1997 Toyota Camry GLS Wagon 2.2 petrol from Australia and New Zealand
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).
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