Because of some technical issues, the reviews will take some more time to be ready. Expect them no later than tomorrow.
Because of some technical issues, the reviews will take some more time to be ready. Expect them no later than tomorrow.
That comment about blue cars though…
Engine Code: GS30TA2
Aspiration: Twin Turbocharged
Power: 405PS @ 8100rpm
Torque: 38,0 Kg/m @ 3400-7000rpm
Drivetrain: Longitudinal RWD
Gearbox: 7 Speed DCT
Car length: 4750 mm
Car weight: 1881 Kg
Top Speed: 298km/h
Combined Estimated Mileage: 10,9 Km/l (25.6 US MPG)
Price: $40350 (50% markup)
Well, the day started early with Kuro and me messing around at the HQ. While he was still trying to wake up, I was watching the news fully relaxed and looking at this propaganda about this part of the world, but that’s a discussion for other day.
Somewhere around 8:30 I’ve received a phone from my long-known friend, Magahara Tomo, who got to transport next batch of cars to review.
After 30 minutes he was present at HQ with the batch of cars I needed to take a look at. Actually, six wagons took some parking space we have, but nothing better than 1996 and 2017 ANRs standing side to side.
It was a hard decision which car should I take first, but I made some agreements with myself and decided to leave the Altrea for the last. I’ve decided to kick off with the car that seems to be the worst out of here (It’s not actually that bad. It was only a decision which should be reviewed first.) Dynamite FS3.
2017 Dynamite FS-3
To be honest, it’s not as bad as I thought from first glance. Sure, it looks strange with it’s concept-like headlights, honeyplate patterned grill and a rear that probably had borrowed some parts from Daihatsu Copen. Also, guys at Dynamite seem to be nostalgic to 1960s or had watched one certain episode of Spongebob Squarepants, because this car has a massive amount of chrome on it. Grille, rear lip, roof hangs, door panels, handles… Yeah, this can probably get you blind during sunny days. Oh, wait, not only you. Everyone near the Dynamite too.
I’ve picked up their brochure: It says that the car is capable of 308 km/h, 5.3 seconds to 100 km/h and has RWD. Seems fair. It also tells us about massiveness of this car: It is 5 meters long and it weighs a gargantuic 2183 kilograms! For first glance, I thought that my glasses are broken and are lying to my eyes with actual number, but Kuro had checked it too and yes – it’s 2183 kg. One heavy wagon. When trying to find the reason, I’ve opened the hood and flipped some pages in the Dynamite brochure. AHS steel chassis, corrosion resistant steel body panels… Quite heavy combo, but the engine almost gave me a heart attack because of it’s size.
This engine. It’s fuckmassive. According to this brochure, it has 7.6 L worth of capacity. V12. With twin turbos. I guess that this nuclear plant worth of the engine actually won’t collaborate with sense of company’s name, because that would be one hilarious finish test. According to company, it generates 468 hp at 5600 RPM and has… wait, 838 Nm at only 2000 RPM?! I must tell Kuro to maybe not go this time with me, this punch would probably leave him disabled for the rest of life. This monstrous thing however seems very economic on paper and does not seem to use it’s full potential. But, about economy, we’ll see that on the road.
When jumping into the interior I’m welcomed by premium leather interior and advanced infotainment with goodies like MP3 player, GPS, radio and such. For the size of this thing, configuration of 5 seats seems just fine. Also, FS-3 probably has every assistant you might need in today’s standards, so: power steering, ABS, TC, launch control, electronic stability.
From the side of wheels, this car has massive 350mm vented discs front and smaller, one-piston 285mm ones at the rear and runs on medium compound tyres default, both axles 255mm wide. It’s gearbox is an automatic torque converter, which seems to have 9 gears.
Test drive started suspiciously well. FS-3 doesn’t have any explosive traits (which is good) and it’s engine is almost unnoticeable during normal cruising. The fun begins when you try to get higher: turbocharging is set up to be smooth, but this insane torque punch can’t be not noticed. I could win every stopping lights race I’ve tried today. Also, during driving a glass roof with possibility to darken it gives you a nice feeling of spacey interior, which I like.
About it’s behavior, the Dynamite doesn’t handle bad for this mass. I’d say it’s quite ok, even more than ok, pretty drivable. You can however feel this heavy car’s dynamic, but it could be worse (could be also much, much better with AWD for example). Still, even with all the assists it seems to sway, which can give you some nausea (unless you don’t have this issue when being in a car, then nevermind). Overall, Dynamite FS-3 is quite okay to drive but you need to be aware that it may sometimes handle like a semi mixed with massive SUV and a train and requires some training and thinking ahead.
Economy of this car is susprisingly nice, and it’s probably the best thing about the FS-3 – It was roaming around 9.2 L/100 km during mixed driving according to the control panel. It’s probably one of traits of the auto gearbox used in.
From side of finances, the car costs 36300$ with standarized 50% markup, which seems to be absolute bargain, but it’s only a mirage – you’ll need well over 60k to properly maintain financially this car due to insurance and this humongous engine configuration.
Is the Dynamite FS-3 worth it? Well, I wouldn’t buy it, but if someone has a weird taste and would actually like this mashup worth of a body design (I didn’t; I think it’s ugly) and doesn’t mind crazy insurance tax due to this engine, then it might be. For me it’s not worth it.
