Our "own" car reviews

lip

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 2, 2005
Messages
3,242
Location
Switzerland
Car(s)
Audi S6 V10 wagon
Yeah its just Audi being Audi with the ridiculous options. A brand new A6 Avant (with all the equipment you really use as standard) with the 3l v6 starts at 64k€ here. Which is still far too much money if you ask me.
It really is crazy. For example on my curtesy car those wheels, the S-line package and the metallic paint together are already 14'000 SFR... according to the Audi-dude in total this car has over 45'000 SFR on options. :ROFLMAO:
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NooDle

Ik ben niet alleen lekker met kaas!
Joined
Jul 20, 2005
Messages
10,257
Location
Belgium
Car(s)
Skoda Octavia Combi 1.0TSI DSG, Hyundai Kona 1.0
I has a Skoda Octavia Combi lead in car until my new one arrives (which should be in precisely 304 days from now, damn the semiconductor shortage).

It’s grey. It’s dsg and shifts far too often and far too quickly. It has a 1.0 tsi engine with some horsepower. It doesn’t really move unless you rev it. Boot is nice and big though. But pretty soft and boring to drive, even compared to the Golf. It’s also pretty good on fuel, giving me a projected range of 800 kms on one tank.

Will post more once I’ve done more than 15 minutes in it.
 

NooDle

Ik ben niet alleen lekker met kaas!
Joined
Jul 20, 2005
Messages
10,257
Location
Belgium
Car(s)
Skoda Octavia Combi 1.0TSI DSG, Hyundai Kona 1.0
So the Octavia will be affectionately known as the Ugly Duckling. It isn’t the best looking one (since it has the split headlights) and it’s pretty much the boringest colour there is (yes that IS a word) : metallic silver.

So it’s a boring version of an already quite boring car in a boring colour. Is it dreadful? No, not at all. It’s perfectly fine, albeit not very exciting.

It has the 1.0 turbo petrol engine with 115 (?) horsepower, which is fine in itself. My problem is with the DSG gearbox which has 2 modes, both of which are a bit too extreme. In regular D mode it goes to ‘let’s save every ounce of petrol mode’ which means it shifts at 2000 rpm which is far too soon. It’s in 5th gear doing 50 kph for Gods sake! It’s practically idling at 1100 rpms and when you do floor it you get that second of dithering and then deciding to go to 2nd for 0,5 seconds and then deciding on 3rd.

S/sport mode is quite the opposite, it lets you rev to 3000 before changing up, which is better, but it holds on to gears for far too long. Also it’s quite jerky (I guess the throttle response is faster in this mode to make it feel more ‘spordy’)but it doesn’t quite work. The result is inadvertent wheelspin in first, and jerky starts, making you look like you’ve just started driving and you’ve no clutch control. Also this mode means a LOT more fuel consumption obviously.

So good engine, bad gearbox. And yes I know I’m spoilt by the Golf with 1 gear and smoothness all around

Interior is fine albeit a bit rattly. Despite being a bigger car than the Golf it does feel a bit more flimsy. Doors and boot have a metallic clang instead of a reassuring thud. Maybe just perception.

Boot is spacious bur does have a weird rollup parcel shelf thing / a net thing that’s too complicated for me. Since I need the boot for bicycles mostly I’ve removed all that jazz and put it neatly in the bottom compartment (where it thankfully doesn’t rattle).

All in all, not much to complain about, but also nothing that really sets your heart on fire either …

Pics will follow as soon as I can be bothered, which may not be at all. Who wants to see a boring/ugly but ultimately practical car with a boring colour?
 

rickhamilton620

has a fetish for terrible cars
Joined
Nov 28, 2009
Messages
16,923
Location
Yoe, PA
Car(s)
2012 Kia Forte EX
Got the Kia in the shop right now to get some things fixed up since i'm keeping it for the long haul and I've been handed the keys to this guy:

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It's a Malibu Maxx LS V6 of unknown vintage and honestly after a weekend of driving it, it made me realize that this was literally the American take on the Vauxhall Signum that was based on the same Epsilon platform. - re-watched clarkson's review and gotta say, like the Signum, the Maxx is great for people in the back, absolutely meh for people up front.

