VVL doesn’t help performance much, but adds a lot of weight. It helps mainly efficiency and maybe drivability.
One seat: weight reduction. The car was only 0.4kg under the weight of a V8 Supercar
The Company Car - issue 09/1971
Five-door hatchback cars with FWD and a lenght of approx. 3,8 meters and a weight of under a ton are the future, at least it looks that way studying the manufacter’s portfolio. So why shouldn’t they find their way into your fleet? Their practicality is definitely a pro, as well as their rather economical size. Today we compare the
FAAL Mesaia 1.6 CL,
not even half a year available at your local dealership in its MK3 version, to the
CMT Nexus 1.4 C,
not even officially on sale yet, although we managed to get a dealer’s car today, so production must have started some days ago. GL means a mid-trim Mesaia, while the C is the entry-level Nexus model.
The Faal is some 20 kilogram heavier (921) and a few centimeters longer than the CMT, but significantly wider. A fact you acutally can not notice in the interior, strange as both are five-seaters. The CMT feels less cramped in the rear seats, as the cargo area is real short, the body is more wagon-like than the FAAL.
The interior in the FAAL has a standard level with a basic AM radio that sounds not that good, luckily you do not have to turn the volume up that much, as the engine is very quiet. In the CMT you will find exactly the same, with the difference that its engine is much louder and dominates the cabin noise.
The CMT carries respectable 344 Liters cargo (total volume: 1260L), but 308 kg load capacity are not impressive. The FAAL is able to handle 700 kg, a very impressive amount, and 587 liter cargo, but sacrificing rear seating room.
A good reason for both cars is the standard power steering, increasing the driving safety as well as their dashboards using soft materials. The steering wheels are designed to bend in case of an accident, and sharp plastic parts that cut your skin in half are eleminated where it is possible by todays standards. Both cars even offer layered crumble-glass.
DRIVE & FEEL
Although both offer the same performance on the paper (14 seconds to 100 kph, 150 kph top speed) the CMT feels a lot faster than it is. The reason is the impressive throttle response, especially compared to the FAAL the CMT feels like it can read your mind even before you press the pedal. It is not even nervous - just responsive. This can not be said for the FAAL that feels like a tired senior. On a twisty road the FAAL reveals its terrible understeering. dangerous in wide and fast corners that become suddenly narrow. We even refuse to call this an actual handling. The CMT tends to understeer as well, but behaves much more neutral, controllable even in difficult corners without needing to brake - it is often enough to lift the gas. The difference is not comprehensible as both share the same contemporary suspension layout and even having the same weight distribution 63/37.
Even the brake layout is the same, but here the cars recieve almost identical results on a pretty good level, with a slight advantage for the CMT.
When it comes to effortless commuting, the FAAL sets itself apart from the CMT. The engine is overall more quiet, and the gearing of the transmission (both come with standard four-speed manual) is longer, revving less than 3000 rpm at 100 kph highway speed.
COST & ECONOMY
The CMT needs even the same amount of fuel per 100 kilometers, being thrifty with a consumption of 10,5 liter, but annual maintenance costs are $ 30 higher, mainly the fault of its complex mechanical fuel injection system while FAAL uses a rather simple carburetor system. As these cars are contemporary in many ways, they manage to run on 91 RON unleaded fuel, although it is not mandatory yet. But it is hard to understand why the CMT with a 200ccm smaller engine and injection accellerating the same mass is not thriftier. Yes, the basic engine design is a 1964 carryover while FAAL uses a completely new engine, but the variant is all-new for 1971.
So far, so good - looks like there is no real winner - until you calculate the price. Fleet purchases are mainly a question of the price tag, and the FAAL is yours for a 7.666 $ - not too much for a city car with decent utility. The CMT requires a hefty 10.000 $ to add your company’s fleet - too much even for a modern hatchback, mainly a fault of the use of fuel injection and rust-resistant materials both for chassis and sheetmetal. Those engineer’s quirks are a boon for enthusiasts, but for a preferably as-cheap-and-simple-as-possible fleet car that needs to last at maximum five years until it’s written off those things are a rather unpopular choice.
If you plan to keep your car as long as possible AND you put emphasis on fun and handling, the CMT Nexus 1.4 C is definitely the better choice. The rest may be better off with the new FAAL Mesaia 1.6 GL.
Send me your cars for a review if you want. It’s very silent here…
Happy to submit my lore cars, what sort of cars are you looking for?
