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Tuesday
May262009

2010 Camry - An Honest Car

2010 Toyota Camry LE

Magnetic Grey Metallic with Ash Fabric Interior

2.5L VVT-i 4 Cyl. 169 HP - 6 Speed Automatic with Sequential Shift Mode.

Take a moment to review the Photo Gallery

2010 Camry LEThe opportunity arose to spend a few days with a Camry with the new for 2010 2.5L 4 cylinder, and 6 speed automatic. We not only jumped, we were excited.

What is exciting about a 4 cylinder Camry? In light of the fuel economy regulations that were legislated, and adopted for 2016 this car provides a glimpse into the future. 

The Camry is a benchmark car in the highly competitive mid size sedan segment, Canadian sales of the Camry for the past several years reinforce that it is a successful benchmark car in its price segment. In this segment the competitive landscape among manufacturers with a constantly evolving value propositions is a benefit to the customer. 

It’s a Toyota you instinctively expect superlative fit, and finish accompanied by attention to all the details, reinforced by elegant simplicity. The car upholds that Toyota knows how to “put a car together” in an elegant fashion.

The interior is roomy, the Ash fabric of our test car is pleasant, everything fits well, with comprehensive gauges in the dash, accompanied by easy to operate controls actually designed for human hands. Some switch gear might seem conservative, while conveying the message that its simple, and reliable. Keeping in mind that the LE is the “frugalista” version of the Camry.

The trunk is well finished, and a good size, with fold down rear seat backs to increase the ability to carry larger items if the need arises.

Being a front wheel drive the engine is transverse mounted, with the usual plastic covers, and easy accessible to replenish the windshield washer fluid or check the oil, if you enjoy using a dip stick.

The car has the full complement of safety features from front, side, curtain airbags, including a knee bag for the driver, as well as ABS brakes,TRAC (advance traction control), and VSC (stability control).

If you are considering a mid size sedan in this segment, you have quickly realized that its not only competitive, most vehicles offer the same specifications with varying nuances to create a distinction.

What is it about this car that caught our attention? Its an “honest” car it does not pretend to be something that its not, and the 4 cylinder with 6 speed automatic is a future oriented power train that is being adopted by more manufacturers. If a 4 cylinder gives you pause, be assured that its an excellent combination for economy, and efficiency with good mid range performance. Its rated at 6.1L per 100 kms on the highway. 

It’s a solid car that impresses when driven over rougher or broken roads, it never loses its composure. Similar to some Teutonic cars that are thousands more, or even multiples of the price. It takes a serious car to keep its composure over rough pavement.

What is remarkable, its an “honest and transparent middle of the road, mid size sedan with discreet street presence”. Its easy to say that it might be a boring car, the primary mission in life of a mid size sedan is to be an excellent all purpose car. This Camry LE is so honest that it does not encourage you to be spirited or aggressive, or mislead you in believing that it can deal with spirited driving, or that its anything else than a middle of the road car. While constantly communicating “throw anything middle of the road at me and I’ll deal with it each time, and every time, for a long time”.

The car has a strong mid size sedan "sweet spot".

Why is it a glimpse into the future? We believe that in a few years more sedans will be similar to this Camry LE to meet economy, efficiency regulations, and still maintain a reasonable price. Perhaps Toyota has a head start!

This Camry LE starts at $24,650. our tester had the Convenience Package at $470 for a total of $25,120. There are no massive discounts, or huge incentives, its a fair good value price. Perhaps in an environemt of massive discounts, and deals, a fair good value price is an awesome deal.

Toyota was second in the Canadian Manufacturer Web Site Evaluation Study by JD Power with 833 points, literally one point behind the winner. The site it not only informative, Toyota makes a diligent effort to “inform and empower” a visitor, and offer to do business with a high degree of transparency.

What can we say, its a beautiful thing to visit, and use the Toyota site. Spend some time on the site, it empowers!

The specifications of the Camry.

The warranty is 36/60,000 on the car and 60/100,000 on the powertrain.

You can build/configure, get a price for your trade, and calculate a lease or finance payment for a Camry from the comfort of your home or office....Try it out.

Toyota is prepared to put “skin in the game” and lease a Camry with a realistic residual (50% of MSRP for a 36 month lease) at a realistic rate (3.9% for 36 months).

