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Choosing Between an Accord or Camry When You’re Broke and Very Tall

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My journey to ownership of a 2014 Toyota Camry

Waking up at 4 am, then walking six miles to work isn’t fun. That’s what I did for about two weeks after the 2002 Cadillac Seville I was driving finally broke down.

Even worse, I snagged a job at one of the top companies in my area a few months ago and I didn’t want anyone who worked there to see me all sweaty and gross at the conclusion of my two-hour walk, so I would bring an extra pair of clothes, which I would change into after I took a shower at the gym.

All that had to stop.

I wanted and needed a car badly, but I was having problems acquiring a loan because of my lack of credit history. I did manage to swallow my pride and ask my aunt for rides to work, but I still needed my own transportation. There’s no honor in begging a nearly 70-year-old retired lady to wake up a 6 am everyday so my grown ass could get to work on time.

Luckily, my job requires me to research and write about cars all day, so I had a decent understanding of which cars were potentially within my price range, and after reading the newest reliability survey from Consumer Reports, I had my mind made up that I either wanted to invest in a Honda Accord or a Toyota Camry.

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So I called my older brother up, who is a bit of a gear head, car junkie, or whatever else you want to call a person who really enjoys automobiles. To my surprise, he was very excited to go look at Hondas and Toyotas with me. It helped me a lot because I’m a pretty quiet person until I get to know people, while my brother is the definition of outgoing.

When he picked me up, I told him I didn’t know where I wanted to go first. He smiled and said, “Don’t worry Sammie Tootall, I know where all the car dealerships are at.”

He wasn’t lying.

He drove to an area which was literally nothing but car dealerships. There was Toyota, Honda, Chevy, Hyundai, Ford, and probably a few others that I can’t remember right now.

My brother–who was grinning from ear to ear from being surrounded by so many cars–asked me which dealership I wanted to visit first. From my research, I knew the Toyota Camry was a very reliable and good on gas, plus I just really liked its exterior styling.

As soon as we parked, a salesperson by the name of Tom approached us and asked if we were there to see anyone in particular. I let him know we weren’t, and then I told Tom about my interest in a Camry. He granted us a test drive and I was impressed by the smooth ride of the Camry and how good it felt going through corners.

I let Tom know I was having problems acquiring loans and he told me not to worry. He said the dealership he worked at was part of a bigger chain of dealerships and that when they make calls about financing, good things usually happen.

I felt good about what Tom said about getting me a loan, but I still wanted to test-drive a Honda Accord, so we went down the street to another dealer. In an effort to move this story along, I’ll just say my 6-foot 5-inch body didn’t fit in the Accord as well as the Camry, and that while I found the Accord to be slightly faster, I still preferred how the Camry felt going through corners.

Report: Toyota Camry is most American-made, says

By this time, my brother looked like he was ready to go home and get some food in his belly, but I knew he absolutely loved all things about General Motors automobiles, so we rode down the street to the Chevy dealer.

Once at the Chevy dealership, I told the salesperson how much money I was looking to spend. He told me if there was a Camry available for that amount of money, then I shouldn’t be wasting my time at his lot, and that I need to go back to the Toyota dealership and buy that car before someone else did.

His honesty was refreshing.

I called Tom up and told him I was interested in the Camry, and we agreed to meet a couple days later. After test-driving the Camry again and signing what seemed to be an endless amount of documents, I left the dealership with my 2014 Toyota Camry, and I’m very happy with my selection.

Once I got my car home, my 16-year-old nephew came over to look at it and he said he was proud of me. That sounded funny to me coming from such a young man, but then I remembered he already knows more about cars than I ever will thanks to his car junkie father. He was even the person who changed the brake pads and rotors on my mom’s Caddy a couple months ago.

“What was the last car you had? Wasn’t it like a 1996 Ford Taurus, and that was back in 2011,” my nephew jokingly said. “You’re really styling now Sammie. I’m happy for you.”

I walked to work for weeks in order to save money for a Toyota camry