Buying a new green car is like yanking out a permanent tooth. I previously explained what happened to my beloved 2005 Sienna and outlined my criteria for a new car. All and all searching for a new car was full of a mixture of emotions: pain, anxiety, and loss. I balanced comfort with eco-friendliness, all wheel drive with hybrid technology as well as contemplated saying good-by to my Minivan days. An immeasurable loss. Yes, in essence, sheer torture. Don’t envy me.
Think of my journey as a reality show. Instead of the Bachlorette, think of me as the Car-ette looking for my car suitor. So, who got the boot and who got the rose? Well, you will just have to hold onto your seats and take a ride with me.
The 2011-2012 Sienna
I still love this car and Toyota has really upped its mark on the new Sienna. It is a kid’s dream machine with a double wide TV screen, place to put PlayStation, and reclining chairs similar to a Lazy Boy. I would never get my kids out of this car. Once Son #4 saw the reclining chairs, he has not stopped bugging me to lease this car. In addition, it has this new “eco driving indicator” to help with better gas mileage. All the Sienna needed was a washing machine!
Now, many of you might think, Anna, if you love your Sienna so much, opt to get the new model. Well, it isn’t that easy. I think I am ready to become a Big Girl now and shed my soccer mom car image. See, I got a taste of driving a small zippy car and felt like 20 years old again. Do any of you feel that way? Ah, the taste of freedom.
Toyota Camry Hybrid:
The Camry is a nice driving car. However, the seat and I weren’t in love. Once you drive in a padded Minivan captain seat it is hard to go back to a car seat which isn’t padded up the wahzoo. Note, this car has traction control but is not an all wheel drive car.
The Rav-4 is one of Toyota’s Crossover and SUVs. I didn’t love this car, nor did the back seat riders. The backseats were uncomfortable and I just don’t want to hear the peanut gallery complain every day. You know what I am talking about especially since one of the gallery saw the new Sienna.
This car is so much fun to drive. Zippy as heck. (Now, remember, I think anything is zippy that goes faster than my Sienna.) I also love that the controls are on the top of the dash rather behind the steering wheel. (Check out the interior demo to see how many smart controls this car has.)
The seat is okay. The one I drove did not have a lumbar support. However, the Prius 4 and 5 model have a lumbar support.
Another issue that I had was the spoiler. It is still in my line of vision, and was an issue when it was raining at night. The line seemed like a black hole.
The Ride? Now, I won’t lie. You can feel a lot more bumps with the Prius than the Camry. And this car is only a front wheel drive car. My friend isn’t thrilled with it in the snow. If you own a Prius, how do you feel about it in the snow?
What a big looking car. Although it is smaller than the Sienna, it reminded me of a truck. It drives well but I figured why buy this instead of the Sienna? Image? (Believe me. I understand the not wanting to be a soccer mom image.)
The Sonata is available as a hybrid or regular car. It is similar in size to the Camry, but is more sporty looking. Son #4, who is my rear seating tester, says he likes the back seat in the Sonata. In addition (a large consideration) the cup holders are better in the Sonota than the Camry. Maybe, Toyota should employ him?
A negative. This car is a front wheel drive car with traction control. Does anyone know how it fares in the snow?
I didn’t test drive any of the Hyundai’s Crossovers or SUVs (Veracruz and the Santa Fe) since the back seats in these cars got negative remarks from the hubby and Son #4. (And no, it wasn’t the cup holder issue. A rump and back issue.)
I liked the Ford Edge which is a crossover car. Hubby wasn’t impressed with the ride. He thought the car was boxy. Next…(Oh, my aching butt.)
The Ford Fusion drives great, is an all-wheel drive car, and has a hybrid option. You would think I hit the mother load with this car. The only thing that I couldn’t get use to was the trunk. It seemed to be in my line of vision and threw me when I was backing up. It does however, have back-up sensors.
The big question still remained. Was I ready to give up my “hauling” ability that I had with my Sienna? Or was I better off with a Crossover or SUV?
Subaru Outback Crossover
All the Subaru cars that I drove had great turning radius like all of the Toyota cars. However, in the Outback, I had mixed feelings about the seat even though it had a lumbar support. My Dad calls this car a Plain Jane since it is not as spiffy as the rest of the cars.
Three children vote for the Sienna because they feel that we still need a 6 passenger car. Two of the four are in college, mind you. I would love to fix my car since I can’t understand how these two parts could go within 100,000 miles. It just buys me time until Son #4 goes to college.
Toyota Slams the Door
The dealer asked Toyota to cover the repair under warranty. They have never seen a transmission and differential go in a Sienna at 100,000 miles. Toyota reply? No can do. The dealer knew I was a good customer and offered to take some money off the repairs but the parts were expensive. It still didn’t make sense to repair the car.
At this moment, I could write a whole blog post on why I am upset with Toyota. But I will leave that rant for another day.
Given the above, which car would you choose? Or do you have a suggestion for me?
Join the Conversation:
- Do you own any of the above cars? If so, which ones do you like?
- Have you been in the same situation: ready to ditch the mini van?
- Would you next step be to a 5 passenger crossover or car?
- Any words of advice?