I test-drove some shiny new Toyotas--a new-car showroom feels like prom night--but with big ugly grilles instead of solid-metal front ends, and despite their backup cameras and four-wheel drives I found I had to yank and redirect their transmission levers--just as hard in the Corolla as in the RAV4--like I was Speed Racer or something, and these were automatics. MPG stunk and that's just how it is with four-wheel drive: nice to have in the country, but less so if country living means driving a lot of miles.
The young salesman said he'd managed a restaurant for 10 years and it was a relief for him to sell cars. I asked him about the big ugly grilles and he called it "more aggressive styling." Yeah, right, aggressive Toyotas. . . what were those people smoking. . .I hated to tell him no sale because I had been ready to deal. "Is pricing an issue for you?" he asked. I said if a vehicle was perfect for me I'd pay whatever, but these were nowhere near.
I drove home in my '07 Corolla with 150K miles ("she'll go double that, easy," my mechanic drawled) and was stunned and humbled by how quietly and well it handled by comparison. The first brand-new car I ever bought, I called her "The Bride," and we have been through camping, weeping, poverty and riches, driving over a boulder, skidding off the road, encased in ice, and many wonderful faraway places and carrying fascinating passengers, faithfully and reliably, and I apologized for even thinking of cheating on her. This is Divine Post #1000, by the way. I haven't changed a bit.