When you think of Valentine’s Day, do you think of cars? I don’t either unless my significant other is handing me keys to some cute little sporty convertible along with a free weekend pass to take off and ride like the wind.
I didn’t get any keys this year for Valentine’s Day, although my husband did take special note this weekend of what I would like if the chance ever arose. We headed to the North Carolina International Auto Expo on Sunday. I actually have to chuckle a little.
The “expo” is a car show that’s held at the fairgrounds. We walk and look at cars in buildings that often hold cows for the agricultural fair. The most “international” aspect is perhaps a few Volvos on the floor and maybe a Ferrari or two. And the venue is so small, many major car manufacturers don’t even show.
We usually go every year just for fun. To see the cars we can’t afford. To scrutinize the interiors and talk about our favorite gadgets. And to talk about the cars we wouldn’t buy if they were the last ones on earth.
But this year, I have a special stake in Toyota cars as part of the Toyota Women’s Influencer Network (TWIN). I’m not that familiar with them, other than a brief look at the Camry. And since TWIN has invited me to get a closer look at their entire line in Los Angeles later this month, I wanted to do a little product research and check out some of their cars in advance. Here’s what I found out.
Toyota actually had a big presence compared to many other brands. And it was actually really nice and modern and well put together. I’m all about the aesthetics so that got me off on the right foot.
First stop: Prius. Since you can’t mention Toyota without a Prius in most sentences these days, I want to check out how far it’s come. And as usual, Evan jumped into the shot.
Next stop: Prius V. This is what I really came to see. It’s the larger vehicle in the Prius family and since I’m kind of a big car kinda girl, I wanted to see if it was something I would consider.
It was nice looking. The exterior didn’t have the WOW factor but it was a good size. I did my standard test of sitting in the driver’s seat, closing the hatch, and taking a backwards glance to get a sense of the car size. It’s small compared to my current car but bigger than I expected.
Next stop: Camry. Although I had seen a Camry recently, this was a really pretty one on a special wood display.
While I’m not a huge fan of the body styling, I loved this macked out version with cool rims, two tone leather seats with baseball stitching, and a fin on the back. Both my husband and I really liked this, especially since he’s planning for his next sedan purchase.
Final stop: The FJ Cruiser. I love the look of this rugged car and I was really anxious to check out the interior.
As my friend Laila (@Parisbug) confirms from riding in her father-in-law’s FJ, it’s not the most comfortable vehicle. I didn’t get a chance to sit up front because I was too excited about the suicide doors in back. But I’m nto as agile as I used to be and getting in and out was not a pleasant task. And from the interior, it was clear that this was a car built for durability, not comfort.
And even though it’s merely a subsidiary of Toyota, I couldn’t NOT include at least on shot of the Scion. This is the latest mini car called the iQ.
It’s cute. It’s adorable. It rivals the Smart car. It’s not a car I would ever ride in if I wanted a) to ride in comfort, b) to survive a rear end collision. But did I mention it’s cute?
Finally, I made my husband take a few shots of me. I took the driver’s seat of the Venza and the Camry. Which one do I look best in? I kind of think the Venza is more my type as you can even see my son trying to climb up front with me. Felt just my speed.
Before I head out to LA to check out the entire line, tell me which Toyota vehicle you might have questions on. Or tell me what gratuitous car shots you’d love for me to take.
And have a Happy Valentine’s Day! Hope you have at least a little (car) love today.