The Open Road [SUBS OPEN]

CURRENT SUBMISSIONS STATUS: OPEN

The Open Road is an automotive publication based in Boulder, Colorado. Launched in 1958 at the height of the tailfin era of American cars, the magazine’s attitude reflected the hopeful, romantic aura surrounding cars back then. The title reflected this, evoking the image of cruising down the road for no reason other than enjoyment.

Nonetheless, TOR did quickly adopt a holistic review style, reviewing cars on capabilities and figures as well as looks and feel. The reviews read like a story instead of a set of categories, reflecting the actual pace of the magazine’s road test procedure, while a stats breakdown is included at the bottom. Think a Car and Driver or Road and Track review style.

TOR was sold as a paper magazine for its entire lifetime, though they now have a companion website featuring exclusives like recent road test bloopers, as well as an archive for their old magazine copies (Free access 2000-, paid access earlier years). Apart from the road tests featured in this thread, the magazine itself featured industry news, technical explanations of various new (and old) mechanical solutions in cars, repair tips and a car catalogue listing all cars offically for sale that month. Most issues also featured some sort of comparos; in the Internet Age, those began to be released both in article and video form.


READ THIS SECTION BEFORE SUBMITTING Submissions will be received by DM whenever I flag the sumbissions status as open (Top of this post). I will halt submissions at will, mostly if I get like 8 cars in my queue, if an update drops, or if I have exams; please respect this, as your submission will be ignored and discarded if you send it in when submissions are halted.

I do not require 5-straight-days-of-work levels of effort, because that’s not what makes a car good or interesting to review. However, I would like all cars to have some work put into them. If it’s painted lime green, has an engine that grenades itself, has 5 fixtures and no plates - it’s probably not getting reviewed. An interior is highly recommended, and lack of one will result in a far briefer review. TL;DR, Knugcab-style effort rules apply.

Entries should be more or less realistic; you can get away with more than in a CSR, but don’t run wild. Catalytic converters mandatory after 1985, safety should not be more than a decade behind, and unless you want me to carelessly flip all your car’s pictures, please stick to right-hand-traffic cars (that means steering wheel on the left).

Submission DMs have to include the below template. If yours does not, I will ask you to resubmit; this is not a competition, so don’t worry about getting ‘binned’ or anything. An explanation of the template’s function will follow after.


Car File:

Company Thread (Optional, If Present):

Car Context and Unique Features:


Let’s go over each prompt so it’s not confusing.

The Car File prompt is where you put your exported .car file. The naming schema is
TOR - [Username]
for the car model and engine family; car trim and engine variant are free spaces.

The Company Thread prompt is where you put the forum thread of your car company, if you have one. If you don’t, leave this blank and don’t worry about it. The only use I have for your company thread is to turn it into flavor text.

The Car Context and Unique Features prompt is for you to clarify the significance of your car, as well as any interesting or quirky features that Automation doesn’t let you showcase. You don’t have to write much here, just basic lore like: “Based on upscale midsize sedan. DTM homologation version. Only 200 built.” or “New nameplate for 1992. Marketed as lifestyle item. Equal-length half shafts”. You can also leave this blank, but here’s the thing: The less information you give me, the less exciting the review will probably turn out. The more information you give me, the more creative I can be with the road test’s specifics.


EXAMPLE REVIEW: What to expect

9 Likes

Index

1970s

Issue #11, 1977 (Road Test #E4): Anhultz Dione B

1980s
1990s

Issue #4, 1992 (Road Test #E1): Saarland Kosmos SR Hatch

Issue #9, 1995 (Road Test #E2): Kaizen VFC

2000s
2010/20s

Issue #10, 2021 (Road Test #E3): Theta L400 AWD

4 Likes

Road Test: 1992 Saarland Kosmos SR Hatchback
(Example Review #1)


Highs: OOOOOOOOOOOIIOOOOO Masterful handling; Intuitive interior; Fresh design Lows: OOOOOOOOOI..OOOOOJarring ride; Rough, unrefined engine; Inadequate power Summary: OOOOOOIIOOOOA warm hatch/hot hatch identity crisis. Shell out on ES instead

6/10

From Issue #4 of 1992

Europeans do compacts better than we do. This piece of gospel truth has held true 40 years ago, when there was no need for small cars in America, through the 1970, where there was plenty need but no means, and to today, when the means are there but the effort isn’t. So when an American brand wheels out a brand-new model name for the foreigners to flatten, it’s no big deal. Maybe they make this one in Korea now, or maybe that one is supposed to be trendy. Whatever. With the Germans at Saarland, however, it’s different. The Adjunkt, their previous front-drive compact, had been in production since the 1960s, with numerous generations and refreshes in that time period. This new-for-1992 model could have just as well been another Adjunkt - but it isn’t. It’s a Kosmos. Cue a collective eye quirk at the Open Road office.

