to the dealership in one piece, to the relief of Karen, and thanked the rep for his time. Lisbeth was still beaming with happiness; even though she didn’t think this was the car for her family, this was the car for her.
Sunday night rolled around and the family booked dinner at a fairly fancy restaurant, discussing the 15 cars that they test drove over the last 3 days.
Karen: “The DAAG was so comfortable, the interior was just exquisite.”
Mike: “But it wasn’t the nicest driving car, and the economy wasn’t the greatest.”
Monica: “How about the Albatross? I mean we could save quite a bit of money and get an excellent car.”
Mike: “But we have the money to spend…why not get an even better car.”
Lizbeth: “…the React seemed really cool!”
Karen: “…still can’t get over that bypass thing.”
Bill: “I wasn’t paying attention to a lot of the cars to be honest but how about the T-Class?”
Karen: “…still not a big fan of how it looks.”
Monica: “The Genra and the Sakura? They seemed to be the safest out of the bunch…”
Mike: “Perhaps, but they both weren’t the best on fuel either.”
Karen: “I really liked how the Spacestar looked…”
Mike: “But there are better-performing cars out there…”
Monday evening approaches. Mike told Monica to drop him off near a few of the dealerships earlier. He wanted to keep the final decision secret from even Monica, though she was discussing it for a while with him after dinner yesterday. He said he would be back in about an hour or 2. 2 hours and 5 minutes later, the new, yet familiar sound of a 6 cylinder rumbles up the driveway. The five of them rush out the front door of their home to greet Mike, sitting in their brand-new Hertz T-Class.
Congratulations @Leedar for winning CSR 79!!!
However, you let me know that you could not host, therefore 2nd place will be the next host:
@JohnWaldock is the next host!
1st - @Leedar - Hertzedes-Menz T-Class
2nd - @JohnWaldock - JHW NaviStar S (new host!)
3rd - @Urbanliner - Ninomiya Zephyranthes
4th - @SheepInACart - React AdventureAir
5th - @Lordred - Pastinuji Freewind
6th - @ZSCHMEEZ - Albatross V350
I know I promised the only to talk about the top 5 but at one point I messed up my scoring spreadsheet so have 6.
Speaking of scoring spreadsheet…
Enjoy! And thanks for having me as your host! It was pretty fun even though this took a ton of time…
also if the gfycats have/cause issues lmk and I can just put pictures.
also also if you notice everything was written in different styles blame my varying levels of fatigue when I wrote some of these.
- price should have been a greater factor probably.
- cargo volume definitely isn’t consistent across bodies. The workarounds for that for this CSR kind of worked but kind of didn’t…
- I wrote way too much and the writing quality was not consistent at all and it took way too much time…
- I know some people may not, but I liked having relatively open/nondescriptive restrictions. Although it meant that the entrants had little idea of how the scoring would work, it also provided a good variety of designs. There is an argument that it goes against the spirit of CSR, but idk, I just thought it would be more fun this way.
- next & future hosts: we need an Antarctican sports car. You know what I mean…
- should probably have not taken so many ‘creative liberties’ between the posts and the scoring (cough cough diffs cough)
the embedded gfys were indeed jank so I replaced them with links
Well done challenge.
Not well done for my van, rip safety, sorry occupants!