Sosumi Tanto @BobLobLaw
This weeny little car is the Sosumi Tanto. A basic 3-door hatchback with completely forgettable styling. We keep asking outselves as to what the Tanto looks like in our head as it’s so much a featureless blob of automobile. Seems like something somebody designed on their lunchbreak.
The car’s equipped with a 4-cylinder engine of 1.4-litre. In what appears to be quite a decent package engine. A bit underpowered at 55hp but not to shabby. After a host of unbalanced and unrefined motors seeing this having 4 cylinder makes us suddenly adores the naturally unbalanced design. While we’ll forgive it’s ancient overhead valves design. The car’s acceleration is slow after the Shaddok, but adequate for normal circumstances. 14.3 seconds to 60 and top speed of 91. It has slight overdrive which allows the engine to turn only 3200rpm at 70mph. While retaining a borderline acceptable overtaking test.
Inside you’ll find a rather plush interior for the price. Appearance of the rare full carpeting and proper headrest makes us happy. The space however is very limited. It has seatings for 5 but you better make sure they’re very tiny people. We reckon that it works better if you fold the seats flat. Which you’ll have to do anyway if you’re an average guy since nobody would fit even then.
Seeing the tall, short and narrow body with the 155 rather cheap tyres. We predicted the handling to be on the rather hopeless side. We didn’t expect it to be this bad, but it was. The understeer will make you want to bang your head on the steering wheel everytime you approach corners at any speed faster than walking. And for whatever reasons we find that the steering wheel is rather heavy even for non-power steering standard. It’s rather comical seeing this screeching around our test track. But if you’re a normal slow driver we don’t see it as a particularly dangerous, so there’s that going for it. The last issue with it’s chassis is that the ride quality in the back is atrocious, in the front it’s okay. But sitting in the back gave a lot of tester that fit car-sick (which is more than you’d think, providing we move the front seat very far forward and the tester was small enough).
Another thing it has going for it is a rather nice built quality inside and out. The factory promised good rust proofing warranty which is a result of using new, sophisticated metal working technique for the body panels. We have no idea if that means 10 years from now on the floor will rust out leaving the pristine bodyworks behind or not. I’ve already forgotten what it looks like.
A solidly built car that will do the job merely adequately for a very long time. What’s it call again?
Fuel efficiency 5
Ligrani Allicante 1.1 TNE @bastormonger
The Ligrani Allicante. (Saying that makes us crave for some cannoli and bolognese pasta). Has always been a rather nice looking 3-door hatchback. It actually stands out in the typical sea of bland and soul-less poverty spec cars. And if it allows you to engage in some Italian Driving, it’s good enough. As many years have passed, we consumers realise that this car is the epitome of Italian design.
Let’s start with the outside. We see signs of poor quality everywhere. Metals in some hard to see places are already rusting, suggesting a typical Italian rust proofing. And as it looks this interesting we think it’d be a shame seeing this car dilapidated in only a few years.
The engine is also of a proper driver’s experience design. 1100cc 4-cylinder engine that produce 52hp. It’s an incredibly revvy unit with presumably very short stroke (a look at specification confirms this). Also characterful sounding exhaust note making it a joy to wring around. But don’t rev it out too much, this engine is known for eating bearings. What really baffled us, and really spoiled that superb (perhaps not for it’s reliability?) motor is the shift feeling of the 5 speed gearbox, which is even worse than the Shaddok tractor design. You never know what gear you’ll get with that move of the lever. It’s also incredibly cruchy at few places. 0-60 is in average 15.4 seconds and the top speed is only 89mph. Fuel economy of 42.3mpg is also rather pedestrian.
You’d think that Italian design should shine with it’s handling. And it does. It corners with absolute grace. If not for the fact that they use some really awful quality tyres. I do not know where these tyres are from but they do not belong in a chassis this fun to drive. It also doesn’t ride too badly. But too much force on the suspension will result in it snapping back a bit. Not too terrible though.
