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Guest Opinion -- Owen

Okay, so given a choice between studying property law and writing a final car review, guess which one wins. The car that I learned to drive in was a 1987 Toyota Tercel wagon that went thirteen years without needing anything replaced except the clutch (twice) the brake pads(twice) and the tires (twice). Then everything went at once. Shocks, struts, CV joints, clutch, brakes, and to top it off, a small patch of rust appeared around the nameplate at the back. Oh, and the engine needed a rebuild. All at about 160,000 km. But they were hard klicks. All city, with the exception of a one way trip from Vancouver to Calgary, two round trips to Drumheller, and two round trips Calgary to Banff. Not to mention the two teenaged boys who learned to drive in it.

How did it run? Well, it was reliable, and had a lot of cargo space. Was it any fun? Well, put five teenagers in it going to get a slurpee or to the Sentry Box, and yeah, it was a blast.

But did it handle? Well, we called it Tippy for a reason. Was it fast? It had exactly the same engine as Tubby, but an extra, oh, like, 800-1000 pounds to drag around. So what you're saying is that it was not a fun car? Yes. That is what I'm saying. As plain Jane transportation that would get 30 mpg in the city and swallow a sofa with the seats folded it scored a 10, but as far as tossing it around goes, it was a touch twitchy in corners. The only thing that saved it was that the replacement tires my mom got were so narrow and had so little grip that the front end would plow like a John Deere, usually before you could get it up on two wheels. This tended to cause me to drive more sedately than I otherwise would. Of course, it didn't stop my brother from driving it like a maniac until he caught a 180 on a slippery on-ramp, leaving us driving the wrong way on a one way ramp which was too narrow due to recent snowplowing to pass any oncoming car. We missed the idiot who didn't even slow down for us by about three feet once we managed to get out onto a wider part.

Of course, that wasn't the only adventure my brother had in this car. He peeled the front left quarter panel off on a post in a parking lot, and got rear-ended hard enough to throw the car halfway across an intersection (no damage on that one amazing enough)

I think what best sums up the styling of this car is the time we were over at a friend's house, and his mom came down into the basement where we were all hanging out, and asked "Who owns a blue Toyota station wagon?" to which my brother replied, "Oh, that's me, do you need me to move it?" To which my friend's mom replied, "No, I just wanted to know who would be seen driving a Toyota station wagon."

Kinda pathetic eh? But all that notwithstanding, it was the first car I ever drove, and that counts for something.

What it counts for today is three and a half pints of mass-market macrobrew Canadian lager beer. Reliable and inexpensive, but totally uninspiring in any way. It will get you where you're going, and take your friends there too, all with a minimum of fuss, but you wouldn't really want to be seen drinking it in public.

Score: Three and a half Pints

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