Toyota Camry Car Review – MotorPoint
Good: four-cylinder engine roomy interior large trunk excellent gas mileage well priced.
Needs improvement: tires brakes stereo controls.
Needless to say the Toyota Camry is not the most exciting vehicle we have tested. But strangely we were all sad to see it go. The reason was simple. Outside of tires that wanted to squeal at the slightest provocation the Camry is perhaps the best family oriented sedan for the money because of its excellent interior room solid engine smooth shifting transmission and the ability to get well over 30 mpg with a family aboard. In addition the car can easily be mistaken for the upscale Lexus ES despite the fact the popular LE model we drove was priced just under A$35 000. However be warned that a fully optioned XLE model can debit your account over A$40000.
Mom’s view: I liked the LE model because it was a good value. The Camry was very easy to drive and had plenty of safety equipment. Toyota offers optional antilock brakes and front and rear passenger side-curtain airbags.
The standard front air bags can also deploy at different speeds depending on magnitude of the impact. Toyota’s Camry seatbelts tighten immediately in an accident and drivers also benefit from a deformable footrest and an anti-intrusion brake pedal that help reduce leg injuries. As with all family good family oriented vehicles there are child seat anchors. Toyota has also strengthened the overall structure of this 3040-pound Camry. This is evident when driving over uneven pavement where this Toyota is much better than previous models at resisting what I call a waltzing motion caused by the suspension having to deal with two different obstacles at the same time.
On the negative side I didn’t find this Toyota much of a beauty inside or out. The dash in flat and boring. The stereo controls are a long reach for me and the gauges could be more legible with a different font. The exterior with its high slab sides angular nose and upturned trunk area are too much for someone who appreciates understated appearances.
The utility of the interior is well above average. On the plus side there is a lot of room inside and plenty of storage with a nice sized glove compartment and large centre console. There are roomy door pockets an overhead sunglass holder and even space for coins. The cupholders are good sized but not great. Toyota has mounted the Camry’s front bucket seats in such a way as to give you a feeling of command. The seats are quite comfortable and the controls for the electric motors proved easy to use.
The 16.7 cubic feet trunk is spacious and the rear seats fold down to offer additional room but the rear deck opening is not as large as I would have liked and there is a high lift over.
Dad’s view: It’s the engine that is the story here. Yes it can be a bit buzzy at the limits but for daily commuting it excels. Better yet the 157-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder all aluminum engine earns ULEV status thanks to Variable Valve Timing with intelligence. Tied to the four speed automatic transmission the 162 pound-feet of torque this engine produces at 4000 rpm takes the fear out of high speed passing and on-ramp squeeze-ins. And I never got less than 25 mpg on unleaded in town driving. Figure getting to 0 in just over nine seconds even when loaded. The transmission is very good and its kick down is excellent at highway speed. The brakes were another matter. The front disc and rear drum brakes with the optional ABS in our test car did the job well but the pedal feel is vague at times and during a panic stop I found myself wishing for more immediate action.
Unemployed Female Graduate: This Camry is not easy to describe. It looks like a Lexus ES and has some excellent standard features such as air conditioning with air filtration power windows with auto down power mirrors and locks and cruise control and yet it is priced closer to the Korean built sedans or the much smaller Civic. Indeed a base unit can be shopped down.. Some features I would absolutely recommend would be the side impact bags and the ABS. There is no need to be thrifty when your life could be at stake. On the other hand there is no reason not to order the optional automatic transmission. Whatever you save on the standard transmission will be quickly lost on resale and there is only a one-mile per gallon loss over the automatic.
Driving the Camry is uneventfully if you avoid sharply curved roads where the fully independent front MacPherson strut and rear Chapman strut suspension can’t cope without significant tire noise and lean. The LE is not a sports sedan but the more expensive SE model could be with its firmer suspension and larger tire-wheel combinations. The ride is best described as comforting bordering on floaty over most highway surfaces.
Would I buy this Camry? No. The reason is simple. Despite the obvious advantages of price good reliability high resale and an excellent engine it just does not have the look I desire. I should make it known that neither does the Camry’s major competition such as the Accord Passat or Nissan. I am looking for cachet and Toyota does not appear to have harvested that concept since the Supra fell from production. If I had a family and needed safe economical transportation I would probably appreciate the comfy confines of the Camry.
Family conference: There is little doubt in our minds that the Camry is going to continue to be a best seller. It does everything well and some things such as gas mileage room and engine performance in excellent fashion. This Toyota is an ideal car family vehicle for those who don’t need any extra excitement on their daily commute.
Written by The Car Family
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