Don't worry, cpufreak. You happen to be next!
17th of 20
Company: Galt Automtive
Slow. Boring. Practical. Value. Those are the four words that, in a nutshell, sum up this car.
This could be the start of the people’s car of the future! It is a practical and efficient car with quite a unique, but potentially gaudy, look. The aluminum body panels are adequately thick for an eco car, but it does still weight about 3250lbs (1470kg) on its AWD AHS Steel platform. Pretty high tech, especially when you consider the $22,700 price tag. So you’ll want to get inside. How’s it in there? Well, the seats are ok, similar to a 2007 Prius, providing support and descent comfort, but are by no means luxurious. What is luxurious for this price bracket is the high tech HUD system. In this price class, it’s great to see!
So I’m ready for a drive, let’s try it. Is it going to surprise us with power? Or are we going to find out the reason this 40MPG good sized eco car is this inexpensive. Unfortunately, it’s the latter. As soon as you fire it up, you know you won’t be going anywhere in a hurry. It produces the sound of a heavily muffled tiny engine with a hint of turbo whine. And that’s exactly what it is…
Punch it at a stop light, the short gears allow the engine to wind up and the AWD grip initially provides the illusion that the car is accelerating quickly, as the engine flies through the RPMs, the Auto transmission quickly shifting gear to gear. But it’s just that, an illusion. Slow doesn’t begin to define how this goes. With a 0-100kph in 16.1 seconds and 20.55 seconds in the quarter mile, this is likely one of the slowest gas only cars on the market. Almost every hybrid is faster, and some for not much more money. So if speed is important to you, this is not your bag.
The engine is not without its merits, though. It makes good of what displacement it has, all 1169cc of it. The turbo spools relatively early at 2600RPMs, providing mid-range pull that allows the car to move a little bit without seriously burning through gas. In fact, nothing you do makes this car burn gas. I went to the middle of Kansas, I just punched it on a straight road for 15 minutes. Eventually, I somehow made it to 110MPH, but it took several minutes; a tribute to the low drag. But I don’t think the gas gauge moved. In fact, the large tank means you can go 600 to 800 miles without refueling. Incredible!
So it’s slow, is fun to drive? No. The Air suspension is heavily comfort tuned, so you’ll likely fall asleep driving to your destination. Great as a passenger, not so great as the driver. This is a nice car to ride in on the highway with no traffic just to get somewhere. Set the cruise control, play with the tech, and be very comfortable. For that, it’s fantastic. Many ‘luxury’ cars costing double or triple the price can’t provide this aura. But here’s the kicker. It didn’t do enough to bring the car into the luxury category. The mediocre seats and interior paneling remind very kindly that, well, you’re not in a luxury car. And the tiny engine adds a lot of vibrations cursing at high speeds, as it has to ride the boost curve pretty heavily to work at highway speeds. Luckily it’s quiet or the drone could kill!
But to the point, the handling is just plain awful! Sure, it’s ok at low speeds and slow maneuvers, but it falls apart when you push it at all. The primary culprit? Well the suspension’s comfy, but it also keeps the car pretty level. So the issue turns out to be the 135mm tires. With a car this heavy, they just don’t have the grip to turn. Or stop. Heck, this tiny engine can even spin all 4 wheels at a launch, thanks to the short gears and tiny tires. Again, seeming like it might be quick, but not really going anywhere. And luckily it’s not very fast, because the brakes are abysmal, many thanks to the tires that just don’t give you any grip.
So in a nutshell, this is car for those who want a new high tech car, but can’t afford a new hybrid. They want gadgets and goodies, but they can’t afford a luxury car. All in all, it’s basic eco transportation and a descent car for a long road trip.
The Efficient Future Rank: 17th/20 @ 1153.1 points
Summary: This car scores huge points for its low price point, eco friendly setup, comfort and practicality. But, it incurs a huge penalty in many ways because it’s just REALLY slow with squishy suspension and no brakes.
Carskick’s Overall Subjective Score: 5.5/10
Summary: Despite it being a true economy car in every sense, it fails in so many ways in terms of drivability, performance, braking, etc. Maybe I’d buy it for my daughter as her first car.