And then you get in the inside. 4 seats of a driving position designed with gorillas in mind. The steering is too far, and the pedals are to the right. The dashboard design is very pleasant, and you get a nice full carpet. But the quality of it is so awful. The materials are obviously not up to the standard to Japanese automobile. And as it go along the road the squeak and rattles are so bad that we wish it would come off so it would stop. Also, the radio already stopped working when we received the test example.
The stereotype of Italian design being lovely yet made with utterly awful craftsmanship has been decrease with the likes of Znopresk. But with the Ligrani the stereotype lives on. Avanti!
Fuel efficiency 6
JHW Sparrow 1300S @JohnWaldock
After the lovely but flawed Allicante, the JHW Sparrow seems a bit boring, but that’s not the point of owning poverty spec cars (although we stray from that quite a bit…). It’s a basic 4-door saloon with discreet, modern, bland design. The manufacturer promised sophisticated rust-proofing technique used so expect this to not be of any notice for a long time.
The engine is a 1.3-litre 4 cylinder unit. Producing 58hp. Still carburetted and use overhead camshaft design. It’s a nice enough unit. Smooth and quiet running with nice torque. But it does get a bit lazy at the top end. Combined with 4-speed gearbox with no overdrive. The acceleration of this 750kg car is actually rather good. 0-60 in 13.3 seconds. But the top speed is gearing limited at 88mph. The gearing for it is far too short and as a result, driving it at 70mph will return you a nice 4800rpm. No matter how smooth it is at idle, at motorway speed you’re going to bleed from the burst eardrum. It’s also rather uneconomical for the size because of exactly that.
Stepping inside and you’ll find 4 basic seating position. Not too large, but comfortable enough. No headrest or anything so excessive. No radio of course, expect to visit a branch of Halfords if you think this is for you. It’s as basic as it’s get. The driving position is sort of alright, not too terrible, but not too comfortable. It’s just that at motorway speed with no sound deadening this car really is loud. The actual fit is okay for the class, not too shabby, as expected with the price range.
It’s a shame as it’s manner on the road isn’t half bad either. It’s not a race car as expected with low grip 155 tyres. It handles with enough grace not to be particularly woeful. It also rides better than expected, although the passenger might find the ride a bit bouncy, car sick inducing in fact. And the steering is a bit squirrely when the roads gets rough.
This seems like a good choice at first. But you’ll have to forgive a lot of it’s shortcoming (mostly short gear ratio) to be able to enjoy it. But then what would you enjoy it with exactly? But it’ll at least give you a trouble free motoring for a really long time.
Fuel efficiency 3
Komodo Roviro New Clarion-S @koolkei
Komodo Roviro is yet another rather basic 4-door saloon. The New Clarion-S trim is the most basic Roviro you could get. This is an old rear wheel driven designed for developing market that’s been imported. A rather simple and common background story for a car in this class. It is yet again as though it’s been designed with a ruler. Although we find the taillight arrangement to be rather interesting.
As you try to get inside, you find something rather interesting. It comes with 4 key holes, which not even Bentley offered on their car. You do not need to unlock the front door to unlock the rear from the inside, you can use the key to unlock it from the outside. It’s a useful feature that nobody ever asked for. But we found it rather useful in some cases. Interesting that nobody ever thought of it before. As you get into it, you’ll find absolutely the same thing as the previously reviewed Sparrow. 4 basic seats, average quality for it’s class, and no radio. You’ll find that it’s adequately well put together.
The Roviro comes with a basic 4-cylinder engine. 1.5-litre. Overhead cam with multi valve (3 valves per cylinder). It’s still fueled by SU-style single carburettor. Only 54hp resulted from it. With the 5-speed gearbox that has long overdrive on both fourth and fifth, the acceleration from 0-60 is done in 16 seconds. Overtaking time also looking similarly grim. At least the top speed of 94mph is decent enough. It’s also only able to acheive disappointing 40mpg despite the long overdrive. But one nice thing that came out of it is that at 70mph it’s turning at only 2300rpm, however, don’t expect to be able to accelerate without changing down to third.
