The Driver's Experience (Open for Submissions)

Introduction

The Driver’s Experience, previously known as Review Street, is a hugely popular motoring magazine that is known for its thorough reviews, Exclusive Interviews, Behind the scenes looks into the industry and tips for new drivers. From its rebranding in 1970 to now, The Driver’s Experience maintains a monthly publishing schedule and every issue contains at least one review of a car, a behind the scenes look of a production facility, an exclusive interview with a notable member in the industry, and a study guide for new drivers.

Subscribers receive their issues by mail, while the general public could purchase them from any newsstands or stores. Advertising is usually car related, involving automotive fluid manufactures, tire manufactures and other automotive parts and is usually found on the back cover or the first page of the magazine.

The reviews primarily range from economical hatchbacks to massive luxury land yachts and everything in between. The Driver’s Experience seeks to help readers make informed decisions when buying a car, show them how an automobile is assembled and help new drivers understand the rules of the road.

Older copies from 1970 to 1991 are archived and accessible on The Driver’s Experience website with the premium subscription, while anything before 1970 is available for sale on internet marketplaces though quite rare.

So, without further ado, I suggest you grab a glass of water, find a comfortable place to sit and let us begin


Current Queue list:

@BannedByAndroid

@voiddoesnotknow

@WangMaster_420

(Maximum has been reached, slots will open up when I complete a review)


10 Likes

(I’m going to only allow three cars at a time as I’m new to this and I don’t want to overload myself. Also, you all might have to wait until tomorrow since its 12:40am. Thank you, that is all.)

3 Likes

Then a recommendation is maybe to put up a queue list in the original post, so people can see if you have 3 cars to review at the moment or not.

4 Likes

Made the changes accordingly.

Important question - do you want 4.1 or 4.2 cars?

I’m assuming that only cars from 4.2 will be accepted given that most of us have switched to it by now.

Yeah, 4.2 only.

1 Like

THE DRIVER’S EXPERIENCE

APRIL 1989

The IP Freeway Star

We usually use vans to haul cargo, or live in them or do certain things in them. However, recently something called the minivan has started to show up and IP’s second generation Freeway Star claims to be one of the better options.

Many automakers today are experimenting with this new fangled thing called a minivan, our beloved Union Motors, seems to think that shortening their full size Merchant cargo van is a viable option, or Kaiser with their Personenwagen. However, from the far eastern island nation of Ariya comes IP, (Short for International Production).We’ve done reviews of some of their other cars like the Lily or the Icarus, but never their vans. It must be said that their IP Highwaystar was not a huge seller here to begin with and the Freewaystar, despite coming out in the late 70s, is just now coming to the US market in its updated second generation. While cargo and passenger versions of the Freewaystar exist, only the passenger version is coming to the US and this likely means that we’ve got another competitor in this market.

So, is the Freeway Star a viable contender in the minivan market or is it too out of scope to be valid? This is the question that we want to answer.

HANDLING CHARACTERISTICS:

As disappointing as it is, the Freeway Star obviously won’t handle like a sports car. There is some understeer of course and there will always be body roll since vans tend to be quite top heavy. The small size however makes it easy to use in the city which could make it a great taxi or people transporter, and has power steering which again, makes it easier to use and control.

Verdict: 6 / 10

The Freeway Star is obviously not designed to handle like a sports car, and it’s impossible to try and make it one. However, the Freewaystar tends to outclass other vehicles in this class thanks to its smaller length.

PERFORMANCE:

While the IP 4Z engine might be a good engine, it doesn’t really do any favors for the Freewaystar’s performance. With 107hp, 0 - 60 is done in 12.7 seconds which is somewhat adequate for being a van. A drag racer it is not, completing a quarter mile run in 18.5 seconds. The top speed of just over 100 miles per hour and for a van is by no means amazing but it works.

Verdict: 4 / 10

As we said before, the Freeway Star is by no means a sporty vehicle, but it manages to get up to highway speeds.

SAFETY:

Forward Control Vans are not really the safest vehicles for the driver as their design doesn’t really allow for large crumple zones. That being said however, The Freeway Star has a fuel cut off switch and uses the modern safety glass that shatters into small pieces, and has many of the switches and other protruding things recessed into their housings while lap sash seatbelts are standard. We find that this is all perfectly normal for the top of the line model.

Verdict: 5 / 10

Yes, a forward control van isn’t the safest type of van, but then again, it is more likely to roll over than most other cars since vans tend to be more top heavy. Still, the safety ratings are quite good for a forward control van, and perhaps some day in the future they will get technology such as airbags or anti lock brakes

COMFORT:

Even if it is the top trim of the Freeway Star, it doesn’t ride as nicely as we would have liked, but on the other hand, it isn’t really a high end luxury sedan either. It does have some creature comforts like a radio and a cassette player and we feel that the interior quality is top notch, especially for this segment.

