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I love everything about cars! I do prefer the Japanese type though. I do suffer from a bit of diesel allergy.
23rd March 2015
Hello ctzens, i am in dire need of your help, or rather, your opinion. So here’s the situation:
I am going to buy a car in the not too distant future, as a matter of fact, late this week. The car in question is an AE92 Corolla GT-i hatchback. It has a bit over 260 000kms, is white, has had replaced all the major gaskets and seals, the stuff that makes these engines lose oil, and is a 88’ model. I have seen the car in real life and driven it, it purrs like a kitten and feels really well, the major issue is that it doesnt have any form of assisted or power steering, i dont mind this though. The car is currently priced at 3700€ but can go down to 3500€ or less. My issue is that most people are telling me that im going to make a big mistake if i buy this car, that ill have to sink money into it since it will break down being so old, and it would happear that the car not having any form of power steering made literally everyone around me call me crazy for wanting it.
I really like the car, and it comes from a nice owner (second one as well), i fell in love with it the second i drove it, but i dont wanna make a big mistake, so what would you recommend me doing in this situation?
Thank you for your help in advance.
This is a small review of what i consider to be one of the best vehicles out there, and a hidden gem for your average person, i am talking about the 2012 model Ford Transit. Im just going to start this off by saying that it’s probably the best overall vehicle i’ve ever driven. Not that i’ve driven many, and most of them are indeed Renault Vans, but i do strongly believe my convictions about this van being a really good vehicle. You need to drive one at some point of your life.
Let’s start with the good things!
The transmission in this thing is the best transmission i have ever felt in my life up to this point. The gear shifter is right up there next to the steering Wheel, so it’s really confortable to use as you don’t have to reach down to shift. It feels so damn good to use, it shifts smoothly into gear and when you drop it into gear it’s just so satisfying, It feels a lot like a big, sturdier and better G27 shifter. But in the end I really don’t know how to explain it, just drive one! It is also a 6 speed which is a nice little thing to have in a vehicle like this as it means you can cruise around on the highway and get great MPG.
You know, for a van, it has more and better features than your average Fiesta! The infotainment system is really really good, the buttons are big and easy to press, it has multiple 12V outlets, the speakers are nice, it has a line in for plugging your phone or whichever musical device with a 3.5mm Jack you use, and it has a nice screen in between the gauges which tells you your MPG and is where you configure your van (even down to the traction control on or off) using the steering Wheel buttons. You get a volume controll and skip as well as mute buttons on the steering Wheel which are really nice to use. It countains normal bulb DRLs (no leds tho), A/C and even a nice eco mode which enables start and stop and limits your top speed to 115kph, ofc it can be easily turned off with the press of a button next to the gauge cluster labeled “eco”.
It countains a biefy 2.2 Duratorq I4 engine that produces some BHP (i have no idea how much this particular one produces, but it feels like it is the 152BHP version). It definitelly has some get up and go, and is quick enough when you need it to be. The engine does produce a nice grunty noise and feels smooth unlike many other diesels which sound smooth but feel clunky. It has a tiny bit of turbo lag, but when it kicks in, you get boost almost to the redline point. One of the best diesels i’ve ever driven.
Now, this is very much down to personal opinion, but i think that this Transit looks really sexy. Compared to the old ones, this one actually looks really nice and agressive. The shape flows really well and doesnt look like a brick with wheels, like the older ones do. I’m happy that Ford took this approach at the design of the van, as it does stand out.
Alright, now this one i’m going to focus on the cabin and Forget the rear bit as it obviously has a lot of space (its a bloody great big van made for commercial purposses!) but let’s focus on all the little cubby holes and hidden storage. To start off you get 3 compartments in each door, you get a propper barrel cup holder each side of the dash really good for bottles, or using as a pen holder. Down the bottom of the dash you get another cup holder for bottles again on each side, i guess a bottle holder then. The area on top of the gauge cluster lifts up to reveal a nice place to put documents and other things, and you will find a 3.5mm auxilary socket and a 12V outlet. You also get your normal glove box which is arguably small, as well as an ident on top to fit things that would fit there (i don’t know, i use it myself to hold transport guides). Also, in the middle of the gauge cluster and the gearshifter, you have a little space ideal for holding a 4’’ smartphone. And to finish it off, the passenger seat bottom lifts up to reveal a nice big space to fit grosseries or suitcasses or backpacks. The tyre jack is also fitted on the passengers side (LHD) in the space where you climb to get into the van.
The drivers seat can be adjusted in almost every level imaginable. No lumbar adjustment tho. The passenger seats do not adjust as well. (They are bench seats) I’m also going to put in here that i really do enjoy the arm rest to the side of the seat and it feels really confortable. No center console tho. The Steering Wheel also has tilt and telescopic adjustments.
