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Yeah, I probably won't buy another CVT, either. It is fine here in Texas but it sucks in the mountains.

Re: the Camry -- I would try to find a leftover 2019 and bargain hard on it.

Edmunds says you can get one a couple hundred under invoice ($24k) but I had no issue getting our Corolla for $500ish under when I went in on the last day of November a few years ago. Combine that with 0% for 5 years on the '19s and the payment would be about $215-$220. The only thing I can think of is that if you go new I would expect they might not be quite as generous on your trade... but I'd trade a couple grand over 5 years to only have my farts in the seats and for a perfect alignment (every rental I've ever gotten seems to have had a curb jumping habit).

If you get a new one, the first two oil changes will be free (you get a free one every 10k up to 25k miles, and a tire rotation every 5k). But afterward, Walmart has 5-quart jugs of Mobil 1 0W-16 for $25 (it takes 4.8 quarts). You can also use 0W-20 if 0W-16 is not available, but they want you to put 0W-16 in at the next oil change.
https://www.walmart.com/ip/Mobil-1-0W-16-Advanced-Fuel-Economy-5Qt/747116534

There are a decent number of them left:
https://www.cars.com/for-sale/searc...TypId=28880&trId=24929&yrId=36362520&zc=06101

 

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Yeah, I probably won't buy another CVT, either. It is fine here in Texas but it sucks in the mountains.

Re: the Camry -- I would try to find a leftover 2019 and bargain hard on it.

Edmunds says you can get one a couple hundred under invoice ($24k) but I had no issue getting our Corolla for $500ish under when I went in on the last day of November a few years ago. Combine that with 0% for 5 years on the '19s and the payment would be about $215-$220. The only thing I can think of is that if you go new I would expect they might not be quite as generous on your trade... but I'd trade a couple grand over 5 years to only have my farts in the seats and for a perfect alignment (every rental I've ever gotten seems to have had a curb jumping habit).

If you get a new one, the first two oil changes will be free (you get a free one every 10k up to 25k miles, and a tire rotation every 5k). But afterward, Walmart has 5-quart jugs of Mobil 1 0W-16 for $25 (it takes 4.8 quarts).
https://www.walmart.com/ip/Mobil-1-0W-16-Advanced-Fuel-Economy-5Qt/747116534

There are a decent number of them left:
https://www.cars.com/for-sale/searc...TypId=28880&trId=24929&yrId=36362520&zc=06101

This also gets my vote.

Ignore MSRP this time of year. Speak to a couple salesman and find out what you can actually get into the car for.
 

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I can't really comment on the financials but we drove the new Camry when we were car shopping last year and I really liked it. But this is my wife's primary daily commuter and she wasn't into a long traditional sedan again (we went with a used RAV4 instead).

The only issue I had with the Camry was that you really needed to load it up to get the features we wanted (push-button start, heated seats, etc). Other than that, I thought it was comfortable, peppy to drive, and the high highway mpg was very enticing. I don't mind the looks. I would HAPPILY own a used one of this generation.

I think there has been a reflash on the transmission already though, so make sure that has been done.
 

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You may want to consider the Mazda 6 since you had a great experience with the 2013 Mazda 3.
 

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Just throwing a curveball at you.

If you can get over the eye searing looks, check out the Prius Prime. The base model comes with Apple carplay, heated seats AND heated steering wheel, adaptive cruise, remote key sense, LED headlamps/taillamps. It rides really smooth. It's very comfortable and pretty big inside. We take is most of the time instead of the RAV4 for family use, we can do a Costco run with two baby seats and two adults no problem. The trunk is bigger than the new Camry. I'm a car guy and actually enjoy driving it. It is slow however. Depending on incentives in you area, a new 2020 might be cheaper than a used Camry.

If you're driving 300 miles a week over 7 days, and are able to plug it in each night, you can probably manage to only fill up the tank once per month.:beer: I've only filled the tank ONCE since July and that's because I drove from Montreal to Toronto and back:thumbup:

edit: It does wallow on the highway with the stock 15'' 195/65/15's that I'm running on Michelin Xi3's. I installed 225/45/17 in the summer and it tracks really nice and is super comfy.

Good luck, Camry is a great choice if you go for it.

 

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The MPG numbers are kind of blurry here back in the days of the original FAMILY CAMRY :laugh: But what I see looks good with those numbers. Even if that had to be one of the worst Family Camry's to drive. I believe the EPA used a different rating system in 1983 nonetheless it's 31/43 mpg city/highway with the four-speed overdrive automatic transmission, sounded good, even if its 4 banger only churned out 92 HP. :laugh:
Those EPA numbers would be about 24/30 under today's standards. And the 92 HP would be about 85.

YMMV.
 

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I don't have much to add other than Ive been in a few new Camry Ubers and they ride so nicely over busted pavement. Good looking in and out. $16k ish for a used one seems like a really good deal, even if it was a rental. If they have any evidence of oil change intervals, it would be a good buy.

