First Impressions - Part 2 of 3
Thursday Afternoon… Mordroc’s Castle?
“So, you’re telling me you spent 20 Ducats, and you still didn’t end up saving the Princess?”
Devlin was telling Lars about his sunday he spent at the Arcade, where he played a game called Dragon’s Lair, in which you play as a Knight named Dirk the Daring to rescue the princess from the foul wizard Mordroc’s lair. It was released a earlier this year and is notorious for its hard difficulty.
“Pretty much, that game was friggin’ rigged if you ask me, just as you got the hand of the control patterns, it would mirror the damn rooms or change the events and you’d have to start over again. But it looked great though, like a cartoon in which you could actually play as the main character.”
“But is it really worth spending all your quarters on though?” Liane asked whislt fidgeting with the plastic spoon in her empty coffee cup.
“Could be worse, I read a few months ago that that E.T. game for the Atari did so bad, they buried all the leftover stock somewhere in a Gasmean Desert, I’m talking entire truckloads, filled with cartridges, dumped somewhere in the middle of nowhere.”
“Damn, that must’ve been a blow for the company.” Lars replied, imagining rows and rows of trucks just dumping gray plastic cartridges into a giant hole.
“Uhuh, It must’ve been. Every single one of those cartridges has a decent price tag attached to them.”
“Anyway, guys, I think we should really be getting back to reviewing, we still have about 30 cars to go through and I don’t feel like being here 'till the middle of the night.” Liane put the cup in the trashcan and went back Inside.
“Yeah, alright, let’s go see what’s left.”
Devlin emptied the crumbs out of his lunchbox and followed Liane inside. The three of them went back into Lars’ office and sat back down. Staring at the pile of brochures laying in front of them…
Earl E-V Eagle 2.0L @patridam
Lars: “Wow, speaking of Gasmean deserts. I wouldn’t be suprised if this color was named after one.”
Liane: “Well, It’s not, this is the Earl Eagle 2.0, a compact sedan from Gasmea destined for Gallian export.”
Devlin: “Those chrome wheels look super fancy, and they didn’t skip the chrome treatment on the rest of the vehicle either. Typical Gasmean styling I’d say. Also loving the gradient stripes on the side there, though it can be easy to overlook them with this color.”
Liane: “Yes, they do love their chrome… Anyways, specifications It’s another large Inline-4 as we’ve seen on some of the other entries. This one has 16 valves and a single cam.”
Lars: “So the Trident wasn’t the only one with a reasonably large 4 Cylinder in the front.”
Liane: “Nope, actually quite a few are in the 1.9, 2.0 liter range, Trident just slapped more modern technology onto theirs… for better or worse.”
Devlin: “Like a Typical Gasmean Car, the Interior is very luxurious, unlike your typical Gasmean car though, this one has a very decent fuel economy of 10.6 kilometers per liter and it’s even got decent power.”
Lars: “So, This one’s a pass.”
Devlin: “For sure.”
The Earl E-V Eagle 2.0L will be sent to Fruinia for field testing on the "Green Hell"
Tanaka Laventa 2.0 G @Aaron.W
Lars: “And from a conservative Gasmean desert, we go right to something that’s modern and Eastern Fruinian in design… It looks familiar though.”
Devlin: “This totally looks like a Neesan Shirubia! It’s a car I saw in one of those Fruinian black-and-white comic books I didn’t know you read those as well Lars.”
Lars: “But I don’t…”
Liane: “This one’s called the Tanaka Laventa, a 2.0 4 Cylinder just like the Earl and the Trident, Cast Iron Block and Head with Fuel Injection. Makes quite a bit of power as well, 112 horsepower.”
Lars: “Ooh, that’s neat, does that mean the fuel economy is bad or…”
Devlin: “It actually sits around the same figures as the Earl, 10.1 Kilometers Per Liter. The Interior is nice, not as Luxurious as the Earl’s, but it looks very comfortable from the pictures alone.”
Liane: “I’ve already arranged a test vehicle, as I really liked the styling on this one as well.”
Lars: “Alright, I’ll put it with the others.”
The Tanaka Laventa 2.0G will be sent to Fruinia for field testing on the "Green Hell"
Lars: “Oh man, this must be the new Zenit, successor to the Z200, I heard it was shown at the Hetvesian Auto Salon last year, but I didn’t manage to go there to check it out.”