To be precise, it’s a Kosmos hot hatchback - despite this being the new compact’s first model year, it’s already had its trunk hacked off, turbine wheels bolted on, and an SR badge parked on the tailgate. And while it’s as rounded off and aerodynamic as most new models, this Saarland is surprisingly mean-looking. This impression is helped by the brilliantly shiny obsidian-black paintjob; we wouldn’t be surprised if you could fry an egg on it. And whereas most Kosmos trims are powered by engines in the 1-liter range, this one has a 2-liter mill, making it much more versatile and less likely to run out of steam on the highway. There is actually an even hotter version of the Kosmos, called the ES - but that car is more expensive and premium, with a price tag outside typical compact hatch figures - so we decided to test this trim first to see if you can get away with less.

We were surprised that for all its visual bark, the Kosmos was quite sane and rational on the inside: comfortable front seats, a rear bench that’s perfectly suitable for non-amputees, adequate storage space and proper climate control - though the sliders have a pretty long travel. The gauge cluster is clear and sufficient - there are no oil gauges, but you do get a coolant temperature and voltage gauge. Minor gripes we do have are manual windows despite the near-top trim and the position of the central cubby hole: behind the manual shifter.

So far, then, the Kosmos SR is a mean-looking hatchback with a clean-feeling interior. That felt confusing, so we went for a spin in the sleek new compact to clear everything up. Sure enough, right off the bat, the Saarland rode quite harshly and unevenly, with a reasonable front suspension response followed by a jarring bounce from the rear whenever we hit a bump. The overdamped rear’s effect was exacerbated by the low-profile sports tires, making the Kosmos uncomfortable on bumpy roads. The noise level was also above average even with this sort of vehicle, with the 2.0 engine being loud and rattly above 65 miles an hour - that’s the point at which you need to lay into the throttle in fifth gear. The drone is neither pleasant nor welcome, and the ‘sporty’ gearing attached to the vehicle gets much of the blame. On the plus side, even with this sort of gearing, the Kosmos SR hits its EPA-rated high of 37 to the gallon on highways.

So, a rowdy car that’d be at home on the track? We took it to ours, and it started making sense. The rear suspension, so merciless on a bumpy road, becomes magical in high-speed cornering, producing skidpad numbers rivaling serious sportscars. You can’t tune a twist-beam rear suspension to be both sporty and smooth, so that explains the rough ride. The low-pro sports rubber did its part, too, so road noise can be forgiven as well. The brakes are extremely powerful - if underventilated - and can terminate a 60-mph sprint in a mere 118 ft. And in spite of said brakes’ slight fade, the gas shocks and generally improved components means the car has a lot of staying power at the circuit. In fact, with the way the Kosmos tracks a perfect line, and the way it almost automatically recovers from powerslides with no snap, we would be tempted to call it ‘world-class’. Would be, however, is the key phrase here. To see why, let’s take a more detailed view at the iron-block, aluminum-head mill under the hood.

The 2.0 liter dual-cam Saarland straight-4, while a good highway performer, is a severely flawed engine even after 4 years in production. It does not use any balance shafts, making it rougher than it ought to be; the pistons are cheaply made and generate more friction and noise than is necessary; in fact, it feels like the twin camshafts and 16 valves are the only advanced thing about the engine at all. But this isn’t a performance engine, not like the superior mill in the ES trim: It has long, limiting intake runners, a lazy camshaft, and an ECU that knows the word ‘lean’ and little else. Yeah, the car sips gas and all, but is that the point of a hot or even warm hatch? but Worst of all, a conservative fuel cutoff system kills the engine’s revs immediately after its power peak, making our acceleration runs uneven and unsatisfying - so the prospect of the car being a fun, teenager-friendly power trip is ruined just the same. For all of the Kosmos SR’s immense handling prowess and chic styling, it is crippled by an engine in need of some serious troubleshooting.

