My cars over the years

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No I don’t drive the Rivian but I drive the Toyota Sienna next to it: owned it for 9 years now (since summer 2013). It was the main car (minivan) I drove in last 9 years, with the exception of sometimes I drove my wife’s Camry for the purpose of saving gasoline, or taking care of maintenance issue.

Recently I also bought a certified pre owned Toyota Camry for my wife as I totaled her older Camry during an accident (I was not hurt).

The clear water blue 2012 Camry was the one we had for 10 years: we owned her from new. Serenity (when she was 2 years old) liked the color. The girls (my wife and 2 daughters) liked her very much too, at the day before the car was towed away, I told my girls to take some pictures. And they did. I was hoping Serenity can learn to drive on the 2012 blue Camry, but sometimes things unpredictable do happen, and the accident was not the worst as I was fine (I was the only person in the car). I think she will likely learn to drive on the white (ice cap) 2020 Camry, or if she likes, hopefully I can get her whatever cool car / SUV she wants when she is 16 (or 15 and a half 🙂

Again we all liked blue Camry very much, especially my wife. It was my wife’s main car, and since she preferred Camry, I got her replacement Camry in a week. The only complaint she had so far is the noise during initial acceleration, which from google it seems quite normal. Camry was known for its quietness, btw. Both Camry and Sienna were fairly reliable. I make sure fixing necessary wear and tear, things such as oil change, tire, wiper blades, breaks and battery. And some other occasional breakages: for Sienna, one recent example is the drive shaft.

Before those 2012 Toyotas, I owned Nissan Altima 2001 (from new) and Subaru Forester 2006 (bought used from Craigslist, in 2010). I regret bought the Altima, at the time I liked its leather and lower price tag compared to Camry. But it’s also a bit smaller than Camry, and it has more maintenance issues in the later years, also the resell value was not as great. Below is the email I sent to the owner of Subaru back in 2010 when I was trying to buy it:


Minjie Xu
Thu, Jul 22, 2010, 11:38 AM
to sale-p5b98–1854914704
Hi, there,
I saw the Ad at St. Louis Craigslist, I would like to know whether the vehicle is still available, and if yes, when is a good time to take a look? (this link is no longer available, btw)
BTW, from the picture, it is a stick-shift (manual transmission), correct?


In Summer 2013 I traded in the Subaru for the Sienna I mentioned above. I recall I did not lose money from it, because like Toyota, Subaru also holds value pretty well.

Old Cars

Before those two, when I was in graduate school in Rolla and was new to the USA, I drove a 1991 Toyota Corolla manual (stick shift). And before Corolla (about $3,000, bought in 1998 or 1999), my first car was black 1984 Toyota Celica 1984 ($450, paid in 1998, also stick shift). I learned how to drive on the Celica in early 1998. I got pulled over by police a few times due to various reasons, one occasion was I could not stay on the lane very well, it was probably in the middle of night, I drove from Rolla Walmart to my fraternity. Now I think about it, if I had the 2020 Camry LDA feature (lane departure alerts, YouTube video – How does Toyota’s Lane Departure Alert With Steering Assist work?), this won’t happen.

EV next?

I think my next car could be either a hybrid or an EV (Rivian hopefully :-). Joking. I think in general, if money or the gasoline is not an issue, one should get a car or a SUV (a truck) as safe as possible. That’s another reason I bought Camry, not only it her the most popular car (sedan) in the USA for many years, it’s also one of the safest: if you could ignore all the white noises in which the US government haul in the CEO / Grandson of Toyota founder, it’s only for the show (for the consumption of some ignorant US TV viewers or let’s just say some Americans. Some people in my humble opinion, should not be allowed to drive: this was the consensus I had with a few graduates at the fraternity when I was in Rolla. Sorry sometimes I have to be blunt. Especially if you consider I was hit by someone from behind recently in a traffic light intersection. Btw, it’s the 2nd time I was hit in an intersection. The first time, the other driver fled, unfortunately. I was able to do some freelance detective work myself, and unfortunately squared, the other driver had no insurance 🙁

Last but not least, I shared some of my recent car shopping experience here:

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