Home | Wiki | Live Chat | Dev Stream | YouTube | Archived Forums | Contact

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


Well, I was hosting CSR during that period so I didn’t really have time. Plus the IMSA challenge was also open around a similar time. So trying to keep track of all the challenges going on I guess I missed judged time I had left.


Not blaming you Leedar, I’m blaming myself.


One thing that always helps is giving people the weekend to build and submit cars, but of course you have to balance that with giving yourself the time to review them.


Take your time @Leedar :wink:


Not sure if sarcasm. :expressionless:


No, no sarcasm :stuck_out_tongue:


Making progress… I bit the bullet and have dumbed down my approach so that I can actually finish this. Just need to finish my comments and come up with the final number for each car.


Results definitely coming out this weekend unless I have a car crash or something. :skull::ok_hand:


MotorMonth 1985 Commuter Car Comparo Results


The SMG CJ2 in base specification is a very competent and affordable if uncomfortable vehicle. While ride quality and cabin noise are at least average, the interior is cramped (in particular the rear center seat), and the lack of power steering makes low speed maneuvers a chore. AB Power reports very high expected reliability and resistance to rust.

Economy: 31 MPG
0-62: 11.1 sec
62-0: 113 ft
Quarter mile: 18.3 sec @ 78 MPH


The Mitsushita Boarilla FE83 offers a strong overall package at a somewhat higher price point. Ride quality is above average and predicability and crash safety are near best in field, but the tiny trunk (the smallest in our test) and relatively high running costs hurt its prospects. AB Power reports high expected reliability and very high resistance to rust.

Economy: 31 MPG
0-62: 11 sec
62-0: 118 ft
Quarter mile: 17.94 sec @ 77 MPH


The Erin Merna Lex 1.6 only seems to excel at one thing: not rusting. Otherwise it seems very much like a poor brother to the Boarilla, only besting it at cornering speed. AB Power reports average expected reliability and exceptional resistance to rust.

Economy: 30 MPG
0-62: 13 sec
62-0: 111 ft
Quarter mile: 18.66 sec @ 73 MPH


The Shromet Mystic represents the high end of our competition. The only vehicle equipped with a premium interior and entertainment system, it excels in comfort, practicality and ease of driving. The only notable weak points are a high purchase price, high running costs and an unexpectedly rough running engine. AB Power reports high resistance to rust, but quite poor reliability (thanks to the high-tech interior).

Economy: 31 MPG
0-62: 13 sec
62-0: 123 ft
Quarter mile: 19.26 sec @ 74 MPH


The team at MotorMonth were eager to test the Scarab Flare RS, the car with the greatest sense of prestige despite being a relatively low priced option–perhaps because it is the only turbo vehicle in our line-up. We think on balance it is the best styled car of bunch. As far as the driving goes, it has an expectedly racy setup, with excellent cornering performance but high driver skill demands. The turbo engine is has decent punch, but not the best here. AB Power reports very poor reliability (the engine seems to be built to race car standards of durability) and poor resistance to rust.

Economy: 28 MPG
0-62: 9.9 sec
62-0: 107 ft
Quarter mile: 17.1 sec @ 78 MPH


The Bogliq Kitten SR-5 is another all-round competent vehicle that generally lacks strengths or weaknesses, aside from ABS fitted, low running costs, very high rust resistance and an under-powered engine. AB Power reports average reliability.

Economy: 35 MPG
0-62: 14.2 sec
62-0: 112 ft
Quarter mile: 19.74 sec @ 73 MPH


The JHW Sparrow 1600 LXi utilizes a similar design to the SMG CJ2, but is more well-equipped and has higher running costs. It is very easy to drive, but the brakes are alarmingly poor. It wisely avoids the center rear seat of the CJ2, yielding acceptable space for all passengers. AB Power reports poor reliability and very high rust resistance.

Economy: 27 MPG
0-62: 11.8
62-0: 139 ft
Quarter mile: 18.54 sec @ 78 MPH


We’ve been scratching our heads over the SPE H-170 V6. The styling is strange–some think it looks futuristic, others think it’s just ugly. It’s equipped with the second strangest engine of our line-up, a diminutive 1.7 liter V6 (which delivers average performance). Passenger space is excellent and the car is relatively easy to drive. AB Power reports average reliability and very low rust resistance.