Because Americans were deathly allergic to hatchbacks in 2004 (and now merely just mildly uncomfortable with them) Chevy's marketing boffins had the idea to market this as a "extended sedan" but come on, weird vestigial decklid aside, this is a hatch and, at least by appearances will do the hatchy things well:

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I fit both a target run and cardboard that was going to the recycling center back here and it fit well. One oddity I had was with the logic behind the hatch release button inside the car - I couldn't get it to work when i stopped at Target but then when I parked it down the street to try it it worked. I thought i figured it out only to be surprised when it worked later. I've had no trouble since then so *shrug*

Working our way further up to the rear seat and this is where the magic of the Malibu Maxx is:
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Back here is a sliding and reclining rear seat with seemingly acres of legroom. Also like the Signum, you could get a DVD player back here with RCA hookups for game consoles. This guy seats 5 even with the DVD player because it was built into the rear of the center console. The entry level LS spec car I was given access to lacks this feature.

But what it does have are two individual non opening sunroofs:

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Honestly this is baffling and lends further credence that this car was developed with a "back seat first" mindset because nope....the front seat doesn't have a sunroof at all.

Speaking of the front seats, let's talk about life up front:

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The door trims are a sea of gray vinyl wrapped plastic with a splash of cloth. the entire dash is a slab of dull, uninspired, cheap looking gray soft touch plastic.:

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I forgot that silver trim was the "piano black" of the 2000's:

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GM called this vintage Malibu "the most driver adjustable car in it's class" with the presence of a standard power height adjuster on the driver's seat, power adjustable pedals, and a telescoping steering wheel. Honestly I'm not exactly a outlier when it comes to dimensions so I fit fine - the power pedals were a cool party trick.

I will say that I was pleasantly surprised with how decently screwed together this ultra high mileage (200+k) example was. Aside from a center console lid who's latch had left the chat probably a decade ago, the rest of the interior was free of things falling off or broken. Don't get me wrong, there's enough cheap ill fitting shit in here to render moot any of GM's "premium midsize" intentions: for every nice feeling woven headliner, there's things like door tweeters that, at first glance, look like capped manual mirror controls but nope..they're speakers. But for 200k miles, again. It's held up.

Moving our way forward of the firewall, how does this oddball hatchback drive? Well given how backseat focused this thing is, the driving stuff is predictably pretty meh and straightforward.

Power - It's easily the fastest yet slowest car I've ever driven. I'll try to explain...it's a V6 model so that means a 3.5L OHV V6 with 201 horsepower. A J35 or VQ35DE this is not - is it creamy refined even for a pushrod engine? Yes. But between the 4 speed auto and the lazy throttle calibration I had to floor it to get onto the highway - I wasn't able to squeeze my way into the flow of highway traffic not once but twice. Around town it's fine, if a bit slow to take off until you get accustomed to the throttle tuning.

Steering - duller than dishwater, zero feel due to one of the earlier applications of EPS. Easy to park and turn. This is meh steering, you're not going to get joy from it.

Ride - very isolating. It doesn't float like a buick nor does it lean overly much in turns but it doesn't jar your teeth out over bumps. Better than my car on the same routes by a country mile.

Braking - She goes and stops.

So yeah, the Malibu Maxx. It's a practical hatchback but sparks no emotional joy for the driver. If you were picked up in one for a Uber though, you'd be fine, plenty of room for your shit and your luggage for the run to/from the airport. Plus you'll get to enjoy the stars at night unlike the driver.

EDIT: I completely forgot the radio! In a (i assume) cost saving move, the trip computer functions are NOT in the instrument cluster or even in a separate pod in the dashboard or in a overhead console. No it's in the radio:

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As you can see though, it's near impossible to see during the day.

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Honestly I don't like this - there's eyes off the road time with having the display in the radio. That and between trip computer functions, outside temp, radio station names/song titles/artist names (GM was big on adopting the Radio Data System standard) it's a cluttered display at times.
 

lip

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 2, 2005
Messages
3,242
Location
Switzerland
Car(s)
Audi S6 V10 wagon
"Quote"
VjpmRMx.jpg


If a garage would hand me a courtesy car in such a status I would call the comercial police. :LOL:
Anyway, excellent write-up, I very like such a detailed report. (y) - Let's hope your current wheels keep on trucking for a long while after this refresher.
 

