I was dreading it, as I mentioned a few days ago, but for the first time I can ever remember, things actually turned out better this time. Despite having the Camry for only 2.5 years, I decided to ditch it. It had a lot of weird vibration issues, 51k miles and I frankly never really liked it that much. I was paying $353 a month for it because I really didn't put anything down on it, had a little negative equity on the trade and didn't get that good of a loan rate either (this was pre-9/11 when the manufacturers all went nuts with low-to-no finance charges).
I don't remember now off hand what the purchase price was, but with tax, title, fees, etc., it came to around $16,800, which was $250 under invoice (or so they said, but I had the numbers from Edmunds and it was damn close to that). The actual amount financed was less as I put a grand down and got some coupon in it that actually starts next week. The payment will be $276, financing around $15,800. That's $77 less than I had before and I'll save at least $25/month on gas.
People don't generally get less of a car when they buy a new one, they buy a "better" one. With the ridiculous amount of money I'm making right now, I could have just as easily gone across the street and bought a Lexus instead. There were a lot of compelling reasons though to get "less" of a car. First, it's the third Corolla I've had. They've all been perfect over the years. Stephanie is actually driving the second one, and at 90k+ miles it has never needed anything other than normal maintenance. Second, the gas mileage is better. You can push one of these things to 40 mpg on an all-highway trip. Given the travel we do combined with my long commute, that's important. Third, I don't take care of my cars, so why buy something expensive? Finally, they're at least visually appealing this year. So what if everyone has one! One other thing is that if I can make an honest go at working for me, or have to starve while writing my book, I have a smaller car payment.
In any case, it's nice to have one less thing to worry about. I've never had a sun roof either, and oddly never anything like anti-lock brakes or some of the other little tweaks either. The only thing this one doesn't have is alloy wheels (which I hate anyway) and leather, but the dealer said that they see maybe three or four of those a year tops. Toyota still doesn't mix up the inventory much. It's all the same group of options.
Lucky me, I'll have to spend two hours in it each way tomorrow on the way to Toledo for a tournament.