Devlin: “Your parents have a Z200, don’t they?”
Lars: “Yep they do, we should get this in our comparison to see how it performs agains the rest, Incase my parents ever want to trade it in… So what’s the specs for this one?”
Liane: “Let’s see, this one’s powered a 1.5L 12 valve 4 cylinder, with a carburettor, it doesn’t have a whole lot of power, but it makes similar mileage to the Laventa and the Eagle.”
Lars: “If it ain’t broke, there’s no need to change it right? And the new styling is looking very nice, though I don’t think my parents will fall for the dull color, it being very different from the more vibrant shades from the 60s and 70s.”
Devlin: “It’s probably a good thing that it’s offered in other colors then, this is the one we’ll be driving around on the Green Hell though.”
Lars checks out the other paint samples in the brochure, then lays the Znopresk brochure on top of the other chosen car brochures.
The Znopresk Zenit 1.5 LN will be sent to Fruinia for field testing on the "Green Hell"
Marquez ASW Turbine 150i5 2.0 @ELBruno
Lars: “I figured we’d come across some wagons eventually, so I notice this one is labelled “foglight issue and more”, what exactly are the issues with this one then?”
Liane: “Well, there’s plenty of things wrong with this one, I don’t even know where to start…”
Devlin: “Like the Imola, it’s engine is very powerful, although the focus lies far too much towards performance.”
Liane: “Yes, it’s got a turbocharged 5 cylinder engine, that gives it plenty of power, but lacks any kind of fuel economy that you’d expect from a turbocharged engine with Fuel Injection.”
Devlin: “It’s also not very comfortable, and it only has four seats! Plus, the styling isn’t exactly exciting, and the mirrors are ridiculously small.”
Liane: “Yep, pretty much no rear visibility out of those… To top things off, as the note mentioned, we were unable to find out if this car actually has the needed rear foglight, we called the manufacturer, but we got no response.”
Lars: “Hmmm… So it’s some kind of sports wagon? Not exactly the kind of car we need for our commuter comparison. In the bin it goes.”
The Marquez ASW Turbine 150i5 2.0 has been binned because it was too performance-oriented, not economical enough, lacked a 5th seat (even though it’s a wagon!), and did not have a rear foglight.
Vermillion Lancer Wagon 1.6 Bxi @WirelessCables
Lars: “Alright! This is more like it, a D-segment wagon, perfect for family road trips, there’s nothing wrong with this one right?”
Liane: “No, In fact, this is one of our favorites as well, it has a small, reasonably economical 1.6 liter engine with power matching it’s larger 2-liter rivals, and the fuel economy isn’t bad either. The styling on this design is phenomenal as well, there is a lot of attention to detail put into designing this.”
Devlin: “It also comes with power steering like a lot of it’s rivals, which is helpful on a larger, heavier wagon like this one. And the interior equipment looks pretty decent as well.”
Lars: “Alright, so I guess this one is decided.”
Devlin: “It’s a Pass!”
The three spend some time looking through the pictures in the brochure, then put it next to the other selected cars
The Vermillion Lancer Wagon 1.6 Bxi will be sent to Fruinia for field testing on the "Green Hell"
Lars: “Ah the Zeta, this one was introduced 2 years back I believe.”
Liane: “Correct, it’s similar in size to the Marquez, though it does actually have space for a third occupant in the back. It has a 1.6 liter like the Lancer, though this one trades in some power for superior fuel economy, some of the best we’ve seen.”
Devlin: “Yes, this one does 11.2 kilometers per liter, achieved by its economical tune, 16 valve layout and 5-speed gearbox. The price tag is also more affordable than the Lancer, starting at roughly 13 grand, though the 8-track sound system is rather basic compared to some of the other selected cars.”
Lars: “It still seems like good value for money. And it’s bound to be more practical than some of the compact sedans we’ve gone through.”
Liane: “And while it might look a bit plain, it’s still a very solid design.”
Lars: “I do wonder about those wheels though, they look like the type of sporty wheels you’d find on an older West Fruinian sports car.”
Devlin: “Yeah, that’s a bit of an odd choice.”
Lars: “I’ll put it with the other ones. You’ve already arranged a test model with Roquefort right?”
