i was thinking the same thing just a week or two ago... why doesn't mazda have a luxury line? i figure that it's good that they don't have a luxury line as they can focus their work on making a solid band of great cars (as they have been) instead of devoting more attention with their expensive, luxury brands.
speaking as a toyota owner, i think toyota is really taking a nose-dive because there is so much hype about lexus. the toyota cars in the past five years have looked like shit and haven't had any amazing features to speak of. my ex-boyfriend owned a top-of-the-line V6 SLE solara convertible (the first year... 2000?) which i got to drive around for almost a year while we were dating (he got the car before he got his license, so i drove him around in it... no problem there!
). i thought it was a really great car, but then toyota "redesigned it" and now it looks like shit. i hate the new, bubbly tail-lights, and the interior trim is really cheap, plastic-like, and poorly-aligned. now i wouldn't touch it. aren't cars supposed to get better and more well-designed as time goes by?
toyota cars have nothing really to brag about, other than their "reputation" for quality. the corolla doesn't have any interesting features, other than clear instrument needles on the "S". another car with lots of potential but zero follow-through. the new, sporty corolla XRS or whatever it's called is such an afterthought. the corolla was cute (and i guess still is), but no where near as hot as a mazda 3.
the new camry isn't that bad looking and it drives like a charm, but it is so lacking feature-wise that it doesn't even have basic steering wheel audio controls. the coolest thing was the small, digital "outside temperature" display. and what's up with that avalon-style mega dashboard in the camry? and then there's that tiny passenger front airbag hole in the dashboard that's so randomly-placed and distracting that it leaves you wondering if it's going to do anything when you crash!
toyota has become blasé, and it has succumbed to mediocre and generic styling. it seems that the lexus models are better and better each year, with new features, etc. because more "attention" is given to that brand.
mazda should stay put with what they're doing... i think that it's fair to say that there is NO COMPARISON between mazda's and toyota's product lines. even honda's line is "just ok."
it's time for a new car for me, and i was looking to buy from toyota... but then my friend said "hey let's go check out mazda" (back when the 6 first hit southern california) and i have been in love with mazda ever since. for the price range, i think they are offering the best features, design, style, performance, and quality. i wouldn't buy anything else, and i'm really looking forward to my 3.