GirlDriver, USA

GirlDriver, USA
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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Talkin' Toyota

Been drivin' a few Toyotas lately––the Camry and the Corolla.  The paint job on the Camry was  "Magnetic Gray" and on the Corolla, a "Nautical Blue."  Makes me want a job naming colors.  These vehicles have New Jersey license plates but many of the cars I drive in upstate New York have Tennesse, Michigan or California license plates.  When law enforcement up north sees a bright paint job on a vehicle with a far away license plate, I am much more likely to be pulled over.  One officer, fresh from State Police school, who stopped me at midnight for going one mile over the speed limit said to me, "In my career (what, all of three months?) I've only seen one other California license plate on this road."  My response:  "It was probably me."

Popularity contest winner in America
Anyway the Camry is the top selling car in America.  And it isn't because it's hot, or expensive or flashy.  It's because it is oatmeal--and I don't mean mushy, tasteless, instant oatmeal.  Think steel cut oats, slow cooked over a low flame.  My Camry came with a 2.5L four-cylinder 16V w/ dual VVT-i engine that produces 178 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque paired with a 6-speed ECT-i (electronically controlled transmission) with paddle shifters.  It's a class leader in fuel economy at 25 city/35 highway, 28 combined.  A 3.5-liter V6 that generates 268 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque is optional and delivers excellent fuel economy at 21 city/31 highway/25 combined. Enhanced by 17" wheels and sport-tuned electric power steering, the ride and handling is peppy and dependable.  Most of the folks I talk cars with––and that is both men and women––don't want drama.  They want reliability.  And Toyota owners are like pit bulls.  They're never going to let go of their Toyotas.
Nice clear display on this touch screen.
The Camry's 6.1" touch screen displays bells and whistles nicely.  The car is home grown in Georgetown, Kentucky and with optional equipment my vehicle cost $27,586 including delivery.

What I missed on this vehicle, which I think is essential safety equipment, is blind spot detection.  Otherwise it's got pretty much all you could want--no wait, no heated steering wheel.

Need a smaller Toyota?  Several people asked me what I was driving when I took the Corolla for a weekend.  "A Toyota Corolla," I said.  That's a Toyota?   It surprised several people.  Toyota has major skin in the compact sedan game.  The Corolla's been around for 40 years.  Amazing.  But the competitors like the Ford Focus, the Kia Forte, Mazda 3 and Hyundai Elantra have bettered their game and are coming after the Corolla, so, yes, in addition to being trustworthy and dependable, Toyota has to ramp up its styling.  There's a lot of good choices in this class.  Still I was impressed by the reaction I got.  Since its introduction to the U.S. in 1968, Corolla has become the world’s all-time best-selling passenger car, with over 30 million sold in more than 140 countries.
Mine was blue.  Red is always snazzier.

The 2013 Toyota Corollas are powered by a 1.8-L, inline, four-cylinder engine that produces 132 horsepower and 128 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard and a four-speed automatic is optional.  Fuel economy (EPA) is 26  city/34 highway and 29 combined with the automatic and 27/34/30 with the manual.  With gas prices seemingly going down those are good numbers.  Some of the competitors, though, are at 40.

Pretty straightforward instrument panel.  Easy  access.

 I felt at one with the Corolla.  You've had that feeling in a car haven't you?  That you were buddies?  I had a classmate in college that had a Nash Rambler and she was a soprano and had long black hair and her idea of heaven was to travel to singing gigs in her Nash Rambler and sleep in the car to save money.  She called it her "buddy."  Nash called them buddies.  Anyway, I don't want to sleep in the Corolla or travel to singing gigs in it but I did sort of think it as a buddy.  The cost of my vehicle with options and delivery:  $21,729.

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