2017 Cavallera Moia RS
This wagon seems nice too. I think it’s in production since 2014, I remember seeing it on some kind of auto show back then, but back to the actual model I have here: it’s slightly more compact than the Dynamite, but hell, this one does look much better! I like it’s looks. Sleek, modern and has some classy sport parameter in it. It’s also smaller than Dynamite FS-3, which definitely helps in streets of Japan.
Looking in it’s brochure it’s faster, lighter and despite slight lack of power it has overall better performance because it’s almost 400 kg lighter than the FS-3. According to manufacturer info, the car is capable of 310 km/h of top speed and 4.6 seconds to 100 km/h. Nice. AHS steel chassis too, but this time aluminium panels. Cavallera seems to know the advantage of lighter materials.
While popping up the bonnet, I see small block 4 litre V8 – quite nice sight, rare too because it’s naturally aspirated. To be honest, I was expecting twin turbocharging, but it is not present here. Direct injection is, however.
Interior of Moia RS shows similar level to FS-3, however it’s entertainment is on the other level of luxury – folks at Cavallera had installed whole HUD thingy. They’re nowadays popular in high end cars like BMW 7-series, Mercedes-Benz S-Class or Lexus LS. This is one nice bit of luxury. Of course, it has as much potential as budget PC, and I’m not sure if this is good thing (that’s just because I’m getting old and I’m used to somewhat spartan interior of my ANR). Let’s say it is. Damn, I must try watching Netflix on there.
The car has 5 seats too, but adults at the rear might have a little less space for legs because the car is 20 cm shorter than FS-3. Also, like the Dynamite, Cavallera comes with full package of driver assists, so that is ABS, Traction control, launch control, electronic stability and power steering.
Driving the Moia RS feels much better. From the start, through city cruise and some provincional roads, as well as the highway. It’s much lighter to drive than FS-3 and gives you more area to actually have fun as well as peacefully cruise. This car revs to 8900 RPM, so in comparison to like 6000 of Dynamite you really can do some tasteful revving, especially with 7-gear double clutch sequential gearbox that the Moia RS has. The car is also quiet, so usually you won’t get more problems than potential increased usage of the components, but I can live with that.
Driving the Cavallera seems much sportier and easier at the same time than the Dynamite FS-3. The engine is front and weight balance and kinesis is much more acceptable and if you’re skilled enough, you can even do some drifting in Moia. Plus it’s much, much more Kuro-friendly. This car also won’t hurt your wallet with 8.2 L/100 km fuel economy.
Overall, Cavallera Moia RS seems like a great proposition for a full-size wagon for a family of parents and two kids. It can be used really for anything; casual driving, delivering groceries and children to school as well as blasting through abandoned roads and attempting legal trackdays.
It is however more expensive than the FS-3, selling at 53200$ with 50% markup here but think how much money you will save on insurance and running costs! This car doesn’t have turbocharging, has 4 cylinders less and it’s like a half in capacity than FS3’s 7.6 V12.
Is it worth it? If you plan to get something all-around and this is one of your contestants, I say it’s worth it’s price.
2015 Bogliq Bastion Veloce Estate
This is the next car I’ve got to review, it’s, uh… Unmissable. Mild version of TVR from Moldovan car industry, that is Bogliq, sent us their proposition that is in production for two years currently. To be honest, if I did not saw the brochure, papers and identification plate in the engine bay I’d say it’s more of a 2007 car that has a facelift to make it still somewhat appealing to today’s times. Probably the most recognisable thing about Bogliq is their paint, named usually Bogliq Blue (and this car is painted in this shade too) and the second thing, especially in their modern cars are Bogliq’s characteristic headlight configuration. This car has six of them. Strange combination. I don’t say it’s ugly, it has some charm, but it isn’t for me. Maybe that’s because I’m not a Bogliq purist. Or a slav. Don’t even know if Moldovia is slav, but cheeki breeki.
Brochure of Bogliq notes 296 km/h top speed, 4.8 seconds to 100 km/h, 1907 kg of curb weight, all-wheel drive and 7 gear automatic torque converter. Seems like a good combination for me. As usual, it has AHS chassis and aluminium panels like Moia RS.
It’s engine is a V12 again, but this time it’s smaller and without turbocharging, so that means less costs and smoother engine. According to the official info it generates 411 hp at 6200 RPM and 556 Nm at 3900 RPM. Smooth, sporty engine. Of course, capacity. It is 6 liter engine. Can also run on RON91 fuel.
The interior… WOAH DAYUM, THAT’S LUXURY. Not even the HUD, it has whole luxury interior! Now that is something that I see usually in one of the S500s that my company owns as fleet cars. Kuro is pleased (his face tells me that he’s probably pleased too much with massage function in a passenger seat). As the Moia RS, infotainment in the Bogliq seems to be as functional as a budget PC too.
When test driving the car, it feels very comfortable. And I tell, it’s VERY comfortable – with this kind of interior you can feel like you’re special and such. Suspension of the Bogliq is very comfortable too with active sway bars and semi active dampers. I wonder why Bastion does not use hydropneumatic suspension, if they would use that all the holes in the road would be unnoticeable. They can barely be noticeable now, but could be even better.
Due to AWD and all the assists (again), it’s probably easiest car to drive till now. However, it’s also the thirstiest – on average it drinks 11.3 L/100 km, so vising the gas station might be a little more often thing, especially if you will get 5 adults to the car (including you of course). Speaking of, this car again seats 5 adults and they have slightly more legroom than Cavallera due to like 7 cm of difference in length.