Verdict: 5 / 10

The Freeway Star does have all the modern comforts, like a cassette player, radio, and a heater. The seats have quite a bit of plushness to them, and for the money, the Freewaystar GLX feels a lot better than its more basic sisters and offerings from other manufacturers on the market today. It is very clear the Freeway Star has a nicely appointed interior environment and will likely please any owner who is looking for something different.

PRACTICALITY:

The Freeway Star GLX can fit 6 people on board if fitted with the lounge interior package. Now you might tell yourself that most other vans have space for one more person, and yes, it is true but the Freewaystar is better because it is less heavy, it’s easier to remove the seats when detailing it, and allows for the seats to be reclined individually. The downside is that while 6 people can fit on board, there is less room for luggage or groceries. Still, other vehicles that are competitors to the Freewaystar, also have this downside.

Verdict: 6 / 10

The Freeway Star might be a van and it can carry 6 people, but it is let down by its low cargo volume. But this by no means makes it inferior or useless.

RELIABILITY:

While the Freewaystar might be able to take a lot of punishment, it is only marginally better than Union Motors’ entry to the market. However, while there are many things that could break or go wrong, it’s incredibly simple to fix or replace it. The parts for the IP 4Z are plentiful, and so are the parts for the Freewaystar itself. The GLX can still utilize the parts from the more basic models as it’s practically the same as them.

Verdict: 7 / 10

The Freewaystar is like a cockroach, you can try to kill it, but it will keep going because of the sheer availability of spare parts, and how simple it is to fix.

DRIVETRAIN:

When it comes to the powertrain, the IP is somewhat better as it is offered with both 4WD and RWD. The transmission is a 5 speed manual that, unlike most cars, is column shifted and the gearing does not have any craziness. The one downside however, is that the Freeway Star uses an open differential which may cause wheelspin under heavy acceleration, but the upside is that if you are feeling a bit bored, the IP performs a very good single wheel burnout. (We highly recommend that you don’t do this on public roads).

Verdict: 8 / 10

While our example was RWD, the 4WD variant of the Freeway Star could come in handy in the snowier areas of the US but here in San Antonio, 4WD is hardly needed.

ECONOMY:

Thanks to having only 2.4L of displacement and 4 cylinders the IP Freewaystar has surprisingly good fuel economy, managing to average 20 MPG. There isn’t much else we can say other than the fact it’s very good on fuel. Plus an MSRP of $18000, and average annual service costs of $637, the Freewaystar seems to be very worth purchasing if we are talking vans.

Verdict: 9 / 10

FINAL VERDICT: 50 / 80

In the end, the IP Freeway Star is a very good all round vehicle if you are looking for something that has the same practicality as any of the domestic offerings but has better reliability and fuel economy than them. However, like all cars, the Freeway Star has its downsides. Small engine, less interior space, and less cargo space. But, in this day and age, the Freeway Star might get out performed by the larger 6 cylinder engines found in domestic vans and their automatic transmissions but that being said, IP deserves at least some respect for creating a vehicle that tries to compete with the more conventional American brands. Who knows, the four wheel drive version might actually be somewhat better than the conventional and domestic brands

Only time will tell if it will be a success or not, and we can only wish IP good luck in competing with our domestic brands and we hope that someday the Freeway Star becomes a cult classic.


Credit to @Knugcab for the Freeway Star. (PS. This is my first ever review that I have ever done, so it might not be top notch but I think it’s good for a first attempt)

8 Likes

LOL @ the one wheel rubber peeling comment. :rofl:

A good review overall so keep up the good work.

2 Likes

Hello, I just wanted to say that I haven’t forgotten about this, but I’ve been really busy the past few months and I also kind of encountered a small creative block. There were two cars that I had to re-import due to a game issue, and when I tried loading those two up, there were fixtures missing so unfortunately I am unable to review those two of the four cars that were sent in.

I will return with another review by tomorrow afternoon at the earliest and I apologize for any inconveniences I may have caused.

2 Likes

THE DRIVER’S EXPERIENCE

JULY 2018

The Permata Aspire

Ah yes, a hot hatch, a car designed to be zippy yet practical, fast yet comfortable.

Summer is upon us, and that means a whole manner of sports cars are out and about. Union Motors, IP, Hillstrom Automotive, Quezon, Yamada, Dauer, IVERA, and Sinistra all have vehicles that feel the best when the warm weather arrives. But, recently, from Malaysia, comes Permata. Now, Permata has been with us for a long time and we’ve reviewed several of their models in earlier editions and publications of The Driver’s Experience, but this year, they brought something new to the US and that something is the Permata Aspire SR260, a powerful hatchback that packs quite the punch. Yes, a hatchback, a first car for some, and a family car for many, how will it stack up against the competition.