So, there you have it. The Kosmos range is a practical, modern line of economical compacts, with a stylish look and everything you could ask for in a car of this size and expense. The Saarland Kosmos SR Hatchback, meanwhile, is little more an ES with most of the equipment, edge and expense, but without any significant display of the latter’s awesome twin-cam power. Retailing for AM$21000, it’s by no means a bad value, however it frustrated the better part of our staff by how much better it could have been if not for a couple of questionable design choices.

By The Numbers Price as Tested:OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOI.OOOOOOOOOOOOAM$21,000 Body and Layout: OOOOOOI.OOOOO3-door hatchback, transverse front-engine front-drive

Engine: OOOOOI122ci straight-4, 16-valve DOHC, iron block/alu head, electronic port injection
Power: OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO…OOOOO113 hp@5600
Torque: OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.OOOOO139 ft-lb@2800
Transmission: OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.O.OOOOO5-spd manual

Suspension(F/R): OOOOOOOOOOOOI.I.OOOOO MacPherson Struts/Twist Beam Axle
Brakes(F/R): OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOIOOOOO 11.2in steel disc/9.2in steel disc
Wheels: OOOOOOOOOOOOO.O.OOOOOOIOOOOO Alloy rim, 185/55ZR15 tire

Wheelbase: OOOOOOOOOOOOIOOO.OOOOOOOOOOOOOOI.OIO 97.6 in
Length: OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOI.O.OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO 154.6 in
Width: OOOOOOOOOOOOO.O.OOOOOOIOOOOOOOOOOOOOI. 64.8 in
Footprint: OOOOOOOOOOOOO.O.OOOOOOIOOOOOOOOOO.O. 69.6 sq.ft
Curb weight: OOOOOOOOOOOOO.O.OOOOOOIOOOOOOOOOOO 2346 lb

Acceleration, 0-60 mph: OOOOOOOOOOOO.O.OOOOOOOOOOOOOOO 9.1 s
Best-fit Gear Passing, 50-75 mph: OOOOOOOOOOOOOOI.O.OOOOIOOOO 6.2 s
1/4 mile: OOOOOOOOOOOOO.O.OOOOOOOOOO.OOOOO.OOOO 16.9 s
Top Speed: OOOOOOOOOOOOO.O.OOOOOO.O.OOOOOOOOOO 133 mph
Braking Distance, 60-0 mph: OOOOOOOOOOOOO.O.OOOOOOIOOOOO 118 ft
Roadholding, 200-ft circle: OOOOOOOOOOOOO.O.OOOOOOIOOIOOO 0.96 g
EPA Fuel Economy (Combined/city/highway): OOOOOOOOOOOOO.O.O 32/29/37 mpg

Thanks to @Knugcab for the car. If you want your own car reviewed, please read the directions in the thread’s first post.

10 Likes

Very good, you’re obviously a skilled writer.

Car did what it was supposed to do. All show, no go, punish you because you were too cheap to buy an ES.

Road Test: 1996 Kaizen VFC
(Example Review #2)


Highs: OOOIIOOO Luxurious and loaded; Wonderful grip and technology; Surprising economy Lows: OOOII.OOONo selective ride; Power-to-weight could use work; Needs more excitement Summary: OOOOOOOIOOOOOA seasoned middleweight boxer wearing weighted clothing

9/10

From Issue #9 of 1995

Kaizen has always been gutsy. Other Japanese brands have been taking on their German rivals using practicality, bulletproofing, bargain prices, the like; Meanwhile, Kaizen has been challenging the Germans at their own game, power and technology being their great selling points. The VFC sports sedan - the top-of-the-line, fire-breathing version of the FC premium compact - has always been one of the company’s testbeds for space-age gizmos, and this year, this roadgoing Zero fighter has a few new tricks up its sleeve.

The 1996 car’s facelift is the third update the car is getting in its four years of production, and it’s arguably the most important one. Kaizen’s new, all-aluminum straight-six now lives below the hood of the VFC, displacing 3 liters as usual but now sporting a massive array of smart valvetrain tricks which we’ll get to later. The car’s exterior has only undergone minor tweaks, keeping the car’s handsome and muscular appearane; the most notable change are the new ring-shaped running lights - though you won’t notice them too much unless you’re Canadian.