Are you considering a mid size sedan? Visit the Toyota site, then a dealer to experience the Camry and see if it fits your needs, and requirements. The new 2.5L 4 cylinder with the 6 speed automatic will impress you....it impressed us.


Thursday
May142009

2009 Chevrolet Malibu - An Eye Opener

2009 Chevrolet Malibu LT

Silver Ice Metallic with Ebony Ultra Lux Sheer Suede

Ecotec 2.4L VVT 4 cyl with Hydra Matic 6T70 6 speed automatic with manual mode.

Photo Gallery of the Malibu we tested.

2009 Chevrolet Malibu LTFascinating to pick up a press car from GM the day following the first installment of the Canadian lifeline, and a few days later GM announces a monumental loss for the first quarter.

The Chevrolet Malibu has been touted by GM as their regained ability to build world class vehicles. Needless to say the level of expectation for the Malibu is high, the benefit of the doubt is low.

This is a mid size sedan destined to compete in a market segment that is controlled, and owned by import manufacturers. Do we have to mention the names, and models? Try Camcord (Camry/Accord) as a starting point.

You can look at a GM product from several perspectives, and since we are all influenced by the “street buzz” we tend to get cynical, and perhaps a little sarcastic towards GM cars.

The Malibu has strong street presence, the fit and finish of the exterior panels is excellent, the interior is absolutely stunning. Which begs the question is this an interior from GM? Looking a little closer it even has water management channels on the roof, to keep the side windows clean. A Teutonic feature from cars that are thousands more.

The water management channels communicate a meaningful message that GM has done its due diligence. Next time they will put grooves in the taillight, and it will be a done deal!.

Its a roomy sedan, GM makes their mid size sedans roomy, the back seat is accommodating for most folks.

You open the trunk, first thought is this a GM trunk? Well finished, parcel nets, and folding rear seat backs which increases the versatility of carrying larger stuff.

Knowing that it is a 4 cyl, we moved to the under hood area last. Is there a subtle message here? Being front wheel drive, the Ecotec is transverse mounted, embellished by the industry standard plastic covers that camouflage a myriad of gizmos, and wires. This engine performs well, is very economical rated at 5.9L / 100km on the highway.

The items that require attention under the hood, namely windshield washer fluid is easily accessible.

Lets not forget the 17 inch 5 spoke alloy wheels, disc brakes all around, independent suspension in the rear, ABS, Brake Assist, Stabili Track, Traction Control, Curtain Air Bags, Front/Side Air Bags. The car has all the required safety features to be very competitive in this market segment.

It’s a well crafted, well engineered car!

A mid size sedan with a 4 cylinder generating 169 HP might give pause, the 6 speed automatic which is new for 2009 dispels any concern. The transmission is a beautiful thing especially that it does not continually shift up or down in the higher gears. The overdrive gear allows the car to cruise leasurely at 2,000 RPM.

How does the car drive, and perform? If you did not know who made this car, what make it was, you would not say Chevrolet. You would instinctively go much higher in the ladder of mid size sedans.

There is a performance “sweet spot” (mid range) which makes the car pleasant to drive, the steering has the right feel, the independent suspension inspires confidence, the brakes are very good, the acceleration is sufficient for a mid size sedan with an economical 4 cylinder.

We drive cars over the same roads to easily compare, and form an opinion, this Malibu even when you get spirited does not lose its composure, always inspires confidence. Be it in braking, its ability to negotiate turns, with reasonable power to come out of turns.

Equipped with a Premium Sound Package, XM Satellite Radio, and Bluetooth this combination offers every possibility to interface with the car, be it MP3, phone, CD’s. The paradox it has a manual HVAC control, its high tech interface and fiddle with a knob to set the temperature. From one spectrum to another all in the same dash. 

We were surprised that the Malibu leaves a favorable impression on everyone that experiences the car. You can quickly imagine what goes through their minds, especially with recent events. Still, everyone has a favourable impression, and positive comments.

There is a comprehensive 36/60,000 klms warranty, and a peace of mind 60/160,000 klm powertrain warranty.

Our tester was a 2LT version, these are the specifications,options and versions of the Malibu.

Take a look at the Total Package Event that is included with the car. 

The Financial Offers that are available on the Malibu.

If you are considering a mid size sedan in this price range, make it a point to experience the Malibu, you will be pleasantly surprised...we were. 

 

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