By on November 3, 2009

Every dog has (had) his day. (courtesy 02.olx.com)

Back in 1994, supremebrougham helped one of his old high school teachers shop for a car. [NB: “she’s really not old, she’s a vibrant and elegant 50-something that hasn’t changed a bit since the early 90’s.”] She ended-up buying a new Camry LE (not shown). And now she’s looking for another whip. She lives in central Florida (AWD need not apply) and she doesn’t want to spend over $30,000.

I have had an oil leak for about two years. A trust-worthy mechanic suggested I just let it go; just check and replenish the oil as needed. I just bought a new window motor, yet my locks are still unpredictable. Plus the passenger front handle broke off two weeks ago when a a passenger didn’t listen when I insisted that I needed time unlocking her door. I don’t want to put any more money into it. The lovely green machine has served me very well, but I am feeling just a tad unsure about taking it for rides entailing more than local traffic. What do you think of the CR-V or Rav4? Anything by Kia or Hyundai? I am not sure if I want a sedan or one of the little SUV’s. What do you think of the Camry hybrid? I have also noticed the good reviews on the Fusion lately!

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65 Comments on “Ask the Best and Brightest: Is There Life After a ’94 Camry?...”


  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    $30K is a lot to work with – if she doesn’t really need the room of a Camry, what about a Fiesta? She could get a properly nice diesel Golf or Jetta wagon for that kind of money too. But if she drives a Camry, she probably doesn’t like steering feel.

    50-something is way too young to drive one of those hip-friendly high-riding RAV4s or CR-Vs.

  • avatar
    EChid

    Living in Florida, an SUV is definitely going to be more of bulky, expensive hindrance than anything, since its abilities aren’t really important to her.

    One thing to note is that most of the family sedans have grown sizably since her Camry, so she may want to try out models to make sure they don’t feel giant.

    The Fusion would be good, but I feel like something like a Mazda 3 Sport/Sedan would serve her well. Fun, capable, lots of room and reliable. Plus, for well below $30k you can get one fully loaded.

  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    I agree, $30k is more than enough to replace her Camry; I assume she is limiting her choices to new vehicles.

    At this price point you could expand her CUV choices to the Highlander, Murano, Edge and – possibly – the Pilot or Flex (I’m not totally savvy on current deals, nor the ones unique to your region). Mazda also has some very nicely-executed offerings in this segment.

    For sedans, you’re within spitting distance of the Maxima and Taurus, although the Altima and Fusion are equally nice (the Altima is actually slightly larger inside than the Maxima). Then there’s the Camry and Accord…and again, Mazda’s worth checking out, as well.

    But another option, and one I’ve considered doing when I get past 50 (five more years, and proud of it): Fix up the Camry and keep it for the times when she needs a roomy, comfortable, reliable sedan, and buy a $25,000 Miata.

    Now THAT’S a good ride for a vibrant, elegant 50-something woman!

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    @BuzzDog :
    At this price point you could expand her CUV choices to the Highlander, Murano, Edge and – possibly – the Pilot or Flex

    Yes, but aren’t all those gas guzzlers? And wouldn’t somebody whe keeps her Camry for 15 years want something economical?

    But another option, and one I’ve considered doing when I get past 50 (five more years, and proud of it): Fix up the Camry and keep it for the times when she needs a roomy, comfortable, reliable sedan, and buy a $25,000 Miata.

    That sounds like something I would do. Minus the Camry. In 21 years.

  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    Yes, Mirko, some of those are gas guzzlers. Not all, however…the Murano will easily get in the mid- to high-20s, which is about what the old Camry will achieve. At least that’s the experience we’ve had with our ’09, which we’ve had for almost two years.

  • avatar
    ohsnapback

    Maybe it’s just that deals can be had where I live, but I am shocked to hear of the short candidate list of cars people think 30k limits them to, when, in fact, it includes probably 90% of all cars made and sold new today.

    Hell, there are new Genesis sedans and Avalon Sedans that can be had for an eyelash under 30k where I am, and decently equipped Camrys can be bought for 18k plus TTL.

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    @BuzzDog
    How would you compare the Murano’s interior to the Jetta station wagon size wise?
    Specs make them look quite similar.

    It would be interesting to know whether the Camry lady needs a generous back seat and how much she drives.