Our test car was finished in a stunning jet black, with a black leather interior. Inside, there are all sorts of luxury like a good-quality CD player, a spacious console storage unit, cupholders and even rear climate adjustment. The controls are mostly intuitive - with the notable exception of the hazard light switch, which is positioned annoyingly between the radio and climate controls. We would have definitely put it up higher, perhaps even in place of the out-of-place analog clock. Speaking of analog, gauges are large and clear.

On the road, the Kaizen is extremely stable and confident, if a little harsh; the fixed-rate gas shocks are tightly wound, doing wonders for roll mitigation. The car’s disposition is generally very taut, running counter to our assumptions that a heavier (over 3400 lbs), more luxurious car such as this would permit itself to wallow a bit. The 6-speed manual has tall enough gears that cruising is rather quiet and dignified, not running into the “3000+ RPM drone” issue that some other, 5-speed sports sedans tend to catch. Most bizarrely, however, the VFC’s engine is extremely economical, running north of 30 mpg combined and knocking on the door of 40 on the highway. This is enabled by the new aluminum engine’s comprehensive variable valve control, with variable phase on both camshafts and continuous variable lift. Now, mind you, the lift portion of the system is extremely heavy and still largely behaves like a sanded-down traditional VTEC system, but the fact that Kaizen has been able to implement continuous lift variation and get such economy from it is an achievement in and of itself.

We had very high expectations for the VFC as we lined up our track tests - so high, in fact, that the car’s actual performance has left us slightly underwhelmed. The aluminum block’s weight savings are welcome, but offset a fair amount by the complex cylinder head and new safety systems. Armed with a lavish interior, dual airbags and all that sort of stuff, the stocky Japanese took 5.8 seconds to get to 60 - slower than even some less powerful German rivals, though ultimately still fast. A notable complaint from our test driver had to do with the 1-2 gear shift, which he called mis-spaced; sure enough, if the gearing charts are to be believed, the first upshift corresponds to a jarring 70-horsepower drop. And whereas the Kaizen was steady and sharp through a corner, there is a slight plow as if to say: I’m forgiving. I won’t let you crash me. And in a sports sedan, that’s not exactly what we’re looking for.

But maybe it’s our expectations that are the problem, not the car itself. When we took delivery, the Kaizen VFC looked purpose-built to beat the best of Munich - but looking closer, it’s much more of a Stuttgart beast, or, dare we say, a Detroit one. The VFC is still cheaper than its premier German rivals at 44,000 AM$ and is much cheaper to run due to its economy, and it does deliver an ever-satisfying mix of performance and luxury. Just don’t expect it to beat lap records in stock form. The Kaizen is in the same place as it used to be: Still a bold and direct rival with neat tricks up its sleeve, and still not quite able to pull away from the competition. Though that’s mostly because the competition’s so darn stiff.

By The Numbers Price as Tested:OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOI.OOOOOOOOOOOOAM$44,000 Body and Layout: OOOOOOO.OOOOOO4-door sedan, longitudinal front-engine rear-drive

Engine: OOI.OIOI183 ci straight-6, 24-valve DOHC, alu block/alu head, electronic port injection
Power: OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO…OOOOO270 hp@6800
Torque: OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.OOOOO225 ft-lb@5600
Transmission: OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.O.OOOOO6-spd manual

Suspension(F/R): OOOOOOOOOOOOI.I.OOOOOOO MacPherson Struts / Multi-Link
Brakes(F/R): OOOOOOOOOOOOOOO 13.0 in vented steel disc / 11.0 in vented steel disc
Wheels(F/R): OOOOOOOOOOOOO.OIOOO Alloy rim, 225/45ZR17 / 245/40ZR17 tire

Wheelbase: OOOOOOOOOOOOIOOO.OOOOOOOOOOOOOO.OIO 106.3 in
Length: OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOI.O.OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO 175.2 in
Width: OOOOOOOOOOOOO.O.OOOOOOIOOOOOOOOOOOOOI. 69.7 in
Footprint: OOOOOOOOOOOOO.O.OOOOOOIOOOOOOOOOO.O. 84.8 sq.ft
Curb weight: OOOOOOOOOOOOO.OIOOOOOOIOOOOOOOOOOO 3419 lb

