Automation is filled with some truly wonderful cars. True things of beauty, the kind of cars that stop you in the street and make you go “Oh wow, that’s nice…” It’s also filled with some ugly cars - some intentionally ugly, Bad Car Design Challenge. This challenge is for neither of these. It’s for the cars in the middle of the road - here, cars that intentionally place themselves in the middle of the road. Bland, boring, but not bad - in stats and in looks.
So, what’s a particularly bland, boring, underwhelming car class? Well, I could go with modern SUVs, but I have a visceral hatred for those. Instead, we are going to go for the car I think most of those SUVs should be replaced by - mid 00s minivans. Maybe you’re like me. Maybe you have a bit of a soft spot for minivans rather than SUVs. Maybe you’re not a mini-fan. Whatever the case, it’s minivan time.
Reviews will use a similar scoring system to Cool Wall 3 and other similar questions. However, there won’t be a wall, and the points for most categories will be a bit different.
The median car gains the full value of the category as positive points.
The cars at the first and fourth quartile both gain zero points.
Other cars are scaled from there.
This means that extreme outliers don’t mess up the scaling too much. It also rewards mediocrity, as is the intent. This is how most categories will work; where categories are different, that will be noted.
Rules, deadlines, etc
Entries are due in a bit under 3 weeks, on the 17th of March at 11:59 PM UTC.
Rules will be open for discussion and modification for 1 week, until the 5th of March at 11:59 PM UTC.
Name your model and family MCC - <YourForumName>.
Trim and variant year should be 2005. Model and family year are free, but be sensible. These cars are going to be viewed through the lens of the typical western car market.
Regular unleaded fuel only…
Entries need to be on a body marked as “People Mover” - use the “MPV” filter on the body selection panel. Exemptions may be given if I feel that a body is incorrectly classified - please ask about specific bodies here in the thread as early as possible.
One side of the car needs to have two doors. To my knowledge, all bodies satisfying this rule have at least 4 doors - all the 3 door ones are “one on each side, plus the rear hatch”. Nevertheless, if you can find a body that has two on one side and one on the other, it’s legal.
Seven or eight seats, but it’s fine to use reduced size seats.
Stick to the default “+5 everywhere” techpool. This represents what a major company should be able to do, and it’ll be a headache to balance techpool around people trying to do average.
Advanced fixture settings and such are all unrestricted. However, I will not look too favourably on any cars where the ingame stats and engineering don’t match what is presented.on the visual design.
Exterior Styling: 50 points, no curve. Yes, you want to make the cars bland… But make them realistically bland too. Make it so that an actual car company would have made it, don’t make a 5-fixture wonder. I want to see your car and feel nothing.
Drivability: 20 points. These are cars for the frequently-distracted, cars people view as appliances. Good minivans are drivable despite their size, drivability is important.
Engineering realism: 20 points, no curve. How this works is that I start at the full 20 points, then detract based on any particularly egregious decisions. Still selling a car from 1946 in 2005? That’s a paddling. Carbon fibre chassis and body with a 588 kW V10? That’s a paddling too.
Comfort: 10 points. You know the kind of person who buys these. They don’t want to be massively uncomfortable, they want the creature comforts.
Reliability: 10 points. The kids need to get to their soccer practice, and a broken minivan is unacceptable!
Safety: 10 points. Won’t somebody please think of the children? We need to keep them safe!
Fuel Economy, Service Costs, Buying Price: 10 points each. Gotta keep that budget balanced!
You may notice that a couple of stats you might expect to see in the criteria aren’t there. Explanations are below.
Practicality: Practicality really doesn’t have a lot of levers to pull. There’s seats… Where you don’t have much room to change. There’s doors… But I expect just about all the entries to be on 5 doors. That effectively leaves “what body did you pick?” and “how high is your suspension?” Not really fun for the challenge.
Utility, cargo capacity, towing etc: These are all known to have quite a few issues, and I don’t wanna deal with them.
Interiors: I don’t like forcing people to make interiors… But read down below.
In addition to the main judging, I will also be giving out two additional bonus awards. These are:
Best-Fitting Interior: I will be taking a look at any cars submitted with interiors, and calling out ones that I like. Note that this isn’t just Best-Looking - if your interior looks a lot more expensive that your exterior and doesn’t match your decisions on the interior tab, you won’t earn many points.