  • avatar
    sean362880

    ’07 Shelby GT500. It’ll be just like a ’94 Camry.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/2007-Ford-Mustang-Gt500-Shelby-Vista-Blue-1400-miles_W0QQitemZ300362303644QQcmdZViewItemQQptZUS_Cars_Trucks?hash=item45eefd089c

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    After having access to a company operated Camry Hybrid, you won’t be disappointed. You’ll also do better on the resale when fuel starts climbing again sooner than later. Made in the USA too.

  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    @Mirko:
    Not sure; I’m not familiar with VW’s as there is only one dealer in this area – and he’s a bear to work with.

    The Murano’s rear seat is pretty generous, more so (and a more comfortable ride, IMO) than the Range Rover Sport it replaced.

  • avatar

    My X got her Honda Accord V6 for $31,800 FULLY LOADED (Navigation, moonroof, remote start) with $5000 down and her payments equal $450 a month.

    But that was FULLY LOADED. An Accord, or an even better MALIBU costs much less than that without all the toys.

    But I never buy a car without lots of toys.

  • avatar
    NulloModo

    While yes, the $30K price point gives her lots of options, given the cars she has expressed interest in, I would (obviously) recommend the Fusion.

    She can get a nice SEL 4 cylinder with leather, roof, blind spot monitoring, Sony stereo, turn by turn directions, Sync, dual power seats and and pretty much all the other bells and whistles and still be under $25K after rebates. She could even add full navigation and still be well under $30K.

    Why the Fusion instead of a Camry? Well, better fuel economy, better driving dynamics, more safety features, a bigger trunk, unique features like Sync, and she as a teacher is a government employee (assuming it’s public school) so it sets a good example to buy American when the American car is just as good, if not better, than the import. I’ve sold Fusions to a number of teachers and principals, and they have all been very happy with them. My mother is a teacher and she now drives a 2010 Fusion as well, and she has received many compliments on it from her coworkers at school.

    If she likes hybrids, pretty much every review ranks the Fusion Hybrid above the Camry version, it drives better, has more trunk space, has a really cool gauge pack, and gets better fuel economy, plus she can still get some of the tax credit money on it, and if she doesn’t check every option box, can also be had for under $30K without much trouble.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    @ NulloModo

    So Sonora, Mexico (Fusion Hybrid) vs Kentucky, USA (Camry Hybrid).

    Either would be a good choice.

  • avatar
    superbadd75

    Honda Accord, all day long. Longevity, dependability, roomy, inexpensive to maintain, good resale for years, and it’s attractive. CUVs are ridiculous, if you want an SUV then get one, if not, buy a wagon.

  • avatar
    vvk

    After this, she would feel right at home in the new Corolla. The one with the 2.4l engine.

  • avatar
    WildBill

    Mirko says: 50-something is way too young to drive one of those hip-friendly high-riding RAV4s or CR-Vs.

    Hey, Mirko, I represent that remark! :-) I’m 54 and the wife is 53 and that’s exactly what we looked at because we wanted something more up in the air and a little nicer and roomier than our AWD Matrix. Ended up with a ’10 Subaru Forester. We liked the look and handling of it and of course the AWD and stability control. EPA highway is 26 but we are getting 29 – 30 consistantly. We live on a small farm on back country rural roads so the small SUV type works best for us to get to the jobs in the big city. Your milage may vary.

  • avatar
    jacksonbart

    Buy a new Chevy Malibu with the 6 speed auto and I-4. Possibly she could spring for the dealer installed landau roof.

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    @WildBill :
    We live on a small farm on back country rural roads so the small SUV type works best for us to get to the jobs in the big city

    If you need the ground clearance, fine, but last time I was there, Florida was pretty much devoid of any humanly perceptible elevation changes ;)

  • avatar
    buzz phillips

    This is easy! Another Camry!

  • avatar
    210delray

    Buzz beat me to it.

    Why do we always make these answers so complicated and get sidetracked? VW? Why on earth?

    I’d take her thoughts and run with them: Camry, Accord, CR-V, or RAV4 (2wd for the cute utes). All are good choices. Buy what she likes. If she racks up enough miles, then the Camry Hybrid might be worth the price premium.

    Sonata and Optima fall short on crashworthiness. Fusion or Fusion Hybrid might be worth a look, if for some reason she doesn’t like the others.

