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MotorMonth 1985 Commuter Car Comparo (Phase: Complete - Results Released)


MotorMonth 1985 Commuter Car Comparo

MotorMonth magazine regularly runs large comparisons between cars in the same class, and for this month the ‘commuter car’ has been selected. In particularly, we are looking at cars at the lower end of the market, that would suit an individual or couple. While all cars need to have at least ‘good’ fuel economy, the class is open in regards to size, sportiness, comfort, etc. Aside from an overall winning car, cars that succeed in notable niches will also be recognised.

Good luck, competitors!


  • Submission format: “MMC01-username” “model name etc.” “MMC01-username” “engine name etc.
  • Trim and engine variant year: 1985
  • Banned bodies: Exploitative (e.g. Barth, any body with bugged bound boxes) and all platforms that have a rear or mid-engine option without a ≥ 3 door body option (e.g. 2 door mid-engine vehicle is allowed if the platform also has a 3 door variant). This should exclude all rear and mid-engine sports car bodies–front-engine sports car bodies can be RPed as if they are based on a mass market platform (although be warned they likely won’t be that competitive due to low practicality).
  • Banned parts: Limited and no mass production
  • Doors ≥ 2
  • Seats ≥ 2
  • Interior ≥ Standard
  • Entertainment ≥ Basic
  • Safety ≥ Standard
  • Fuel economy ≤ 9.05 L/100 km (≳26 MPG)
  • Trim emissions ≤ 757
  • Trim reliability > 0
  • Engine loudness ≤ 40.8
  • Fuel type: 91 RON
  • Engine costs ≤ 25.0 PU / 45.00 ET
  • Trim costs ≤ 82.50 PU / 36.00 ET
  • Markup: 0%


  • Kee Engine is used.
  • Gasmea region is used for costs, however:
  • There are no taxes
  • Service costs are x3.5 and insurance costs are x8 (service cost listed on the engine testing screen is ignored)
  • Fuel price: $0.70/L
  • Distance travelled: 24140 km (~15000 mi)
  • Fuel cost formula: 0.70 * 241.40 * economy in l/100 km
  • MotorMonth is a Gasmean publication situated in the state of Murrayland. This means there is some bias to larger, softer riding cars with bigger torquey engines, and the need to survive in the rain and snow. This does not mean that small cars with small engines aren’t viable, or even preferable, but all things being equal a more ‘Gasmean’ car will be preferred.
  • While the competition is open to all sorts, the overall winner has to be at least competent in core commuter traits, like fuel economy and ride quality–a gas-guzzler with crashy track-oriented suspension makes not a budget commuter car. At the same time it may be worth it to compromise perfection of the core traits to make a more interesting car.
  • Cars are primarily scored relative to other entrants, rather than model cars or other absolute standards (comments may deviate from this).
  • The magazine’s scores are subjectively reached from a combination of Automation scores and subjective car analysis rather than following a strict formula. They are (in no specific order):
  • Design
  • Practicality
  • Value
  • Features
  • Driving (i.e. handling, performance, ride quality, etc., especially in relation to the car’s closest niche)
  • Ownership (e.g. reliability and running costs)
  • Safety
  • An overall score is assigned subjectively, based on how well the car scores compared to the demands of its closest niche.
  • A ‘people’s’ score will also be included–non-journalists will be invited to provide opinions on each competitor, which may prove decisive in determining the final winner if the journalists can’t decide.
  • There is no direct maximum production cost in $, but it will factor into affordability. PU/ET limits should prevent you from building anything too far out of scope.
  • Quality sliders are similarly unrestricted; beware their downsides.
  • No advertisement required or scored, but it still seems like a good idea to let people know your car exists. :slight_smile:


Competition is complete! I may continue and improve the MotorMonth concept, but for now, rest. :sleeping:


Are we required to use a catalytic converter? Also, I would prefer that the use of race intakes is disallowed. And how many mufflers must be fitted? Finally, can we use turbocharged engines at all? If so, what restrictions (if any) apply to such engines?


I should check the year of Armada’s first generation of family hatch, the Fore. The 2nd gen, 3rd gen and hopefully 5th gen have all been in competition, but only the engine of the first gen (GTi version) has been reviewed, so now would be a nice time to get the car done too!


I think for all those concerns the rules and common sense understanding of scoring should dictate how people use those parts. I.e.:

  1. Catalytic convertor is required if you can’t get 630 or less emissions without it. (This is somewhat realistic, as Honda managed to use CVCC technology to pass contemporary emissions without using a cat, IIRC.)
  2. Race intakes seriously reduce engine reliability (and make a tonne of noise). I’ll consider banning this if a lot of people really don’t like it being allowed.
  3. Similar situation with mufflers. In the 1980s many countries didn’t regulate car noise, but maybe I’ll add a loudness limit.
  4. Turbocharging is free to use… again, consider its pluses and minuses.