I'd probably go for a hybrid though, if the cost is acceptable for you. Keep in mind, Toyota's hybrid stuff has longer warranties on the hybrid systems (including electric motor, battery, inverter, and entire transmission).
 

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Discussion Starter #28
Thanks for the suggestions, all. To touch on a few more points...

Re: budget...this started as a similar exercise as what led to replacing our Mazda with the Subaru - i.e. what can we get that better fits our needs (in the case of the Mazda, we needed extra space) for minimal cash outlay. I had originally figured getting ~$14K for the Frontier without having looked at book values, but now that I see that KBB is about $12K I have accepted that I'll be handing over extra $$ on top of the truck, the question is how much.

Obviously since we were originally looking at as close to an even swap as possible, ideally we'd like a $0 payment, but $100 or so a month extra isn't going to put my 401k in jeopardy. In crunching the running cost numbers, it looks like we'll save about $70-80/mo in running costs so that $160/mo payment is really only $80-90/mo extra outlay. Not bad.

As an aside, the salesman originally brought around a '17 Camry SE (flag #1, didn't listen to the fact that I specifically asked about the '18) and the inside was noticeably more dated. The price was good though, $16k to start whereas the '18 is advertised at $19k. I'd probably end up somewhere around $14-15K for a '16 or '17.

However, having already bought 2 "201x" model year cars - the 3 and the Frontier - that were originally designed a decade earlier, I didn't want to make the same settle. So, with the Camry, I'm sticking to an '18+ and seeing the '17 reinforced that. I'm willing to pay a little extra for a car designed in this decade. Plus, the mileage on the '18 is better than the '17, with more power to boot.

That said, I had a look at prices on used Accords. While you can get 1.5T LX's for around the same $18-19K as the Camry, they aren't as well-equipped. The equivalent (kinda) is the 1.5T Sport, which are going for $22-23K asking. Arguably, it seems like the better car, but even at a $20K sale price, it's still a few grand more expensive than the Camry. So, in trying to keep from mission creep, I'm sticking to ~160/mo for 48 mos. ($7700 including all taxes and fees) as my ceiling.

The 0% deal is also what pushed us from used to new last time around because of the similarities in sales price, but in the current situation the whole total running cost thing gets thrown a curveball when CT property taxes get thrown into the mix. The difference between a new 2019 and used 2018 is likely to be only ~100 bucks a year, but the 2018 will always be ahead of the 2019 in its depreciation curve (thus the tax burden will always be higher) for a vehicle that is pretty much identical between those two model years.

Not only that, $160/mo for 60 instead of 48 represents a $2k difference in finance cost in payments alone. Yes, there are ~$1k finance charges going with used, so I can have up to about ~20k sale price for a new '19 before taxes/fees push it to about $22-23K all in. But, can I get a '19 SE for $20k sale price? I suppose I could ask, but also see the above comments regarding recurring taxes, reasons for ruling out the similarly-priced Accord, and mission creep. I gotta draw the line somewhere.

Re: Prius Prime...that was actually the only used Prius they had on the lot. I didn't go for it because the salesman told me it was a 4-seater. Regardless or not whether that's true, and given the fact that we are going for more cabin space than the Frontier, I'm not sure we would be happy to settle on the Prius in terms of space. 50+ MPG and plug-in power is nice, especially since we have a garage with power outlets (don't knock, I know plenty of people with garages here that don't have power) but I fear it will be another case of unhappiness on long trips like we had with the Mazda, with its flinty ride and directional abilities that are easily influenced by a light breeze. Yeah, I could have taken a look at it, but time was also running out on the little guy's nap clock, and we were in the middle of the traditional back-and-forth with the salesman on numbers for the Camry.

Re: Mazda 6 - good suggestion...but they're harder to find used. Plus, wifey's likely to go CX-5 when daycare payments cease and we get rid of the Outback, so we'll be back in a Mazda soon enough.
 

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Re: Prius Prime...that was actually the only used Prius they had on the lot. I didn't go for it because the salesman told me it was a 4-seater. Regardless or not whether that's true, and given the fact that we are going for more cabin space than the Frontier, I'm not sure we would be happy to settle on the Prius in terms of space. 50+ MPG and plug-in power is nice, especially since we have a garage with power outlets (don't knock, I know plenty of people with garages here that don't have power) but I fear it will be another case of unhappiness on long trips like we had with the Mazda, with its flinty ride and directional abilities that are easily influenced by a light breeze. Yeah, I could have taken a look at it, but time was also running out on the little guy's nap clock, and we were in the middle of the traditional back-and-forth with the salesman on numbers for the Camry.
The 2020's have 5 seats.

I absolutely love mine on the highway. Very quiet, smooth, comfy. I actually prefer the way the Prime rides vs our RAV4 hybrid and me and my wife always end up taking it instead of our RAV4 hybrid now, whether it's a short city drive or a road trip.

I seriously suggest you at least try one.

As a car guy, I never imagined getting a Prius, but I really enjoyed driving it and the numbers made alot of sense. The Prime is miles away from the old gen Prius.
 