(most of mine are either boring, quirky, or flawed, but I try to make them at least kinda realistic)
Issue 02/2019 - Tanaka Ereteca 2.0G
More and more vans are dropped for SUVs - one of the last survivors is the upcoming Tanaka Ereteca for 2020. This car is so new that we even tested a prototype masked with some white foil. A classical large seven-seater with two sliding doors, although the 4,60 meter length makes it garageable.
The interior could be larger, but the third row is surprisingly good.
The main reason why the buyers switch to to SUVs are the looks, and Tanaka was well aware of the fact, making a very sharp design for the people carrier that does not stay far behind most SUVs when it comes to coolness.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS AND INTERIOR
The Ereteca offers a good balance between luxury approach and affordability. The leather seats are nice as the walnut wood trim and the automatic climate control that manages to cool down the large amount of air in such a van quite quick, and the infotainment with six speakers sounds good, and the connectivity to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay works fine. The touchscreen is quite sensitive, obviously made for small asian hands - we rarely hit what we wanted in the beginning, later we got used to it.
A good van is the one that feels like an usual station wagon. Tanaka must have known that, as the Ereteca handles astonishingly well despite its heavy 1,9-ton-weight. The variable steering adapts fine to city and highway use, and the dampening is well tuned to make use of the very sophisticated construction.
It’s not only the looks that make people buy SUVs. It’s also sportiness! Yep, we consider huge cars as sporty. How could it have come so far? But the Tanaka is no worse, sweeping nimble through the streets of San Fierro, Gasmea, handling no worse than a CMT Magellan that is considered as a good-handling SUV.
The engine is state-of-the-art, but following the boring usual reciepe: A turbocharged two-liter four-cylinder, fueled by direct injection, just like all the mainstream. The Tanaka 20DI-CI is one of the better, responsive like in a sport hatch, which fits well the design but feels somehow overambitous in a van. The non-constant and up-down-up-down torque curve is bizarre on the data sheet, but allows for lagless driving without overwhelming punch. 220 horsepower feel just like the right amount of power, propelling this wardrobe to 100 kph in 9 seconds. The top speed is claimed with 237 kph, we went up to 210 and it felt still secure although the bad aerodynamic of a van caused it to be already stressed at that speed.
The Tanaka does not aim for John Doe officeworker who tries to feed four kids, pay the mortgage on the house and needs to buy his wife a few shoes each month from his average salary. The Tanaka is estimated to be offered between $ 25.000 and 27.500, clearly aiming for a premium family car, but not more than a comparable premium midsize sedan like the CMT Atlas. The rest is manageable: $ 988 servicing cost are no bargain, but all recent cars feature such complex technology that we must get used to the fact that everything below 1000 is not bad. The consumption is ridiculously low, as we needed only 7,5 liter premium gas and we were quite heavy on the pedal. The data sheet tells us 6 liter, and this does not seem unrealistic.
There is only one thing that a SUV can still do better: The Ereteca fails even on light offroad, where a CMT Magellan still gets quite far.
WHO SHOULD BUY IT?
A thrifty, but not too large van is always a good taxi. The Tanaka Ereteca looks even so good that it can serve in a limousine service, as the ride is comfortable and the trim quite ok, offering enough goodies for a premium transportation experience. If your company has to pick up VIPs from the airport frequently, the Ereteca would make a good job. Sales representatives could take a closer look, as the long-distance comfort is good and the economy great, and the interior can carry quite a few goods.
And when it comes to cabooses - the one or other lower-to-medium-management employee with a large family might accept it instead of a SUV that is mostly even more expensive.
The Ereteca shows that the times of a van are still not completely over. Tanaka carefully studied what makes SUV so succesful and went for a daring, sporty design and put a strong emphasis on handling. As most competitors have given up, there is hardly a better van on the market. Although the name awakened sexual interest as we read “Erection” first, the E R E T E C A is a reason to look foward to 2020.
The Company Car - Issue 01/1968
If you have some $30.000 to spend for a car, you are a lucky guy. Car companies like people like you and offer you some exclusive vehicles. The newest arrival on the market is the Saint 200L, a monumental 5,07 meter heavy cruiser. The new market leader is the still brand-new CMT Excelsior 70, and why not comparing these two?
FIRST IMPRESSIONS AND INTERIOR
While the CMT looks very reduced and avantgardistic, the Saint comes with loads of ornamental chrome and baroque, celebrating abundance and the good old glory days. This is still the case when taking a closer look, as CMT abandoned the classic ladder frame for a monocoque - the Saint 200 still has a frame - and leaf springs in the rear.