The Steering Wheel
I love this steering Wheel, it’s sooo much better than the one in the Fiesta and it feels that way too! it has finger indenting all the way around the Wheel, its not biefy, its nice and small, the layout of the controls is really nice and It feels good.
This van has really nice gauges, better than the fiesta. The Blue pointers are really nice, and you get analog style temperature and fuel gauges (although i feel that they digital anyway). It features a nice, previously mentioned display in the middle, and you get a rev counter that goes all the way to 6000rpm (redline’s at 4,500rpm).
The Not so Goodies
Standard Bluetooth system is a Parrot system which is just gnarly, it unpairs after you make a call and unpairs randomly for no reason. The Eco mode toggle button Works the wrong way around, i dont know why Ford thought this was a good idea, but they pretty much stuck an “off” instead of an “on” and the “off” lights up when eco is off. It’s a rather unique thing as normally the toggles work with “on” and not “off”, whilst i understand why they did it (as eco mode turns on when you start the van), it would be much easier and less confusing if it was a simple “on” instead of an “off”. The AC controls are really difficult to use as they are a far reach from the steering Wheel and down, so you always look down which may cause you to crash. Also, whats the point of having the AC button on or off? (i really dont know). The accelerator pedal has barelly any travel to it, like seriously, it’s almost like a switch. The cluch also doesnt feel that good, it’s smooth, but it doesnt give you as much feedback as you’d expect from a diesel, i have a similar problema with the Fiesta, but the one in the Fiesta is much worse. Where is the foot rest? Like seriously, where is it? If that thing to the side of the pedals thats like a mile in front is the footrest, it doesnt work! Sometimes the handbrake button catches your skin and pinches it when your pulling it down, this may be because i’m a numpty, but it has happened a fair few times. The goddamn light switch, it just doesnt go with anything in the scheme of things, it’s that round selector switch, but it is a separate thing from the dash and has a chrome bessel around it. It doesnt fit with the overall style of the dash. The rear side door is a magnetic lock, and it Works fine, untill you have something pushing it from the inside, then it just has a field day throwing side door open warnings at your face. Also, leaf springs on a 2012 vehicle (i guess Ford just doesn’t care for the rear suspension at all). It breaks down easily as this one already went for warranty work at 48 000 KMs, and it went there twice for the same problem, a fuelling problem would appear to be the culprit. The goddamn wiper stalk, whilst it feels nice and ruberry, it has this chronic problem of being reversed, so you pull up for the wipers to work and down for the mist, but in every other vehicle i’ve driven (mostly Renault) it worked the other way around, and the mist was a pull.
Now this is a bit of a hit and miss thing for me. Whilst i enjoy the way it handles around corners, take it a bit too fast or a bit too Sharp into a corner, and it will understeer like crazy. I dont know to what point this is due to the tyres, but i guess it is to be expected from a front Wheel drive van with leaf springs for rear suspension. The steering has a nice bit of feedback, but dont expect sports car levels, it is also a bit stiff which im all up for, but most people do seem to hate it, i love it. It’s nice for cruising around and rides well, it feels stiff but springy (mainly due to the rear), its not unpleasent the opposite tbh. The brakes are a bit on the soft side and aren’t nearly as effective as i feel they should be, but it does have disks at the rear. It also has nice visibility out the front and double mirrors like you get on trucks, ofc you need these as the van has no rear view mírror. In the end I would describe this whole thing as “it drives good, but hates being put under pressure”.
Over all the interior is nothing i’d writte home about. Whilst most of it is nicely laid down with the cubby holes and storage compartments, it is just a great big slob of plastic, a nice quality one, but plastic none the less. The floor is in this rubber thing instead of carpet and it is a bit spongy (due to insolation i would assume). It’s not the worst or even most unpleasent place to be in, but its not the best also.
So if you consider all this, and even with all the flaws, i still consider this to be the best vehicle i have ever driven. It feels so good to drive, you dont even feel like you’re driving a van, i am actually willing to put Money on this when i say that it drives a million times better than my clio. I instantly fell in love with this van the momment i drove it, mainly because of that shifter, but because it is such a high quality van. I recommend everyone to drive one of them because they are so nice and a really quality vehicle!
I want to talk about my perspective on the tuning scene over here where i live (Portugal). In 19 years of my life, i’ve been through two major scene changes and i want to talk about my view on them from where i live, plus how things work around these bits.
Let’s talk about how things used to be. When i was younger, probably 6, 7 years old, the custom car scene was very different, the way people did things around here was different as well. At this age i used to attend many car tuning shows, my father worked for a company which sold car audio systems and components, and so he displayed the company products in a rather different company car from what you may be used to, it was a full sound blown Clio Mk2 (obviously). Of course back in the day the car was new and had a lot of Money put into mounting a very overkill sound system, it actually won a few awards (being a display car for a company thats quite nice), and in 2002 it even had a TV! As a kid, this was obviously the shiz.
