My new car

For the past 17 years I’ve owned and driven a compact car, a Toyota Conquest/Tazz – it’s small, reliable, affordable and got me from A to B.

My family, and my god-parents have always been Toyota fans – they’re great vehicles, they almost never give you problems and they just keep on going – Toyota’s motto – everything keeps going right, Toyota – is really true.

Yes, they’re slightly more expensive than vehicles in the same price range/class as other makes but there’s a reason there’s that saying – you get what you pay for.

My current Tazz I’ve had for a little over 8 years now (it’s 11 years old) and we’ve been together on almost 180,000 km (it’s currently got 220,000 km) now – and you know what? She’s still going strong, and if continued to be looked after, at least another 10 years to go. That’s just how reliable Toyota is – you’d be hard pressed to find that kind of reliability for the same price or less.

So why a new car? Well, there’s two sides to that decision. Firstly, I think I’ve worked long and hard enough to own a bigger saloon car, with air conditioning, power steering, electric windows and mirrors (oh and a decent sound system doesn’t hurt either). The second reason, well, that’s the more practical one. The kids are quickly getting bigger and older, and well going anywhere with the whole family, and a car full of bags, like we’ll have in Jan when we go on holiday, just isn’t easy or practical in a compact. Neither is driving long distance in the South African summer heat with a full car without air conditioning.

Then it should be no surprise to you that I bought another Toyota. I pretty much had my mind set on getting another Toyota even before I knew I wanted/needed another car it was just a case of what would be affordable.

Initially l was very much inclined to going the Toyota Avensis (although I did feel a little bit like a grandpa in it) but it was very affordable for a 2.0 litre vehicle with all the bells and whistles – what put me off though was that Toyota South Africa was no longer importing/producing/selling them any longer – the reason? Apparently the class and price-range of vehicle cannot compete with the likes of Mercedes and BMW. So that meant the Avensis was out of the question for me – why buy a vehicle that is no longer available in SA? Yes you’d get parts from Toyota for servicing but the resale value would be next to nothing.

I wanted something in the 1.6 litre range or better – and when I looked at, and test-drove the 1.6 Professional Corolla instantly fell in love with it. A saloon vehicle, with the bells and whistles I was looking for (power steering, electric windows, doors and mirrors, air-conditioning and a great sound system). The drive is great, it’s extremely roomy (front and back), has loads of boot space, it’s economical, and affordable. Wait, there’s one word for that – Toyota.

And there she is in all her glory – had a couple of days to driver her and no complaints – really looking forward now, to our trip in January to Knysna.

Wondering about Windows 7?

By now you’ve proably heard all the hype around the new version of the Microsoft Windows OS to be released sometime next year, currently called Windows 7 (although most feel  it will just be Windows Vista SP2). I’m still a Windows XP user and will be for sometime – but I just came across an article on the Windows Secrets website which got me thinking maybe the 64-bit route is the better route to go (making better use of your hardware and allowing the OS access to more physical RAM (since the cost have RAM has come down significantly in recent years).

If you’ve not seen any screen shots of Windows 7 yet, you can see them here (some say a lot looks the same in Vista). It also appears that Microsoft are moving away from including accessories in their operating system (such as Movie Maker, Windows Mail, Windows Calendar, etc) and rather using the new Windows Live online applications (means less overhead on the machine for those applications to run and Microsoft don’t need to push updates to your machine when needed).

One of the other reasons I was not in a rush to upgrade to Vista was because it was too early to ensure most hardware manufacturers had been able to provide updated drivers that would make their hardware compatible with Vista – a little over 18 months down the line and taking into account almost another year before Windows 7 is finally released to the public, maybe by then it might be safrer to upgrade to Windows 7 and not have many hardware problems like those plaguing early adopters of Vista.

And for those who want to stay with XP but are jealous of friends with Vista and want the same look and feel take a look at this How-To-Geek guide on tools to update your XP to look like Vista.