It was another wet miserable day. Lee Eun-ji awoke to the steady patter of rain, the power was out again. When will things go back to normal Lee wondered. Somehow she made her way through her morning routine without the need of the power. The soft glow her cigarette warmed her whole being and pushed away from the chill of the damp frosty air. After quick breakfast of leftover kimchi, she set off.
The power surged back to life just as Eun-ji closed the door to her apartment. It was on the 16th floor of a forgettable concrete slab of the building. Part of previous governments attempts at meeting the demand for new homes. She looked out at the vista of the city, half covered in cloud and mist she could still see the cranes. Leaping from the clouds like huge steel trees in this concrete jungle. They sat lifelessly, the building boom was over just like the old days of revolutionary ideals.
As she made her way over to the parking lot under the protection of her umbrella that some frost had started to collect on her car. A standard and basic machine. The city was covered with them. A base spec Maesima NV-993 one of the old states people’s car. Clambering in with a certain urgency. Lee pulled out another cigarette and lit up. After a considerable period of time, she managed to wheeze the little Maesima into life. It’s ancient 60’s era four cylinder engine clattered into life and she was off. Despite the change and chaos or perhaps because of it the traffic seemed even worse these days. The faint and tinny radio blasted more dispiriting noise about the country.
Finally, after what felt like days Eun-ji arrived at the AYMKO Taxi Co. site. It was bare and rather run down looking site with small building complex that looked more like a shed than anything else. But was, in fact, an office, garage and all in one. The taxis sat outside to bear the full strength of the weather. To be honest she did wonder how they even managed to stay in business. Something shady must have been going on but she didn’t ask questions.
The NV-993 bounced and rocked made its way into the compound.The weather at least seemed to be clearing she thought as he steps out into the muddy yard. Stepping inside she was glad to be rid of her muddy shoes and step into a building with heating. She checked in and got her schedule from the secretary then Eun-ji made for her office. Settling in she tried to place her flask of tea on the desk. Without disturbing the many responses to the company’s request for new vehicles. Lee was rather surprised with the number and wide range of international firms that responded. Ah, the powers of capitalism she wondered pouring a cup of tea.
@abg7 Fleet Industries Wayfarer
The Fleet Industries Wayfarer is a vehicle I was honestly expecting more from the brand. Usually, they are known for their competitive builds that stood up to the very best in the automotive world. But looking at the brochure the design wasn’t that striking but not too bad either. Fairly conventional sedan but once I looked into the specs I noticed some red flags. The engine was an advanced Turbocharged ALSi 1.8L DOHC Inline 4. While it was a nice setup engine with plenty of torque. It was also very advanced with complex and heavy water to air intercooler and cutting edge direct injection. Oddly a high flow three-way catalytic converter that really isn’t worth the extra cost and engineering for a fleet vehicle. The high tech theme continues with the new 5-speed automatic transmission with no overdrives. The interior is a standard affair with basic entertainment but advanced safety which again for our purpose doesn’t seem to be worth the effort. Overall the package is quite drivable and offers a very nice level of comfort. Fairly good passenger and cargo space while remaining economical and cheap to service. But it’s a bit overly complex which is its downfall as it fails to meet our minimum reliability requirement. Fleet Industries in their rush to be first to respond to our tender have let their hopes go up in flames. Much like the Wayfarer’s brochure as I lit my cigarette.
@conan Plainoi TU
While Thailand may have gotten our nation into this financial crisis the Plainoi certainly helps ease the pain. It’s a quite modern and interesting design. But under the hood is a cast 2.2L DOHC Inline 4 sensibly designed and paired with a trusty 4-speed gearbox. A perfect tried and true approach that our mechanics will definitely appreciate. It’s a standard interior with only basic entertainment. But overall it’s a pretty good package that from the reviews are easy to drive and pretty comfortable while offering rock solid reliability. While fuel economy isn’t the best running costs and space is pretty good. I think we’ll need to get one in to inspect.