The downside of the Bogliq’s driving dynamics is roll angle that can sometimes brutally remind you how much does this car weigh, so I wouldn’t recommend taking it to track unless you’re familiar with massive moment of inertia in tight corners. At least this car doesn’t have any uncontrollable oversteer.
Overall, Bogliq Bastion Veloce Estate seems to be a good proposition from the part of Europe where Bogliq is probably the only car maker in whole country. It may be okay in USA, Europe or whatever, but I think that in Japan this car wouldn’t be so successful, mainly due to fuel economy. Also, this wagon isn’t a very good choice for trackdays in my opinion, it seems to be suited more to highway cruising at high speeds (read: german Autobahn network).
It costs 56550 $ with standarized 50% markup (which is the highest price till now) and you would still need to pay somewhat high insurance for the size of the engine (and the car) and you would also need to leave some money left for fuel from every salary.
Is the Bogliq worth it? With those strange and dated looks, a face that only true Bogliq purist (or Stevie Wonder) could love, worst fuel economy so far and without a place for real money saving with this one, I’d say it’s not. It is average premium sports wagon and very, very unspecial (below average too) luxury car.
2017 Merciel Verona Touring SP
Next proposition is Merciel Verona Touring SP, a new version based on 2011 platform. To be honest, I recognize Merciel from times when I was a teenager and their… what was that… (scratches his head) 124 was competing in Group B and from just recently after some certain event on Mount Haruna that involved tuned civil Merciel 124 as one of the contestants.
But back to the Verona – it looks very sleek, modern and clean. I think I like it even more than the Cavallera Moia RS. This is the way of design that current car market should take – sleek, clean and not edgy definitely not "LOOK AT MEH PLZ I’M EDGIER THAN 2010 EMO TEENAGER UH M8 I HAVE EDGES M8 LOOK AT MEEEEEEEEEEEEE” (also known as: Lexus in 2017).
I take the brochure and I have a WTF moment again: 1.7 litre inline 6 with 199 hp at 9400 RPM and redline at exact 10.000 RPM? Combined with RWD? I gave Kuro the brochure to read if I’m not mistaken while I had popped the hood up. Yes, it’s a small 1.7 litre inline 6, surprisingly not turbocharged. While I was thinking if Takumi Fujiwara works for Merciel engine design department, Kuro told me that this car is rated at 1492 kg. Seems very light in comparison to everything we had before. It’s performance is rated at 240 km/h top speed and 7.0 seconds to 100 km/h. Fair enough.
When I have had ended scratching my head, I’ve got to the interior. To the date it seems to be the most spartan one with premium interior but only standard infotainment. That means that all I have for connection and fun is six-speaker CD player with radio function, MP3 plug and hands-free telephone call system. Like everything here the Verona packs a solid bunch of assists, but lacks launch control. Actually, with such revvy engine it is not needed in my opinion because high RPMs is where this engine actually gains power. Merciel seems to care about passengers’ safety, because they have thrown advanced safety constructions in. This car also has a 6 speed manual gearbox since it seems to be true driver’s machine.
Test drive of this car is probably one of most enjoyable things at this goddamn channel. Actually, driving the Verona SP in the city makes no sense since I would constantly need to force the car to rev high, so I took it to nearest mountain road and (legally!) drove the car through. I’m amazed how this car turns, how it is controllable in drift (as well as grip), and since the car is a bit more loud than it’s „competitors” of this round this engine sound is truly delicious. Kuro doesn’t seem to argue with my opinion. The suspension isn’t something very advanced nor expensive; progressive suspension with semi active sway bars and adaptive dampers. Actually, there’s one thing that amazes me even more: fuel economy. This rev hungry thing can easily get 7.29 L/100 km. Also, as note, it uses RON95 fuel like in all of the Europe, so consider that when buying.
Of course, to not favourise this car too much, I must tell you that it has one major downfall: It kind of disappoints me how a car perfect for "I’m a touge street racer but I have a family too” kind of statement and way of behaviour has a massive roll angle stock. Merciel, consider fixing that for next generation or, even better if possible, MY2018 or MY2019 model.
On the subject of costs, this car costs absolute bargain of 30.000 $ with standard markup of 50% and thanks to it’s compact engine and low fuel usage it’s absolutely not heavy on wallet, so you don’t need to pump a massive amount of money to maintain this car properly and from what I know about Veronas they’re very reliable so you don’t need to worry about servicing too much.
Overall, Merciel Verona Touring SP is a perfect true driver’s machine that can be also used for transporting family or some bigger baggages (or furniture) – it can be used really for anything with exception of quick city launches and hauling stuff, but if you would ask me if it’s worth it – It definitely is! Just get some aftermarket suspension package to make this car not sway around too much in corners.
2017 Erin Tauga 330SB
Another car, another blue car… This time it actually looks somewhat good, unlike Bogliq. Erin Tauga, that is, is another british masterpiece from well known manufacturer that I have good memories on despite tricky reliability of 1980s british mainstream vehicles. This model in general is in production since 2014 and already gained some good opinions about massive reliability that lately Erins have.
Looks-wise it looks good, I like it, but it isn’t something suited perfectly for my taste. The front looks like beefed up, rugged and more raw current Mazda 6’s front, meanwhile at the rear it fits, but looks definitely worse than the Merciel.
