Toyota alternatives

Are you in the market for a new car and until two weeks ago a Toyota model was what you were leaning towards? If so, I will help point you in a better direction. If you look you at some of my previous posts on this subject, I have been saying for a few years now that Toyotas and Hondas are not as good as they used to be. However, only now with all the news about Toyota recalls are people slowly beginning to see what I have been talking about for a while.

Regardless, the Toyota Corolla and Toyota Camry are two of the most popular sedans around. If you are in the market for a sedan then, there is a fairly good chance that you are considering (or at least did up until the recall news broke) one of these vehicles. So what should you look at now? Or should you still look at these models?

Well, let’s start with the Camry. First of all, if you are going to be buying or leasing a new Camry then it will already come fixed from this current recall fiasco, so you probably do not need to worry about that. However, Toyotas are more expensive than some of their competitors because of the reputation they have built. As you can see by watching the news, this extra money you will be spending is not justified. Even without this current recall, the quality of the Toyota Camry is not what it used to be and is not as good as some other cars in its class. You can tell this by comparing the materials used in the dash, stereo, doors, etc… They have a plastic feel and are visibly not of the highest quality parts.

I would look at these alternatives: Ford Fusion, Ford Taurus, Nissan Altima, Buick LaCrosse and Hyundai Sonata. There may be more, but you should be able to find something you like from this group. If I had to pick one of these I would go with the Buick LaCrosse. It isn’t the cheapest of these cars (but then again you were going to pay a similar amount on a Camry) but, it has the best features, elegance, style and its predecessor has been winning quality awards, beating Camry, Accord and others in the process.

I did not mention the Honda Accord in the list of alternatives on purpose. The Accord, much like the Camry is over priced due to its reputation. To be fair, it does have a more refined interior than the Camry, but it has perhaps the most boring exterior of any mid size sedan out there. One could argue that the Nissan Altima is also priced similarly to the Camry and Accord, however, the Altima has a relatively aggressive exterior, acceptable interior and better quality than both the Camry and Accord (I am not talking about reputation here, I am talking about reality).

The 2010 Buick LaCrosse, a very good alternative to the Toyota Camry

The 2010 Buick LaCrosse, a very good alternative to the Toyota Camry

  Now let’s look at some alternatives to the Toyota Corolla. Firstly, I put the Honda Civic in the same boat as the Corolla in terms of quality. The Civic has also been recalled in the past even though it didn’t make the news headlines and any car expert and aficionado can easily see that the driving experience is not the most pleasurable. The interior is better than it used to be but now uses a strange and inconvenient set up (such as the distance of the stereo from the driver). Also, the mechanical and build quality of the Civic has taken a relative nose dive from where it was in the 90′s. Back then, it was the best quality car in its class, along with the Corolla, but this is not the 90′s. I would actually take a good look at: Ford Focus, Hyundai Elantra, Mazda 3 and Subaru Impreza (the lower priced Impreza models).

I could throw in a few other models for good measure but, it would be a waste of your time because there really is one car in this class that is better than the rest. That is the new Ford Focus. To be clear, the current Focus in showrooms is good, but the real world beater will come late this year-early next year so if you can wait, I strongly recommend you do so. If you can’t then I would still give it a strong look but, I would also consider the Hyundai Elantra. Between those two, choose which ever you like more and get a better deal on. However, this class is not currently as strong as it once was in terms of over all quality but, that will change when the new Focus comes online in about a year or a bit less.

The all new 2011 Ford Focus is coming soon. This is the sedan version, a hatchback version will also be produced.

The all new 2011 Ford Focus is coming soon. This is the sedan version, a hatchback version will also be produced.