Picking our Toyota Camry Altise up from the dealer turned out to be a good experience.
It wasn't exciting, like when I bought my first car, or when I bought my 200SX (now that was a car), but I hadn't had a chance to drive a Toyota Camry before we bought it, so I was a little uneasy.
Why didn't I drive it before buying it? Well, we needed a car quickly. We'd already decided to buy a Toyota Camry (based on reliability, size, efficiency, etc), although we hadn't decided to go for the Altise model yet. We decided what else we needed (low mileage, manual transmission, the year and price ranges, etc, as I've written about before).
There weren't many cars matching what we wanted. In fact there were only two which stood out from the rest. We decided to go with the Camry Altise, because it had done less kilometers that the other one (which was a Sportivo).
So there wasn't much choice and we'd settled on this particular car. Unfortunately, the dealer wasn't close to where I worked and I didn't want to take time off work to test drive it.
I looked at the car on the weekend, when the car yard was closed (you could still walk around the cars). It was easy to find, because there were only two with manual transmission. It looked to be in very good condition. Nice paint work, no rust, no obvious indication of any accidents. In fact, it looked pretty stylish.
Because of the Camry's reputation for reliability, I was pretty confident that I was getting a good car. I arranged for an RACQ check (ie a check by a mechanic) to be done. The results turned out to be good, so we arranged the finance and set up a time to do the deal.
When we arrived, we saw our Toyota Camry waiting for us.
We went inside and met the dealer, then did the paperwork. They were polite and efficient, but there was just so much paperwork to sign. I thought we were never going to get out of there! Once we finished the paperwork, we handed over the bank cheque and received the keys to our Camry. Transaction completed!
I still hadn't driven the car yet. I knew it was a good car and Camrys are definitely reliable, but there was still a little apphrehension there.
After checking it over, I got in and began to get comfortable.
It was nice and comfortable inside. There was plenty of room (especially in the back), much more than in most 4 cylinder cars. The interior design was much more appealing than some of the other cars we'd seen, Hyundai and Ford in particular, both of which had felt cheap.
I started the engine and slowly left the car yard.
The first impression was that it was very smooth. We'd mostly been driving smaller cars where you feel the bumps a lot more. The Camry's bigger body meant it should be smoother than what we were used to, but even I was surprised by just how smooth it was. The engine was quiet and the car handled well.
There were other people onboard, so I couldn't drive very fast, but I sensed that there was power there for when it was needed. It'd never match a sports car, but it looked like it had more power than I thought it would. I was pleasantly surprised.
The trip home was uneventful, but very pleasant. I was reassured that buying a Toyota Camry Altise had been a great decision.