@Madrias Dynamite L5
The Dynamite L5 looks pretty classy from the first images I see on its brochures. Very western and fancy with so much chrome it’s more like one of the old parties elite limo than a taxi! The side profile is very nice but seems the front grill is actually a fake and looking at back it’s quite mismatched from the rest of the design. Which is a shame. It’s powered by AlSi 2.8L SOHC V6 which has a fancy direct injection fuel system. Oddly it also has a more expensive long tubular headers and high flow catalytic converter. Both of which are complex and exorbitant options for a fleet vehicle. But going all out they have optioned a fancy new 5-speed automatic transmission too. Not content with that engineers fitted cooling flaps with a semi clad undertray. Something which is definitely going to break after only a few months of duties. Inside it’s got nicely matchup premium interior and entertainment system. While looking at reviews it’s clear the L5 easy to drive, very comfortable and offers sturdy reliability. Impressive fuel economy along with okay space and running costs. The addition of a number of systems to car added cost and ultimately preclude it from fleet duties with our company.
@LinkLuke LLA Incogness LuxeTax
The LLA Incogness LuxeTax is a pretty conventional but nice design in an eye piercing red colour. It has interesting suicide doors in a decadent chrome finish. Speaking of such the engine is a tiny turbocharged 1.6L alloy DOHC V6. Which is a strange choice and looking at the size of that thing a mechanic’s nightmare trying to fix that tiny yet terribly complex design. While it has a simple single point EFI it is paired with performance intake which really has no place on non-performance vehicle. The engine is matched to a fancy six-speed manual. While the interior is your standard affair safety is top notch which really adds nothing of value for us. The final surprise was the air suspension with adaptive dampers! I’m really not sure what they were thinking. Maybe in a Capitalist paradise people drive around in such luxury cars with this type of cloud suspension. But we cannot afford such extravagance. But the final failing for the LuxeTax is that in reviews it falls short of its rivals despite all of the advanced aids. It’s actually worse in most respects so safe to say I threw the brochure into the nearest bin and moved on to the next vehicle.
@BobLoblaw Cresge Halberd
The Cresge Halberd is a huge nondescript sedan. Looking at the specs sheet it’s odd they chose such high-quality internals went the engine doesn’t need them. It’s another I6 a bit 3.8L one with a low boost turbo for plenty of low-end grunt. This is matched with a high tech 5-speed auto and a geared LSD. The addition of an LSD and full cladding with cooling flaps seems excessive as those features will be sooner ripped out in a few years of service here. The Choice of a premium interior matched with the most basic of entertainment is also a bit odd. Since so much expense has been directed towards safety…which isn’t really a necessity in this case. But overall the stats don’t seem all that impressed with lower than average fuel economy and comfort. So into the bin, it goes.
@TR8R First Order Automotive Cruze SW
The First Order Automotive Cruze SW is a spritely looking little thing. Rather cute actually a baby wagon that almost attempts to call itself a hatchback. Under the hood is the 1.6L SOHC Inline Six that is simple yet well engineered and setup. This is matched up with a trusty 4-speed automatic. The rest of the Cruze is very sensibly laid out and while performance isn’t very spritely…in fact, it appears to be the slowest vehicle here. It is still more than up to the tasks of replacing some of the older vehicles in our fleet. While it falls well short of rivals in terms of drivability it makes up for that with competitive pricing comfort and practicality. The Cruze makes it through to the next round of testing.
@BrafMeToo Chesterfield Mk 1B
Chesterfield sent us two variants of the Mk 1 in spite of our express wishes not to do such a thing. The Mk 1L was binned and we moved on to look at the Mk 1B which is a curious looking design. Under the hood is a 1.5L SOHC Inline four. Which is fairly basic but then it has advanced features like direct injection paired with a modern 5-speed automatic gearbox. But what really shocked us was the choice of Magnesium 16’ rims this was also matched with cooling flaps and a fairly basic interior. But as a final surprise, the suspension setup is an advanced adaptive dampers with semi active sway bars. Reviewing these choices it makes the design of the Mk 1B make a lot more sense. It’s a vehicle filled with conflicting choices. Perhaps the engineering teams were confused about if they were building a luxury sedan or fleet taxi. The Chesterfield is a vehicle that doesn’t know what it wants to be and as such it has no place within our company. I took a final glance at the brochure and the poor little Mk 1B. It almost had a look of surprise to find its fate above the shredder. But it was mixed with a hint of resignation as it knew a car divided against itself cannot work nor win.