Erin’s brochure looks too british for me – I can almost feel that Thatcher’s iron hand, brr. (I prefer Emperor Ahikito hehe) But, some information I could get out of here – 4.4 seconds to 100 km/h, 286 km/h top speed, 1702 kg of curb weight (which makes it lighter than the Cavallera, Dynamite and Bogliq, meanwhile still heavier than Merciel) and all-wheel drive with preference of rear axle. Nice.
When I picked the hood up, I’ve again seen something new in this comparison. A V6. According to the brochure it’s 3.3 L and it has surprisingly again no turbos, but gets direct injection anyway. Erin states that this engine has 403 hp at 8400 RPM, and since the car revs to 8900, it’s definitely a rev happy construction.
Erin’s interior is a quite good combination, but unusual one: sport interior with alcantara/material coverage with some carbon fiber bits and bucket seats at the front. Like the Verona, Tauga SB doesn’t pack too fancy infotainment leaving you with basic radio with CD player and a GPS plugged somewhere at the top of a dashboard, very similar equipment as in Merciel Verona SP. Actually this GPS is more than good because it utilises Google Maps data which gives you daily updated and current maps. Unlike all the propositions we had here, it is meant for four people instead of five – this decision was probably made to cut weight due to it’s sporty character, but more space for a person in the rear is always better. Like almost all the cars, it has all safety assistants currently available on the market.
Test driving a Tauga was nice, especially with it’s characteristic. Due to being revvy car it felt quite good too on casual city driving, but the fun began in turns: This car does not sway as much as these cars we had here already today – well, it handles almost like a go-kart! Can pull some impressive for this class Gs in corners, sticks to the road with AWD, good suspension setup and sticky tires – what’s not to like here?
And did I mention that this car is balanced SO WELL that the weight balance is almost perfect 50/50? It’s extremely controllable and can suit even amateur drivers. Kuro wasn’t complaining about performance and behaviour of the Tauga SB too. Brakes are powerful and can stop you in nearly every occassion.
However, like everything, Erin Tauga 330SB has some downsides. It gets quite below average fuel economy compared to the cars out here which is 9.33 L/100 km. Another half-problem is 7-gear manual that this car has. I don’t say it’s bad as a gearbox, it’s quite well built, but the problem can happen with getting the correct gear if you are not precise enough.
Overall, Erin Tauga 330SB isn’t a bad proposition with asking price of 48.000$ with 50% markup in local Erin dealer here in Suzuka. I’d say running costs are noticeable, but not as much as with Cavallera and Dynamite, but they aren’t also as low as in Merciel. If you want a wagon that will do it’s job fine and will handle like a much smaller vehicle – well, even a different vehicle and you like british cars – That may be a good proposition for you. In my personal opinion, this fresh variant of Tauga is worth a try and eventual buy.
2017 Zenshi Altrea Newman R Touring
The last car that I have to review today (phew) – I even had to do some chances with Kuro to let me review this japanese art. Actually, as I look on it standing next to my 1996 ANR, it is visible how much progress has this model made.
Also, did not even know that Zenshi had released a wagon version of Altrea Newman R.
Looks-wise it looks just nice – like almost all of the Zenshis. Modern lines, taillights nicer than in Erin Tauga, composed-in vents on side and hood. And the color… Well, this car looks gorgeous in the company’s famous Ramune Blue Mica. All those elements are combining a great car, but there’s only one missing – someone at Zenshi mistook our request and sent us an ANR that is fully specced like how we wanted, but it came on steelies instead of six spoke black matte rims. No problem.
Zenshi is a Japanese manufacturer. Since they were sending a brochure to a Japanese reviewers, I wonder why have they chosen english instead of japanese language. Anyway, technical data from the brochure of ANR is: 1642 kg curb weight, RWD, 279 km/h top speed and 4.1 seconds to 100 km/h. According to the text ANR Touring seems to have actually pretty good cornering abilities. We’ll test that later.
Zenshi put a new generation of LZ4 engine into MY2017 ANR Touring. It’s named „LZ4-ACE” and is a 3 litre turbocharged inline 6 that generates 422 hp on 6900 RPM and the engine itself redlines at 7500. Torque is available quite soon for this kind of a car, because it’s 505 Nm is available from around 3200 RPM. As the engine seems to be a successor to LZ3, it makes me wonder: Is this engine also potent to get massive power without reliability issues?
Jumping in the interior, it’s something that I have expected from Newman R spec car. 5 seat sports interior with pretty standard infotainment containing a GPS, CD player with AM/FM radio and hands-free call system. Front seats are buckets made by Bride, meanwhile backseat (which can seat three) has additional holders to hold your body and head. They’re not that excessive, so you can easily collapse the backseat to make more cargo space.
Also, it’s worth mentioning: This car has some classic and even somewhat budget touch with 6 gear manual box, but also features more premium features like sports Yokohamas from the factory along with ceramic brakes on both axles and active sport suspension, which is unique in this comparison. Like all the cars featured here, Altrea Newman R Touring comes with full package of assists.
Driving ANR Touring does not surprise me much as I own 1996 one and drove basicly every generation of this model. But, the 2017 one I drive is something that you would expect from street car that is perfect for track. Low roll angle, stiff (actually very stiff), very reactive for this mass steering. Performance isn’t also something bad, because it enables you to cruise in the city for groceries and take the car for brutal track day.
But, don’t expect this car to be actually very comfortable. I say it’s not very comfortable, it just does it’s job well, performance wagon for all-around mean driving. There are also some nice drifting capabilities.
And not sure if this is actually a problem, but you need to be very careful with the brake pedal, because front brakes are brutally powerful. When I did the test of emergency braking on side road Kuro actually threw his breakfast in his bag and told me: "Never do this again, please”
So I followed his request.
Overall, Zenshi Altrea Newman R Touring is a great car. It does it’s job with being all-around performance car, but it is also for wealthy people because with bad fuel economy of 13.63 L/100 km and expense of 58.650 $ with 50% markup. The character of this car also keeps it from being comfortable family car.
If you’re going to buy ANR, you must have no compromises, just like this car has none. If you think the same, this car is fully for you.
Also, on other hand, if you will ask me what cars have I liked mostly, they would be the Merciel for it’s unusual nature, ANR Touring for continously non-changing character of the car and Cavallera as great all-arounder. At least, from what have I reviewed.
Bonham Chaucer Brooklands Estate ‘17
Well, well, well. What do we have here? A sports wagon from no less than Bonham! Let’s take a good look at it.
The front’s already striking me aggressively! Kuro laughs Two accentuated headlights, which I don’t think are too modern looking, meet in an upper grille. Very angular vents and lower grille give it a sporty, modern yet smart look. Only thing that bothers me are the headlights, but overall, I like the design of the front!
The rear is very agressive as well, this car won’t give you a break, in a good way! The tailights remind me of the ones you find in BMWs, joined by a gray plastic fascia. On the lower part of the rear, we find two side vents, giving it a ‘race car’ look – and not precisely in a ‘boy racer’ way. We can also find two dual-tip exhaust; very agressive indeed.
Moving on to the interior! We find five high-quality clothed seats. The look just as comfortable as they are, and my – you know already it kills me sometimes – back rests comfortably. Just as expected from a premium marque as Bonham.
We can find a radio, with a touchscreen, lots of features and infotainment options, which is a great addition to the overall design. The car feels very solid and safe too – with a fatigue warning system, multiple airbags, solid seatbelts and cruise control, along with many other features. This car is one you want to drive in long trips: safe and comfortable. It includes the whole range of driving aids as well.
By the way, the gearshifting is done via a double-clutch, seven speed sequential transmission. I can see the reasoning behind: manual shifting when you want to get sporty, automatic shifting when you need that extra convenience for whatever reason, though a manual transmission would’ve been a better choice in my opinion. The gearbox is mated to an electronic LSD, giving the car extra cornering performance and sportiness.
Let’s open the trunk now! This trank is able to hold 1221L of cargo volume – which, along with the ability to seat 5 adults, makes this car very practical.
And now, what’s under the hood? As soon as you lift it, you’ll find a turbo inline 6 engine, which reminds me of cars like the Skylines - and this brings me back memories from when I was younger and drove a Skyline 2000GTR. This 3 liter inline 6 develops 510hp, really good numbers considering the car weighs more than 1800 kilograms. Even weighing so much, and developing so much power, this car gets 26 MPG, which is not bad.
As soon as I turned the ignition on, a soft growl welcomed me. Not too audible, which for inline 6 sound fans could kill the experience, but comfortable for long trips.
I took it to the streets of Suzuka first. The car feels agile despite its weight, probably because of how the suspension is tuned. The fact of it being RWD makes it more tail happy, but nothing you can’t control. Cruising in the city at 50 km/h must be done in gear 7, which feels weird, but it manages to keep the engine under 1300rpm. Fuel efficient, I must say.
As soon as you take it to the highway, and the turbo kicks in, accelerating this car is a good shot of adrenaline. It accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in only 3.9 seconds, really fast. Cruising at the highway requires you to rev the engine up to around 2300 or 2400 rpm – an improvable number, everything must be said.
So we took it back to the HQ, and we would return it to the Bonham dealer after the race. I asked them for a price before leaving: 57900$ with a 50% markup. Is the car worth it? It’s practical, it’s fun, and gets aceptable fuel economy. So it is worth it, and a strong contender for the best all around package!
Megacorp ME-1 ’17.
Okay, so someone brought the Chrysler Building to us. This car is made in the Art Deco style! Why? Just why? The chrome is excessive, and the beige paint looks more early 50s than anything else!
‘Megacorp’ also sounds like these corporations that control the world in the cyberpunk movies and such, forcing people to buy their products and controlling the governments.
But let’s not just judge a book by its cover. Let’s take a look at the interior – 5 leather seats, as comfortable as they get, a premium radio with touchscreen and infotainment features, and the most advanced safety systems I’ve seen so far in this comparison. Looks like a premium package, designed towards comfort. Every driver aid is included as well. The gearshifting is done through a 9 speed torque converter auto, with flappy paddles for manual shifting as well.
This gearbox is mated to an electrical LSD, which is always a nice addition; the power is sent to the rear wheels, and seeing that both tyre sets are the same width, I hope the suspension makes up for the possible oversteer. Speaking of which, is an air suspension, with active sway bars and dampers.