Economy: 31 MPG
0-62: 11.7 sec
62-0: 112 ft
Quarter mile: 18.3 sec @ 77 MPH


Now we come to the big daddy of the competition, the 2200E Wagon. Inside the glasshouse you’ll find the most passenger space of all, and by far the largest cargo space. The ride quality is the best of the bunch, as is the predictability of the handling. The only major faults are relatively high running costs and for some reason the cheapness of the sound system. AB Power reports very high reliability and high rust resistance.

Economy: 27 MPG
0-62: 11.7 sec
62-0: 121 ft
Quarter mile: 18.66 sec @ 77 MPH


The GSI Prodigy certainly split opinions. While it looks like a sensible small vehicle for the most part, it is anything but. Handling is very unstable but it really rockets down the road. There must be a market out there for these things, because they are quite high in demand, and certainly it offers the most performance-to-economy ratio of our cohort. AB Power reports high reliability and high rust resistance.

Economy: 32 MPG
0-62: 8 sec
62-0: 110 ft
Quarter mile: 16.14 sec @ 85 MPH


The Fore Birdie appears to be built to achieve three things: accelerate at a brisk pace, take corners at high speed and return respectable fuel economy. Competence in most other areas is average at best. AB Power reports high reliability and above average rust resistance.

Economy: 30 MPG
0-62: 9.7 sec
62-0: 109 ft
Quarter mile: 17.1 sec @ 80 MPH


Here’s another strange car, the Stryker Arcadian. Endowed with, by far, the largest engine of our group (a relatively huge 3.1 liter V6), the Arcadian is also the fastest, most gas-guzzling, loudest, most reliable and most rust prone. Despite the rust issue, this baby muscle car is very much in demand, more than any other car besides the Scarab Flare. No power steering fitted.

Economy: 26 MPG
0-62: 7.4 sec
62-0: 105 ft
Quarter mile: 15.66 sec @ 91 MPH


Heading back to the reasonable, the CM Halifax ET-C contests the ‘average in every way but reliable and cheap to run’ market possibly better than any car here. There isn’t much else to say. AB Power reports high reliability and high rust resistance.

Economy: 35 MPG
0-62: 12.2 sec
62-0: 111 ft
Quarter mile: 18.78 sec @ 76 MPH


Last, and in a sense very much least, is the FOA Ocelot. This diminutive vehicle has a microscopic 0.9 liter straight six under the hood that struggles mightily to get the car moving. Interior space is expectedly very cramped, especially for a ‘Gasmean-sized’ passenger. We expect in a crash that this car will crumble like a tin can. On the plus side, running costs are miniscule (best of the group), equipment levels are good (including ABS to avoid crumbling like a tin can), the car is all but immune to rust and the driving experience is very good all-round (aside from the engine). AB Power reports below average reliability.

Economy: 41 MPG
0-62: 16.3 sec
62-0: 111 ft
Quarter mile: 20.4 sec @ 68 MPH



(Note: bold means best or worst in the category.)

The Big Podium

(Final score is listed as people’s score first, our score second, both out of 10.)

@Stryfe Between the homely looks, atrocious ride quality and propensity to collapse into a pile of rust, the Stryker Arcadian scores last among the people and among our journalist team. 5.9 || 6.3

@strop Very poor ride quality and temperamental driving consign the Fore Birdie to runner-up for last place. 6.9 || 7.5

@oppositelock The GSI Prodigy was far too challenging to drive for a street car, and a commuter at that. 7.1 || 7.6

@abg7 While built to last and cheap to run, the SMG CJ2 is just too small and uninteresting to get further up the podium. 6.4 || 7.6

@DoctorNarfy The Shromet Mystic isn’t a bad car, if you can look past rough engine. However, the price and running costs of this premium vehicle are too great to rank high in this contest. 7.2 || 7.7

@DeusExMackia The body of the Erin Merna Lex 1.6 will last for decades, but that isn’t a prospect that excites many. It also holds the dubious distinction of greatest polluter. 7.4 || 8.6

