Our "own" car reviews

Conan

Active member
The Ur-S4 and Ur-S6 really are secretly awesome. And by that I mean no one will know what you have unless they're enthusiasts. Not even if they look into the front wheels and see that stupidawesome UFO brakes. :p

The only problem is that this example previous owner was an enthusiast, same as the current owner. And yet the car still felt a bit ropey. The current owner constantly putting money into fixing stuff and yet there's always a few things that is not working correctly or not working at all. Oh well, it is a vastly complicated German machine... You can still buy one for very reasonable sum, but you'll be constantly putting money into replacing parts if you want to use it a lot with some sort of peace. With similarly vintage E34 or W124 (latter my own experience of course) you don't really need to do that. Those are much easier car to keep nice. (But as a consequences seeing a nice example of those is not as awesome as seeing a good S4).

Oh and I forgot to tell y'all that this example still has the UFO brakes and it's awful. But it looks absolutely awesome. :D
 

thomas

Well-known member
Due to some old lady adding some scratches to my company cars rear bumper, the car was in the shop for a few days this week. My rental was supposed to be as legally required one class below my car. When I was handed the papers for the rental, I noticed at a glance that I already got lucky and got something that I'd put in the same class: A Seat Leon ST (wagon). Shortly after I noticed the abbreviation "aut." on there, and was like "yay, no shifting in traffic for a few days". VAG DSG is mostly fine imo, so I wasn't worried about that. More so what POS engine they attached to it. Then I looked at the second sticker on there that went a bit more into detail, and it stated it was a white dsg wagon. So far not much news, but then it stated something that I thought was a mistake by someone who doesn't know cars. The next line read "Seat Leon ST Cupra DSG". At this point I was slightly interested but also fairly sure they meant "FR" for the sports package, and not actually "Cupra", you know, for the actual Cupra. I was about to fold open the papers/"title" of the car when I noticed it listing "Super Plus" as fuel, which with VW is a given for most TSI engines. Well, next thing I know is I am looking at the power figure of 213 kW in the papers. Fuck yes, it was an actualy Cupra 290! :D






Spent 3.5 days and 700km with it, here is what I remember:

Engine
- Sounds ok-ish for a 4-banger when punching it, not sure if there is artificial audio involved on the inside though, since putting it in "Curpa" mode makes it louder inside, but not really outside.
- Damn Turbos, man! Goes like a motherfucker from like 2500 to 5500 for being a 2.0.. still has a noticable lag though, might be in combination with the DSG though which isn't all that great compared to others.
- Feels pretty damn quick all the way to about 180kph.. (probably as fast as my M5)
- ..but then it just runs out of steam, relatively speaking (compared to the M5). It'll still do 250 limited, but you can tell it is in its top end of the powerband and in top gear..

DSG
- Being the 6-speed DSG, it wasn't all that bad, in daily driving though I find it to be not as good as the "classic" ZF8. It is trying to be comfy when shifting slow, but it isn't really, while still shifting slow.
- Under power, it bangs it as it should and does its job well.
- It being a 6-speed with a car that is supposed to go fast, it revs pretty high in 6th even when just doing like 140kph, but the engine is pretty quiet there unless you're in a sporddy mode.

Interior
- Looks better than it feels, which is perfectly fine by me. A lot of plastic, some decent stuff, some less good stuff. Overall I liked it.
- Door armrest and center armrest both sucked though, in terms of feel. The worst fake leather I've had touch my skin in a while.
- Steering wheel was really nice to the touch, could have been thicker though.
- Space upfront just fine, space on the backseat suprisingly big.
- Trunk space looks better than it is, the roofline is so slanted, you can't use the space near the trunklid for anything that is higher than like 20cm.
- Interior noise isn't bad, but also not all that quiet once you get to tripple digits.
- Seats are comfy and provide a bit of side support. Lumbar support is weak, just like in my Focus. stupid "flip a lever" lumbar things..

Gadgets
- The adaptive cruise control is quite nice, but the minimum distance settings are still kinda high for a high traffic situation.
- Rear cam is decent, front park sensors as annoying as in every car.
- Frontal colission warning thing kicked only in twice, and at that point I was already on the brakes. I don't think I would have made it if I only slammed them when it warned me.
- The VAG Nav-system it had was overall ok, but just every so slightly laggy and slow to respond. Both in the dash and in the instrument cluser. I just hate slow and laggy interfaces with a passion.
- The "SEAT Sourround" audio system wasn't really all that great. "Good" at best. But I have to say it had an equalizer to fiddle with, which I didn't because I got no clue. But it also has no presets, so it just sits at a flat line default.