Perc

Very Odd Looking Vehicular Object
Joined
Mar 31, 2008
Messages
6,308
Location
Finland
Car(s)
Passat Alltrack
My first and last GM vehicle had just shy of 200.000km on it when I sold it and it felt very, very solid. It had bone-headed design choices like a plastichrome shifter surround that blinded me by reflecting the sun and street lights, but it was well screwed together and the chassis and drivetrain was still in flawless shape when I sold it.

I'm not saying "last" because I wouldn't have another one, but they stopped selling the damn things here. Opel is Stellantis now.
 

Perc

Very Odd Looking Vehicular Object
Joined
Mar 31, 2008
Messages
6,308
Location
Finland
Car(s)
Passat Alltrack
So I just put some 500km behind the wheel of a Toyota ProAce.

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What’s a ProAce? It’s a van. It’s the successor to the HiAce, which for the longest time was the default choice if you wanted a durable workhorse. For good reason, too. However, the only places where it was the default choice was in Norway and Finland. Nobody else in Europe bought them in any meaningful numbers. This is why one of the largest car makers in the world decided it didn’t make sense to develop a new one to replace it. Instead, they bought one from PSA. Or American LeylStellantis, as they're known nowadays.

I have a bad habit of reading comments under car ads on Facebook and every time there’s a ProAce ad there’s a middle-aged man in the comments saying that it’s ”Citroën junk”. It’s also Peugeot, Opel and Vauxhall junk, but it seems like Toyota fans find ”Citroën” to be the most derogatory sounding of the Stellantis brands. The HiAce drivers really want their outdated junk back.

So, the car then. The base model is a fleet spec product that probably doesn’t come with anything that isn’t mandated by law. This is not that. It’s the one the business owner buys to drive home at the end of the day. It has an 180hp engine mated to an 8 speed auto, keyless entry and start, satnav, bluetooth, dual zone climate control, parking radar and camera, automatic xenon lights, blind spot monitoring, auto folding mirrors, chrome bits on the exterior, and probably some other things I forget. There are also cup holders on top of the dash, one on each side. These are really great for holding a big travel mug. It also has windows in the split rear doors, AND rear wipers. I've no idea why, because the only thing you see when looking in the mirror is the center headrest and the pillar between the rear windows. As in any van you need to learn to use the door mirrors.

So, it turns out it’s rather good at covering distances. Unlike base models (any make and model) that run out of puff on the freeway, this has no problems doing battle in the left lane for a couple hours straight without ever feeling stressed. Steering is a two-handed affair if there’s a crosswind, and that’s just as well because the right side armrest certainly isn’t anywhere near where your elbow is, so one of the more comfortable things you can do with your right arm is to keep it stretched out holding the wheel. Other than that, the drivers seat is surprisingly comfortable, even for longer distances.

It’s also very good at urban driving. The 8 speed blends the gears together very nicely and because there are so many of them, you're always humming along at around 1500rpm with plenty of torque on tap. This is how van driving should be. It’s a proper auto with a torque converter so unlike a certain Volkswagen in my avatar, takeoff is smooth every time. It obviously has start/stop because everything has, but it’s the best kind where the alternator acts as a starter and kicks the engine into life quickly and smoothly instead of relying on the starter motor every time. You can tell they put some effort into the start/stop system instead of just doing the bare minimum to pass regulations. I don’t want to know how much a replacement alternator is, though.

There’s a lot going on behind the steering wheel - flappy paddles which probably are more for towing and less for spordy driving. The paddles are even on the column instead of behind the wheel, which means it’s easy to grab second even if you’re turning in an intersection, because the paddle stays where it is. The cruise control is on a pod at 8 o’clock. Then there are the two normal stalks that go up and down and twist etc. The only things the driver can see are the tips of the two gearchange paddles. Everything else is covered by the steering wheel spokes so you have to learn to do it by feel. This is alright for the cruise control, but it’s annoying when you can’t see if the light switch is in Auto or Off.

What this particular example doesn’t have is adaptive cruise control. Yes I know I keep going on and on about this but it’s just such a no-brainer when you’ve gotten used to it. Long distance driving in Finland is usually done on 1+1 highways with passing opportunities few and far between, and even if the speed limit is 100km/h you’re usually stuck behind a truck, a caravan or a Nissan Qashqai. Not having to fiddle with the cruise control all the time takes a lot of frustration away.
 

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