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!