Suspension
- Suspension noticably harder/stiffer than my stock Focus, while not really feeling any more capable. That is either poor for VAG or good for Ford. You pick.
- Level of stiffness still ok for a daily, still pretty comfy over longer bumps, but it really doesn't like short shocks.
- Imo still a surprising level of body roll, given the subjective stiffness. Again no real difference to my stock Focus.
- Surprisingly little understeer, pretty neutral overall.
- Still a bit of toque steer sadly, kinda annoying but not really bad.

Misc
- Consumption over 700km driving autobahn, city and b-roads in a spirited manner where able to, I managed to keep it at a somewhat surprisingly ok 9-10 Liters.
- Brakes are good. Decent bite without being jerky, and they will get you stopped in time if need be. Can't talk about fading obviously.

Get-go
This I have to stretch out a bit more. It has the biggest fucking trouble getting the power on the road from a stand still, or even going like 30kph. Doesn't matter if you are in Comfort, Sport or Cupra mode, the ESP will violently interrupt accelleration. And I mean VIOLENT. It feels like ESP cuts power from 100% to 0% and then back to 100% within the same second. And boy does that feel bad. It feels like bangshfiting a transmission. 10 times in 5 seconds. You can feel the car shake when it hits power again like letting go of the clutch while revving at 5k rpm. And you can hear it. It sounds bad, it feels bad, it just IS bad. You can set ESP to "ESP Sport" mode, which disables the adaptive cruise/frontal warning thing, and allowes more slip. That makes this whole thing slightly less horrible to launch, but still suck. Oh yeah, speaking of launch, it has launch control. Guess what, it behaces exactly the same way as just described when you try to get it moving on your own. It bangs and bogs and intererrupts and .. well I literally got once out-accellerated by a C220CDI on a light while launching with launch control. Only when the car was up to like 50kph and able to put the power down, I was obviously flying past the Benz. If you are careful and gently on it, you can of course get it off the line quickly, but not much quicker than any car with half its power. And the fact that neither Sport or Cupra mode nor Launch control put the ESP into sport mode or even disable it, but you always have to do that manually, is kinda silly. Because full active ESP and LC or just low speeds and Cupra mode are basically constantly fighting each other. I checked before I returned it, the car was sitting on Conty SportContact 5P with plenty of life left in them.


Verdict:
Considering you get a lot of car and power (300PS in the current version, mine was half a year old) while not paying out of your ass, I find the Leon Cupra to be a rather interesting car for a daily driver that doesn't need to do everything perfect but decently. It is basically a Golf R but saving you a couple of grand. The Cupra 300 wagon clocks in at ~35,8k EUR base line here for the manual, 37,6k for the DSG and 39,5k for the DSG with AWD. The 310hp Golf R wagon with AWD starts at 44,8k EUR. I cba to compare options right now, but having driven both regular Leon and Golf wagons, I don't think there is any reason to buy the VW. Not for a bit nicer plastic maybe that you never touch. And while I haven't driven the AWD Leon, I think it might be worth the upgrade if the DSG is a must-have for you anyway. Just so the fucker can actually put the power down better. I'd probably also opt for the 1500 EUR full bucket seats and skip the 600 EUR they ask for the white paintjob and get the free blue paint instead.



I probably forgot things, but oh well.
 
Quite interesting, I've driven a Golf R and that accelerates hilariously fast from a standstill (because AWD obviously). It seems the extra couple of k? spent on the Golf do make a bug difference
 

narf

Well-known member
Quite interesting, I've driven a Golf R and that accelerates hilariously fast from a standstill (because AWD obviously). It seems the extra couple of k? spent on the Golf do make a bug difference
With the most recent Cupra ST you can get AWD as an 1800ish? option as well, and it supposedly drops the official figure from 5.9s to 4.9s.
 
Cupra really comes to life with the performance pack. It brings four pot Brembos to front axle and switches from those Continentals to Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s. Strangely, the chassis can cope with the grip levels: on dry tarmac it becomes %#"%#"#"%"#:n fast road car. The electro-hydraulic limited slip diff is super effective, you can open up the throttle way too early, you would expect it to push wide, yet it just swings violently around the corner, the diff almost pulling the front end towards the inside of the corner.

You really have to push the FWD Cupra to its limits before it comes alive (and kill the ESC totally ? loooooong press on the button, possibly blocked in a rental), so in daily driving the AWD version is much better. It's not as playful on the limit as the FWD, but standing starts etc are way more fun.
 

DanRoM

Well-known member
A friend of mine drives a 2014 Opel Astra Sports Tourer (Generation "J") with the 2.0 l Biturbo Diesel (143 kW).

I had the opportunity to drive some Autobahn kilometres in it on our journey to Croatia and back recently, so here's my short and entirely pictureless review.

  • Exterior: Well, it's an Astra Caravan. I admit I like the styling, but it's also very visible that Opel wasted some interior space and visibility to design features. Also, the car already looks as heavy as it is: 1701 kg according to the papers. One thousand seven hundred and one kilograms for a compact car! This is ridiculous. It's about 400 kg heavier than my old Focus (which was admittedly neither an estate car nor a Diesel).
  • Interior: Nice place to be in, good sports seats in the front row, back row spacious enough except for sleeping, but the car wasn't built for that anyway. I'm impressed how far the driver's seat can go back (if no one with legs sitting behind it). Lots of places to put things. Also lots of buttons on the center console and for the on-board computer. The operation of that and the infotainment takes some getting used to.
    Space-wise, we had no problem fitting luggage for four persons and a one-week trip without obstructing the view through the rear view mirror.
  • Driving it: Well, nearly 200 horses and 400 Nm of torque do their job quite nicely, and the car as a whole is quite quiet - but on this, I'm not really qualified to judge because just about every normal car is noticeably quieter than my MX-5.
    On the Autobahn, the car feels at home. 130 kph is very relaxed, 180 or even faster is not a problem. But it has a very sluggish gearbox and the pedal travel for clutch and especially the brake pedal is frighteningly long. Again, my judgement may be impaired by driving an MX-5. Cornering is about as good as expected for a compact estate car.
Verdict: 6.5/10. Good car, but far too heavy which worsens fuel economy and driving.

Incidentally, the very same car stands in front of my house waiting to be driven back to its owner. With the back seats folding down very easily, my road bike fits into the boot without any problem, so can can cycle back and make good use of the fine weather toda?. Sometimes I miss having a practical car.
Back to this car: Today I was at the Ring together with its owner - and the car, obviously, as he was finally ready to do a lap. This car is quick: 10:29 BTG on the driver's first ever Nordschleife lap, with four people in the car. Not bad at all.
 

Spectre

Well-known member
2016 Lexus RX350:



I recently spent a long afternoon with this Lexus RX. Previous generations of this thing have been pretty boring to drive at best and sleep-inducing at worst. I decided to give this one a try to see whether the new ones were a lot better as recorded. This is a FWD-only version with pretty much every option on it.

Exterior: With the exception of the front end and the Predator face grille, I found it acceptable and certainly less bland than the preceding two generations. The anime-inspired styling certainly added something to it. Unfortunately, the front end is in fact ruined by the Predator face.



At least you don't have to see it while you're in the car.

Interior: Materials, fit and finish were all what you'd expect for something in this class and costing this money over here. Well done, though the "textured and contoured slabs" that are common in recent designs still don't do anything for me.







The controls bar one that I'll get back to later were all well laid out, well weighted, easy and comfortable to use. Displays were bright and easily legible; the other instrumentation were also large and easy to read. Seats were comfortable, footwells were spacious for the class, no complaints about entry/exit from the front or occupying the space. Climate control was easily able to handle the hot Dallas summer weather and cooled the car quickly.





This unit came with a very good all-around camera system that displays as a top-down graphic on the center display combined with the reverse assistance system.





It was a good thing that the all-around camera system was of such high quality because with the high beltlines and rear design of the vehicle, you literally can't see much of anything past the rear doors of the car and you can't see much below the beltlines to the rear. While it's not an issue while driving on the road, there are some big blind spots up close, say when parking.



The heads-up display (a feature I've liked forever and wished more cars had) was clear and legible, though the viewing angle was rather narrow and could stand to have a higher possible maximum day brightness to account for sunglasses.



