Looking ahead to the next vehicle - Jay Maynard

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Tuesday, 1 November 2005

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0714 - Looking ahead to the next vehicle

I've had the RX300 for nearly five years - the loan will be paid off in December - and, while I still love it as much as the day I drove it off the lot, I've started thinking about what will come next. I doubt I'll be able to afford a new RX330, as much as I'd like one. Even so, my next vehicle will be a Toyota, so today's story on CNN about Toyota unveiling two new vehicles at an auto show caught my eye.

For lots of reasons, my next vehicle will be another SUV. I need both the ability to carry people and stuff, and I still want 4WD in the snow, with all of the traction control and other handling benefits that brings. That means, practically speaking, that I'll likely get a RAV4.

The story talked about the new generation of the RAV4 due out early next year. It's significantly larger - 14 inches longer, overall - and the interior doesn't suck, either. The biggest surprise is the very significantly upgraded engine. My 1996 RAV4 had a 2-liter, 120-horsepower 4-banger. The 2006 will have - are you sitting down? - a 3.5-liter, 268-horsepower V6!! They couldn't have gotten that into my RAV4 without a hydraulic ram! Just for comparison, my RX300's 3-liter V6 is rated at 210 HP, and it's plenty sprightly enough already. That's going to be one seriously nice vehicle.

There's one other contender for my affections, though. The story's main thrust was the new FJ Cruiser midsize SUV, also due out early next year. It's looking pretty nice, too, and the price isn't as fearsome as I'd guessed: they're calling the starting price in the low $20K range. The FJ looks like a more serious off-roader, harking back as it does to the original 1960 FJ40 Land Cruiser, but it has plenty of on-road stuff too.

I'll probably start looking at new cars in early to mid 2007. The RX300 isn't falling apart (though it is showing a couple of rust spots where rocks have taken off paint; I need to do something about that pronto), and it's only got 94K miles on it - which, at the rate I travel, will mean about two more years before it starts throwing expensive repairs at me. That's when I'll get serious about buying.

current mood: [mood icon] curious
current music: Diesel - Sausalito Summer Night

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[User Picture]
Date: - 0000
That Toyota cruiser is pretty nifty looking, and I've never much been one for SUVs.

My MINI Cooper gets paid off next November, and I'm just thrilled about it! I can't wait.

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