    End of story.

  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    I’m figuring two things: first, were it not that its falling apart, your gal would be perfectly happy with keeping this car. So her requirements are modest. Then why not another Camry, say a three year old one coming off lease, one that comes with a very extended waranty? She’d have a better car with more saftey equipment, and there’d be lots left from $30,000. Since she’s presumably off in the summer, she could spend the next number of them in the south of France or in Tuscany (and maybe rent an Alfa!).

  • avatar
    AndrewDederer

    If she is mostly sticking to short local trips, the camry hybrid isn’t that bad an idea (but she’d have to drive the wheels off to get her money back in gas).

    Sedans under $30,000 is a wonderful price point. Just about every company has something in that range that is really good (even GM). It’s a matter of taste more than anything, take a day and test drive about 6 of em. A local Carmax or equivelent would be nice, especially if she doesn’t mind buying “nearly-new” to save serious bucks.

    Small CUVs are a matter of taste, they aren’t THAT different from cars (and the milage isn’t much worse). Being in Florida, there are really only two reasons to get one (and you can consider the 2WD version): First, you want to drive sitting upright, this IS a change, be sure you do a little test drive first. Might feel easier to get into (small CUVs don’t require a step-ladder). Second, you plan to regularily haul a LOT of bulky (but not too heavy) cargo. Small CUVs are great for flea-market mavens and other people with a shopping itch. They are NOT made to haul heavy cargo, the suspension and engines aren’t set for it. You can fill a CUV to the roof with antiques, computer equipment, or similar things. Don’t try filling one with cinder blocks (that’s what the big SUVs and pickups were made for).

    In short.
    1. Test drive a half dozen. I’d only stay away from Kia (Hyudai’s ok) and VW (too much chance of big repairs).
    2. Consider certified used or the equivelent.
    3. Only get a CUV if getting in and out is becoming hard, or you plan to do a lot of shopping (or have some big dogs).

  • avatar
    Quentin

    FWD 4cyl Venza. Not quite an SUV, not quite a car/wagon. Loads of space, 30mpg highway, easy to get into and out of, and recently cited as the highest quality Toyota from CR. It is pretty stylish as well. Starts at $26k.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    I can hardly believe no one has suggested a Prius.

    They’re roomy, economical to operated, highly reliable, hatch configuration holds a ton of stuff, comfortable for adults, quick enough for someone who’s been driving a ’94 Camry, some nifty gizmos and Central Florida is exactly the place to go with the solar sunroof option. Should be possible to get, even with solar sunroof, significantly under $30K.

  • avatar
    twotone

    $30k buys a really nice late model, low mileage one-owner BMW 3 Series sedan. Since she lives in FL, I’d nix CRV and RAV4 — no need for AWD.

    Not enough info in the original post:

    How many miles does she drive?
    How many people does she carry?
    Commuting to work or road trips?
    Is she a “car girl” who appreciates fine motor cars or just looking for a transportation appliance?

    Twotone

  • avatar
    Zarba

    Easy. Accord/Camry/Fusion/Malibu. All are good cars. I’d go Accord, but it’s a matter of taste.

    For Cute Utes: RAV-4 or CR-V. Again, a matter of taste.

    All of these would be good choices and serve her well.

    You could recommend a VW, but she’ll come after you with a big stick when it starts breaking…

  • avatar
    Quentin

    Zarba – as a VW owner, I do not outright recommend them. I love my GTI. It is a great car. It is a huge pain in the ass sometimes, and I make that pretty clear to anyone who asks me about mine. It is a great car if you are willing to give it a lot of attention. If you want it to “just work”, look elsewhere.

    Kix – The Prius is a great recommendation. I’m really smitten with the new one but the places that it could fit in my arsenal of automobiles are currently filled by paid off 2005 and newer vehicles.

  • avatar

    the big question: what characteristics does SHE want most out of the car?

    economy?
    reliability?
    fun-to-drive? (doesn’t sound like it)
    luxury?
    comfort?
    what size?
    etc.

    Not having this info, I’d say another camry

    to those people who suggested murano, I really don’t think we need to inflict this ugliness on the citizenry of her town.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    If she enjoyed a ’94 Camry then a new or slightly used Hyundai Sonata should do nicely. No reason to spend $30k. $18k will have you a very nicely equipped ’09 Sonata, or $12-13k will get you a 6-12 month old used ex-rental with 30-40k miles on it.