Driving: Actually, surprisingly good. This car is based on the Camry's 'K' platform, and the continual improvements Toyota's been making to that platform to keep it competitive definitely show. While there was torque steer, it wasn't nearly as prevalent or copious as it was in the prior two generations. Handling wasn't bad and the ride no longer seemed disconnected from the road; firmer but not jarring compared to the prior gens that had over-soft suspension settings IMHO. Body control was good for something of this class. Steering was more communicative than prior generations at all speeds; Toyota seems to finally be getting their electric power steering systems dialed in. The vehicle was quiet at city and highway speeds and certainly a more than acceptable driver's choice (short of the FWD part) in this segment. At no time did I feel like I was falling asleep or want to kill the powertrain, suspension or steering engineers, unlike with prior RXs. You won't mistake this for the Infiniti QXs that are based on sports car chassis but at least it's in the same general vicinity. I'd say the car was somewhere around early-90s Honda Accord EX levels of fun to drive - which is a huge improvement over the prior RXs indeed.

One thing I noticed was that the steering assistance system kicked in a couple times on the highway when it shouldn't have - it tried to dial in a tighter line in high speed sweepers like long entry/exit or transfer ramps when it shouldn't have. It didn't take much effort to override it but the road markings were such that it shouldn't have been confused. Lane departure warning systems worked as advertised in highway use, though.

The biggest problem with the car is the control system for the ICE/center stack display. You essentially have to mouse - yes, mouse - around the screen with a free-floating 'soap bar' with haptic feedback. It's very difficult to use on the road and it's exceedingly difficult to use without looking at it. This system is far, far worse than the KOMAND click wheel in that CL I had in my custody a couple years back or the Hyundai "MadCatz controller" by quite a long way. It's just plain bad and it really detracts from the vehicle as a whole. The owner tells me that she basically doesn't use it and relies on steering wheel controls at the most.

The RX has a bit of a reputation of being one of the last vehicles from Toyota that you can get with that classic Hilux-level durability. I didn't see anything in my time with it that would lead me to believe that the new one is any different. I didn't see anything that jumped out at me and said "this part is going to break on you". The car drove solidly and everything about it just seemed old-Toyota-build-quality solid.

Would I buy it: No. It's a credible entry and aside from the front end looks and ICE controls, it's at least competent at whatever you'd attempt with it. The problem for Lexus is that Infiniti offers products that are better to drive and don't have this stupid ICE control system or Predator face. It's not an embarrassing selection for someone who is actually interested in driving unlike the last two generations but it's not the best choice in the segment either. If you don't care about driving in and of itself and you just want a comfortable appliance (at least it's a somewhat entertaining appliance now) that checks all the tech toy boxes and is historically built like a tank, well, you could do a hell of a lot worse for a lot more money.
 
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Adunaphel

Well-known member
Staff member
Since we wanted to attend Ringmeet with at least one kid, in a more than slightly bigger tent than last year, we needed something slightly bigger than the Clio for the weekend. So, I rented a ?Skoda Octavia wagon or similar? from the local Avis station. When I went to pick it up, I was given the choice between a VW Passat wagon or an PeugeotOpel Insignia. So of course, I went with the PeugeotOpel, because it couldn?t possibly be as boring as a Passat, I hoped. And it being 14 millimetres shy of 5 metres in length, I expected it to swallow all of my luggage, which it almost did. Sadly, I basically didn?t take any pictures at all the whole weekend, so I don?t have any of the car. It was in a very good-looking pale light blue metallic, with the standard oversized 18-inch multi-spoke wheels, seen here in the pics I pulled off wikipedia:

By M 93, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=58833772

By M 93, CC BY-SA 3.0 de, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=58833820

(Stock photo, not the same trim level as the one I had)

(Stock photo, not the same trim level as the one I had)