On road manners, this car handle rather good. It comes standard with rather nice set of tyres and the suspension setting is actually rather firm. This car will give confidence in direction changing due to it’s stiffer suspension. The New Clarion-S trim sadly do not come with the rear anti-roll bar. So if you went into the corner too fast, you’ll understeer quite a bit. And the stiff suspension has consequence in that it’s rather jiggly when the road gets tough, sending the passengers flying, with taller ones hitting the roofline quite easily.
It’s actually would be a rather good choice for anyone who want a sensible car that’s able to carry plenty of passenger. And it looks more interesting than the Sparrow while you have to deal with it being slower and less comfortable. At least the gearing makes it bearable on the motorway, if not for it’s overtaking time.
Fuel efficiency 5
F.I.L Deshevo 1600e @Trollercoaster
The F.I.L Deshevo is a very odd car. We had to double check if the price is correct, and it is. You’ll find out what we mean in a sec. It’s a 5-door family hatchback with futuristic jellymould design which probably will provoke some love/hate reaction to the people. It’s a very interesting car in a sense that it’s incredibly unusual in every single aspect.
When you open the bonnet of the Deshevo you’re greeted with the most baffling sight since the day of Leyland Princess. A transversely mounted front wheel drive car with 6 cylinder engine. 1600cc of displacement for the price. We had to check if this is not an attempt at the Princess revival, and it apparently isn’t. The air filter is also very weird, it’s the type the youths purchase from Halfords to put on their ten year old Escort. Is this car actually came from a reputable big manufacturer or was it assembled in the backyard? We’re not sure. Especially with it’s awful built quality that’s apparent before you even step inside.
71hp in a car weight 940kg. 0-60 is dealt with in 13.3 seconds and the top speed is 96mph. At start up the car indeed is buttery smooth compared to everything else, courtesy of balanced 6 cylinder engine. Overhead cam and fuel injected. It also sings the song of the proper 6 cylinder engine. That is to say we can hear it because it is quite loud. The gearbox is a 4-speed with 4th being a very long over drive, resulted in predictably awful overtaking time for it’s power. It also can only acheive 33mpg. At this point we’re still baffled by the smoothness of the 6 cylinder. A car this cheap shouldn’t be this smooth.
When it comes to the driving. The F.I.L will also baffled everyone with it’s incredibly light steering, courtesy of it’s power steering system. It’s also said to be equipped with Anti-lock brakes, although it’s brakes already does not lock when you stomp on it. What’s it for then? The handling itself is pretty good. With soft riding suspension, nicely balanced, it’s one of the best riding car in the comparison. It understeered safely when you push hard on it while it can corners relatively flat.
The ride quality however is spoiled by the hanging wires and the bare looking seats. It’ll fit 5 people in it relatively well, but it will not be a comfortable ride. And with intermittent lighting issues we’ve had on our test car. We’re not really sure if built quality is indeed on any pages of it’s engineering process. Perhaps that’s the reflection of it’s low price?
An increbibly ambitious design that put features from a much more luxurious cars into a cheap, poverty market package. The corners has to be cut somewhere to make it affordable. It’s a nice concept that’s ultimately not going to last very long. In the end, we’re quite fond of it. Perhaps it’s normal for human to love slightly imperfect things? It’s certain though that we love to find the good sort of surprise. No matter if it’s no surprise that it won’t last.
Fuel efficiency 4
RAM FS1200 @pyrlix
Respondek Automobil FS1200 is a conventional looking car from the front, and weird looking tail section, with rather oddly shaped lip on the back. A 4-door compact family saloon, another cheap price tag that also reflects on it’s built quality. So is it any good then?
After stepping out of the F.I.L Deshevo, the RAM FS1200 shaking it’s start up came as a bit of a shock. Another 3-cylinder design with 1.2-litre of displacement. Overhead camshaft with 2 valves. It also comes with a very modern multi point fuel injection system, which promised better drivability and fuel consumption. The engine thus produces 54 modernist horsepower. Powering the nice 5-speed gearbox with 5th as overdrive. 0-60 is done in 15.4 seconds while the top speed is nearly 100mph. It’s also able to acheive a decent 46mpg. It’s quite heavy at 870kg and the horsepower number is low. So leisurly acceleration time come to no surprise of anyone.
