$30K Cars Compared to Replace My 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid

Honda Accord vs Camry Hybrid

I've been behind the wheel of my fully loaded 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid for 10+ years. I bought it brand new and for the most part, there have been no major problems. Now that the car is over 10+ years old and nearly 150,000 miles, I've started to researching cars that may be suitable replacements. I care much more for interior features than exterior looks

Basic Requirements for My Next New Car

There are obviously some features that are standard on all cars in my price range that I'm not listing, such as automatic windows, defrosters, radios, etc. This list is based on options.

  • Cost $30,000 car out the door
    My budget allows for $2,000 wiggle room, but only if absolutely necessary
  • Leather seats
    Makes cleaning up messes so much easier, especially if kids are on the horizon.
  • Auto-dimming rear view mirror
    After a few rental cars didn't have this feature, I realized how nice it was to no be blinded by lights at night.
  • Backup camera
    Makes backing up a bit easier, but more importantly safer to not hit small items out of view behind the car.
  • Rear Cross Traffic Detection
    Must have feature that makes it safer the backup when parked in angled or perpendicular parking spots, especially if parked next to a huge SUV.
  • Build-in garage door opener
    As a daily commuter car, I've come to dislike fumbling for hand-held garage door openers.
  • Bluetooth 4.0 (with music streaming)
    Must have so I can stream Spotify or other music/podcasts from my smartphone.
  • Blindspot detection on side view mirrors
    Due to habit, I'll probably still turn my head to check the blindspot, but it's an added safety feature.
  • Heated Front Seats
    This has been a lifesaver when the temperature is really cold outside and the heater take a few minutes to heat up. Generally, the heated seats are immediate.

I'm partially swayed towards purchasing a luxury brand Certified Pre-owned (CPO) car because cars in generally are becoming more reliable. My current Toyota is going strong into it's 11 years and I'm afraid if I purchase another new car, I'll be spending another 10 years behind the wheel of the same car. By purchasing a CPO car, not only am I saving money (cars depreciate the most in the beginning), but I won't be committed to it for nearly as long.

My Choices:

  • New 2018 Toyota Camry
    • Con: Missing Android Auto, and it seems unlikely Toyota will add it in the future.
    • Pro: My current car is a Toyota Camry and it's been very reliable!
    • Don't need to test drive, as I'm certain the new 2018 Camry will be much like my current 2007 Camry Hybrid.
  • New 2018 Honda Accord
    • Pro: Has Android Auto and CarPlay on a touch screen.
    • Pro: Improved over the previous generation with too many screens.
  • Certified Pre-Owned Lexus GS350
    • Pro: Comes with a great Certified Used Car Program.
    • Pro: Reliable and trusted brand.
    • Pro: Awesome huge center screen
    • Con: No touchscreen.
    • Con: No Android Auto support. Since Lexus is part of Toyota, unlikely to receive it in a future update.
    • Con: Not quite as fun to drive as the Audi A4.
    • After test driving this car, it has many luxury features like smarter temperature controls, but I've never really ever left my temperature on auto, I almost always adjust it.
  • Certified Pre-Owned Audi A4
    • Pro: Love how the Audi drives. Truly a fun car!
    • Con: Expensive maintenance and repairs. Also an $80 deductible on warranty claims.
    • Pro & Con: Has Android Auto in newer models, would have to wait 3 years before it is available in CPO cars.
    • Android Auto is not touchscreen, which I find more intuitive than the scroller.

Because I'm very much all about the most bang for my buck, I'm leaning heavily towards the Honda Accord, which has Android Auto, the one feature I really want in my future car. My logic is that since I spend most of my time inside the car, I should enjoy the entertainment system. Having a "cool" looking car is secondary for me. As soon as the 2018 Honda Accord becomes available, I'll be looking to check it out at the dealer and test drive it.

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