What do the tC, 318ti, and Astra have in common? If you answered, “cars with incredibly cheap plastic throughout,” you are correct — BUT they’re also “modern” hatchbacks that I think about owning in my weaker moments. And since I have no money, now is the PERFECT time to waste minutes of my life posting about cars I can’t/won’t buy!

Cargo capacity was not a deal-breaker on my former Celica. Had other things “clicked” with it, it wouldn’t be up for discussion. But it’s awesomely large liftback that was also completely useless just added salt in the wounds. That being said, I’m still drawn to liftbacks. I don’t have friends — I don’t need 4 doors. I consider my Tercel wagon living beyond my needs.

The 318ti is still a mild obsession of mine, but I tried to think about moderately-comparable vehicles I would entertain the idea of driving. Yes, the 318ti is a RWD bimmer and the rest are FWD whatevers, but they are all liftbacks (hatchbacks?) powered by 4-bangers. So I decided to look up some cargo specs (with the rear seats upright):

2nd gen tC: Not awful, but the “swoopy” liftback robs a lot of potential vertical clearance. But still: 14.7 cubic feet overall.

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Image from 318ti.org

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318ti: shallower, but appears to be taller... Maybe? Motortrend says it’s capacity is 15.1 cubic feet (nice!) but another site said 13.9 so... ?

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1st gen tC: It’s even smaller than the 2nd gen, at 12.8 cubic feet.

This is actually a 5-door, leave me alone.

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Astra Coupe XR: apparently just 12.2 cubic feet. Sure looks that way.

What I do like about the 2nd gen tC is 180 horsepower mated to a 6-speed manual, making it three times more powerful than my favorite car - the Tercel. A car that I described as being “fun.” It would also be over 50% more powerful than the fastest car I’ve owned: ... a, uh, 31-year old Celica.

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What I like about the 318ti is pretty much everything, other than the obvious reliability hoo-hah, the fact that too many examples were not well cared for, and the price premium commanded by manual versions. Obviously a 2-year old tC will run $11-$13k, but you’re getting a 2-year Toyota instead of 20-year old E36... They’re really difficult (and idiotic) to cross-shop in a vacuum. And yet, here I am.

As for the Astra, eh. My interest in it faded some time ago. It’s hard to justify buying one over a superior Matrix/Vibe, which I already own...

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There will come a day when I stop buying Toyotas made pre-1896. I am just trying to prepare myself. You laugh now, but you’ll see. You’ll ALL see!