I’m trusting the Automation scoring system to provide a fairly balanced response to engineering decisions. If it has glaring issues, can you point them out?

Edit: Engine loudness limit introduced. This should effectively ban racing intakes, as I don’t think it’s possible to make an engine with racing intakes this quiet.


A response to all of this.

  1. No forged? Arrrrgghhhhh but i like forged parts! But for lower end cars in the 80s. I guess it’s reasonable
  2. If you’re thinking that for the emission, just say emission must be below 630 instead of making cats mandatory. Though i haven’t tested how possible this is. But cats are the easy way out.
  3. Some of it could be judged with common sense. Like turbos on cheap cars in the 80s? Not to say it doesn’t exist but the market is really small. Loudness limit, i’d say no limit, but mention that it will be considered

  1. I am tempted to allow forged internals, but as far as game balance goes the extra cost of a forge to make them isn’t reflected in the sandbox price; entrants using forged parts will get them cheaper than they should, and I’ve no idea how to quantify a ‘forge fee’ that would jive with how the sandbox price works. (Edit: Actually, I’m going to allow them, unless someone can show that they are seriously imbalanced in the sandbox with this PU limit and emissions target. I want this competition to have the maximum amount of options.)
  2. That’s how the rules work, I was just clarifying for abg7.
  3. While I make some consideration of reality, this is an Automation competition, not a real car competition. If Automation says turbos are economically viable in a cheap car in 1985, then I’m not going to disagree.

  1. Fair enough
  2. Yup my bad, missed that one :stuck_out_tongue:
  3. Well… Viable to be built but not really to be sold imo, again. Common sense here, except if someone’s going for a wildcard. Which i’d say the rules are free enough to allow that. Good job.

(except for kei cars. They’ve been using turbos for a long time just to pump the power figure up)


25 PU for the engine and 36 ET for the trim seem a bit too low in my opinion, since I am having trouble getting under at least one of these limits (and so might some other users); I think these values should be increased, but not by much. And it seems that you have forgotten to state the pre-markup price. I think it should be around $8000.


Pre-markup price is unrestricted–people should experiment to figure out what competitors will likely cost. PU/ET limits effectively cap this price at around $10000.

As far as the PU/ET limits go, they are intentionally a bit tight for the aforementioned reason, but also to stimulate creative solutions while remaining in a budget car category. You should be able to build a car to realistic 1985 budget spec with those limits, I’ve experimented quite a bit to get them–all-aluminium inline 4 DOHC 4v with MPFI isn’t realistic, and technology like ABS is more restricted to fancier cars (although it is possible to use some fancy tech if you sacrifice in other areas).


Does the car have to be a 2-door?

I don’t think that any true american commuter car hasn’t had 4-doors, ever. 2 and 3 doors would be reserved to more down market subcompacts, something the gasmean folk has never been into.


Perhaps ‘commuter’ isn’t the best term, but I couldn’t think of something better. The idea is a cheap car for an individual or couple to use as a general vehicle, especially to travel to work (‘commute’?). But I see your point that ‘Gasmea’ has a tendency towards excess, not just in size but also in doors. :wink: I’ll remove the door limit and add 5 PU trim limit.


I’m fine with the PU limit, but it’s the trim engineering time limit that’s really tight. 38-40ET would be great :slight_smile:


Maybe you can share an example of a vehicle you think is reasonable but exceeds the limit? PM if you prefer. I originally had the ET limit even lower, I thought this is about right for this grade of vehicle. LSDs, double wishbone suspension, ABS, all-wheel disc brakes, AWD, advanced safety and even gas mono-tube dampers and alloy wheels shouldn’t be easy to add.


OK, maybe you’re right.


ABS shouldn’t be a thing in 1985, just to be sure we’re in the same year.

Also that economy limit is really giving me a hard time lol, it’s effectively a size limiter.


As far as the game goes, ABS is available in 1985 (first year). The fuel economy is from historical examples.


Oh wait you’re right, in lore my car was built in 1982. Speaking of which, that shouldn’t matter so long as trim and variant is 85 right?


That’s what the rules (or lack thereof) imply. :slight_smile:


Okay, after fiddling with the rules the competition is now open. If you have already started working on something, make sure to check the rules again as I made some ‘unannounced’ changes. Minimum fuel economy has been slightly relaxed, running costs have had a big change to attempt to be more historical, engine ET limit has been reduced (mostly to make turbocharging a more costly trade-off). Hopefully it’s not screwed up, because the rules are frozen!

Edit: Of course, I had to make a rule change after rule freeze… trim emissions are now 825 max, to allow for more engineering options. Nobody has submitted yet, so it shouldn’t be an issue. :sweat_smile:


awww yiss Armada Fore Gen. I here we come!