The car, being the ?Innovation? trim level came fully loaded with loads of gizmos, gadgets and other automagic thingmabobs. The only thing that I missed was automatic cruise control, especially since the car has stuff like automatic detection of a car in front of you (and a small icon in the info display in the dash telling you whether you were following at a correct distance), automatic high beams, collision warning, speed limit display, and active lane assist (electric power steering actually steering you back into your lane if you strayed). Of course, there was also the more normal stuff like auto headlights and wipers, rear view camera, front and rear PDC, electric parking brake, powered tailgate, and, the most useless of them all, electrically folding rear seats. All of these systems should have made for comfortable, effortless driving. Sadly, they just as often worked as they didn?t. Half the time when driving off, the parking brake was slow to disengage, half the time when parking the car, it failed to engage. The PDC was way too conservative with its warnings, giving off OMFG YOU?RE GONNA HIT SOMETHING type beeps when the nearest object was more than a metre away. The collision warning system was the best way to crash, flashing red lights in front of you (reflecting off the windshield from a location that looked like a HUD projector) and beeping loudly when scary stuff like pedestrians straying off the sidewalk, of cars coming to a stop in front of you happened. The lane assist, too, only seemed to work only half the time, doing such annoying stuff as interfering when trying to avoid oncoming traffic. So in hindsight, I?m really glad the car didn?t feature ACC, because I?m sure I would have crashed had I used it.
In-car entertainment was courtesy of the newest OnStar system with a big-ass capacitive touchscreen, that worked flawlessly. Sadly, I didn?t get to test out the Android Auto capabilities, because I happen to live in a country where Google has not yet made Android Auto available. There?s also Apple Car Play capabilities, but I lack an iPhone to test that.
The interior in front is dominated by the large touchscreen of the OnStar system, and the very high and wide transmission tunnel. The seats were what all good seats should be, something you don?t even notice until you start thinking about stuff to say about them. They were comfortable to sit in, and provided decent support in corners. In the rear there was ample legroom. Gone are the self-cancelling stalks, most of the controls made quite a lot of sense when using them. The dashboard was clad in a patterned soft-touch plastic made to look like stiched leather, which I found a bit much, but it looked quite decent.

Driving to Ringmeet in the pouring rain I had to take it easy most of the way, because for the largest part, the Autobahn was limited to 100 or 130, and the brief periods that it wasn?t I didn?t feel comfortable doing more than 180 (On the way back, in the dry, the car had no problems at all hitting its top speed of 218 kph, and felt like a big German car should at those speeds). The 165PS 1.5l turbo engine pulled quite nicely, even in 6th gear. I think a lot of that is due to the car having somehow shed more than 200kg of weight (at least on paper) in the last facelift, clocking in at a dry weight of 1341 kilogram. After the Autobahn, it was time for the twisties, and there it managed to really surprise me. Helped by the Continental SportContact tyres, it was actually a lot of fun to throw around some of the twistier bits. The car showed decent levels of grip, understeer when you went over the levels of grip, and no big surprises.

All in all, I found the car to be a nice place to be in, and I wouldn?t hate it as a company car. Had I paid for it with my own money, I would?ve found the flaky automatic systems and some of the smaller quality niggles a bit annoying.
 
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1341kg is not a lot for a car that big. Mine weighs in at 1850kg or so, probably over 2 tons with a full tank and me in it. Comparing a FWD 1.5 with an AWD 2-liter diesel is obviously unfair, though.

Electric tailgates are more useless (and annoying) than electric folding seats IMO. I wouldn't mind it if I had the wave-foot-under-bumper-open-thing, but I don't, so it's just an useless gimmick to me. At least I can open it remotely so it's done by the time I get to the car.
 

leviathan

Well-known member
So, being on vacation in the south of France for a week, I got to play a round of rental roulette. And I lost, badly:

2017-08-26 19.50.17.1024.jpg

What I actually booked was a Fiat 500 or "a comparable 2-door small car". What happened is they apparently ran out of the really small ones (despite there being 3 perfectly serviceable looking 500's in the lot...), and "upgraded" me for free to the old people's version, the 500L. Which really didn't improve the quality of this vacation. Some cold, hard facts:

- 2017 Fiat 500L, brand-new (had 400km on the clock)
- 1.3 diesel, 5-speed manual
- 85 hp, agonizingly slow (14.9s 0-100)
- Very basic trim, the only option present was a small-screen GPS with a menu so badly structured that I couldn't find how to switch it to a language I speak on the first evening, and didn't bother any more. Oh yeah, and electric windows in the front only.

Well, what can I really say. I wanted a small chuckable car to enjoy the twisty roads around Nice and Cannes, and possibly go further inland into the mountains. I got a blown-up family econobox barely capable of moving itself and nearly falling over when taking a serpentine corner at any sort of speed. On the positive, it was quite spacious on the inside (drove my parents around a bit), the gearbox wasn't bad (quite short and precise shifts... if only there was any power in the engine), and the steering was unexpectedly direct and with good feedback, once I figured out how to turn the "city" mode off (which erases any feedback completely when enabled). The negative... it was slooooooow, seating position was uncomfortable, AC was impossible to set to a comfortable temperature (no climate control, only basic AC in the car, meaning that in 30? heat it had to be adjusted constantly), and did I mention how slow the thing was? I had normal 500s, Clios and other tiny econoboxes pull away in front on the seaside serpentine that I drove every day. Trying to take a corner at any sort of speed resulted in huge body roll and terrible understeer, even in the dry on factory new tires the thing just would not change course without first slowing to a crawl. Probably the least fun to drive car I've ever used.