@HighOctaneLove The bright blue Bogliq Kitten SR-5 is let down by it’s weak engine and unimpressive suspension setup. However, it does win the Clear Skies award for the lowest pollution, less than half as much emitted as the Erin Merna Lex 1.6. 8.1 || 8.7

@JohnWaldock Poor reliability and braking performance plague the otherwise easy to drive JHW Sparrow 1600 LXi. 8 || 8.8

@Lastgameking Setting aside the divisive looks, the SPE H-170 V6 can’t be king when it rusts so badly. 7.9 || 9

@TR8R The FOA Ocelot’s good looks and affordable prestige certainly proved a hit with our ‘people’s voice’ testers pulled off the street, clocking in at second place. 9.7 || 9.3

@Leonardo9613 The 2200E Wagon is eminently practical, comfortable, safe and easy to drive–what most Gasmean drivers are looking for. Unfortunately, the running costs are too high and the cheap stereo is a sore point. 8.2 || 9.4

@conan Coming in at third place among the journalists, Mitsushita Boarilla FE83 certainly ticks a lot of boxes. The market price and running costs are just a bit too much, however. 8.5 || 9.5

Runner up (and People’s Choice)

Scarab Flare RS

@gridghost Everyone seems to love to looks of the Scarab Flare RS, and the fact that it is a turbocharged vehicle at such a low price point. As much as our journalists enjoy this car, cooler heads have to prevail in a commuter challenge, so the lack of reliability, rust protection and slightly too demanding driving means the Scarab can’t be our winner. 10 || 9.7


CM Halifax ET-C

@thecarlover In our initial review the CM Halifax ET-C appeared unexceptional, but after getting our scores in order it has miraculously flown under the radar to pick up the gold. Very low running costs, pretty good looks and that mysterious sense of prestige married to a reasonable price point appear to have been decisive. 9 || 10

Thanks for all the entries, sorry if my conclusion is a bit crappy and late!

I’m going to work on streamlining and otherwise improving my scoring/review approach before I try to make another competition (another MotorMonth Comparo?), although I’m convinced that waiting for all entries before reviewing is the way to get the best results. (I do want to have more text in the reviews, but I haven’t figured out how to marry it with the scoring system.)


Can you flesh this out? While the Birdie is expected to do poorly in a ‘Gasmean oriented’ market and further so considering it’s a compromised version of a hot hatch rocket, I’ve got no insight whatsoever as to exactly what prompted these remarks and where my cars really stand compared to everybody else’s. Inputting the stats directly into an Excel spreadsheet and then simply copypasting that as a sorted table would often be sufficient if all you needed to do was compare raw stats and will prevent queries like mine, let alone people just not saying anything and being turned off.


I would emphasise that the scores are relative–if someone enters a very soft riding vehicle it will make the others look quite harsh. I used a subset of the comfort and drivability scores to rate the ‘ride quality’ and ‘predictability’, respectively.

Ride quality = (comfort base+suspension) * (1+chassis quality+chassis stiffness+roll angle+bottom out+suspension quality)
Predictability = (bump test) * (1+UOsteer+bottom out+brake quality+brake fade+brake balance+drive train+tyres+roll angle+wheel load+wheel spin+suspension options+suspension quality+dynamic response)

Raw cornering, braking and drive train performance was also scored, separately.


haha I see thanks. Basically I shouldn’t have attempted to make this guy:


drive one of these:




For the record, the Scarab Flare RS outperformed every other car at cornering (high grip, neutral steering), while still having ‘tolerable’ ride quality and predictability. gridghost magic :ghost:

(I would also note that my text comments are personal observations, not necessarily the precise reason that a car’s final score was what it was–there are too many factors to get into in a quick comment.)


I was sure I’m in this one, thats why a posted sth and erased it when it came to me I forgot to submit. sooo…next time leedar, nice challenge.


Great job on the comparison test! I really should have gone with a bigger body and added power steering for comfort’s sake, though.


Really nice reviews, comments were great and I liked the format. I’m down for another round :grin:


Glad to see this come to conclusion, I really didn’t expect to come out the winner :sweat_smile:

Definitely looking forward to another installment.


I actually didn’t expect being in the top here, maybe midpack or smthing because of avg. reliability and turbo :slight_smile: And my guesstimation of propers suspensionwork seems to be spot on for this application at least :smiley: