After some thorough analysis of the many options available to him, Jeff finally narrowed down his list of top contenders to just five cars. Further deliberation followed, and eventually he came up with a finishing order for the finalists. He ranked them as follows:
5th: The Doog Nion FRT-4 served as a good baseline early on, but its boy-racer styling is out of step with Jeff’s tastes, and most of the other finalists outclass it in terms of fuel economy. It’s also very close to the budget cap.
4th: So close and yet so far from a podium finish, the IP Colibri 1.5 DX is actually better value than the Nion in terms of purchase price, but is ultimately undone by being the least comfortable of all the finalists.
3rd: The Dongsun AC-1 barely sneaks into the podium places by dint of its light weight and nippy feel, being one of the few entries here to use a multilink rear suspension. Even so, its low safety rating ensures it cannot finish any higher.
2nd: IKIGAI has delivered a surprise package with the 250A - its distinctive styling has plenty of presence, and it doesn’t feel as compromised as many of the other finalists. It could (and should) be more economical, though, which brings us to…
1st: …the Wichsen Luna 1.6i, which does the most things right and the fewest things badly. Its high body roll (a trait shared with a few other cars here) can be more easily overlooked in view of it being the most economical car in the top 5.
The final top-5 finishing order is therefore as follows:
After a brief deliberation, Jeff settled on the Wichsen Luna 1.6i as his next car. Over the next few years, he reveled in its blend of economy and comfort, and his family was forever grateful for the purchase. Five years later, however, fuel prices were much lower, and he was making a decent amount of money annually at his new job, now on the opposite side of the country - enough for him to trade in the Luna 1.6i for another example, but in a sportier, high-performance trim level. How he will replace that one, however, is a story for another day.
Many thanks to all who participated - I hope you enjoyed this QFC as much as I did!