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Not sure how far you live from Jersey but there is a 2018 Mazda 6 Touring for $19,500 with 24,000 miles (1 owner, not an ex rental). When new I always thought they were a better value than an Accord 1.5T Sport or Camry SE. Comes with a sunroof, CarPlay, all modern driver assistance tech, leather, heated seats, smart key access, etc.

They are tough to find, you’re right about that. Most for sale are ex rentals.
 

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I had a rental 2020 with the 8-speed. 4-cylinder.

Only had it and around town here in Austin, but I wouldn't have one if you gave it to me. The thing hunts for gears constantly in traffic. Yes, cruise mileage on the open highway in top gear is impressive, but living with that tranny everyday in traffic....I just wouldn't.

An older 6 speed model would be perfectly sufficient and an even better bargain, IMO. Literally best selling sedan in America, so plenty to choose from.
 

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I had a rental 2020 with the 8-speed. 4-cylinder.

Only had it and around town here in Austin, but I wouldn't have one if you gave it to me. The thing hunts for gears constantly in traffic. Yes, cruise mileage on the open highway in top gear is impressive, but living with that tranny everyday in traffic....I just wouldn't.

An older 6 speed model would be perfectly sufficient and an even better bargain, IMO. Literally best selling sedan in America, so plenty to choose from.
I too thought the 2019 RAV4 I rented last month with the same powertrain just felt awkward and not smooth that is typical with Toyota autos. I also drove the old 2.5 and 6AT and that definitely was more smoother and refined, but the biggest knock on the older ones is the atrocious infotainment and the new ones all have standard LEDs.
 

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Discussion Starter #33
I too thought the 2019 RAV4 I rented last month with the same powertrain just felt awkward and not smooth that is typical with Toyota autos. I also drove the old 2.5 and 6AT and that definitely was more smoother and refined, but the biggest knock on the older ones is the atrocious infotainment and the new ones all have standard LEDs.
Maybe it's a rental thing. I rented a '19 RAV4 earlier this year and that was definitely my impression - jerky, awkward, not smooth at all. It was a 1-way to JFK, so I put maybe 90 miles on it in a few hours. Probably not enough time for it to learn my driving style. The '19 Camry LE that I rented, I put something like 800 miles on it over the course of a long weekend, so maybe it had more time to "learn me" and didn't feel as awkward by the time I hit traffic. BTW I drove it for a couple days in Montreal bumper-to-bumper traffic, so I got a sense of how it'll perform. I actually like how it locks up the converter early, which eliminates the rubber band feel of having a 4-cylinder and automatic.
 

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Maybe it's a rental thing.
Quite possibly. PCMs "learn" over time and having multiple different drivers who probably beat the cars like a mule doesn't help, I grant.

My point being: All Camrys I had prior to the 8AT seemed to have Lexus-quality AT's, even the rentals. No longer.

"Clickbait Scotty" Kilmer has a video to that respect. He's seen failures out of the 8AT that simply didn't happen in the 6AT.
 

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My point being: All Camrys I had prior to the 8AT seemed to have Lexus-quality AT's, even the rentals. No longer.

"Clickbait Scotty" Kilmer has a video to that respect. He's seen failures out of the 8AT that simply didn't happen in the 6AT.
Considering the RX and ES use the exact same transmission as the 4 cylinder RAV4 and Camry that doesn't make much sense. The RX was one of the first vehicles to use the Aisin AWF8F back in 2013 and it's taken this long for Toyota to trickle it down to the rest of their lineup.
 

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I too thought the 2019 RAV4 I rented last month with the same powertrain just felt awkward and not smooth that is typical with Toyota autos. I also drove the old 2.5 and 6AT and that definitely was more smoother and refined, but the biggest knock on the older ones is the atrocious infotainment and the new ones all have standard LEDs.
That's pretty disappointing. I'd agree with everyone that the older 2.5/6AT combo was pretty smooth as long as the engine wasn't revving fully out. Decently quick shifts too, wasn't always in top gear, etc. Infotainment on the old one was pretty bad for sure, but at least it's a removable unit and easily replaceable.

For the Rav at least, the hybrid is sounding better and better.
 

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RAV has gotten wonderful reviews. A new RAV was right behind the used GX on our short list when we bought in early summer. Wife really liked the drive and visibility.

The Hybrid fixes the main issue with the regular RAV: Lack of off-the-line power.
 

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I had a rental 2020 with the 8-speed. 4-cylinder.

Only had it and around town here in Austin, but I wouldn't have one if you gave it to me. The thing hunts for gears constantly in traffic. Yes, cruise mileage on the open highway in top gear is impressive, but living with that tranny everyday in traffic....I just wouldn't.

An older 6 speed model would be perfectly sufficient and an even better bargain, IMO. Literally best selling sedan in America, so plenty to choose from.
The problem is since it's a Family Camry you're talking about, you can no longer get it with a manual transmission, as far as I know not even the Camry TRD is offered with a manual tranny.
 

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