Monday, May 19, 2008

Toyota Camry Altise vs Toyota Camry Sportivo

There are different models of Toyota Camry, so why did I settle on the Altise?

In fact, I had a direct choice between a Toyota Camry Altise and a Toyota Camry Sportivo.

On the surface, the Sportivo seems better. It looks a little nicer, because of the body kit and and it has some extra features.

For the record, here are the features that both the Altise and the Sportivo have:

  • 4 Speaker Stereo

  • Adjustable Steering Col. - Tilt only

  • Air Conditioning

  • Airbags - Driver & Passenger (Dual)

  • Body Colour - Bumpers

  • Body Side Mouldings

  • CD Player

  • Central Locking - Remote/Keyless

  • Disc Brakes Front Ventilated

  • Disc Brakes Rear Solid

  • Engine Immobiliser

  • Independent Front Suspension

  • Independent Rear Suspension

  • Intermittent Wipers - Variable

  • Power Door Mirrors

  • Power Steering

  • Power Windows - Front & Rear

  • Remote Boot/Hatch Release

  • Remote Fuel Lid Release

  • Speed Alert - Warning

And here are the features that are exclusive to the Toyota Camry Sportivo:

  • 16 Alloy Wheels

  • ABS (Antilock Brakes)

  • Armrest - Rear Centre (Shared)

  • Body Colour - Fittings

  • Body Kit - F&R Spoilers

  • Skirts

  • Rear Apron

  • Chrome Grille

  • Cruise Control

  • Fog Lamps - Front

  • Headrests - Integrated 2nd Row

  • Leather Gear Knob

  • Leather Steering Wheel

  • Metallic Finish Inserts

  • Paint - Metallic

  • Sports Instruments

  • Sports Seats - 1st Row (Front)

  • Sports Steering Wheel

  • Suspension - Sports

Now all those extra features sound nice, right? Sure and I'd snap them up, all things being equal.

But the choice I had was between a Toyota Camry Altise and a Toyota Camry Sportivo: they were the same price, but the Altise had done 47,000 Km and the Sportivo had done 70,000 Km.

So my choice was really between the extra features and the lower mileage.

At that stage, you start thinking that you only really need cruise control for highway driving (which we don't do much of), etc..

Factor in that the Altise is less likely to be driven as hard - lets face it, someone who buys the sporty model is more likely to drive it hard - and the choice is even easier...

Folks, mileage is one of the most important factors in choosing a used car.

So, have a good look around if you're buying a used car. Although the Sportivo seems better, a Toyota Camry Altise will often be better value, offering lower mileage or cost.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Why I Bought A Toyota Camry Altise

My first post established that: a) I had bought a Toyota Camry Altise; and b) that the purpose of this blog was to pass on information which may help people decide if they wanted to buy one for themselves.

Now, let me tell you a little bit about why I decided on a Toyota Camry and why I decided on the Altise model.

First I have a confession to make! When I was a little younger (say 10 years ago), I used to say "I'd never own a Toyota Camry!". True! I used to detest Camry's. At that stage of my life, I was into sports cars and owned a modified Nissan 200SX (also called a Silvia).

The move from a high powered rear wheel sports car to a safe front wheel drive 'family car' was something I couldn't have imagined. Yet I now own a Toyota Camry. Why?

Well firstly, I now need a family car, because I have a family! Otherwise, I probably would have gone with something sportier. But what I need right now is something that meets the following criteria:
  • safe and reliable
  • large enough to fit a family
  • economical fuel wise
  • preferably 4 cylinder (to avoid extra tax)
  • but with reasonable performance!
  • large boot
  • air conditioning
  • manual transmission (I hate automatics!)
  • only 3 or 4 years old
  • low mileage (under 50,000 Kms)
  • reasonable look!

That's what I was looking for and what I eventually found in my Toyota Camry Altise.

But it wasn't straight forward. As I mentioned above, I used to hate Toyota Camrys which for me were the personification of family cars.

I knew that Hyundis were far cheaper than other brands for the equivalent age / features, so I seriously considered purchasing one of them. I started by looking at the Hyundi Lantra and the Hyundi Sonata. The Lantra wasn't bad, but it was just too small. The Sonata was big enough, and relatively cheap, but I just did not like it's looks. The brand new ones don't look too bad, but I wasn't quite in a position to get a new one.

I also looked at the Ford Focus and Toyota Corolla, but they were also too small. A pity, because they would be economical, looked good (especially the focus) and I'd read good things about their performance).

I faced up to the fact that I needed a family sized car. I looked at the Mitsubishi Magna and the 380, but they were a little bit too big (engine wise, not size wise). I also discounted several other makes and models that I liked, but which were 6 cylinders as that would mean paying extra on the registration tax every year and using more fuel than necessary. With the current cost of petrol, that's not a good idea!

So I was looking at the midsize range. There wan't much in that range that I liked at all. I'd already ruled out the Hyundi Sonata, and the only other car in the same sort of range was the Toyota Camry.

It was physically as big as the 6 cylinders, but only had 4 cylinders. It was comfortable to sit in, yet the performance seemed reasonable. It looked good and had modern styling, not like the super boring Camrys of old, which I had detested. It was more expensive than the Sonata, but you could see why: the quality was just that much better. As much as I had hated Camrys, I respected their well earned reputation for reliabilty.

So the choice ended up being easy... Next I just had to find a Toyota Camry with low mileage, not too old, with a manual transmission. I managed to do that, but I'll leave that story for another day!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Toyota Camry Altise - Introduction

This blog is going to focus on just one thing: my Toyota Camry Altise.

Why write a blog about a car, especially one that's a family car, rather than an expensive sports car? Well I just bought one.

When I was looking around for information on the Toyota Camry Altise, I could find lots of information from Toyota and car sellers, but very little objective information from people who actually owned a Camry Altise.

Buying a car is a big decision. I thought it would have been very useful if I could have read some reviews from Camry Altise owners. So, I created this blog.

I plan to write about my experiences with my Toyota Camry Altise here. Hopefully that can help other people who are thinking about buying one.

If you're someone who's thinking about it, I hope this blog provides you with some useful information about it and help you decide whether the Toyota Camry Altise is for you.