Let’s open the trunk. It’s spacious to say the least: 1380L measured! You can fit anything in there! I then opened the bonnet, and I found a V12! A 6-liter, twin throttle body V12.It makes 531hp, a good amount of power, and not that bad considering it is naturally aspirated. The engine is audible, but not too loud. A good balance between being able to appreciate the sound and comfort for long trips.
I turned the ignition on and the growl of the V12 welcomed me. It idles really low, though! I put the automatic transmission into sequential mode and took the car to the streets of Suzuka.
The handling has suprised me in a good way. It feels sharp despite its weight, and you can actually push it a little bit! And you can cruise at 50 km/h revving the engine less than 1000rpm! Incredible! The brakes have too little margin, though, and they require a lot of force to be actuated. I don’t like that.
Its next test would be the highway. Getting up to speed wasn’t a problem; 4.9 seconds to 100 km/h, and the car can be cruised at 90 km/h revving it at 1600rpm approximately. That ninth gear makes wonders! Despite these good numbers, the car still gets only 19 MPG, which is something they really, really have to improve.
Time to go back to the HQ, and I ask the Megacorp dealership for a price. With a 50% markup, this car costs 58800$. Even if the looks don’t work on me, and the fuel economy is bad, the comfort, price and fact that it is a practical way to get into V12 power, this car is worth it!
Nickel N4L-P ’18.
An American luxury liftback sedan! Not exactly a wagon, but we’ll take it for the sake of the comparison anyways.
The front looks smart, but lacks some agressiveness in my opinion. Something that would give you that extra intimidation, know what I’m saying? It doesn’t look bad though. The design is cohesive, the shapes flow well and the chrome is not too excessive. Let’s get to the rear, which is rather simple. Where are the brake lights? I’m not sure this is safe. At the bottom, we can see two nice, angular exhaust tips.
Moving on to the interior, we have…4? Weird, I was expecting 5. 4 leather seats, achieving a good comfort . And hey, we have some tech from the future! Kuro laughs An HUD system, no less! The system shows you the speed, rpms and other information bits that could be useful when driving. The radio has a nice touchscreen, with many connectivity and infotainment features. And let’s not forget the fact that this car includes every driver aid, launch control too. Really nice package! The safety is advanced and robust, and I feel like I’m driving an undestructible bunker, in a good way.
Gearshifting is done through a 6 speed manual transmission. I was expecting a torque converter auto or DCT from an American car, and it is a nice surprise nevertheless. A manual always make driving more engaging. The transmission is mated to a geared LSD, and this car, by the way, is AWD, with a 40/60 distribution (rear biased).
Let’s lift the bonnet. A V8! With DOHC! I was expecting it to be pushrod, but a V8 is always nice whatever cams it uses. The 5.5 liter, naturally aspirated V8 produces 515hp, not bad. It makes the car get 22MPG, very improvable but not the lowest in this comparison.
And let’s open the trunk now. 621L is not that bad, but so far the two cars we’ve reviewed offered more than 1000L of cargo space.
As soon as turned the ignition on, a soft rumble welcomed me. The car is very silent, which for crossplane V8 lovers is bad news, but makes it so much more comfortable during long trips. I took it to the streets of Suzuka, where the brakes required a little bit too much force to be actuated, but wasn’t too bad. The car can be cruised at around 1600rpm, which reduces the noise and is more fuel efficient.
And how does the suspension feel? It feels good, and actually kinda sporty for how heavy the car is. Even if it oversteers, it’s manageable oversteer, nothing you can’t correct. The car feels agile, which I like!
And finally, time to take it to the highway. This car accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.1 seconds, and cruising at 90 km/h keeps the engine revved under 2000rpm. It reduces noise and improves fuel economy.
Back to HQ, and I ask the Nickel dealership for a price. With a 50% markup, the car costs 58050$, not bad for what the car offers.
Is this car worth it? The fuel economy needs to improve, but the technology, handling and comfort this car offers, makes up for it!
Adenine Cadence ’17.
Well, here’s the Adenine Cadence.
Let’s start with the front. It looks nice and intimidating, and just looking at it screams “I’m carrying the muscle car heritage”. Maybe that’s not what the engineers wanted to tell through the design, but that’s my interpretation. Nevertheless, it’s a nice flowing design and I like it!
Moving on to the rear. It’s simple and it works, but in my opinion that wing is just out of place. I don’t like it, it doesn’t match the rest of the design!
But let’s open up the trunk. 776L of cargo space, which is not bad, but could be more if they applied minor modifications to the interior or body. And lifting the bonnet, what do we find under it? A 2-liter inline 4, which is the least number of cylinders I’ve seen in this comparison so far. Thanks to a turbocharger, the engine manages 255hp, which is over 100hp per liter. Not bad!
And now, the interior. As soon as you open the doors, you find 5 nicely clothed seats. They look – and are – comfortable. The interior is completed by an HUD system – like the one in the Nickel, nice! - and robust and sophisticated safety systems. To top it all off, we can find every driver aid offered nowadays, which adds to the overall safety.
The gearshifting is done via a single clutch sequential, 7 speeds, mated to a viscous LSD. The AWD system is slightly front biased (54/46). Weird that they decided to use a single clutch sequential, but automated manual gearboxes are a thing anyways.
I then took it to the streets of Suzuka, once again. The thin tyres makes you feel like this car shouldn’t be too pushed, but the active suspension components makes it feel adecuatelly sporty. The brakes have a good margin as well, and actuating them do not require too much force.