DRIVING DYNAMICS:

Being front wheel drive, with an engine over the front axle, there is some understeer, but has no significant impact on the handling. But, the trade off is that there is body roll, not too much of it, but enough to somewhat hinder the cornering ability. But, enough about the bad, power steering is standard, and so are several traction aids. The traction control system does a very good job at keeping the car facing forwards. The electronic differential is also very helpful in this regard.

Verdict: 8 / 10

While the Aspire SR260 can handle itself on a track, there are some minor hindrances to its handling. But, this doesn’t make the car bad. It’s easy to drive, and is also great fun.

PERFORMANCE:

Power comes from a turbocharged 1.8L engine that makes 296.4Nm at 4800rpm and 261 horsepower at 6900rpm. It hits 60 in 5.6 seconds, has a possible top speed of 335km/h but is electronically limited to 250km/h. Quarter mile is done in 13.74 seconds, and this is pretty decent for a car from the factory.

Verdict: 10 / 10

260hp in a car as small as this, makes it an absolute speed demon and other than saying it’s quite fast and has a powerful engine there’s nothing more to see here. But that exhaust note is just perfect, never before have we heard a 4 banger engine sound so good.

COMFORT:

Hatchback, and sporty suspension. Yes, you can feel the bumps in the road and it might get crowded inside but in reality, the Aspire rides very nicely. The cherry on top are the leather seats, the infotainment system with phone connectivity, and a hands free call system. All of this is pretty standard for this class but our testers liked how easy the infotainment system is to use and how responsive it is.

Verdict: 8 / 10

Well, it isn’t a high end luxury sedan, but when you compare it to other sporty hatchbacks, it is somewhat better than other competitors. Because of this, it could make a great high performance family car.

RELIABILITY and SERVICE COSTS:

Thanks to the increasing amount of technology in cars today, there’s more and more stuff that can go wrong and having a turbocharged engine also makes for possible issues there as well. But, when looking at the Aspire, it seems to be very well put together and is not likely to leave you stranded. Projected service costs of $1330AMU might be seen as a little expensive, it is not unheard of for cars that have this level of tech to cost that much but then again, there are more basic versions available that will cost less thanks to the lesser amount of things to go wrong.

Verdict: 8 / 10

Overall, the Permata Aspire is a good car that will probably last a good long time before it starts to go wrong and when it does go wrong, it shouldn’t bankrupt its owners or be difficult to fix.

ECONOMY/VALUE FOR MONEY

An MSRP of 53,400AMU might seem a bit out of this world for this class, but then again, the faster you want to go the more money you might have to pay. 31.1mpg in a car like this is completely normal, a turbocharger puts more air in the engine and more fuel has to mix. But, in this class of car a figure like this one won’t seriously hurt your bank balance.

Verdict: 8 / 10

SAFETY:

With modern technologies and engineering practices, safety scores are pretty decent for a car of this class, however, the smaller size and shorter ride height place it at a minor disadvantage. Bigger crossovers and SUVs can take more of a beating and probably be safer in a serious crash. We aren’t saying that the Aspire is unsafe, just that the unfortunate reality is that when your car is smaller there is less metal between you and a possible object to crash into.

Verdict: 8 / 10

DRIVETRAIN:

The Aspire uses a front wheel drive layout and a 7 speed dual clutch transmission, a limited slip differential and traction control are fitted keep wheel spin away, and the gearing is sane. It could be better with all wheel drive, but that’s just our preference.

Verdict: 7.5 / 10

PRACTICALITY:

Five people can fit on board and there’s space in the back for grocery bags or a dog and when you fold down the rear seats, you can fit larger items such as a natural gas fire feature. What we want to say is, that the Aspire can swallow up any kind of light cargo that it’s future owners might put in it. For it’s size, it is pretty good for practicality.

Verdict: 8 / 10

FINAL VERDICT: 57 / 80

In the end, the Permata Aspire SR260, is one hell of a hot hatch and it packs a serious punch when it comes to acceleration and cornering, while also managing to be a decent daily driver with an easy to use infotainment system, good fuel economy (for the type of car that it is). But in this day and age, Hatchbacks are slowly becoming less and less popular as the current market transitions from sedans, hatchbacks and wagons to crossovers and SUVs. As unfortunate as this is, the Aspire likely will be a sales success and will maybe continue to be one throughout the coming years. As always, we can only wish them luck in their endeavors and maybe even see what Permata does to follow where the market is going.


Credit to @BannedByAndroid for the Permata Aspire

(Most recent update might have changed some things, let me know if anything’s different. Also I’m missing a fixture, don’t know why since I have all the mods installed)

2 Likes

For an enthusiast who needs something fun to drive that can carry three to four other people at a reasonable price but isn’t an SUV, the Aspire is most definitely something they can aspire to.