As the world tilts ever closer to the jaws of oblivion, it becomes more and more pervasive in the zeitgeist of popular culture that the end times are close to bear. Whether this will be the fall of Rome on a global scale or such a cataclysm to render human civilization not only reset but shackled to a dying Earth, we will see. Only time will tell. But with the apocalypse looming ever closer, it is important to consider what kind of vehicle you will want to use as your transportation and weapon after the end of civilization.
Beggars can’t be choosers, and the apocalypse waits for no man. You may have the disposable income to purchase your own doomsday vehicle and soup it up, but chances are your spouse will give you a hard ‘no’ on that. So let us assume that you can’t pick out a World Rover or a school bus pre-kitted out with a barricade busting grill and deployable spikes on the sides.
You’re frantically searching an abandoned dealership as you narrowly avoid zombies, killer robots, or whatever else the universe decides to throw at us. You find two cars: A 2020 Ford Fusion and a 2020 Hyundai Sonata. Neither of these vehicles are the AWD, off-road, tough machines that you might hope or dream of in the event of the world descending into chaos and survival of the fittest. But it is decision time – in the wasteland, which car will make the best vehicle and killing machine?
You want something strong. Having a marauder vehicle that can take a hit and give as good as it gets is essential. No one is going to be thriving in the wasteland in a Smart Car. The sedans before us are a far cry from a Jeep (famous for their ability to outrun dinosaurs) or a 70’s muscle car (Mad Max’s choice even if it isn’t the most fuel-efficient).
When weighing the contenders, the Ford comes in between 3,410-3,816 lbs vs the Sonata, which weighs in at 3,120-3,336 lbs. The heavier weight of the Ford means that when you are storming through the barricades or crowds of zombies, you have greater ramming power. The Ford also has a slightly boxier and sturdy looking build, which could give it more mounting potential for spikes, steel mesh shields, or a light firearm if you have the resources. We will get to modification potential more in a little bit.
The grill and front bumper are a little more streamlined on the Sonata. While this is definitely a more aerodynamic design, in the apocalypse, I want a battering ram. However, something could be said that the more curved hood shape of the Sonata may be a defensive bonus as attacks from the front are more likely to glance off rather than be soaked up like they would by the flatter surface of the grill on the Fusion.
Performance and Fuel Efficiency
Defense and ramming power are important if you are caught by the bandits and need to escape using force. But if your doomsday-buggy is faster and can go longer without your needing to siphon fuel from an abandoned gas station or infiltrate a raider stronghold, then you may not need to worry about fighting your way out of problems as much.
Ford has higher horsepower (maxing out at 245 hp vs the Sonata’s 191 hp), which is important when outrunning cannibals or raiders in their own desert buggies. You will probably have to add some off-road or badass spiked tires to make sure you can go blasting off the crowded highways, choked with the hordes of undead. This seems like a clear cut ranking that the Fusion is going to outpace the mutants roaring for your blood much more reliably than the Sonata.
Fuel in the end-times will be hard to come by. If society goes the way of the Road Warrior, water and gasoline will become more valuable than gold. You don’t want to be left vulnerable out in the nuclear winter with an empty tank of gas. So which one of these cars will help you get further through the night of no tomorrow?
The Hyundai Sonata has better fuel economy overall. Not by a large stretch, but considering they are the same class of vehicle, the Sonata is a clear winner here with 28 city / 38 highway vs the Ford Fusion’s 23 city / 34 highway. Of course, you can’t really rely on smooth city driving in the wake of Ragnarok, but it is still a good benchmark. This seems to be a clear winner; however, something to consider is the fuel tank capacity.
If we are going to be hoarding precious resources in the aftermath, the size of the fuel tank will be important. Fuel tank capacity is more limited in the Sonata with 15.9 gallons vs the Fusion’s 16.5-18 gallons. So while it is a little less efficient in its use of the gas, the Fusion can hold more. This category comes down to personal preference, but I think Ford still edges out. The fuel efficiency difference isn’t vast enough that I think it is worth sacrificing the raw speed of the engine. And I don’t want to be caught in my escape against the Bonechewer tribe of Cincinnati because I needed extra horsepower and have my only solace as I’m turning over their fire like a spit hog that at least my gas mileage was good.
Armed to the Teeth
You don’t want to be the only raider showing up to the horde meeting with the least dangerous looking car. What kind of self-respecting survivor are you? You need shielding, spikes, flamethrowers, and at least some kind of gladiator-style wheel blades. When considering how much modification, we should look at how much the cars can pull. While technically the added mods will be dispersed along the body, it seems like a decent metric to measure how much extra weight we can put on our vehicles before it starts to strain our engines.
The Fusion maximum loaded trailer weight is between 1000-2000 lbs. What I can learn about the Sonata is that the braked towing capacity (requiring braking on both wheels on at least one axle of the towed load) is around 2800lbs. This leads me to believe that Hyundai’s actual towing capacity may not be that strong if it is not something featured. Or that Ford owners, even the sedan drivers, are so hopped up on towing strength that even if they aren’t driving an F-150, they still want to brag at the BBQ about how much their four-door can tow.
When considering your modifications to turn your sedan into a wasteland monster, this may be down to style and personal preference. As mentioned earlier, the Fusion is a bit heavier and has a boxier build. If you want to kit your vehicle to have extra shielding and have more balance for door-mounted cannons or a shovel attachment on the grill, armed with spikes, you could turn the Fusion into a melee death racer.
The Sonata is a little lighter and more aerodynamic, so you may want to outfit it as an ambush and getaway vehicle. The curved frame could provide an opportunity to mount giant, fuck-off knives that all point at a narrow target. It won’t work as well to smash through crowds of super-mutants or undead, but if you need to spear a giant radioactive rat-beast, then there are some excellent opportunities here. Additionally, the lighter weight of the body could leave more room for added modification vs the inherent weight of the Ford.
After the mushroom clouds dissipate and you need to drive off into the nuclear sunset, comparing the 2020 Fusion to the 2020 Sonata seems like a foregone conclusion. The Fusion is heavier with greater slamming power and a sturdy, boxy build. It has the way higher maximum horsepower to outrun the wasteland marauders and enough towing power to ensure you that it can carry all the weapons and shielding you need to make your car a mobile bunker. The Sonata could make for a great striker model with long-range weapons, and a tow cable harpoon launcher could put that brake towing capacity to work if you want to take the route of a raider who is capturing other vehicles. But in close-range melee power and survivability, the Fusion is a strong leader and would be my car of choice to modify into my road warrior mobile.