Acceleration, 0-60 mph: OOOOOOOOOOOO.O.OOOOOOOOOOOOOOO 5.8 s
Best-fit Gear Passing, 50-75 mph: OOOOOOOOOOOOOOI.O.OOOOIOOOO 3.7 s
1/4 mile: OOOOOOOOOOOOO.O.OOOOOOOOOO.OOOOO.OOOO 14.2 s
Top Speed: OOOOOOOOOOOOO.O.OOOOOO.O.OOOOOOOOOO 175 mph
Braking Distance, 60-0 mph: OOOOOOOOOOOOO.O.OOOOOOIOOOOO 112 ft
Roadholding, 200-ft circle: OOOOOOOOOOOOO.O.OOOOOOIOOIOOO 1.04 g
EPA Fuel Economy (Combined/city/highway): OOOOOOOOOOOOO.O.O 32/29/37 mpg

Thanks to @66mazda and @Portalkat42 for the car. If you want your own car reviewed, please read the directions in the thread’s first post.

8 Likes

Those words could not have been more apt for the VFC, which may not be the fastest car of its kind, but handles well enough. It actually reminds me of a contemporary Toyota Chaser Tourer V, but with an all-alloy naturally-aspirated I6 instead of the Chaser’s turbocharged iron-block 1JZ/2JZ.

2 Likes

I just hope that it is less prone to catch fire…
Another great review indeed.

2 Likes

Road Test: 2022 Theta L400
(Example Review #3)


Highs: OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.OOO Glorious driving dynamics, luxurious interior Lows: OOIIIOOOObjectively outdated transmission and design, cumbersome weight, high price Summary: OOOI.OOOA smorgasbord of genuine luxury and last-gen tech that just doesn't cut it.

5/10

From Issue #10 of 2021

Not all brand-new car models are, well, brand-new. All sorts of components are reused between a company’s various offerings, ranging from the most basic switchgear to entire powertrains. The reasons for this are myriad: budget constraints, production commonality, and the good old “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” rationale. So looking at the 2022 Theta L-Series luxury sedan, which has invited doubt from industry specialists due to some heavily reused features, our question was: How dated must a feature be before it’s “broke”?

Well, the first obviously dated feature on the Theta is the appearance. The car is slab-sided, with the doors being vast planes of nothing; the rear fascia is high up on the trunk lid, making everything below feel just as empty. The front fascia is better, as its obvious “conservative” design direction will appeal to people who are bothered by recent trendy huge grills; still, little to write home about here.

On the inside, the Theta does have most of your typical luxury bells and whistles: big screen, soft seats, panoramic roof, stuff like that. With the braced gearshift are and staggered cupholders, it’s actually artsy - but not practical, and the wood-adorned steering wheel is definitely not 2022 material. What is 2022-grade, however, is the safety arrangement, lauded as some of the best in class by the NHTSA.

That shifter is connected to a six-speed automatic gearbox; That number of gears in a longitudinal luxury transmissionsounds like something plucked from the last decade, and translates to rough, slowed off-the-line performance. The unusual, but competent 60-degree-angle 4.2-liter turbocharged V8 makes over 500 horsepower, and coupled with an advanced torque-vectoring differential, that should be enough for a better 0-60 time than 4.7 seconds - even with all of the car’s cumbersome 5000 pounds of weight.

There are other things that are outmoded. The brakes are pretty grabby and coarse, especially in the rear - the result of using one huge piston to brake each rear wheel. The turbochargers are laggier than most in this class: not a good look for a luxury sedan where power must come on demand. The mufflers are basically oversized gun silencers: Yes they work, but it’s not weight- or power-efficient at all.

That said, we did find things that worked for us. The active suspension is very good at its job, and the handling profile is surprisingly dynamic, with almost totally neutral steering and a skidpad figure of 1.02 g - on stock, non-performance rubber! The instrument panel also proved neat and intuitive, though it was perplexing when the test car was delivered to us with bits of packaging still on the dashboard (OOC: the dashboard model cuts through the gauge cluster. I am not a big interior buff, but this discrepancy made it impossible to get a good driver POV shot).