    I can’t see any reason to buy a new Camry these days. It is maybe the third or fourth best choice in its class. I’m still a little gun shy about recommending a Prius for someone who keeps their cars sixteen years or more. At some point that very, very expensive battery pack is likely to need replacement. The Fusion, Accord and Sonata are all better cars than the Camry in my opinion. The Malibu might also be, but I wouldn’t touch a vehicle from the very shaky on its feet GM.

    CRV type vehicles may seem cool, but I’m not a fan of high centers of gravity.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Among the sedan choices, I’d suggest the Accord, for many of the reasons stated. Ditto the CR-V, if CUV’s are preferred. Both are durable, dependable choices that aren’t at all bad to drive.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Holzman’s recommendation got me thinking…

    The default replacement for a Camry would seem to be “another Camry” but, considering the relative sizes of the ’94 Camry and ’10 Camry, a current Corolla might be a better choice as replacement for a ’94. And a current Corolla is a very capable and roomy car.

    Also, there’s no reason not to look at going cheap on this, either. The Fit and the Yaris are not just very inexpensive but also quite nice – especially when compared with a ’94 Camry.

    I can’t see any reason to spend $30K when $15K will do the trick.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Quentin: “Kix – The Prius is a great recommendation. I’m really smitten with the new one but the places that it could fit in my arsenal of automobiles are currently filled by paid off 2005 and newer vehicles.”

    I agree, there’s nothing like that “paid-for-car smell!”

  • avatar
    bigbadbill

    Jeesh! What an absolute WASTE of money, spending 30 grand for ANY car. All smart investment advisors will tell you that buying an pricey new car is the WORST investment decision you can possibly make. You’ve already lost a nice portion of your money the minute you drive it off the car lot. Except for that lovely “new car” smell, a good used car should meet the requirements of most everybody.
    I’m a bit of an oddball, and probably go to extremes, but I just picked up a one owner, mint, 2003 Olds “Intrigue, with 35K miles on the meter for 3 grand. I should get a few good years out of it and it’s not bad looking either.

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    @KixStart: ’94 Camry has 96 cubic feet interior space, ’10 Camry has 101, Corolla and other subcompacts top off at 90. I agree you about not spending any more money than you need as it’s all about diminishing returns. A stripper ’10 Camry LE I4 goes for under $20k street price, and includes standard ESC if she’s safety minded.

    FWIW, Consumer Reports really liked the LE I4 in its latest 12/09 issue, wringing 26mpg overall and ranking it 2nd behind the smaller Altima in the entry-level sedan category, and ahead of the Legacy, Accord, Optima, Sonata, Fusion, Malibu, and Mazda6. In the $30K class they recommend a whole lot of vehicles including the above listed cars’ V6 variants as well as the Prius and all other full hybrid sedans. The point spread is rather small, though, and all of those sedans are worthy purchases – more of a matter of personal taste and financing. Same goes for the little CUVs listed above.

  • avatar
    Geotpf

    Prius/Accord/Camry (regular or hybrid)/Fusion (regular or hybrid)

    Test drive them all, and either buy the one you like the best, or, if they are all okay, play the different dealers off each other and see who’s more willing to deal.

  • avatar
    Robbie

    A Lexus IS 250. A Toyota product, eerily quiet, rocksolid reliability; a nice step up for an elegant lady who probably does not need the back seats on a regular basis.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    Mazda 6, baby! Great price, great looks, back seat big enough for real size people and decent fuel economy with the 4 cyl option.

    Of course, there’s the YSE car – a 2005 Lexus LS in the low 20’s.

    For 30k, the (car) world is her oyster.

  • avatar
    EEGeek

    If this lady has been happy with her ’94 Camry, then I’d be concerned that putting her in a new Camry or Accord class car will be too big. A new Sonata or Fusion is much closer in size to what she’s accustomed to. Or maybe a new Sebring – KIDDING!

    I’d steer her away from the CUVs – the ride in my GF’s CRV sucks compared to most any car not made by Chrysler, and the seats are terrible. In the end, it should come down to what she wants out of her car and what she’s comfortable in.

  • avatar
    Orian

    If she plans on keeping as long as she did her Camry you can rule out anything made by Kia/Hyundai – they simply do not last that long unless you find a low mileage variant somewhere that someone garaged most of its life.

