After a strained night’s sleep, Viktor’s alarm clock woke him up. With much difficulty, he sat on his bed holding his aching head. He stayed up much too late last night scouring the internet in search of reviews for his top-pick of cars. He remembered how people praised the Fahrzeug V2 for being one of the best rear-engined vehicles in the world, and how the Mitaishi SRV-X has won so many awards from various car magazines. Viktor also remembered how many families loved the GAC SKV-18, and spoke of the vehicle as a family member; something that he can relate to with his own Buhanka. He also noted how the Boyd Carrier won several awards for initial quality and reliability, and how the H.A 755 that captured Viktor’s eyes also received much praise as being an excellent all-round vehicle.
Viktor also visited quite a few forums for off-road enthusiasts, and while nearly all of Viktor’s choices received high regards; the FOA Ranger had the highest praise. Apparently the Ranger was a mainstay in many off-roading competitions as well. Oddly enough, the same FOA Ranger also received praise from the Greens for being the most fuel efficient and the most ecologically friendly off-road capable vehicle ever sold. “That says a lot coming from those tree-huggers” thought Viktor.
Viktor commited to his morning procedures while constantly revolving all the cars in his head. Three of the cars had particular advantages over the rest, and the other three were jack of all trades. Viktor honestly liked them all… but he needed to select one for his company. Viktor even considered getting more than one type of vehicle, but realized that it would be a logistical nightmare; even with a fleet of just six. Viktor always kept a stock of spare Buhanka parts around his garage in case a member of his fleet had a failure or breakage. Towing a car 30km back from the middle of nowhere in mud and snow isn’t a reasonable task, so his men would conduct emergency repairs on the spot after he delivered the required part to them.
Viktor looked at the time and realized that he needs to start getting ready for his trip to the dealership. In the process, he narrowed down his choices to two, and decided that it he would further narrow it down to one by the time he gets there. Viktor packed up all the documents he had into a folder and took them with him. After a stop at the bank to withdrawal a couple thousand in case the dealer requires a sizable down-payment, he set off into the city.
Time to announce the runners-up and the winner! (My unfortunate trait of being extremely indecisive is also part of the very last delay)
#6 - @Sillyducky - what you accomplished using just rear wheel drive is amazing.
#5 - @thecarlover - I’m in love with this vehicle’s aesthetics, and it has competitive stats.
#4 - @Rk38 / @Koolkei - Great stats across the board.
#3 - @Leonardo9613 / @titleguy1 - Great stats across the board, with the superlatives of best drivability and best comfort.
#2 - @Leedar - Best reliability, great practicality, and solid off-road ability.
#1 - @TR8R - Best off-road, best fuel economy, and all other stats are very high.
It felt awful having to pick a winner… I know you guys spent a lot of time and effort into this; and I did as well.
Now; the last part of the story.
As Viktor drove into the city; he finally made a decision. Viktor was going to buy FOA Rangers for his company. Viktor remembered how many times he and his men had to help pull people out of the mud and snow. The roads were harsh and unforgiving in his territory, and only a very narrow assortment of vehicles were capable of safely traversing them. Lately the weather in Russia has been getting more extreme with heavy rains and flooding. This was the first year in his life that Viktor had to refuse to make trips to certain areas because of how bad the conditions were. His men are skilled and his Loafs capable. If they say that it’s too risky, then Viktor listens. He does not take it lightly. Viktor knew that he could not replace his fleet with a less off-road capable vehicle; and so came his decision to purchase the FOA Ranger over the Boyd Carrier. Viktor also expected fuel expenses to drop significantly compared to his current fleet, and it may allow him to expand his area of influence and take longer distance trips.
The only doubt left in Viktor’s mind was that the FOA Ranger did not win as many reliability awards as the Boyd Carrier, but Viktor saw no complaints of the FOA Ranger either. The only questionable feature of the design was the use of coated low-friction pistons, but the award-winning Boyd used them as well. Viktor even saw the all-aluminum engine as an advantage; since he did not have to worry about a hot iron block cracking if he had to drive into icy water.
Viktor arrived at the FOA dealship, parked his Buhanka, and entered the building with his documents in hand. The bureaucratic process took a little over two hours, and a tired Viktor emerged from the building to grab the money that he had withdrawn earlier today. Viktor put down a down-payment for six Rangers, and after another hour in the building, returned to his Loaf. As he sat there waiting for his Loaf to heat up… he had mixed feelings. He was happy that the deed was finally done… but he also felt remorse for betraying his fleet of Loafs. “Sadly, they do not last forever”, he thought, as he rubbed the steering wheel; polished smooth and shiney from all the years of use. Viktor returned home, and notified all his employees that new cars would be arriving soon.
Just under two weeks have passed, and the new Rangers arrived at Viktor’s base of operations. His older drivers were naturally very skeptical of the new cars, but Viktor’s youngest driver praised the Ranger immediately because of the off-roading TV shows he has seen them participate in. He said they were solid machines. With time, all of Viktor’s drivers came to trust their Rangers. The drivers enjoyed the much more comfortable interiors and better heaters compared to their previous Loafs. The drivers praised the off-road prowess of the vehicles, one going as far as saying it is superior to everyone’s beloved Loaf. Viktor’s customers also came to love the Rangers. They weren’t as cute as the old vans they were used to, but their distinctive yellow paint made them instantly recognizable. They were certainly more passenger friendly too, with comfortable seats, a warm interior, and good sound insulation.
However, Viktor made sure to not betray his Loafs that have served him all these years. He merely put them at rest. Viktor’s base of operations consisted of a large garage with a small lot in front of it where his fleet was parked. The land was his, and it was fenced in. There was a narrow but long area behind the garage that was also his; it was filled with random semi-useful garbage such as worn parts, a burned down UAZ-496 that he found in the woods, an old engine from a Volga, a couple of old axles, a few steel rims, old tires, and more. During the two weeks that he was waiting for the Rangers to arrive, Viktor set out on a massive project to clean up that area and get rid of all the garbage. That area… would be where his Buhankas would rest. Viktor had three of them parked end to end, with the forth parked on the side of the garage, blocking access to the rest. Space was tight, but they all fit. Viktor covered them all with a tarp to shield them from the elements until he could think of something a little more permanent.
Viktor had plans for the fifh and sixth Loaf. His fifth; the oldest and most worn of them all, would be stripped of its engine, most of the running gear, and interior leaving just a shell with wheels. Viktor called a local construction company to make use of their crane, and ordered them to hoist the fifth Loaf up onto the roof of his garage; where it would stand as a monument for his company. The sixth Loaf; was Viktor’s own. He decided that he would restore it and keep it as his personal vehicle. The new Rangers are the workhorses now, but the Loaf was a memory that he wanted to keep alive.
A round of applause for @TR8R; the winner of CSR 52.