Who Could Ask For Anything More

 HondaKid was a little rough on Toyota in one of his recent posts, and I feel it necessary to respond. Toyota is, has been, and will be my car of choice, so I'm a little prejudiced, but they do make some damn fine vehicles.

 I used to own a '95 Tacoma, 2WD, and she was as truck as you could get. Once you get away from civilization here in Tennessee you find the red-roads, byways carved into the earth by bulldozers, exposing the red clay to act as a road surface. Every time it rains the ruts get wider and deeper, and nearly everyone who lives in those parts owns a truck. You have to, a regular car's suspension can't handle it. You see plenty of the Big Three's models out there, this being the south an all, but the next most common trucks are Toyota. Many a Sunday were spent on these roads, Snarl (my Tacoma's name ) and I finding the most desolate trails to explore, and never once did she let me down. I can't speak for the 4WD models, but if the 2WD ones are anything to gauge by, they're awesome trucks. There is nothing wimpy about the Tacoma.

 The demise of the MR2 was truly a sad occasion for enthusiats, but unfortunately inevitable. As the Corolla moved upsacle, so too did the MR2, being based on many of the same mechanicals. There's just not enough of a market for a baby Ferrari, even if the price could have been significantly lowered. The market determines what can and cannot be built, and the MR2's time has come and gone. The MR-S is a fine vehicle, for what it is, and Toyota should be lauded for producing it. Not many manufacturers have the balls to produce anything mid-engined, and making it convertible only makes that task more difficult. Mourn for the MR2, or better yet seek out one and drive it, but do not berate the MR-S as a poor replacement. That's not what it is.

 Now we get to the main problem with Toyota today, and it's one they share with every other automobile manufacturer in the world. Cars continue to move upscale, gaining luxury in classes that used to be spartan, and drastic increases in price. Thirty and forty-somethings can afford the price of a new car, and that's the way the market has shifted. Everyone has trouble marketing new cars to 20-somethings, but I don't believe the problem is what you hear in the news. It's simple really, it's all about the cost. Once you get past the $10,000-$12,000 range, you have passed the 20-somethings by. Someone starting out in their carer or in college just does not have the cash-flow for a loan much larger than that, and 72 month loans won't fix it. A new car is simply out of reach.

 Used car lots are the domain of the 20-somethings, and there's not a new car in the world that can compete price-and-features wise with what you can buy secondhand. It's tough being young, grabbing a copy of Car and Driver, and realizing that there's not a car in there you can buy. Unless you have rich or gullible parents, that new-car smell will not grace your driveway for at least a decade. It seems like forever, especially when you consider that's almost have of a young person's lifetime. The solution for the manufacturers is simple, but implimentation is nearly impossible.

 Just come out with a new car that costs $10,000, looks like it's more expensive, and has the standard features of, say, a Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic. Anyone know how to do this?


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