The Roquefort Zeta EC16 16v will be sent to Fruinia for field testing on the "Green Hell"
Neko SX-1 4D-S F @Mikonp7
Lars: “This one looks neat, pretty sporty. Does the performance match the looks?”
Liane: “It’s one of the few selected cars that has a boxer engine, this one doesn’t make that much power compared to some of the other cars we’ve reviewed, but it’s still a decent amount.”
Devlin: “The Fuel economy is on the low end though, probably the power steering pump is sapping the engine. It is variable power steering though, something you’d normally find on more expensive, high end cars.”
Lars: “Ah yes, I can see here that this one only does 8.3 kilometers per liter. That’s not that much if you compare it to the Zeta we just looked at.”
Liane: “We still decided to give Neko a call though, it’s a car that fits the segment, and from what I heard it’s also pretty comfortable to drive.”
Devlin: “And as you mentioned, the styling is sleek and modern.”
Lars: “Alright, on the pile it goes.”
The Neko SX-1 4D-S F will be sent to Fruinia for field testing on the "Green Hell"
Polski Cossack D Pologne Series D1500 Pologne MR '83 Export @Kubboz
Lars: “Uh okay, wow, this is quite different from the other entries. I’m assuming this is Archanan handiwork?”
Liane: “Yes, we decided to pick this as a comparison to the YAZ you’ve bought. It’s the cheapest entry on the list at just 9,200 Ducats. And believe it or not, this is safer than that KGB we showed you earlier.”
Lars gets goosebumps from being reminded of the kgb, he still can’t quite understand the concept behind offering a car with zero safety features.
Lars: “Well if that’s the case, I don’t see why we can’t Include it into our comparison.”
Devlin: “It also can’t hurt to see how that revision to the 30-year-old engine holds up compared to brand new ones. They recently revised it and the exterior.”
Lars: “Alright, you’ve convinced me. I want to see how it holds up with the YAZ as well.”
The very, very long named car will be sent to Fruinia for field testing on the "Green Hell"
Lars: “Ooh, this one is pretty funky, It’s like a larger Mono.”
Devlin: “It’s got experimental styling for sure, not quite as much of a space ship as the Vindur, but still very modern. This one is more practical though, it’s got a large trunk and 5 seats.”
Liane: “It has a 4-barrel carburetor Inline 4, so it still makes plenty of power and it has a decent fuel economy. and like Devlin said, its liftback design gives it a lot of cargo space.”
Lars: “And arrangements for a test model?”
Liane: “Those have already been made, I hope there’s enough parking space on location, as we’re going to be testing a lot of cars.”
Devlin: “A Cailloux rep will meet us on-site.”
Lars: “Alright, onto the next one.”
The Cailloux SB1 SE will be sent to Fruinia for field testing on the "Green Hell"
Reduit Støvkost G3 1.9 @kobacrashi
Lars: “A 2 door coupe? That’s not going to be as practical as a sedan or a wagon. It looks nice though.”
Devlin: “2 door sedan actually, Liane and I figured that not everyone will be needing a family car, and this still has 5 seats for when it’s needed.”
Liane: “I personally really like the styling on this one, it’s not the most modern design out there, but it has a very contemporary look to it.”
Devlin: “Performance is similar to it’s competition, a decent-sized 4 cylinder, with 90 horsepower, and a decent fuel economy of 9.7 kilometers per liter.”
Liane: “One of the drawbacks is it’s dated safety equipment though, all passengers have seatbelts, but they’re all still old “lap belt” designs. And it’s still fairly expensive besides this.”
Lars: “So is it worth a test drive?”
Devlin: “I still think people are going to be interested in buying this, so I sent out a call to Reduit and they’ve provided they’ll provide us with a test model on site.”
The Reduit Støvkost G3 1.9 will be sent to Fruinia for field testing on the "Green Hell"
Hakumai Intruder GL @interior
Lars: “Hmmm… This one looks a lot like the Cailloux, although not as refined, just a single wiper and those door handles don’t even line up properly.”
Devlin: “Yeah, it’s also too loud. They had trouble with sound dampening.”
Liane: “We asked them if they could get it finished in time, but unfortunately, we didn’t hear back from Hakumai, so I’m afraid we’ll have to bin this one.”
