Thursday, 28th of April, 2011
Good For: Not your grandfather's Camry. Even though the Camry has amassed a successful reputation for reliable, sensible transportation over the years, Toyota is still working on the little touches that create a distinct car experience. The Japanese are particularly good at doing things like the "Welcome to Camry" message that scrolls across the head unit's display on startup. And it seems most of the details on this SE trim cater to younger buyers - blacked out headlight trim and grille, 5-spoke 17" wheels, dual chrome exhaust, aluminum door sills and pedals...
Compromises: I'd still like to know why anyone would want to not be able to lock their car remotely when one of the doors isn't closed. I can understand a long beep that provides a warning, but why shut down the functionality? I guess foot pedals are the new fashion for parking brakes - fortunately Toyota understands the market and it appears the brake is back on the center console where it should be if you get the 6-speed manual.
Overall reaction - None: Attention to details make it a good car, but it lacks significant innovation found in similarly priced competitors like the Altima and Subaru Legacy that makes those cars interesting. The continuation of the manual transmission in the Camry does make me happy though, but unfortunately such configurations are never enjoyed in rental cars.
Friday, 15th of April, 2011
Thursday, 14th of April, 2011
Good For: Corolla alternative. Even though it weighs almost 3000 pounds, the Sentra's chassis is well sorted out, and the 2.0L CVT drivetrain helps it achieve as much efficiency as the light Corolla. The CVT did its job, delivering maximum efficiency and power at any speed, but unlike the torquey 2.5L that I had in the Altima this was achieved within a narrower, higher, rpm band, so it was not as fun and interesting. What is interesting is that the 2.5L is available in the SE-R trim - now that is catering to the enthusiast!
Compromises: $15840 for a base Sentra and no cruise control, keyless entry, or power mirrors, and the CVT option is probably another $1000 at least.
Overall reaction - None: Like the Corolla, the Sentra evolved from a subcompact model to a mid-sized over the years. The taller body accomodates people well. While better than the Corolla, it has poor value at the lower trim levels. Better alternatives exist at the lower price points, though the SE-R Spec V undercuts the other hot Japanese sedans by at least $2k.
Monday, 11th of April, 2011
Saturday, 9th of April, 2011
Thursday, 7th of April, 2011