To add insult to injury, when I returned the car earlier today there was a small queue of people getting their cars before I could return mine. Four of them drove off in shiny new 2-door 500s, one of them a cabrio. I wanted to murder somebody.
 
So, being on vacation in the south of France for a week, I got to play a round of rental roulette. And I lost, badly:

View attachment 18755

What I actually booked was a Fiat 500 or "a comparable 2-door small car". What happened is they apparently ran out of the really small ones (despite there being 3 perfectly serviceable looking 500's in the lot...), and "upgraded" me for free to the old people's version, the 500L. Which really didn't improve the quality of this vacation. Some cold, hard facts:

- 2017 Fiat 500L, brand-new (had 400km on the clock)
- 1.3 diesel, 5-speed manual
- 85 hp, agonizingly slow (14.9s 0-100)
- Very basic trim, the only option present was a small-screen GPS with a menu so badly structured that I couldn't find how to switch it to a language I speak on the first evening, and didn't bother any more. Oh yeah, and electric windows in the front only.

Well, what can I really say. I wanted a small chuckable car to enjoy the twisty roads around Nice and Cannes, and possibly go further inland into the mountains. I got a blown-up family econobox barely capable of moving itself and nearly falling over when taking a serpentine corner at any sort of speed. On the positive, it was quite spacious on the inside (drove my parents around a bit), the gearbox wasn't bad (quite short and precise shifts... if only there was any power in the engine), and the steering was unexpectedly direct and with good feedback, once I figured out how to turn the "city" mode off (which erases any feedback completely when enabled). The negative... it was slooooooow, seating position was uncomfortable, AC was impossible to set to a comfortable temperature (no climate control, only basic AC in the car, meaning that in 30? heat it had to be adjusted constantly), and did I mention how slow the thing was? I had normal 500s, Clios and other tiny econoboxes pull away in front on the seaside serpentine that I drove every day. Trying to take a corner at any sort of speed resulted in huge body roll and terrible understeer, even in the dry on factory new tires the thing just would not change course without first slowing to a crawl. Probably the least fun to drive car I've ever used.

To add insult to injury, when I returned the car earlier today there was a small queue of people getting their cars before I could return mine. Four of them drove off in shiny new 2-door 500s, one of them a cabrio. I wanted to murder somebody.
I sat in my brother's Ex's 500L and was disappointed by the lack of rearward seat travel. I'm 5'8.

- - - Updated - - -

So, being on vacation in the south of France for a week, I got to play a round of rental roulette. And I lost, badly:

View attachment 18755

What I actually booked was a Fiat 500 or "a comparable 2-door small car". What happened is they apparently ran out of the really small ones (despite there being 3 perfectly serviceable looking 500's in the lot...), and "upgraded" me for free to the old people's version, the 500L. Which really didn't improve the quality of this vacation. Some cold, hard facts:

- 2017 Fiat 500L, brand-new (had 400km on the clock)
- 1.3 diesel, 5-speed manual
- 85 hp, agonizingly slow (14.9s 0-100)
- Very basic trim, the only option present was a small-screen GPS with a menu so badly structured that I couldn't find how to switch it to a language I speak on the first evening, and didn't bother any more. Oh yeah, and electric windows in the front only.

Well, what can I really say. I wanted a small chuckable car to enjoy the twisty roads around Nice and Cannes, and possibly go further inland into the mountains. I got a blown-up family econobox barely capable of moving itself and nearly falling over when taking a serpentine corner at any sort of speed. On the positive, it was quite spacious on the inside (drove my parents around a bit), the gearbox wasn't bad (quite short and precise shifts... if only there was any power in the engine), and the steering was unexpectedly direct and with good feedback, once I figured out how to turn the "city" mode off (which erases any feedback completely when enabled). The negative... it was slooooooow, seating position was uncomfortable, AC was impossible to set to a comfortable temperature (no climate control, only basic AC in the car, meaning that in 30? heat it had to be adjusted constantly), and did I mention how slow the thing was? I had normal 500s, Clios and other tiny econoboxes pull away in front on the seaside serpentine that I drove every day. Trying to take a corner at any sort of speed resulted in huge body roll and terrible understeer, even in the dry on factory new tires the thing just would not change course without first slowing to a crawl. Probably the least fun to drive car I've ever used.