The handling of the car is not too shabby. Understeering as with any front wheel driven design. It corners a lot flatter than you’d expect, and the ride quality in the front is not too bad. But if you sit in the back, you’ll find that it’s bouncy. It’s nearly as if the front and the back was designed by different group of people. That extends from the outside styling perhaps? Another feature of note is that all FS1200 comes with Anti-lock braking system as standard. Which is rather nice to have and quite a bit of surprise in this price point. (Perhaps not after the Deshevo).
Stepping inside you’ll find 5 seats that are actually rather comfortable looking. And it does come with full carpeting. Although we cannot say that the quality matches with the car such as similarly well appointed Dynamite LC-4 or Sosumi Tanto. It also comes with a radio with cassette player.
The built quality is poor on the body works. Paints have a lot of imperfections. And that makes us skeptical on it’s rust proofing. Although RAM said the chassis’s been treated with zinc.
In the end, we think that RAM FS1200 can be a really good family saloon, especially for it’s price. If you treat it with Waxoil rust proofing it could indeed be a really nice sorted automobile. But don’t put any children in the back or else you’ll have to clean the seats and the carpet very soon.
Fuel efficiency 7
CM Halifax TS-C @thecarlover
A return to another rather sporty looking 3-door coupe/hatchback if not for the fact that our test vehicle came in this diarrhoea brown paintjob. Apart from the ghastly colour, the CM Halifax is a decent looking basic motoring.
1600cc Inline 4 engine is powering the rear wheels. 69hp is available for propelling this machine. It’s a basic 2 valves overhead cam unit with standard fuel injection. It has a nice balance between rev happiness and usable torque at low rpm. The gearbox is a 4 speed with 4th being a really long over drive. This car weigh in at only 830kg due to it’s unique use of lightweight materials on the body panels. Which mean it’s practically a rocket ship with 0-60 time of only 11.9 seconds and the top speed of 99mph. The overtaking manuover isn’t so precarious either. It’s also not too thristy with us able to achieve 42mpg. Excellent stuff for the price point.
Stepping inside and you’ll find 4 basic seats that aren’t too small for normal people. With big emphasis on “normal”. It’s another bare bone interior with no carpets and drab finishing. At least the radio and some of the quality is there.
It’s road characteristic can only be describe as bouncy. On a properly maintained road in Austria it’s probably a joy to make quick direction changes as the body leans very little. But with a very little amount of potholes and the chassis vice will come through very clearly. It’s an incredibly rough riding car that isn’t help by the uncomfortable interior. And when push beyond it’s limit the front will wash wide because the rear anti-roll bar is so thin and soft. A mixed bag that ends up being rather “unoptimum”.
The built quality seems to be very decent. And the car itself is useful in many aspect. It’s also very cheap and quite quick. You’ll just have to learn to accept the sado-masochism lifestyle that will certainly comes with owning one of these. We don’t recommend it to people with children.
Fuel efficiency 6
TM Sinapp 1.1 @accent
The TM Sinapp is a funky looking little 3-door hatchback with the most fitting tagline to the class the car is in. “It goes”. But we’re not quite sure that’s entirely the truth. At least on the outside it looks actually okay with it’s nice proportion, twin headlights, popping (not literally, hopefully) paints and a tiny little airvent on it’s bonnet.
Another 4-cylinder engine, acceptably smooth 1100cc unit producing 50hp. It’s also another fuelling by SU-type carburettor engine, but in a twin arrangement. The noise it produce is a lot like some yobbo putting motorbike exhaust on their Austin Metro. Perhaps that’s what this engine is? Anyhow. We find it to be a perfectly acceptable unit if underpowered. Coupled with a 5-speed gearbox, it’s 0-60 time of 15.9 seconds is merely average. And it doesn’t accelerate very well from 50 to 75. Perhaps that’s to be expected now. And to think that it’s a 50hp 780kg car, 40mpg is kind of disappointing with every throttle use bringing that number down very quickly. It goes? Well it kind of does. But not really.
