Round 2: Test Drives
Sometimes it’s good to get out of the house.
After drawing up their lists, Gabi and Michael begin the arduous task of flipping through the phone book and ringing up twelve different car dealers.
“Couldn’t we have just looked at different models of the same car?” Gabi said. “Even if we’re only going around to different places in the city, this is going to take a long time…”
Michael set the handset of their apartment’s telephone down onto its cradle. “Bad news, Gabi… you know how Reduit hasn’t been doing so well lately?”
Gabi squeezed her eyes shut. “Where’s the nearest dealer. Let me guess. Hamburg. Hannover.”
Michael shook his head. “Köln.”
Note: Entries are listed in order of price, cheapest first.
Hakaru Presage Lanio RT-IV Special - @Executive
Michael’s Thoughts: It looks really slick with its popup headlights, and the all-wheel drive system is a nice touch, but it still feels too restrained for my tastes.
Gabi’s Thoughts: If it were only up to me, I’d be tempted to call the dealer right here and now – safety is concerning, but I really like it otherwise. Michael looked as though he was going to fall asleep during the test drive, though…
Shinrai Nandemoya - @Deltaz
Michael’s Thoughts: It looks like a spaceship, and it’s got the technology to match. It might not stand out in sporty feel or comfort, and it definitely felt a little technically underbaked, but the spec sheet is pretty nice – and Gabi really seems to like it.
Gabi’s Thoughts: It’s cheap to run, it’s shockingly good on fuel, it’s got a modern safety system, and it goes for 28.000 AMU. I really like this one.
Cabirou Montpelier LE - @donutsnail
Michael’s Thoughts: The Cabirou’s not very technically ambitious, and even though I like its modern take on the classic sedan style, the styling is a bit strange on such a small body. Those problems melt away, though, when you step inside… it’s like driving a cloud. I really like this one.
Gabi’s Thoughts: I never expected to like this one as much as I do. It’s really easy to drive, running costs are low, and fuel consumption is even lower – maybe it’s not as cheap as the Shinrai or the Hakaru, but it more than makes up for that, I think.
AT Sanallite-SeD - @T0M
Michael’s Thoughts: This one’s tricky. It feels a lot like the Shinrai – competent at everything, but it doesn’t stand out at anything. Given a somewhat less impressive feature list, I think I’d have to give the Shinrai the edge here.
Gabi’s Thoughts: I think I have to agree with Michael here. The AT isn’t bad, but the Shinrai does almost everything it does as well or better. Losing that fifth seat really hurts it, too.
Reduit Skeet - @kobacrashi
A six-hour drive later…
Michael’s Thoughts: Leave it to Reduit to make something that I can’t make up my mind about. It’s cheap, it’s incredible offroad, it’s got surprisingly modern looks and modern tech. On the other hand, the ride approaches being unacceptably rough, and, well… it’s a van, you know? I’m not sure that a van really captures that youthful energy.
Gabi’s Thoughts: The Skeet is pretty thirsty, and the solid axle suspension can make driving a bit of a handful, but it’s safe, cheap to service, the cargo space is huge, and it’s cheap too. It’s not my favorite, but I could live with it.
Régal 265 4x4 Estate - @karhgath
Michael’s Thoughts: This isn’t as good offroad as the Skeet, but it’s still pretty capable, reasonably comfortable and looks really cool. It’s got a combination of modern, refined looks, and a heavy duty feel from all the cladding that works really well.
Gabi’s Thoughts: It’s really good on fuel, cheap to run, reliable, and practical. It’s not as good of a value as the Cabirou or Shinrai for me, but it’s not outlandishly expensive. I can definitely see myself liking this car a lot.
Voltari Auraelion Prestige 3.0i x4 - @vero94773
Michael’s Thoughts: This one’s looks really appeal to me. The sweeping bodylines must’ve taken the designers a long time to figure out, but they really work – it looks super modern. It’s not the sportiest sports car out there, but its spec sheet is really nice and it looks good.
Gabi’s Thoughts: Sports cars are never going to be the most livable things in the world, but this one is okay. It’s easy to drive, it’s cheap to keep up on maintenance, it’s good for reliability too. Like the Skeet, it’s not my favorite, but it’s still solid.
Arion Cormorant 190I - @Aruna
Michael’s Thoughts: You know, it might be big, but it feels like a real sports car, very fun to drive. It’s not as understeery as the Voltari and the suspension’s a bit stiffer, so it feels very light on its feet. It looks really premium too – the size works out for it, and the style feels sort of chunky and aggressive while also feeling modern and elegant. This one’s one of my favorites.
Gabi’s Thoughts: This one’s a bit of a step down for me. It’s not easy to drive, it’s a bit pricy to service compared to the Voltari and such, though the cargo space and fuel consumption are nice. It’s not bad, though, and given how much Michael likes it, I could definitely see myself spending the money.
Riemann 380S Injektion - @ChemaTheMexican
Michael’s Thoughts: The magazine reviews were right – this really does feel like a sports car; maybe even sportier than the Voltari. The manual gearbox makes it less of a seamless drive, but overall, it’s still pretty comfortable. Looks great, drives nicely, pretty nice spec sheet.
Gabi’s Thoughts: We’re starting to get to the point where problems get to be too much for me to say yes without thinking it over. The Riemann isn’t bad, mostly, but the fuel economy is poor and the service costs are the highest of all the cars on our list; so I start to wonder, you know, this car is already pretty expensive, can we afford to spend so much in fuel and maintenance on top of that?
Baumhauer 425 Vier 20V - @S_U_C_C_U_L_E_N_T
Michael’s Thoughts: I really love this car. It looks really nice, very angular and sporty, which fits, because it really does feel sporty. The engine is a bit sleepy when you go to hammer the throttle, but otherwise it’s really fun to drive. It might not be as advanced technically as some other cars, because it’s not a new model, but if it’s this nice of an experience, I don’t mind – it’s fun, wicked in the corners, and looks incredible. It’ll be really hard to decide whether I like the Arion or the Baumhaer better.
Gabi’s Thoughts: On balance, I think I feel about the same as the Baumhaer as I do about the Arion. Its compact size is a lot more practical than the Arion, the liftback is really nice, and it’s a lot nicer to drive, but running costs are a bit higher and it’s not as efficient. They’re even almost exactly the same price! It’s not an easy job for either of us.
Westland Wayfarer LTX - @Kyorg
Michael’s Thoughts: With the Reduit, you had really solid offroading, and with the Regal, you had really good looks, and with the Westland, you get, well, both, really. It looks like a classic offroader, but has those rounded edges and curves you expect from a modern car. And given its size and giant tires, it should be as good offroad as it looks.
Gabi’s Thoughts: There’s a lot to like about the Westland. It’s reliable, pretty cheap to service, very safe, and fairly drivable, so it makes me sad to say that the size, high floor and fuel economy does it in for me. Cheaper cars do what I want better.
Swanson 400 91 437AFP - @Ludvig
Michael’s Thoughts: It’s a comfortable car, for sure, but it’s funny, all the time when I was sitting inside of it on the test drive, I was thinking about the Cabirou. The Swanson might be sharper in the corners, it might be a more premium size, and I love its modern looks, but the Cabirou’s ride is just impossible to touch.
Gabi’s Thoughts: I’m thinking of the Cabirou too, but mostly in terms of its livability and price. It’s cheaper to service, more efficient, and easier to drive, for almost 5.000 AMU less… the Swanson’s not bad, I actually quite like it, but I like what cheaper cars can do better.