2006 Toyota Corolla Seca

A few years ago, I took a trip to Australia.  I went by myself and maintained a strict budget, as I knew that like the United States, Australia is a BIG country and I’d need a rental car.  Or two… or three.  See, Qantas Airlines does this deal occasionally where you can fly down under, then have a couple of additional flights within the country for free.  It was quite a deal and made for an awesome adventure.

I flew into Brisbane first, and had a car rental reserved before I left the states.  I’d asked for a compact – with the only option being that it be an automatic – I figured it would be best to get used to the idea of driving on the wrong side of the road before trying to wrangle a stick shift as well.

The first of several Secas

What I got at the Brisbane Airport was typical (for an American at least) rental car fare – a Toyota Corolla.  You know exactly what you’re getting.  All the controls in the normal places – except the steering wheel.  Oh, and it’s a hatchback(!)  This is a car the US never got appreciated.  See, the Seca is a special version of the Corolla, a similar to one sold in the US in the early 1990s as the Geo Prizm.  Australia and much of the rest of the civilized world got this car, and I believe it is infinitely better than the vanilla version that we get.

See, as I mentioned in my Prizm post, for whatever reason, these hatchback versions of the Corolla have a bit of personality that your typical rental sedan doesn’t.  Don’t know why – maybe it’s the goofy proportions that the lopped-off rear end gives.

Of course, there’s the utilitarian aspect of the hatchback over a sedan body.  You can put a lot of stuff in there – or a huge subwoofer box.  Not that I really needed that in Australia, but it’s nice to know it is there.

In any case, the Seca was a great companion.  Or Secas… Seci?  Who knows, all I know is that I drove three of them.  In full patriotic colors.  Blue in Brisbane.  White in Melbourne.  Red (fitting) in Yulara.

You may be wondering why I’d put this post under Hatches in the Wild instead of Hatch History.  Or, where is Yulara?  Perhaps you don’t care.  But I ask you, what gets more wild than the Australian Outback?

Yulara Seca. In red for full camo effect.

I would submit to you that nothing is more wild.  If you think that the great open spaces of the American Midwest are remote, I openly laugh at you.  If you believe the hinterlands of Southern Utah or Central Nevada are remote, I suggest check out Google Maps and zoom upward from there.

The nearest town is Alice Springs, population 27,000.  It is 428 kilometers away.  Beyond that is the capital of the Territory, Darwin.  It is an additional 1,499 kilometers from Alice.  That, my friends, is remote.

That brings up another aspect of the Seca that I can appreciate – not the fact that an enormous hatchback resides behind me, but that a bulletproof Toyota engine resides in front of me.  Then again, I did fly…

Melbourne Seca on the Great Ocean Road.

My final Seca adventure was along The Great Ocean Road on the southern coast of Victoria.  It is one of the most beautiful places in the world and the Seca was a fine companion.  Sure, I would have loved to have been driving something with massive horsepower and rail-like handling, but the fact is, I like small, slow and kinda goofy looking cars.  Like I said before, you know what you’re going to get in a Corolla, no matter what the configuration of the cargo area is.  It’s reliable, easy to drive, economical and a bit boring.  The hatchback helps a bit with the last part, but I may be biased.

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