REPRINT FROM #17 1975
REVIEW OF ROSEWOOD BOVINUS
WHEN CULTURES CLASH
The Rosewood Bovinus does not scream “USA” when you first look at it. Rosewood has avoid the temptation to go for the “Brougham” look that now is so popular, and the car has clean, almost European styling.
In the United States, the Rosewood Bovinus is seen as a reasonable, sensible family sedan, sold at a reasonable, sensible price. In fact, its dimensions means that it is classed as a “compact” over there. In Sweden, things are different. It is sized somewhere between large family cars and luxury barges, seen from an european standpoint, and combined with the V8 engine, it means that it has to fight some of the top contenders on the market. So, our mission is now to see - does it stand a chance at all?
No, it does not convince us. As American as it is, it is still using relatively simple technology with a solid rear axle, albeit with a somewhat sophisticated coil sprung arrangement, and not the leaf springs still used by some manufacturers. The handling characteristics are unpredictable, with the car switching between under- and oversteering in a less than desirable manner - a relatively light tail end, heavy rear axle and powerful engine does not help, we guess. In fact, the torquey V8, combined with the weight distribution and fuel saver tyres means that taking off might be hard without spinning the rear wheels.
Brake distances are at least fair - here is where the americans has been improving lately. 41.7 metres from 100 km/h is not a bad number at all, we saw no tendency for the rear wheels to lock up before the front, however, when driven hard, we noticed a tendency for the rear drum brakes to fade - during normal conditions they should be more than enough, though.
Maneuvering in city traffic could of course not be compared to a smaller car, but power steering is standard and offers an adequate compromise between road feel and driveability.
The fire breathing muscle cars from a few years back are dead - but nobody could accuse the Rosewood for being slow. Despite the automatic transmission eating some of the power coming from the 233 hp V8, 0-100 is done in 7.99 seconds, 80-120 in 4.8 seconds, the quartermile in 16.02 seconds and it tops out at 222 km/h. More than adequate for most people indeed.
Calling the Rosewood uncomfortable would be a stretch - but it really isn’t something special either. Springs are actually a bit more firm than you would expect on a car like this, which by no means equals a harsh ride, it’s just not great. Seating comfort is rather average too - but it has bucket seats up front, at least. It could not be accused for being noisy either - we would say that it is about average on that level.
From this angle, you could almost spot some similarities with a well known German brand, but what it does not have is the trunk space of that German.
ROOMINESS AND PRACTICALITY
The Rosewood is roomy for its passengers, which is expected for a car this size, it seats 5 without any problems. The trunk space, however, is another chapter, it is more comparable to many small cars, and with a maximum payload of 300 kg, the luggage better has to be light too.
EQUIPMENT AND INTERIOR
As we stated earlier, this is no luxury car. You get power steering and a radio with 8 track player as the only gizmos over what could be considered standard today. Driver’s ergonomics are OK, maybe the steering wheel is placed a bit low for some drivers, decreasing the kneeroom and making for a somewhat tiresome driving position, but that’s fairly individual. It has modern steering wheel stalks for most controls instead of buttons scattered all over the dash, and the fit and finish are up to modern standards, with a molded plastic dash that is colour keyed to the rest, and cloth upholstery that seems to be of a reasonable quality.
The recessed heater controls may be fiddly, especially when wearing gloves in the wintertime, but generally both design and finish on the inside are up to modern standards.
ENGINE AND DRIVETRAIN
A 6.3 litre V8 is highly questionable now after the oil crisis, but sure, it gives the car frisky performance. Other than that, there is nothing exciting about it. It does its job, without too many drawbacks, and the torque curve is nice and flat, but that’s only expected.
What’s a positive surprise, though, is the 4 speed automatic transmission when most competitors have 3. It works well and the gearing seems to suit the car.
QUALITY AND RELIABILITY
Simple technology means that the Rosewood will probably hold up, and we didn’t see too much of sloppy workmanship in the car. It is by no means a bank vault, but seems to be reasonably well built. A galvanized ladder chassis will probably keep structural rust away for the whole lifecycle of the car, too.
At $17200 it is fairly cheap for what you get, but of course the large V8 takes its toll when it comes to fuel economy, 17.8 litres per 100 km. At least it runs on cheap regular fuel. Service costs are about average, $791.6 AMU. Sort of a mixed bag here, really, but it does not have to be a disaster if you don’t do too many miles per year.
The size of the car, combined with the american safety regulations being rather strict, means that there is a decent level of safety. Don’t expect much more than that, though. It is missing some of the latest safety equipment and has nothing more than you expect from a car today, and the primitive ladder chassis means that the crumple zones probably are less than optimal.
FINAL VERDICT: 27/45
The Rosewood is a rather average car, and our question is, who needs this one? In the US, it still makes perfect sense, but as we said, a V8 car this size is considered a luxury in our market. Then it needs to be better than this. Which would also mean more expensive. On the other hand, most people on a tight budget will not consider the Rosewood anyway.
But if you want a decently roomy family sedan, don’t want to pay more than necessary and values performance above everything else, then…sure.
We’re just not sure how many of you that actually exists.
Thanks to @SheikhMansour for the car!