In the end, the L400 sedan is a perfectly serviceable luxury offering. You will feel comfortable in it, it gets acceptable gas mileage, and it drives pretty well. The kicker is, it costs close to 90 grand, which is where many of its executive competitors are. With the carryover last-gen tech, Theta could have made this car make sense as a value proposition, at least to some extent - but no, the L400 is being positioned as a full-bore, side-by-side competitor to modern warm luxury sedans, and it just falls short in that regard - no two ways about it.

By The Numbers Price as Tested:OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOI.OOOOOOOOOOOOAM$86,900 Body and Layout: OOOOOOOOOOO4-door sedan, longitudinal front-engine all-wheel-drive

Engine: OOOOOO257 ci V8, 32-valve DOHC, alu block/alu head, direct injection, turbocharged
Power: OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO…OOOOO505 hp@6900
Torque: OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.OOOOO507 ft-lb@3700
Transmission: OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.O.OOOO6-spd automatic

Suspension(F/R): OOOOOOOOOOOOOIOOOOOOOOO Control Arms / Multi-Link
Brakes(F/R): OOOOOOOOOOOOOOO 15.4 in vented steel disc / 13.6 in vented steel disc
Wheels: OOOOOOOOOOOOO.OOOOOOOOOOIOOO Alloy rim, 265/40R20 tire

Wheelbase: OOOOOOOOOOOOIOOO.OOOOOOOOOOOOOO.OIO 118.1 in
Length: OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOI.O.OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO 191.1 in
Width: OOOOOOOOOOOOO.OOOOOOOIOOOOOOOOOOOOOI. 80.35 in
Footprint: OOOOOOOOOOOOO.O,OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.O. 106.6 sq.ft
Curb weight: OOOOOOOOOOOOO.OIOOOOOOIOOOOOOOOOOO 4877 lb

Acceleration, 0-60 mph: OOOOOOOOOOOO.O.OOOOOOOOOOOOOOO 4.7 s
Best-fit Gear Passing, 50-75 mph: OOOOOOOOOOOOOOI.O.OOOOIOOOO 3.1 s
1/4 mile: OOOOOOOOOOOOO.O.OOOOOOOOOO.OOOOO.OOOO 12.8 s
Top Speed: OOOOOOOOOOOOO.O.OOOOOO.O.OOOOOOOOOO 180 mph
Braking Distance, 60-0 mph: OOOOOOOOOOOOO.O.OOOOOOIOOOOO 117 ft
Roadholding, 200-ft circle: OOOOOOOOOOOOO.O.OOOOOOIOOIOOO 1.02 g
EPA Fuel Economy (Combined/city/highway): OOOOOOOOOOOOO.O.O 22/20/25 mpg

Thanks to @Lanson for the car. If you want your own car reviewed, please read the directions in the thread’s first post.

3 Likes

Road Test: 1978 Anhultz Dione B
(Example Review #4)


Highs: OOOOOOOI.OOOOO Immaculate fit and finish; Practical and user-friendly; Rugged Lows: OOOOOOOOO.O.OOOSloppy, hesitant handling; Relatively thirsty; Underequipped Summary: OOOOIOOOOOOIf you hate mechanics and love your family, accept no substitute (barring the Dione C or D)

8/10

From Issue #11 of 1977

Mons is glamorous. Arlington is innovative. And Anhultz? Anhultz is unkillable. The midsize Dione has been a rare import staple on our soil since the 1950s, offering a stylish, moderate European alternative to the admittedly gratuitous offerings of domestic manufacturers. After first offering its unit body cars last decade, the Dutch manufacturer has focused on making its cars ever more refined and reliable: an evolution-instead-of-revolution approach. This new generation of the Dione - the eighth to date overall - brings a familiar yet modernized assortment of features.

For this road test, we have taken the basic B-trim of the Dione out for a spin. At AM$22,400, it’s nowhere near the cheapest midsize, and we weren’t sure if it was cheap enough to justify the working-class cloth upholstery we got to sit in. That being said, it’s good cloth, and the plastic that surrounds it is durable, well-fitted and refreshingly silent - no creaks and no rattles. The HVAC controls and radio are easy to use and well-placed, while the large steering wheel harkens back to the days of un-assisted turning and enables an unobstructed view of the equally massive gauges. Don’t worry, though, the steering is appropriately boosted. Over at the back, a fold-down rear bench offers sufficient leg room, and a hatchback rear provides a nice and large cargo space. It’s a practical car, have no doubt of that.

