Saturday, June 30, 2012

The New Toyota of Orlando

Today was another trip to the Toyota dealership to turn off the "maintenance required" light that lights up every 5,000 miles on the Prius' dash. I have officially put 73,285 miles on the 2009 Prius at this point. It lights up on the Prius for no other reason than for me to drive to the dealership so I can pay to have it turned off until the next 5,000 miles are driven. Which, I suppose, is  a bit snarky; I do have regular maintenance done to the car and it has managed to keep the vehicle in pretty good shape. But the next time it goes off I'm going to follow the directions in the 2099 Owner's Manual, page 365, to reset the light on my own. Total spent this trip was about $68, which is reasonable considering it included an oil change and tire rotation. Rotating the tires allowed my original 40,000 mile tires to last nearly 50,000 (with tread left). I replaced them with Michelins rated at 85,000 miles. I'm hoping I can push those to an even 100,000 miles before having to replace them.

Another reason to drive to the dealership was to see the new location for Toyota of Orlando. The old location was on Colonial Drive and Mercy, next to the Nissan dealership. It's now located in the general area of the Mall of Millenia, sitting on Vineland Road just north-east of The Holy Land Experience and next to Harley Davidson, bordered on two sides by Vineland and I-4. Compared to its prior location, the new location is huge. The old dealership's interior could have fit into a corner of the new dealership and gotten lost in the process.
The exterior gives no indication as to just how big the interior is. While it will take some time for me to properly document the interior, I will say this; the new layout, while far more spacious, actually follows the flow of the original location. The maintenance section is next to the customer waiting area, which is next to the showroom and sales floor. It's a much cleaner and far more open flow now between the three areas in the new location. In particular, the new location is flat across the entire building. The old location was chopped up a bit due to the fact you had to walk up narrow stairs between the customer waiting area and the sales floor.

As I said the old interior was pretty small. There was no space to hold any vehicles on display. In the new location there's plenty of room. This Scion, tucked into one corner, is wide open to the rest of the interior.
This shot, taken at the edge of the lot next to I-4, gives some small indication of just how large the new facility really is. I don't know where all the vehicles were kept at the old location, but there was absolutely no space at the old location to hold every vehicle now seen at the new location.
While I was there for a bit, I walked around to see if I could spot anything I hadn't seen before. I came across these Scion Q's I'd not seen before now, Toyota's answer to the Smart ForTwo. The design is so close they're kissing cousins. It's a good thing that car companies don't sue one another over close-looking vehicles the way smartphone companies do (like Apple suing Samsung and HTC). Would I buy one? I consider the Smart ForTwo the most butt-ugly car on the road today. The Scion Q I find tolerable, but not so tolerable that I'd buy one. It is an un-aerodynamic brick on four wheels,  with city/highway mileage of 37/38 MPG.

I'll get a chance to visit the place some more in the near future. The wife is now thinking of purchasing her very own Prius and wants to test drive the various models. She test drove a standard 2012 Prius 3 today. I advised that she make very sure that it's a Prius she wants, and not the Fiat 500C. She's going to think about it, but in the mean time she's pulling all the facts together about the 2012 standard Prius. Time will tell.

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