Lars: “Yeah, we don’t want our consumers losing their hearing on us, if we ever go televised. They’d want to hear what we have to say.”
The three laugh a bit, then glance over the Hakumai brochure, before finally throwing it into the bin.
The Hakumai Intruder has been binned for exceeding the maximum allowed engine noise levels.
Lars: “Another very sleek and aerodynamic design. And the side markers tell me it’s another car originally intended for the Gasmean Market?”
Liane: “I think so, It’s powered by a single point injection 4 cylinder boxer engine, like the Neko, though This one manages to be more fuel-efficient and more powerful.”
Devlin: “Yep, this one pushes out over 100 horsepower and by the looks of it, it’s handling and performance should be similar to the Neko as well.”
Lars: “Ok, I’ll put this one with the pile, but I don’t know about you guys, but I’m getting pretty hungry, shall I order some takeout so that we can eat while we finish this?”
The SAV Gaviota 2.0 SX will be sent to Fruinia for field testing on the "Green Hell"
Devlin: Oh yes, I’d like something to eat if we’re going to stay here a bit longer to get this finished today, can you order some fries and a chocolate milkshake please?.
Lars: “Sure, Liane do you want anything?”
Liane: “I’ll have a Patatje Speciaal and a Frikandel with a Pepsi please.”
Lars: “Alright, I think I’ll have the same.”
Lars put the SAV brochure with the rest of the selection, and dailed the number from the fast food joint across the street… After a few minutes, they continue reviewing the selection of cars.
Lars: Hmmm, this one appears to be riding kind of low, or maybe it’s because the YAZ and Polski have a setup for the rougher Archanan roads.
Liane: “No, you’re quite right actually, it’s lower than the Reduit as well.”
Lars: “Ok, so it’s not just me then. I hope it doesn’t decrease the ride quality too much.”
Devlin: “It’s also got all-round drum brakes, but it’s carburetted engine makes decent performance and it’s fuel economy is pretty good. It’s safety rating isn’t too bad either.”
Liane: “And once you get used to the dated Archanan design standards and external door hinges, it actually looks quite nice.”
Devlin: “It was also offered as a wagon, like the YAZ, but PAZ provided us with a sedan variant.”
Lars: “Alright, I’ll put it with the other ones.”
The PAZ 2206 1600SE will be sent to Fruinia for field testing on the "Green Hell"
Chrysalis Credo 2.0 Lxi @RedRiot
Lars: “Oh, The Credo, I was actually looking at these last year when they were released.”
Devlin: “Understandable, it has good styling, and it’s one of the safest cars according to last years press reports about it. It features Lap-sash seatbelts both front and rear, and extensive passenger compartment reinforcing and crumple-zone engineering.”
Liane: “It’s also got a premium leather interior, with electric windows, and the performance is comparable to the Laventa.”
Lars: “Though If I remember correctly, it’s not very cheap, and the fuel economy isn’t as good as some of the other cars.”
Devlin: “Yes, all the luxury and safety equipment really adds to the car’s weight and retail price.”
Liane: “But for that price you get top of the line safety, performance, and comfort. Which is why it should be included to the comparison. And at 16,000 Ducats, it’s cheaper than the Vindur and the Laventa”
Lars: “Ok, let’s do one more, I think our food is almost here.”
The Chrysalis Credo 2.0 Lxi will be sent to Fruinia for field testing on the "Green Hell"
Lars: “Oh, this one looks a bit like the BCT from when we started looking at these, It looks more refined though.”
Devlin: “Yes, the styling and color on this one are more to my liking.”
Liane: “Performance and Fuel Economy are similar to most of the competition, with a power figure just under 100 horsepower and a fuel economy just under 10 kilometers per liter. It doesn’t lack anything, It also seems very comfortable, offering similar interior equipment to most of the competition.”
Devlin: “Although I hear it has a bad safety record though.”
Liane: “Yes, crash test results were similar to the Polski. Slightly better, but not good.”
Lars: “Hmmm, well if anything, it’s still better than the Courser.”
Just as Lars puts the Halcón brochure with the rest, he gets called from the reception desk.
The Halcón Obrero will be sent to Fruinia for field testing on the "Green Hell"
Lars: “That was Angela from the front desk, our food is here, time for a break, we’ll continue after we finish our meal.”
END OF PART 1.2, TO BE CONCLUDED