The focus on durability shines through yet once more in the chassis construction: The Dione is galvanized and features thick steel body panels along with carefully layered paint (Which can be any color as long as it’s orange: All other options are at least AM$300 more expensive). We are guessing it will never rust. The drivetrain is traditional rear-drive with a three-speed automatic; this allows those of us with a lead foot to order a V8 on higher trims of the Dione, and a powerful one at that. This car, however, is stuck with the good old 2.4 V6 engine: Practically the aforementioned V8 but debored and with two cylinders less. Anhultz’s venerable twin-carburetor manifold can be found perched atop it, improved with auto-choke and given even more robustness. We appreciate the clockwork-like operation of the setup, but the question remains: Is there really any benefit here over a single twin- or quad-barrel carb? What does this costlier setup accomplish? The engine itself is typical Anhultz fare. Overhead cams, passable emissions system and 100 horsepower. The crummy fuel economy is the only real miss here.

We were satisfied with the Dutchman’s ride: expensive, soft gas shocks keep impacts manageable even in the face of stiffer than normal springs, and a front sway bar keeps roll at bay. Not much more positives to mention here: the Dione is still anything but sporty, and the narrow, economy-minded tires are only just enough to keep you confident. Brakes only start to fade after several stops - but powerful as said brakes may be, the aforementioned tires didn’t let us make even a single short and uneventful stop. The only small mercy is that the front disks lock up first.

Still, we think the Dione B is a fairly competitive midsize package, lack of sixth seat notwithstanding. It’s just enough of everything you might need and will see Rapture before it sees rust, so it’s genuinely a good choice for everyday transportation. That being said, since the Dione is liable to last as long as it will in your service, it might be a good idea to wait until the next engine refresh: perhaps we might see less restrictive emissions equipment or a less primitive intake, and it’ll be less than a bore to drive.

By The Numbers Price as Tested:OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOI.OOOOOOOOOOOOAM$22,300 Body and Layout: OOOOOOIOOOOO5-door hatchback, longitudinal front-engine rear-drive

Engine: OOOOOOOO.I146ci V6, 12-valve SOHC, iron block/iron head, dual 1-bbl carburetors
Power: OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO…OOOOO100 hp@5600
Torque: OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.OOOOO117 ft-lb@2800
Transmission: OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.O.OOOO3-spd automatic

Suspension(F/R): OOOOOOOOOOOIOIOOOOO Control Arms/Diagonal Trailing Arms
Brakes(F/R): OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOIIOOOOOO 11.2in steel disc/9.2in drum
Wheels: OOOOOOOOOOOOOIOOOOOOOOIOOOOO Steel rim, 175/80R15 tire

Wheelbase: OOOOOOOOOOOOIOOO.OOOOOOOOOOOOOO.OIO 109.1 in
Length: OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOI.O.OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO 184.9 in
Width: OOOOOOOOOOOOO.O.OOOOOOIOOOOOOOOOOOOOI. 67.7 in
Footprint: OOOOOOOOOOOOO.O.OOOOOOIOOOOOOOOOOOI 86.9 sq.ft
Curb weight: OOOOOOOOOOOOO.O.OOOOOOIOOOOOOOOOOO 2858 lb

Acceleration, 0-60 mph: OOOOOOOOOOOOIIOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO 14.9 s
Best-fit Gear Passing, 50-75 mph: OOOOOOOOOOOOOO.O.OOOOIOOOO 10.5 s
1/4 mile: OOOOOOOOOOOOO.O.OOOOOOOOOO.OOOOO.OOOO 20.1 s
Top Speed: OOOOOOOOOOOOO.O.OOOOOO.O.OOOOOOOOOO 109 mph
Braking Distance, 60-0 mph: OOOOOOOOOOOOO.O.OOOOOOIOOOOO 149 ft
Roadholding, 200-ft circle: OOOOOOOOOOOOO.O.OOOOOOIOOIOOO 0.70 g
EPA Fuel Economy (Combined/city/highway, period-correct): OOOOOOOO.O 18/16/22 mpg

Thanks to @Elizipeazie for the car. If you want your own car reviewed, please read the directions in the thread’s first post.

8 Likes

I start to believe that in one way, Anhultz in the 70s is kind of what happens if you combine the best of Volvo, Mercedes and Saab of the era.

3 Likes

Yes, and I find them pretty inspirational too