    As others had listed, the Fusion is a good choice if she wants something similar in size. The newer Camry and Accords are large cars, but based on the pic the Camry she has now was one of the larger versions – if memory serves the Camry released after hers was smaller (at least on the outside) coinciding with the release of the Avalon to fill the larger family sedan role.

  • avatar
    tedward

    I guess you’d have to ask her what matters most to her first. Because at $30k she can literally name her car and find one, anything really, so long she’s looking at used cars too.

    For someone who’s looking to stay in FWD and reliable, and without any obvious scariness, I’d recommend a CPO 4-cyl. TSX. If she ends up valuing interior highly VW has to be put up for consideration, and she simply must, as a matter of principle, be brought to a Mini dealer for a drive at some point. If reliability is her big thing then honestly, almost every mainstream offering is equally good, just stay away from the old Germans.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    If this lady has been happy with her ‘94 Camry, then I’d be concerned that putting her in a new Camry or Accord class car will be too big.

    A 1994 Camry was 187.8 inches long. A new Camry is 189.2 inches. That’s an increase of only 1.4 inches.

    In contrast, a new Corolla is 178.7 inches long. That’s definitely a smaller car.

    A new Accord is 194.1 inches long. It’s definitely growing, but it’s about 6 inches longer than her current Camry. I suspect that most Camry drivers could handle that.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    If she’s been driving a 1994 Camry, why not consider a 2010 Corolla?

    It’s about the same size in terms of useful interior space), gets better mileage (26/35, though higher is not uncommon), is faster, has a better seating position due to the higher hip point and has, quite probably, the best statistical reliability of anything out there. A fully-loaded XLE will come in much lower than most CUVs or the mid-tier Camry and will include just about every rational creature comfort and safety feature, and the more basic models cost considerably less

    I’d suggest the Matrix or Rondo as crossover-alternatives. Unless you need to go offroad, the lower floor and ride height is a boon versus the CR-V/RAV and such, and loaded both are very nice cars. I’d also suggest the Civic, but the roof and seat height is noticeably lower.

  • avatar
    JSF22

    Certified used Camry. Next!

  • avatar
    supremebrougham

    Thank you to everyone for offering your advice!!! She is going to be so happy to hear all that you have had to say. A lot of you have said pretty much the same thing I told her, which I’m sure will go a long way towards helping me with my credibility!

    She did tell me later on that she thinks she will nix the SUV idea as she prefers the refinement of a sedan.

    Oh, and FWIW, the Camry in the picture is almost identical to hers, good choice on that!

  • avatar
    slateslate

    Don’t be practical and get another Camry. She’s worked hard for entire life and she should live as much as her budget will allow.

    A new 4-cyl. Accord coupe or a gently used IS250 or TSX or G35/37 (CPO if worried about buying a used car). Lots available for under $30k.

  • avatar
    Bridge2farr

    For well under $30K the choice should be Malibu followed by Fusion. For something SUV size the Equinox or Terrain in FWD represents the best value. Nothing wrong with Toyota but it’s time for a change. And I would stay away from Hyundai and even further away from Kia due to quality issues and recent past history.

  • avatar
    dolo54

    Everybody has suggested the dull appliance route, but you know, Florida is a good place for a convertible. She can easily afford a new 2010 Mustang convertible. Maybe have a little fun with her commute.

  • avatar
    albert

    Funny, nobody recommends a Buick Lacrosse.
    And I believe that is exactly the kind of vehicle she’s going to buy.
    The same character as her old Camry.
    But the new Camry? Is there an uglier car on the market (besides the acura’s)?

  • avatar
    obbop

    A Cobalt SS.

  • avatar
    Tosh

    I’m skeptical: Her problems sound plausible if we substitute “2002 Jetta” for “1994 Camry.” But seriously, how are we supposed to know what she likes and doesn’t like in a car? She has said nothing! We would be more helpful finding her a husband, who, frankly would turn these kind of car questions into child’s play….

    But knowing nothing whatsoever about her needs: Toyota Scion XD. Cheap, little, seats five in a pinch. Or Vibe. Either way, MUST BE USED. There, I just saved her $15k!

  • avatar
    rehposolihp

    CPO VW GTI, + about 5K in an intake/bigger turbo/rechip and summer tires.