@Strop Delta Adept
The Delta Adept comes from an interesting company. They initially provided us with provided us with brochures in which the vehicle lacked door handles. Noting our concern they immediately provided updated brochures. However these two proved to be faulty and in the end, they all had to go into the bin…until we were issued with the correct brochures. Now finally getting a true idea of what the Adept looked like it was remarkably unremarkable strangle another wagon entry. This time powered by a DOHC 1.8L Inline 4 packed with wise and sensible choices proving that at least the engineers at Delta seem to know what they are doing. The engine is paired with an advanced 5-speed automatic. Everything else looked absolutely fine and rolled into a rather competitive package. So once the folks at Delta stopped horsing around showed us what they’ve got we were impressed and gave the all clear for a full inspection.
@HighOctaneLove Bogliq Bastion Taxi
The famous Bogliq in that distinctive blue. The Bastion is a somewhat bug eyed sedan modern yet utilitarian. Powered by a cast 2.5L DOHC Inline 4 that is very sensibly put together and set up it’s paired with a modern 5-speed automatic. It does have a semi clad undertray but that shouldn’t hinder maintenance too much. Inside it’s a premium set up with fairly basic entertainment although all the driver assists. Overall it’s pretty well rounded the drivability falls short of the rest save for the Cruze. In many ways, it’s very much like a better version of the Cruze. So for that reason is moves through for a proper test drive and review.
@titleguy1 Kimura Auriga SXi
Here we have the renowned Japanese brand Kimura with the Auriga SXi. The brochure is flash although not quite as glossy or impressive as reviews people had claimed for this brand. Still, the Auriga is a very flashy looking car with fancy decadent luxury chrome door handles and grill. Under the hood is a cast 1.8L DOHC Inline four which uses some high-quality materials. While the fuel system is multi point EFI it uses a more complex and expensive setup with each cylinder getting its own throttle. It seems an odd choice given its marginal benefits to power and fuel economy compared to its expense. The rest of the engine looks good from the data. Following the trend of the entries, a 5-speed auto is used with overdrive. It does have semi clad undertray but doesn’t look too restrictive. Everything else seems okay with the nice quality interior all the standard stuff plenty of driver assists. The Kimura compare well on paper with the rest with reviews praising the easy driving dynamics and comfort is quite good. Passenger space is good but cargo is a bit more limited and the fuel economy seems the weakest point. Still, deserves a full inspection.
@DeusExMackia Erin Tauga Lex 2.2
Eun-ji wasn’t expecting such a classy car to sent in for taxi duties. But taking a look at sleek and shiny brochures for the Erin Tauga Lex 2.2 put a smile on her face. Now, this is the sort of luxury capitalism is supposed to bring. Complete with beautifully tailored suits something Ms Lee was sure the drivers would appreciate. It’d certainly make a change from the drab uniforms of the old regime. However reviewing the specs a couple of things raised an eyebrow. The standard LSD for example and from the engine shots it seemed like it had a performance intake something not really necessary on a taxi. So sadly the Tauga has to go. Much to the disappointment of Eun-ji and all of the drivers at the company who by now were rather looking forward to getting some new suits along with test drives of Erin.
@NormanVauxhall ZM Ouarzazate Taxi 1.7
The ZM Ouarzazate Taxi 1.7 is an oddly named but rather promising design. In the style of many of the vans, we have in Anikatia. The Ouarzazate looks purposeful and utilitarian while also modern. Under the hood is a cast 1.7L DOHC Inline 4, for the most part, the whole setup and choices here are wisely chosen. The addition of a high flow catalytic converter seems out of place though. As it’s costly and add only marginal benefits to performance and economy. The ZM is following the modern trends of adopting an advanced 5-speed automatic transmission. Despite the drums on the rear, the brake fade is minimal. Inside it has eight seats in the usual standard with some quality basic entertainment. All matched with a simple but well setup suspension. While the Ouarzazate is rather slow it’s still faster than a number of others and perfectly adequate for a taxi of this class. The overall package is very impressive. Excellent driveability, comfort and adequate fuel economy. But class leading passenger and cargo space. We were right on the phone to ZM to send for a test vehicle.
