Say it isn’t so, I said to my husband.
It’s so, he said. You don’t need a 7-Seater vehicle anymore. You should get a car.
A CAR! I cried. Noooooo…. What if all five of us want to go out together? What would happen then?
How often is that, he replied. And is it worth it to have something that expensive you only use 3 times a year? And I was silent.
This conversation is real. It isn’t fiction. It totally happened, and happens all the time. As the end of my lease approaches on my mammoth, North American-style, family toting SUV, we’ve been talking about what I should drive next. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not getting rid of my truck because I don’t love it. It holds a lot of people and all the stuff. But it’s also big and heavy on gas consumption.
And I don’t really need such a big car.
Am I ready to give up on the idea of needing 7 seats? NO!
Relinquishing my people mover is turning out to be as much of a right of passage as getting one was. Going from 7 seats to 5 closes the chapter in my life where I’m a full-time care mom. But the reality is that I’ve got one kid already working (she’s a makeup artist. Call me if you need your face did), one in second year university, and one who’ll graduate high school in 2 years. Soon I’ll be a Friday-night-dinner-Sunday-get-together-call-me-when-you-need-something-mom.
I’m trying to mentally prepare, but it’s hard. People are using the word ’empty nest’ like I should sell my house and move to a condo. Whatever. I’m a Jewish mother and that is not happening. I need space for Family (with a capital F).
But, since I am a flexible person, I am willing to test drive a few smaller cars to see if they suit my newly found lifestyle of non-driver of children.
Recently I took the all-new Toyota Camry out for this very purpose. And you know what? I liked it.
Redesigned for 2015, the Camry is sleek and bold. It’s good looking, but just like anything else, what happens on the inside is what matters. The interior is rich and inviting with gorgeous leather boasting contrast stitching and roomy comfortable seating. The backseat had leg room for grown adults. This last one is important to me since my kids are grown adults and so are my friends.
Everything I needed was right at my fingertips, including an easy-to-read dashboard, large buttons on the centre console for easy access, and handy steering wheel controls. I found the nav system extremely easy to use once I got the hang of waiting for the little beep before speaking. Unlike the GPS in my current truck, the system actually recognized my high pitched lady voice. Score a point for Toyota.
The car was super quiet, yet powerful and smooth. There were a few times I wasn’t sure if it was on or off. That’s how soft the low vibration the engine runs. The Camry also handled like a charm. It took what I gave it and more (don’t tell anyone how I drive, but let’s say I’ll get you there and you’ll be happy you arrived) Three point turns actually took 3 points, and tight spaces like underground garages were a breeze.
Toyota has added a few really great features that were appealing. I’m used to a car with bells and whistles and the Camry XLE V6 that I drove had ’em all. The keyless entry is a must for me since I can never find my keys at the bottom of my purse. So are heated seats for chilly mornings and cold winter days. I loved the fact that the NAV can be set up to read me my text messages (most systems don’t work with iPhone but this one does). It also has a Qi wireless charging pad inside of a brilliant little hidden compartment for charging smart devices that are compatible (unfortunately my iPhone wasn’t). And the best thing? Well, the smallest thing: the dashboard notifies you with a message and ding if you leave the sunroof open. Duh. Amazing, right?
Some other key features of the Toyota Camry:
- Six active safety technologies that make up the Star Safety System (standard on all vehicles): Brake Assist, Electronic Brake-Force Distribution, Vehicle Stability Control, Active Traction Control, and Smart Stop Technology. These all work together to help drivers avoid potential accidents and make Toyota Camry an IIHS Top Safety Pick.
- Standard display audio system with Bluetooth and USB input. The model I drove had a JBL 7″ display audio system with premium navigation and SiriusXm and satellite radio.
- Comfortable 8-way adjustable driver’s seat plus 4-way adjustable front passenger seat with dual-zone automatic climate control so that both front and back can enjoy their ride.
- A roomy trunk that fits a mom sized Costco run
- Lightweight and quiet Dual VVT-I, the powerful and lean running 268 horsepower, 3.5L V6 engine that’s got spunk while still being great on fuel.
My verdict? Overall, I felt really good in this car. It’s well-priced and gives you a lot of luxury for what you pay. As a bit of a princess, I want it all, but I want some bang for my buck. Camry gives you that.
This car drove and felt like a dream. I could see myself happily in the driver’s seat, which is definitely a move in the right direction.
In fact, as I sat at stop lights, I had the sense that people were looking at me with envy in their eyes. They wanted my car. And I kinda liked it.
For more information on Toyota Camry, visit Toyota Canada.
Note: I was provided a Toyota Camry for a week-long test drive. I was compensated for writing this article although all opinions are my own and I wouldn’t have written it if I didn’t really like the car.