A different approach is also followed in the interior: The CMT is a four-seater offering more for fewer. The Saint understands itself as a fully-serving family car and offers six seats in an otherwise totally luxorious interior with power everything, just like the CMT. The latter is definitely the more comfortable car to sit in, but nevertheless it is an interessing fact that the Saint might be one of the last luxury six-seaters, as such an arrangement comes only with the base V6 engine in the Excelsior and even Candyllacs switch to front bucket seats.
Both suffer from their plus-size, the CMT even more with 30 centimeter more length. The ride in the Saint 200 is wallowy and feels like having pillows instead of dampeners, especially noticeable when dashing down the roads of San Fierro. This leads to the problem that the car lacks guidance onroad, instead of turning it moves somehow in a direction when you turn the wheel. The highway road manners are excellent, the ride is quiet and smooth and other than the CMT, no wheelspin makes the car nervous while accelerating.
The CMT combines a high ride with firmer suspension what feels a little stiff, but a hydropneumatic suspension, some latest-technology-feature only the 7-Liter-Excelsior has, conceals the awkward laxout. The CMT is definitely the more obedient car on a twisty road which might be part of its overall concept as it is designed as a world car and not only for Gasmea where a straight line is almost everything you see. The Excelsior is a little louder and does not have such a pleasant and warming roar like the Saint, it sounds more like its muscle car relative.
The engines are different as well: On the one hand a 7-liter and 16-valve-OHC V8 that returns massive 395 horsepower, on the other hand a 5-liter 32-valve-OHC with still-a-lot 340 horses, both with two four-barrel carburetors and thirst for expensive premium leaded gas. Although the quality of the automatic transmissions is almost identical, the CMT is much faster and feels like 150 horsepower more instead of only 55, mainly a reason of its better torque and massive low-end power, while the Saint has a more agressive camshaft aiming for maximum power at high rpm. The gearing of the Saint is maxed to drivability and smoothness, totally contradicting the high-revving V8 engine, and the tamed drivetrain feels a little over the top, so we were interessed in actual statistics.
Both cars go over 230 kph top speed - needlessly fast, indeed. But the CMT almost flies to 100kph in only 7,6 seconds, the Saint needs shocking 17,5! Quarter mile times are 15,9 seconds and 22,8. While the CMT is really no thrifty car, guzzling 26 liter gas with ease, the Saint needs terrifying 32 liter.
Both cars are quite expensive with $30.000, almost the price of an average apartment. The running and maintenance costs are nothing for the average man either.
The Saint has the advantage of totally rust-free materials for both frame and body, while the CMT only has a galvanized monocoque, so we expect the Saint 200L to serve ten years or more without major body repairs. The mechanical part seems solid either.
The CMT clearly defeats the Saint. The Excelsior aims for the masses that want the perfect car, fast, controllable, featuring ultimate comfort and compliant yet outstanding design. The Excelsior 70 is both a math nerd and a football ace. You can love it or hate it for that, but the CMT Excelsior in it’s three versions is definitely the best buy in the premium and luxury class in the range from $16.200 to $32.300.
The Saint 200L is aiming for those that would be bored by the CMTs superlatives. No car in this class is so contradictory, offering finest materials and latest comfort features in a six seater layout, mating a high-pitched engine to a grandpa-like gearing. The ornate and overdone chrome-style fits it like a tailored suit. We doubt you will be able to resell this too-oldschool-car it in five years when everybody sells his or her kidney for an used Excelsior 70 in mint condition, so we like its bulletproof chassis and materials as this car really looks for a long-term relationship.
The Company car - Issue 03/1965 - F.S.A. Aetna 1600 vs CMT Familia 2000 SX
The 90-horsepower midsize sport sedan class is definitely a wise choice for young entrepreneurs - these cars are representative enough, but they show you’re a modest man wisley spending the money your customers pay you. You started a succesful business, but you keep your feet on the ground. Many cars to choose from, the latest comes from Southern Frunia - the FSA Aetna. Its rugged design tells your customers you’re a higly individual personality, and you put emphasis on what you drive and how you drive.
Next to it we have one of the most solid choices, the CMT Familia, that recieved a new 2.0 liter engine last year, allowing for 90 horsepower - the former entry level SL trim had 75 coming from 1600ccm.