Task Failed Successfully: This category is for cars which don’t score well… because they’re just too, too good. Cars that I would actively be interested in buying, if I needed a minivan.
I may also add additional categories as I choose, if I want to shout out particular cars.
Is there some differentiation between “mediocre” designs because someone has just used very few fixtures and made a very basic design and someone else making the design detailed but overall very generic in it’s execution.
I felt like the bad car challenge just looked for cars with fixtures thrown at them instead of designs that were detailed but unusual in their execution
so like i just looked through all the minivan bodies that do not allow 3 rows, and it’s actually a pretty short list, but for some reason it includes a bunch of new and high quality (read: bland) bodies, including, but not limited to the Charities and 93_jp2 families. The Charities family in particular is very high quality and particularly suited to this particular challenge, with the one important caveat that it only fits 2 rows.
All that is to say this: if you allow bodies with 2 rows, perhaps with a small comfort or service cost nerf, you may end up receiving more higher quality cars than you might have with the restriction in place
With that said, here's a WIP of the world's most mediocre minivan:
That’s about as generic as contemporary minivans get - but it’s a promising start. And from what I’ve seen, it looks like it has a transversely mounted, dual-overhead-cam, 24-valve, 60-degree V6 under its hood. That engine could, however, be adapted for use in many other cars in addition to this one.
I have run some test mules, and the rules for 2-row bodies are likely to be that they must follow the following conditions:
No body in the “body family” has a 3 row option (Charites bodies are in, 08_jpn_mpv_s_cpp is out.) Having the option for the 3rd row on any engine config is enough - for instance, a body with no options for 3 rows with rear engine but options for 3 rows with front engine does not qualify.
You must have 5 full seats in the car, for stats reasons.
You must do a 3D interior showing how a third row should fit in the body. Show me that it works.
If you submit a car with only two rows, the following changes will be made to your stats:
Comfort will be calculated as if the overall % modifier in detailed stats is reduced by 15 percentage points, representing the rough change in “passenger volume” and “seating” modifiers caused by adding a third row of 3 full-size seats.
Safety will be calculated as if the overall % modifier in detailed stats is reduced by 2 percentage points, for the same reason.
Your car will cost 1500 AMU more, to simulate the cost of the seats.
Fuel economy will not be changed, as it is too hard.
Reliability and SVC will not be changed, as it is not impacted by seat count.
Drivability will not be changed, as it’s generally a bit of a wash.
In addition, if I feel that one or more of your 3Ded seat rows should be classed as reduced-size (or you inform me ahead of time that they are intentionally reduced-size), you will receive a 5 percentage point comfort penalty and an 8 percentage point safety penalty on top of those above penalties, representing the difference between 3 full-size seats and 3 reduced-size seats. Squeeze two tiny rows into a too-small key body and this applies twice, and you’ll get a disapproving look from me.
Yes, this means that those 2-row cars are locked to 8 seats. I am already having to do a decent amount of extra work here, and it makes things easy for me. Interiors are still optional for people whose cars have all three rows present. Note that changing the % in detailed stats by 5% doesn’t necessarily mean knocking 5% off the final stat - from my test mules, it’s often less than that.
TLDR: If you think a body should have three rows, show me - and I will also change your stats.
Introduced in 1997 and facelifted in 2002, the car just waits to be put out of it’s misery by a successor, which won’t arrive until 2008.
Drives as boring as it looks, but at least it’s cheap and reliable, something not too bad for that type of vehicle, which might be the reason why anyone would actually buy this. We still have fancier LT V6 models in stock, but this budget symphony in gray is what you need, not what you want.
Did you make the grave mistake of forgetting to wear a condom? Now you get to pay the price with the 2005 Mercer Columbus! Say goodbye to an actual fun an fulfilling life, you’re a dad now motherfucker!
Thanks to you, the American dream of owning a flashy sports car is DEAD AND BURIED. She wants you to get a minivan, so instead you get a load of outdated shit, like a pathetic V6 with the economy of an 8, but the power of a 4!
And don’t even think about the sweet relief of this thing breaking down. In fact, there is very little that even can break on this, so looks like you’re just stuck with it! Enjoy the next 18 years of your miserable life!
So get your ass down to the Legbuch Mercer dealer right here in Buffalo, NY, and succumb to tears as you drive off the lot in your new Mercer Columbus! WE FEEL NO SYMPATHY.