I have the 4 door saloon from 2002, bought ex-dem at £16,000. List price at the time was £21,000 I think. Mine has done 45,000 miles and has cost little to service and look after, It is a beautiful shade of dark metallic blue. Lovely!
I used to have an E class Mercedes and it hard to move away from a car like that but I couldn't afford another one and mine was getting old and unreliable. The Toyota was the only other car I found with a such a big boot. I can get a big pushchair, a pile of random junk, a week's shopping and baby paraphernalia in it with no problem.
I think it looks great - though the boot does stick out. It is one of the safest cars on the market - it got top marks for in-car passenger and driver safety according to Which (5 stars), though only slightly below average marks for pedestrian safety if you hit one. I think it has 9 airbags - I don't even know where they all are but it makes me feel safe with my children in the back.
It has ABS, assisted braking, vehicle stability control and traction control, three three point seat belts in the back and headrests for all 5 passengers. It is comfortable and roomy in the back with space for three adults. Certainly two adults can travel in genuine comfort and pull down the centre armrest thing with drinks holder in it if they want to feel like they are in business class!
It has lovely things to play with in the car like a 12 volt socket in the back as well as the front to plug stuff into (e.g. ipod) so the rear passengers are not bereft. Great black leather seats, my built in sat nav is a bit outdated now (black and white screen not colour etc) but the voice is nice and it works! I expect you can get new CDs now for it. They said I could get CDs for countries outside UK, but I've never tried.
Talking of gizmos it also has:
* on-board computer display which shows you average Litre per KM or MPG (why not litres per mile? LOL) average speed and distance of journey.
* 8 speaker CD/Radio/Cassette with controls on the steering wheel- again thinking of those rear passengers - the 8 speakers I mean not the driver's controls LOL
* folding electric heated mirrors,
* automatic windscreen wipers that sense when it's raining and start wiping! * rear view mirror which sort of dips so you don't get dazzled by lights behind you
* lit vanity mirrors,
* 17 inch alloy wheels
* electric windows,
* dual climate control so you and your passenger can have different temperatures
* Optitron lighted instruments which are lit even during the day - actually they seem to get dimmer at night when you put the headlights on. Hmm..
You can press the remote control thing twice and it double locks if you are outside the car (not if you are inside so the emergency services can get in more easily in a crash, apparently), child locks, and remote transponder key fob thingy. The bad things are the road noise is quite bad on some surfaces and the ride can be less than smooth at times. It doesn't exactly roar away at the lights with having only a 1.8 engine. Mind my last car had a 3 litre engine so I did notice the difference. It has a turbo thingy which gives it a bit of welly when you overtake on a motorway.
It is a bit thirsty on the old petrol, being an automatic - it does about 25-30 MPG for me in town, about 35 if I'm on a motorway all tank, unless it's very uphill, when it uses up more.
It is not a real driver's car, more a good family/exec "I love alloy wheels a good looker and gadgets" car.
The ride is a bit noisy on certain surfaces too.
The lights are a bit rubbish so on dark country roads you can't always see as well as you'd like - they light up well but only a few yards in front of you, compared to other cars. The other negative, on the subject of lights, is it is flipping impossible to change a front headlight without taking half the blinking engine out first. I certainly couldn't change a headlamp bulb in the dark, which is pretty stupid!! My husband tried to do it without careful reading of the manual for instructions the first time (typical bloke) and broke the light casing as a result.
Which brings me to repairs: Toyotas are reliable (I've had loads) but when you need a spare part, it's expensive. The broken clip that the headlight sits on required a whole new light casing cos they don't sell the bits separately, and the whole sorry thing cost me £175 at a local garage. I dread to think what the main dealer would have charged! Husband read the manual before next attempt!
Overall, I love it, it's great value for money. I wish the saloon had a rear wash wipe though - why do they not do that?