As I drive around in the latest iteration of VW’s American-market Passat, now featuring the 1.8 TSI engine, driving impressions of the outgoing 2014 Sonata in Hybrid guise – a car I drove the week prior – flashed into my mind. The Sonata that this 2014 Hybrid is based on was introduced back in 2009, and the newly revised 2015 Sonata will be hitting dealerships around the time you read this (though the Hybrid version soldiers on in current form until a new one bows for 2016).
Tag - camry
Toyota’s midsize sedans recall the old German automaker mantra of “one sausage – three lengths” – in that the platform that underpins the Camry, Avalon and Lexus ES350 makes them all essentially the same underneath, but they wear vastly different sheetmetal and appeal to different buyers. You might think I’m stretching the metaphor a bit, but hear me out: all of these cars are remarkably similar under the skin, and yet they drive, feel and look completely different. So maybe it’s not a take on the German mantra, but a Japanese one – one sushi roll, three lengths.
The thought of hybrid loanership for a week usually fills me with the sort of dread reserved for visiting a dentist’s office with a dull ache in your jaw – the only way through the period of time ahead is to envision how much better you’ll feel when it’s behind you. It’s not that hybrids are bad cars, mind you – they certainly serve a purpose for a portion of the buying public – but very rarely are they geared toward car lovers, and instead tend to focus so single-mindedly on efficiency that the duty of actually driving becomes drudgery in their presence. Such was the case when I approached the Sonata Hybrid pictured – “here we go again”.
I don’t care about Toyota. I haven’t for years. I’ve observed their place in the market and even expressed some degree of interest in a very small handful of their offerings over the last decade, but I’ve never really thought much of them one way or another. That may become a somewhat difficult assertion to defend after the next thousand words or so, but take my word for it.
See, many car enthusiasts care a great deal about Toyota. They’re the ones who take every opportunity to tell you how awful their cars are, how dreadfully overrated they are, and how lifeless and soulless and dishwasher-like they are. They tell you how cheap and how poorly-engineered they are. You want a Prius? This guy tells you to get a used Jetta TDI. Your mom wants a nice, reliable Camry? Tell her to get a Volvo! You like the old MR2s? Wise up and get a 944. You want a MkIV Supra turbo? Supercharge an old F-Body for 1/3 of the price.
It’s the same thing, you know, just without all that Japanese suck.