1997 Toyota Camry GLS Wagon 2.2 petrol


Solid and reliable


Front tyres only last 30,000km, but we live rurally on sealed but rough roads, and NZ chipseal is coarse.

Foam backing of the head lining failed at 15 years, causing the fabric to sag - seems to be a common fault. Managed to remove the head lining intact and got it re-covered.

Clutch failed 2008 on a road trip. Repairer managed to scratch the crankshaft at the rear bearing, so it has leaked some oil ever since - more severe in recent years, but keeps on chugging along.

Series of exhaust failures (holes) in past 3-4 years. Catalytic converter failed, but was allowed to be replaced by a resonator.

Prone to odd squeaks from the windows and rear end.

In the last couple of years, the central locking has been acting up (one door won't auto-lock when it is too hot, and sets off alarm).

General Comments:

We have worked and worked and worked and abused this car, and it has kept going for 250,000 km for us. Heavy towing, etc.

The 2.2L engine is probably a tad undersized for the wagon, but is a fair bit more economical than the 3.0, which only seems to come in auto.

Weight distribution gives it some grip problems in slippery situations, e.g. starting uphill on grass or gravel. Once needed a couple of hefty guys on the bonnet to get us up a gravel track at a festival site.

Have never had to fix problems which commonly affected most of my previous cars (suspension, cooling system).

Aircon would have been nice, but was a rare extra in wagons - I'm told because so many were bought as fleet cars for commercial travelers, so had standard spec.

Built-in security (engine immobiliser) was ahead of its time for this class of car, and miscreants seem to steer clear of them.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th October, 2015

1997 Toyota Camry 3.0 V6


Great vehicle; robust and well built


Rear sway bushes.

Front shock absorbers.

General Comments:

This car is the most reliable car I have owned. If serviced correctly, it is faultless.

Very little road noise.

Great economy for a V6. Effortless automatic 4 speed shift.

The front seats could be more form fitting and comfortable.

Climate air heater controls are difficult to reach while driving.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th June, 2012

1997 Toyota Camry Standard 2.2 petrol


Terrible; keep away from this shocking vehicle, extremly unreliable, stay away!


Gear stick snapped while I was driving the car.

Head gasket blew at 70,000 Km.

Air conditioning died in the middle of summer.

All electric windows died.

Starter motor had continuous problems all the time I owned the vehicle.

Head lining fell down.

General Comments:

Terrible vehicle, shockingly unreliably, and poor quality. I will never buy a Toyota again.

The BMW I had previously was fantastic, and had no problems at all.

The Volvo I have now is fantastic; I have had no problems with it whatsoever.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 11th June, 2011

14th Jun 2011, 10:07

Never try to compare a Toyota with BMW/Volvo/Audi.

Toyota is a mediocre car to take you from point A to B without that much fun/comfort. However, in average it's reliable in doing that job.

Even a look at interior material will tell you the story. Also Toyota is designed to work for a couple of years, not for decades (like Volvo).

1997 Toyota Camry CSi 2.2L 4 cylinder twin cam


It's the perfect car for me


Seatbelt reels are starting to become noisy and lock up often for no reason. This is not a safety concern, as they perform their duty perfectly well.

Had to replace leaky coolant bottle the week after I bought the car. It was relatively cheap to buy from the dealer.

A few minor squeaks, but it is 13 years old so who cares?

Bad seal in the tail light, where it mounts to the luggage compartment lid. Water gets into the light sometimes, then pours into the luggage compartment when the lid is up.

Hoodlining (ceiling fabric) is beginning to fall down in places.

General Comments:

For a family sedan, the Camry is incredibly economical. Tank is 70 Litres, and I get almost 800km from a full tank on a long trip. Runs nicely on ethanol blend fuel, too.

Build quality could have been better, but it's way above Commodores and Falcons of the same age. Plastics are well finished and last a long time.

It's fun to drive! I'm sure you don't believe me, but it's quite punchy and flexible through the gears. Engine feel and sound is not unpleasant.

I also like the clean styling of the body.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th October, 2009

3rd May 2010, 06:08

Update on this review by original writer -


The hoodlining fabric has fully collapsed.

Tail light still leaks, but I've recently found out how to fix it.

Lighter socket gave up and shorted-out.

Rear seatbelt still up to its old tricks.

Nothing else has gone wrong. It's an amazing car!