@Nomade0013 Gamma Roy GLX
The Gamma Roy looks rather conventional. But classy in its brochure and the vehicle actually looks very impressive and capable. Once I took a closer look at the specs I noticed a number of issues and one fatal flaw. The use of adaptive dampers and sway bars runs counter to the whole rest of the car. Despite this reviews, I have found of the Roy state it still bottoms out even with this advanced setup. The key problem was the Gamma failed to meet our open tender requirements for reliability. Based on long term reviews of the Roy it was the less reliable vehicle here. So it’s brochure went straight to the shredder.
@DoctorNarfy Nickel N4W
The Nickel N4W is quite a nice looking wagon but the choice of a massive very American sized wagon is a strange choice. It comes with a simple yet effective big cast 4.0L V6 with MOHV. Despite this back to basics appropriate. Advanced direct injection fuel system has been used paired with oddly a high flow cat and modern 5-speed automatic. Thankfully the rest of the vehicle seems to be rather sensibly laid out so for that it will deserve a proper review.
@Ornate Accursio Tartaruga
The Accursio Tartaruga is an oddly proportioned minivan. It looks quite conventional and inoffensive so its taxi material alright. Under the hood is an AlSi 1.8L DOHC Inline Six. Sporting the advanced direct injection but everything else looks good. It’s paired with a fancy 5-speed automatic transmission. It has semi clad under tray which does add needless cost and makes it harder to service but nothing else seems out of place. The interior is standard stuff with only basic but quality entertainment but again needless expense on the latest safety. The deal breaker, however, was the addition of semi active sway bars. In the end, while the Accursio provided outstandingly easy driving experience. Impressive comfort matched with competitive running costs and great fuel economy. The use of overly complex and essentially useless extras for our fleet place the otherwise great Tartaruga out of the running.
@JohnWaldock JHW Xceed 200L
The JHW Xceed 200L is a rather conventional if somewhat nondescript sedan a few lashing of chrome on the grill to add some class. Powered by an alloy 2.0L SOHC Inline 4 with one or two needlessly expensive internal components. Other than that the engine is pretty well setup. But the addition of a high flow three-way catalytic converter is an odd point of access for a fleet vehicle. Thankfully the engineers at JHW have wisely fitted a trusty 4-speed automatic. Which as we all know is still the industry standard globally. The addition of a fully clad body undertray seems a little odd. Perhaps the addition of an overdrive would have negated the need for such an addition in complexity, cost. The interior is a basic simple run about all as to be expected. But the total package falls short of the rest in nearly every aspect. While it’s ace is value for money other beat it out here too. So while nothing was the deal breaker the whole thing didn’t come together in this case. Instead, the JHW brochure went into the shredder.
@laffinghyena Type 266
Next simply called the Type 266. It is quite a basic design with the sort of austerity styling. That makes our own socialist era domestic brands designs seem excessive. Once again an Inline 6 has used with DOHC 2.5L. But the choice of performance intake and long tubular headers seem a bit strange on a fleet design. The use of a 5-speed automatic and a Viscous LSD. Along with the addition of semi cladding undertray. But the choice of cooling flaps is odd choices for fleet vehicle. But overall, despite these very odd choices. Reviews praise the ease of drivability of the 266. It seems well rounded in performance and comfort. But given the conditions that taxis have to deal with daily. I cannot select a design that uses cooling systems that will be destroyed within the first few months service.
Looking up from reviewing the files Ms Lee saw it was getting late and she had to check out. So taking a find drag from her cigarette. She then crushed it into the brochure burning a hole into it. The empty chairs around the office signalled it was time to get out of here. Grabbing the burnt brochure she took it to the shredder and then headed out the door. On her way out she noticed something didn’t feel right. Eun-ji shrugged it off and lit up another cigarette as she entered the cold chill of the night. Off to the right, her Maesima sat alone in the lot. She couldn’t help feeling someone was watching her as glimmer caught her eye. A van across the street sped off before she could take it in. What the hell is going on Ms Lee wondered once she had returned to the relative safety of her car.
The rest of the brochures would have to wait another day…