It’s a cheap car, and it’s interior is nothing but. A basic barebone interior with a nice addition of a cheap radio. It seats 4 in relative comfort, as long as the rear passenger is not much larger than small child or the driver is excessively obese. The built quality is not bad although we would not call it special either.
To drive, this car is a lot nicer than you’d expected. The turn in is a lot better than a lot of other cars in this poverty class, and with 175 tyres it’s actually very grippy in the bends. The ride quality is also pretty decent, but not weighing down the rear will make the back of the car very bouncy. Which does not help the fact that brake proportioning is woeful. Stomping on the pedal will make the back swing around very quickly, making the car pointing in the different direction you’re intended to.
A basic hatchback that is basic. Funky looking. It’s relatively comfortable, spacious, and practical. What more could you want from it? Better brakes and another 200cc in it’s engine perhaps. It’s a very cheap package that does everything merely averagely. But as a whole it’s not too shabby either.
Fuel efficiency 5
Sofa 1100-E @nerd
I cannot remember the last time we saw a Sofa. The funny looking little communist car is still in production, and somehow is still available to purchase in the UK. It’s age certainly show with it’s inherent design characteristic. And it’s very obviously a 1960’s design that’s barely updated for 1985. It’s not as cheap as you might expect (The AAU is cheaper than it). But it might just as well be the cheapest feeling car you’ll ever find on the road today.
Let’s begin with the outside, shall we? It’s a car with very weird looks. Sloping tails that we cannot think could’ve been good for aerodynamic. The paints already bubling with our brand new test example. And the fit and finish is catastrophically horrible. It’s clear that the tooling’s worn out long ago. At least the chassis, although basic and old fashioned, doesn’t seem to be rusting like it’s bodywork. Trying to get inside is very difficult as the door handle felt like it could just break off immediately, and the key barrel clearly is already worn like it’s 10 years old. When you mange to get in, you’ll find 4 seats that might as well be lawnchairs strapped to the floor. It does come with a radio, although the one we got isn’t working very well.
Starting the engine up, and the 4-cylinder 1100cc engine cough into life with difficulties. It doesn’t help that the choke handle broke off in our hand. 38.7hp (they put emphasis on the .7) is not enough for 860kg the car weighs. Especially with 4-speed gearbox that might as well be a game of Russian Roulette. You never know what gears you’ll get, and you certainly will never know when it’s already there. 0-60 time of 24.3 somehow is even slower than the Fiat 126 with it’s wheezy 2-cylinder engine. And the top speed is only 79. You’ll certainly drive anywhere flat out with this car. Which means you’ll never get the 22mpg fuel economy that we’ve manage at Millbrook proving ground, where there’s no traffic.
Road manners are just as comical as the engine. The front suspension is way too stiff. While the back is rather smooth, the front of the car isn’t. We don’t think the front and the back is even connected at all. The steering is stiff and heavy, making it very hard to operate. And with that we don’t even want to know if the car is oversteery or understeery, as we don’t want to try steer too hard with speed, or we might crash when the steering wheel came off the car. At least it stops perfectly well. Perhaps the best part of this car indeed.
An archaic, badly built, funny looking, tin can on wheels. We don’t think it’s incredibly safe either (not even with the standard airbag, we aren’t even sure if the explosive in that thing isn’t reused from some old Russian warhead). Slow and uneconomical. And it’s not even cheap! But this car tells us something. It told us a very important message. Even though people think magazines such as yours truly have no place in today’s world because no cars are truly bad anymore. The Sofa 1100-E tell us otherwise. This is a car that you never should even come near with a barge pole. If you happens to see one in traffic on a journey, you should immediately make a u-turn and go home.
Fuel efficiency -5