2003 Toyota Matrix - XR (M5) FWD
Pros: body styling
Cons: does not come standard with ABS
Advice: Get it now before it goes into high demand!Ride is smooth except for large bumps (such as speedbumps). Controls comfortably accessable. Excellent handling. Spaceous. A very good buy.
2002 Toyota Land Cruiser - Base
Pros: Driving position with good seating and vision.
Cons: Gas mileage (19.5 mpg) less than I hoped for.
Advice: Get the 'Limited' model.I have 2700 miles on the vehicle, basically in surban and highway driving, and like it better the more I drive. Ride and every day handling are excellent. Most features are well thoughtout; and finsh and fit are a-one. Engine is very smooth and powerfull. The gearing is a little taller than I would have picked, but since I plan to tow a trailer okay for the future.
2003 Toyota Matrix - XR (M5) FWD
Pros: Fold down front seat
Cons: The high center arm rest makes it difficult to buckle your seatbelt.
Advice: get the cold weather package. It heats up SOOO fast.The car is quite quick off the line but starts to loose its punch at about 30 mph. The car handles great with the 17' alloy wheels. I'm 6'4' and pretty wide at the sholders and I fit into the car without any problem, and I don't have to strugle to get out because the seats are higher than any compact car I have ever been in. The only thing that I would have liked to have seen is plastic grocrie bag holders attached to the back of the rear seats so things don't roll all over the place when cornering. Oh and Why didn't they put in a 3 prong outlet?? I had to get an adapter for my laptop.
2003 Toyota Matrix - Standard (M5) FWD
Cons: Could be a bit larger, especially in front seating.
Advice: BUY before price goes up.Good solid feeling smallish car. Versatile layout - hatchbacks are back ! Power is just enough not to get in trouble.
2002 Toyota Camry - SE V6 (A4)
Cons: Poor service
Advice: Stay away, service after the sale, at least from Elmhurst Toyota, is a real problem.Car drives and handles great - when it wants to. Have had a continuing problem with the vehicle jerking on deceleration. Toyota has a service bulletin out on the V6 that takes away most, but not all, of the problem. The rest they attribute to 'normal operation'. Aside from this, the ABS actuator and the dash had to be replaced - both after long waits for parts (8 days on the ABS actuator and 2 months on the dash). Would not recommend this vehicle based on service problems. (Am currently involved in a dispute with Toyota over the deceleration problem.)
2002 Toyota Avalon - XLS w/Bucket
Pros: The comfortabe ride, how quiet
Cons: More power would be nice
Advice: Just take it for a test ride is all I have to sayQuiet..............Calm..............Very comfortable....Very reasuring. This is a car that I entend to keep for a long time.
2002 Toyota Corolla - LE (M5)
Pros: The stereo and the dashboard (feel like an expensive car)
Cons: Alloy wheels and cruise control are options.
Advice: Test drive all the cars in this class and make your own judgement. I ended up with Civic anyway.2003 Corolla isn't any bigger than the previous model. Of course, it appears to be bigger than the previous generation, but the interior is still somewhat the same size. Why it looks bigger? Because there is lots of gaps inside the hood. There is not much leg room (Civic has more leg room which is really comfortable) in the front but the back is fine. No map/magazine holders. The switch for the interior lamp moved to the dashboard (driver's side). It's good forthe driver, but it can be pain in the butt if you're the passenger who eventually have to ask the driver to turn on the light for you. Backseat is somewhat tight but Civic's backseat is more comfortable (I tested drive Civic and Corolla on the same day) The engine makes a louder noise than Civic. The suspension in both cars is reallt nice; smooth and quiet. I tested Hyundai as well, but I dismissed it because the dealer is too far away; even though it's a really great car. Well, I don't know what else to tell ya, so I guess that's it. :-)