Cruising at 50 km/h can be done at around 1700 rpm, which is fuel efficient – though not the best crusing engine speed we’ve seen in this comparison. Accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h can be done in 6.3 seconds, which is a decent time, and cruising in the highway at 90 km/h can be done at just short of 3000rpm. Very improvable, even if the engine is very, very quiet, considering that it reduces its fuel economy considerably. Which, by the way, this car gets 29MPG. Not bad, though fuel economy figures not too worse can be reached with much more power. Kuro points at the Chaucer Brooklands.
I asked the Adenine dealership for a price. With a standard 50% markup, this car costs around 35000$, making it the cheapest option so far. So, is this car worth it? Even if it could be improved in many ways, considering how affordable it is, I’d say it’s worth it.
Seishido Deneb 3.0 GT Tourer ’17
We’re entering the domestic market here! I’m happy to see that the Japanese marques still offer wagons instead of stupid, un-sporty crossovers. This is what Seishido has to offer.
Looking at the front, we can see lots of angular shapes and fixtures. They flow well, and, even if it is not really what I like, I must say the car looks adecuatelly smart and aggressive. But if I have to complain about something, is that the lower vents are too far high.
The rear is simple but it works. Angular taillights, connected, and separated by a chrome fascia at the same time. Quadruple exhaust tips and a center brake light give it a racey look, like a one seater.
You can shove 1040L of cargo inside the trunk, which is an adecuate capacity, considering the car has seats 5 people. If you lift the bonnet up, you’ll find a twin turbocharged, 3 liter V6, developing 400hp. A good amount of power, but they could’ve squeezed more out of the thing, considering it only gets 25MPG, a very improvable number.
Anyways, moving on to the interior! 5 nicely clothed seats, which I find they’ve received more attention than the other cars, a nice radio with a touchscreen and lots of features, the complete drive aid range, and robust and advanced safety systems, airbags, fatigue detection, etc.
The gearshifting is done through a double clutch, 7 speed sequential transmission. I miss a manual transmission here! Though I’ll admit that the dcts are faster nowadays and make sense in sports offerings. The transmission is mated to a geared LSD, and LSD nowadays are a must in sports cars.
As soon as I turned the ignition on, I could barely hear the V6s. Bad news, V6 lovers, good news, comfort lovers.
Let’s take it to the streets. The suspension feels sporty and sharp, though a bit stiff – my back strikes back (pun not intended) - and it has lots of grip, probably thanks to its wide 265s/285s tyres. The brakes have a good margin. In fact, my favourite margin so far: doesn’t require too much force, and are not too sensitive either. Though the rear brakes don’t kick in as hard as I would want them to.
Cruising at 50 km/h is possible at 1300rpm, very fuel efficient. Though one thing that’s bothering me, is that the double clutch sequential makes it harder to stop at sudden traffic events or stoplights than a manual or automatic.
Anyways, time to take it to the highway. It’s easy to get up to speed, only taking 4.6 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h. Cruising at 90 km/h requires you to exceed 2000rpm, so it’s not that fuel efficient.
We drove it back to the HQ and I asked the Seishido dealer for a price. With the standard 50% markup, this car costs only 40350$! Well worth it even if it lacks some fuel economy, considering how sporty and feature-rich it is!
Sachiuri Slr800 Sportswagon ’17.
Another offering from Sachiuri! Well, I’ll just say this one reminds me of the Ford Mustang in a way. And that’s not a bad thing: it has a very angular, aggressive and modern look, and I like it! The shapes and fixtures flow nicely and give it a race car look.
I’ll be honest about the rear, though. I don’t like it, it doesn’t work for me. The only complaint I have with it is the taillights, and how they’re placed. Change that and the rear could be a solid 8 or 9 out of 10. The wing doesn’t work for me either!
Anyways, moving on to the interior, we can find 5 seats, clothed finely, a console with a radio and touchscreen loaded with features and the whole array of drive aids, as well as advanced safety systems. This car is feel very complete, but then again, every other wagon in the comparison has offered more or less a similar package. The gearshifting is done via a double clutch, seven speed (7th is an overdrive gear) mated to an electronic LSD. Yes, high technology to ensure high performance.
Lifting the bonnet up, I find a flatplane V8 powering the rear wheels. Flatplane! I wasn’t expecting anything different than a crossplane V8, which is a nice surprise. The 4.4L V8 develops 485hp, a good number, and gets 29MPG. One of the best fuel economies so far!
The car can hold 1100L of cargo, which is a really nice number. You could shove anything in there.
So I pressed the ignition and the V8 greeted me with a screamy, but not too loud sound. The engine is audible but not too loud, so there’s a good compromise. I took it to the streets.
The brakes have a good margin, not as much margin as I’d have liked it to have but good nevertheless. The suspension feels not as sharp as I’d like it to be, but you can push it a little bit. If I have a complaint about the car, is how stiff the suspension is – my back, please, carmakers, have mercy.
Cruising around the city at 50 km/h can be done just over 1000rpm, which is very fuel efficient! Maybe the gearing is the key to understand the 29MPG this car is getting. Getting up to speed for the highway is easy, as this car takes only 4 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h. Cruising at 90 km/h requires you to rev the engine to 2400rpm, which is not too fuel efficient. The overdrive gear is always there for you to use it, though.