The Familia looks a lot simpler and smoother than the Aetna, but you might consider it dated, as the car is from 1959 and had no design change since its debut. It is the conservative choice among sport sedans - and so is it’s engine. The 2,0 liter OHC is made of cast iron, has cast iron internals and 8 valves. Fuel comes from two single-barrel eco carburetors- boring usual stuff, the tubular manifold and performance intake seem like a desperate try to conceal that CMTs latest four-cylinder engine lacks real innovations and hardly differs from the old one.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS AND INTERIOR
The CMT Familia might be an entry-level car engine wise, but the interior is fully premium. The materials are excellent, the stereo has a clear sound and brilliant reception even in rural areas, and power steering is also standard as well as progressive springs. The safety standard is as high as possible, soft materials on the dashboard, a breakable steering column, reinforced door locks that even work when dented and a laminated windscreen are more than just state of the art.
The five-seat interior is quite spacious, fitting four adults well on long trips, and it is fully usable as family car if not in duty to get you to your customers.
The Aetna has a much tighter interior with only four seats. The low load capacity also disqualifies it as serious family car. The materials are on the same quality level than in the CMT, but workmanship is not as refined, but this is actually belonging to the DNA of Southern Frunian cars. The stereo is not as good as in the CMT, but not bad either. You don’t need it very often, as the CMT sounds like a vacuum cleaner, but the FSA engine yells for flooring it with a sporty noise. A car that wants to be driven hard would need a good safety as the CMT, but sadly there is nothing standing out. The glass will break into sharp pieces, the steering column will crush your torso, at least the door locks seem quite stable even after an accident. We don’t want to try it out. CMT wins here.
The Aetna keeps the promise the look makes and offers latest innovative technology. It comes with all-independent wheels, front and rear double wishbone suspension - miles better than the CMT with front McPherson struts and rear coil spring solid axle. The engine is also derived from race technology. Aluminium head, forged internals, two overhead camshafts - this is a lot more sophisticated than almost all competitors in this class. We miss a little the four-valve-per-cylinder layout from the race engines as this would have been the ultimate addition. A two-barrel carburetor and a race intake help performance even more, so that the car has the same power (92 hp, so even two more) as the CMT with only 1600ccm displacement.
In terms of smoothness and response the Aetna clearly sets apart from the CMT - as well as in handling. The CMTs front wheels struggle with harsh and quick steering maneuvers, and the rear axle lacks tackiness on a twisty and bouncy country road. Countersteering is quite easy on the CMT due to the firm suspension and you do not need to be Jim Clark to conquer back control, but the competitor is just miles better. The F.S.A. stays mostly neutral and does not know neither stubborn understeer nor a suddenly breaking out rear. Braking is another advantage for the F.S.A, as it has four disc brakes, needing a shorter distance to standstill and having less locking on the brakes.
If you thought it would be a harsh ride, we might surprise you. The CMT setup is stiffer, as the engineers tried to allow engaged driving with the simple suspension layout. The F.S.A. that is even a lot more comfortable on bad roads might be the new benchmark here and is highly addictive, especially when driving in its home area.
On a straight line, the CMT does not catch up, as the acceleration is 12,8 seconds to 100 compared to 12,1. The top speed is identical with 158 kph. Not that the CMT is bad, it is acutally quite good, but it does not set the benchmark here. Not at all.
A fun fact is that both cars are offered for the same price of $15.200. So which one is the better purchase?
The consumption is almost identical, 13,6 liter for the CMT and 13,7 for the F.S.A. so if you’re driving a lot this does not count for a descision. The mainteance cost might be more interesting, but definitely not deciding. The F.S.A. that is a lot more technologically advanced requires a hefty $ 840,60. The CMT 769,30 which is also not cheap.
The CMT is by far more reliable, especially the complex engine causes the F.S.A trouble. But this might not surprise you as it’s a car confirming all stereotypes of Southern Frunian cars. Except one. While the CMT is a steel-only car, the F.S.A. seems to be far more rust resistant with galvanized chassis and panels. Which does not score as it could if the car dies early from engine failure… But neither does the reliability help the CMT when rusted to pieces.
The F.S.A. wins for us… It is by far more fun, has a lot more individuality and all that for similar costs. The CMT might be the better choice if you’re up to use your company car as family car and you do need to trust on a good reliability, maybe because there is no train station near you and/or your customers. The much better safety might also be a reason for the CMT, but the better handling of the F.S.A. might avoid the one or other crash.
F.S.A (Fabbrica Sikelia Automobili)