  • avatar
    Geotpf

    Toyotas hold their value so well that they are horrible buys used, IMHO. Might as well buy them new and see if you can get 0% financing or something.

  • avatar
    supremebrougham

    Well, I’m finally home for the evening and can fill in a few more blanks. She is married, and for what it’s worth, you have all done a good job of figuring her out.

    In regards to the idea of the LaCrosse, it reminded me that one of the cars she and I talked about before she decided on the Camry was the then new for ’95 Chevy Lumina. I think she would have bought it, but when she went to the dealer, the salesman wasn’t available so she went next door to the Toyota dealer and the rest was history…

  • avatar
    joeaverage

    We have had 186K troublefree miles on a ’99 CR-V. We looked at a new one and loaded it’s about $25K. No more manual tranny option and there is both a 2WD and AWD option. We’ll likely pursue one for our “big car” needs, something else smaller and cheaper for commuter duties.

    Our CR-V has reliably delivered 26 mpg for nearly every tankful of gas. As high as 29 mpg and never lower than about 22 mpg. The window sticker “promised” 25 mpg. The new CR-V sticker says 26 mpg. Maybe we could get 27 mpg from one.

    That is hands down the CUV we’d buy. Wouldn’t even shop around. Our’s has carried all sorts of lightduty cargo inside (boxes, stoves, car parts, an engine, camping gear, bikes, etc.). Has pulled a small utility trailer often and long distances. Still on the original 5-speed clutch believe it or not. Still delivers 50 miles of commuter duty daily.

    I sedan is fine if she doesn’t need to carry stuff very often or if it is trunk sized/shaped. If she needs a wagon I’d vote the CR-V since Toyota and Honda don’t want to sell us their wagons. I am also a fan of VWs products and will buy another but the car we own has needed alot of minor repairs. Can’t say how much was from previous owner’s neglect or abuse and how much was VW cheaping out on stuff.

  • avatar
    Accords

    Hmmmm
    There are a slew of decent vehicles to pick up for a price limit of 30g.

    First of all..
    Accord has gotten to be SUCH A FAT ASS. Witness the crosstour weighing in at 3800lbs. Clearly SOMEONE needs to dump a coupla HUNDRED pounds! Id stay away from Accord 4cycl sheerly because of the weight. It was fine when Accord pushed 128hp in a 2.2 ltr 4cycl.. now ya up to 3600lbs and ya tryin to hussle with a 4cycl! That.. is wrong.

    Camry isn’t much better.

    But then again buying Malibu is of the same size and buying Chrysler.. well that just isnt smart. ya dotn buy from bankrupt companies.. thats like the sheep having faith in the wolf to protect them.

    The resale is higher in Japanese.. because of those interesting in buying.

    Now as far as SUVs / CUVs go, few ever use these damn things for anything more than jacked wagons in places where snow rarely arrives, most of the time without snow tires. And comparing one SUV / CUV to another.. is a bit pointless. They all have virtually the same hits and or misses that focus on the benign. They all have a 3rd tow seat (only suitable for children). They all have towing capacity (even though only kids is their biggest mission). In the case of the Ford Escape / Exploder / Edge / Flex, they are all within 3-500lbs OF EACH OTHER. SO nothing makes one shine over the other, their frames are almost totally alike (Volvo sourced) and their capacity for people and engine size / displacement is virtually alike.

    If ya pick the CR-V the RAV-4 only difference is minor things.. like the cut lines for the 3rd row, or the mounting of the spare tire, or how the rear door opens.

    Same comparison can be issued with the 4Runner and Sequoia.

    Same comparison can be said about the RX v Venza v Highlander, both built on the same unibody frame, with the same 3.5 / 3.7ltr motor in the same factory as everything related to Camry. No difference in packaging.. only appearance. Weight is probably the same, with only price being the major difference.

    Now..
    As far as Florida goes.. and being a older woman who drove a 94 Camry..

    First thing that comes to my mind is the Solara, Sebring, Golf /Beetle conv. Being that many people have no clue / don’t care about the car or who makes it.. just how soft it is, and how well it drives. Not the least important to a woman still driving a third gen Camry sedan.

    The BMW would hurt her in resale, NTM parts and maintenance. SO would a competitive used Audi and or MB.