So I asked the Sachiuri dealer for a price as soon as I went back to our HQ. With a standard 50% markup, this car can be acquired for 56700$. A bit expensive, but worth it considering the good fuel economy, practicality of a wagon and bold looks (even if they don’t work for me entirely).
Kimura 330T KRS ’15.
And for the last car of our comparison, but not the least, another domestic Japanese wagon.
The front looks smart, with accentuated headlights, angular vents and grilles, while still looking smart at the same time. The chrome fascia uniting both headlights gives it an extra touch of ellegance. The rear looks nice, and even if the taillights are a little bit quirky, they look good and flow correctly with the shapes. Twin exhaust tips and a splitter-like bottom complete the design.
If we lift up the bonnet, we can see a turbocharge 3.3L V6, developing 407hp. A bit short compared to the other cars, but a good number nevertheless. The trunk, on the other hand, holds up to 955L of cargo, less than the other options but not the least cargo capacity in this comparison.
The interior? 5 finely clothed seats, a very advanced radio with touchscreen, connectivity features, and more, and the whole array of driver aids except launch control. The safety is advanced and robust, so you’ll walk out of an accident without major injuries. The gearshifting, again, is done through a seven speed, double clutch sequential transmission. Again, I’m missing a nice stick shift here; the gearbox is mated to a geared LSD, so there’s that at least. The power is sent to the rear wheels.
I turned the ignition on and the V6 growled very quietly at me. Bad news again, V6 lovers!
I took it to the streets of Suzuka. The suspension feels sharp and sporty, very agile, and it’s helped by equally wide 255 mm tyres at the front and back. The brakes require so much force, though! I hate them! They should have more margin to lock the wheels. Anyways, the quietness of the engine, combined with the fact that this car can be cruised at 50 km/h at around 1100rpm, makes for a smooth, quite ride. We need this kind of cars too, I like it!
I finally took the car to the highway. It accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.9 seconds, which is not bad, and can be cruised at 90 km/h at around 1500 rpm – very fuel efficient! The combined consumption, though, wasn’t that good: just short of 25MPG. Very improvable.
Back at our HQ, and before racing the cars after lunch, I asked the Kimura dealer for a price. With a 50% markup, the car costs 42900$! Even if it could be much better, in some aspects like fuel economy, the price and looks alone sell the car!
So after some talking, Kenji and I have decided that the winners of each category are:
-Most comfortable: Bogliq Bastion. Seats you could fall asleep on, not too stiff suspension and every driver aid make this car the most comfortable.
-Most practical: with 1380L of cargo space, and being able to seat 5 people, the Megacorp ME-1 takes this trophy.
-Best looking: for its bold looks, nicely flowing shapes, and agressiveness, the Kimura 330T KRS has the honour of being the best looking this round.
-Best value for the money: the Seishido Deneb offers just as much as its competitors, yet it costs an average of around 10000$ less.
-Best all-around package: offering a well-rounded package, good looks, lots of features, a nice punch of power and safety, the best rounded car is the Bonham Chaucer Brooklands Mk5.
We finally decided to bring the cars to Suzuka once again, to test them at the track. This is how they did:
Great reviews yet again, and thanks for the comments on the Tauga, they’re very helpful!
We forgot to add to track the Chaucer Mk5. After an emergency time attack, the Chaucer Mk5 is actually the fastest around the track.
(Thanks for pointing this mistake out, @Leonardo9613)
Both fastest and best wagon overall? I’ll take that gladly
On the topic of headlights, some publications have rumoured that there is some kind of full LED pack on the works for the 2018MY cars.
Another stunning set of reviews, well done! I was never going to be able to beat that all-conquering Chaucer, though (then again, nobody could have), even if you chose to review the Nimrod trim I sent. So what will you be focusing on for the next round?
Yeah, I probably should have just said “screw it” and went with something lore unfriendly
Yep, that’s typical Dynamite. “Oh, it’s a cheap V12! Never mind that it’ll be expensive to run.” Not surprised it rated fairly poorly overall.
Thanks Mr.Computah for another excellent round of reviews; when I saw some of the competing entries I just knew that my entrant was going to get panned for it’s lack of style. my car had a cohesive design but it didn’t look at all desirable compared to it’s competitors… Thankyou for being honest about my design language, I’ll take on board your comments and use them to try to improve my design language further.
@HighOctaneLove It isn’t Kenji thinks that Bogliqs lack style. He’s just thinking that these cars are way too specific.
@Madrias That’s why it fails in Japan. What did you expect for a 7.6 TT V12 in a land of kei cars? :’)
Thanks, @Mr.Computah for a very comprehensive and appealing comparison of the different entries.
My only defence would be this is the track focused ‘performance package’ which has a harsher ride than the standard sLR800. But I have to admit the rear was the only part I was a still a little unsure of styling wise and your review has given me some food for thought.
Congrats for Leo, even before the correction I knew the sLR800 couldn’t match up to the unbeatable Chaucer. At least it put up a good fight. I was hoping better economy, drivability and slightly undercutting the price would be enough. Clearly, we’ve got a lot of work to do.
I can concur. That Chaucer is such a well-rounded machine that beating it in all categories would be a nightmare.
I literally just beat it in all categories for $15000 less…
Granted my stat whore version looks nowhere near as good as any car here
But you are a wizard,
What happened with MotorNation Japan? Are there plans to resuscitate him?