Now let’s talk about the cars that were in those tuning events. They were your typical full OTT custom car, i guess you’d call it a ricer now, but back then they were the trend, expect full fyberglass bodykits with a lot of edges and meshes, big wings, stupid air intakes, slammed suspension, neons, fully modified interior with a lot of Money into many speakers, tweeters, condensers, displays, amps, you name it. The thing is that back then it was all much easier to do, you could almost literally (and as far as i can recall) do anything to your car and it was fully legal, in fact, there was no real legislation around modifying a car, you could pretty much do whatever you pleased. There was a forum post made by a guy that showed a whole build of a Clio MK1 being fitted with a turbo’ed out Megane engine, in the late 90s, and he said that back then it was all fully legal.
Times do change, and the same can be said for every trend. Customizing cars went along with this as well. Gone are the pathetic big wings and expensive flashy paint jobs, and in are the more subtle and (Maybe?) performance oriented changes. Portugal was and still is no exception to this trend, but the law has changed, modifying your car started to be seen as a bad thing. In what i consider the transition period of scenes, from around 2004 to 2010 things took a bad turn, street racing was starting to be exposed quickly gained a bad reputation from the media after the course of a few deadly crashes, this unfortunatelly made things worse for the scene in geral after a new legislation was added that pretty much prohibited any performance oriented modification, things like suspension, engine and exaust mods quickly became illegal and pretty much any modifications which would change the way the car performed followed. The things that stayed legal were wheels, cosmetic changes (on a very, very tight legislation) and tints, but even these were made hard to get. In Portugal you cant simply buy a wider tyre, you need to change your car’s whole registration to do so, or you can get a very heafty fine from the Police and it wont pass MOT. Case in point, if i wanted to change my cars tyre width from a 165 to a 185 (on 6J wheels) i would need to contact the car’s manufacter, ask them for a paper which would allow me to change the wheels, hope they would send me the papper/allow the modification, pay the fee (probably with VAT on top), go to the DGV sit hours in lines and ask for a change of registration, hand them over the papper from the manufacter and more Money on top (with more VAT), wait for the new registration to arrive, go for an inspection to make sure it’s all up to standards (and pay more Money) and then hopefully enjoy your new tyre. Yes you need to go through that whole process, with a lot of variants and Money just to simply put a wider tyre on a rim and be able to legally use it. There is also another dodgier way, which i wont cover because of the dodginess in nature, even though it’s a guaranteed pass, but it only replaces the manufacter part, the DGV process still needs to be done. Oh, and you need to do this every time you want to fit a bigger Wheel or larger tyre, and it’s limited, it will also limit the ammount of legal mods you can do to your car (those that require a new registry). The same process pretty much Works for tints and even paint! Now, does this stop people? Absolutelly not, there are some really great projects over here, and people will never be stopped by stuff of the sorth. It should be point out that there is still no real legislation as to what’s legal or not, some things that will pass an MOT on the south, may not pass an MOT on the north of the county. The justification for all this is that it stops people from messing with the car’s security features and the way it Works, ofc other people deny it and say it was a mere move by the automakers to protect their own brands, and both of these have their own merit, but not the way they are implanted right now. If you have enough Money you can even have a fully modified car legal, but there is always the risk that the police wont like it, and they can fine you and take your car away, even if it passes an MOT and has everything registred. The law contradicts itself as it says that the cars cannot be modified in any way possible, but then throws you those exceptions on top.
As a result of all this, big car meets have been reduced, and the overall Portuguese car scene which used to be huge, is now dying a slow death. People do still modify their cars, in more of a cosmetic level, and even take a few chances with lower suspensions and louder exausts, but something that used to be really really big, is now very small in comparission (no eufemism). People have a different mindset now, and not a very good one. Your typical modded car is likely to be running on rolling coal or a Honda with a fart can, TDis, more importantly Seat Ibizas “rule“ the streets with their smoked to black hatches, Roady (Kinda like Halfords only french) wheels and poor sounding diesels, or Civics with massive and loud fart cans, again with Roady wheels, faded red (basically pink) paint and destroyed interiors.
These are the stereotypes you see everyday in here and im kinda sad it is like this, the law doesn’t let you do Creative things anymore so you just follow whatever your neighbour has done to his Ibiza. Again, there are still really really nice cars and really good companies that modify them, stuff like Ce2Racing, team Amatuzzi (more of a performance level) and such, but in the end, you barelly see those. I am aware of the “mundo da picaria” events (basically drag racing on airstrips) and Braga Internacional Tuning Motor Show, but that’s pretty much all you’ve got appart from a couple of small events.
Thank you if you read all this, and please leave a comment, both feedback on my writting and general discussion are very much appreciated.