    If she was a DRIVER, Id say pick up a SI from Honda in the Civic, or a Subbie Impreza wagon in STI form. She could also check out the Mazda 3 in the hatch with the 2.5 in the Speed 3 version or as most people have been doing.. tooling around in a base Mazda3 with caps for a base price of 17g.

    She could get a Crown Vic, 500 / Taurus or a 300, Impala or Malibu off lease.

    There is a wide plethora of vehicles she could drive all of which could be much more entertaining than a 3rd gen Camry wagon.

    There truely are so many vehicles to pick and choose from.. ya would have to know A LOT more about the kind of driver she is, and what exactly she does and how many passengers are in the vehicle.

  • avatar
    supremebrougham

    One last thing I failed to mention, she does value some style in a car. She traded in a 1986 Olds Cutlass Ciera Brougham on the Camry. It was not that bad looking way back when, and she found it to be classy, more so than a Mercury Sable that she looked at back in the 80’s.

    She probably would look good in a convertible, but she might still be a tad too practical for that yet…

  • avatar
    tedward

    “style”

    Well, the CC is always there. It’s really too bad it’s built on the Passat (reliability wise), but the 2.0T version might be worth a look anyway.

    I’m just guessing here that style precludes any Civics, Mazdas or Subarus. Really too bad as the (07 even) Mazda 3 is fantastically cheap used, with either of the base engines.

    She lives in Flordia, and has been in an older car for quite some time, so I’d bet she’ll be relatively blown away by any vehicle she drives and there is no such thing as weather innapropriate. Throw in some real oddballs, cars that handle well. I bet the driving experience will be closer to what she’s used to (involvement wise) than a new Camry actually. I’m saying this because I’ve personally seen 2 older women go for Mini’s recently, from family sedans, mostly becauase they just realized that they could. You would never dream meeting either of them that it would even be a possibility. I’ll admit that the Mini is an extreme case, but there’s a lot of good cars between Mini and Camry for under $30k.

  • avatar
    Bridge2farr

    “The resale is higher in Japanese.. because of those interesting in buying.”
    This is an often quoted misconception. For example, a 2008 Camry vs. a 2008 Malibu are virtually the same in wholesale value.

  • avatar
    B10er

    I just love that in this age of automotive environmentalism, a solid car is replaced with a brand new one due to an oil drip and a worn-out window motor.

    I dare say that the environmental cost of manufacturing an entire brand new car, even if electric or hybrid, FAR outstrips the environmental costs of manufacturing a window motor and a few other misc. bits.

  • avatar
    supremebrougham

    @B10er

    True, those problems in and of themselves do not mean that the whole car is on it’s last legs, but in this day of two and three year leases and everyone always wanting the newest and best, I think that the fact she has kept the same car for fifteen years was being rather environmental. How many people do you know that are still driving 1994 model cars that they purchased new? I’m guessing not very many.

  • avatar
    supremebrougham

    For those of you that might still be following this thread, she ended up buying a…..2010 Camry LE!!!  In  the end she just decided to stick with what she knows…
    On behalf of Mrs. Rybak, thanks to all of you for your advice!!!
     
    -Richard

    • 0 avatar
      AccAzda

      My apologies to you and to her..

      I can only wish she would have bought a car with: a bit more style, a bit more power.. and a bit more.. MORE.

      But I wouldnt have thought that she’d buy another CAMRY.. definately not a LE model. I can only hope I dont get trapped by being in the same car for too long.. eithout knowing what else is out there.

      So many cars.. and a Camry LE fits.

      DAMN.
      Well, if she is happy.. then so be it.

  • avatar
    supremebrougham

    AccAzda…The only thing that I found kinda depressing is that she picked out a white one. Do you have any idea how many white cars there are in Florida???
     
    Oh well, as long as she is happy…

    • 0 avatar
      AccAzda

      I can only imagine parking lots as far as the eye can see.. of nothing but rental Sebrings, smatterings of 15-20yr old Honda Accords.. and more white paint on more Camries.. than should be legally allowed by the feds. 

      God.. she could have had:
      Solara
      5yr old 3series Conv.
      Scion tC
      G6 Conv.
      Sebring Conv.
      Heck (please lord dont strike me)… Wrangler. (like… omg like the commercials!)

      White Camry LE in the middle of Florida.
      Oh god.

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