To add insult to injury, when I returned the car earlier today there was a small queue of people getting their cars before I could return mine. Four of them drove off in shiny new 2-door 500s, one of them a cabrio. I wanted to murder somebody.
I sat in my brother's Ex's 500L and was disappointed by the lack of rearward driver's seat travel. I'm 5'8.
 

leviathan

Well-known member
Why would you do this to yourself? Sure, I assume the main goal of the vacation was time with the family on the beach and not 24/7 hooning a rental, but still.
Wasn't my choice... I wanted something small and chuckable, like a normal 500. But instead I got "upgraded" to the L, and I only realized it once everything has been arranged and paid for. I asked if they had any 2-door 500s or anything else that's smaller and less shit, but apparently not, and cancelling the whole thing wasn't an option since I needed some sort of a car to get to where we were staying.
 

DanRoM

Well-known member
As already alluded to in rental car roulette, I had a 2017 Nissan Altima as a rental during my recent roadtrip vacation in Western Canada.

We had booked a "full-size sedan" at Alamo, even though we were only two persons. But we wanted to be comfortable and have a big boot for all of our luggage. From the booking, I had already expected some Japanese or with bad luck, some American barge. I was very happy to get something Japanese.

The car was basically brandnew with only about 1100 km on it. After we were finished with it 10 days later, it had over 4000. :D

First, looks:




As you see, it's a grey sedan, totally nondescript. It basically screams "rental" even without the stickers that out is as one.

Interior space. The front was roomy and comfortable.


The back was also roomy, but we didn't use it except for storing jackets and food. So I won't bother turning the image now. :D


Boot: Big enough. Not high enough to stand my bag on its side, however. So getting four persons' luggage in would be a squeeze. Also, it was naked metal and exposed speaker cables on the underside of the rear panel shelf. I was disappointed, but not really surprised by that.


Dashboard. The display between tachometer and speedometer had some useful and some useless information.


Rear-view camera. Most useful feature on the car. Both of us are used to far smaller vehicles, so this was really good to have. Also, manual climate control. Really, Nissan? Really, Alamo?
But the car had a decent infotainment, including a flawlessly working Bluetooth audio option, so we could use my tablet for music - and navigation too.


Final picture: under the hood. Under the plastic hide about 180 horses, but a good portion of them entertain the gearbox only instead of the driven wheels.


Seriously, the gearbox is a piece of shit. It's CVT with a built-in "overdrive" function, which is fine for cruising along on the highway. Basically, whatever speed you are, the CVT manages to drop the engine to about 1500 rpm, which is great for noise and fuel consumption. The downside is that whenever you need to accelerate, it frantically goes up to like 4000 rpm, stays "in gear" till 5000, then drops back to 4000, rinse and repeat. And the car sounds and feels like it has a slipping clutch while doing it. It makes you want to shoot it to put it out of its misery. The really bad thing about this is that it feels like the car loses like 50 hp in the gearbox. With 180 HP on only about 1500 kg empty, it's just slow. To illustrate how bad it was: Even my friend who knows basically nothing about cars at all and doesn't particularly care had similar thoughts.
The "overdrive" could be deactivated by push of a button on the gear lever, and this was actually very useful for downhill coasting. There were plenty of situations on long downhill section where I witnessed the cars in front of me either constantly braking or running away while I coasted along, holding speed without difficulty by just using "non-overdrive" together with cruise control. I could have done the same with a manual gearbox or an automatic with manual option, too, of course.

Apart from the annoying gearbox, the car was very good to drive. Nothing to go sporty around corners of course, but great for highway cruising which was exactly what we needed. Comfortable to sit in, enough cupholders :D, enough creature-comfort features. Fuel consumption was about 6.6 l/100 km, I seem to remember - not bad at all.
I'm trying to write something more because of the lengthy rant about the gearbox and in the end I liked the car, but really, it's just an appliance, so there's nothing much to write. A good appliance though. A shame it apparently can't be had with actual gears.
 
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