1997 Toyota Camry CSI 3.0L V6 from Australia and New Zealand
High quality, reliable and quiet ride!
Nothing major, a blown headlight, which was a $30AU fix (I replaced both globes with 50% brighter globes)
Also a light behind the air conditioner unit failed, I picked up a new globe from an electronics shop and replaced it, which took approx 40 minutes.
The front suspension in the car is noisy, my mechanic says I could replace it, but it isn't worth it. I believe that the 4 speed humps which I travel over twice on a daily basis could have something to do with this.
There are a few major rattles with my new sound system, mainly the rear centre tail light, but I expected a lot more.
I really cannot complain about this car, my parents owned it before myself and they never had any problems with it.
Door trim falling out of its position over time.
The v6 is a massive upgrade from my '85 Mazda 323 which had a 1.5L engine in it. It has enough power to pull quickly out of any problems.
Braking is very touchy, but once you get used to it, it is responsive and allows you to stop very quickly.
The original stereo head unit is lacklustre for an audiophile like myself, I purchased a pioneer unit and it made all the difference. The rear speakers in this car are phenomenal; I haven't bothered replacing these as they are perfectly capable of producing a clear sound. Having said that, the front speakers are too low, a pair of splits would have been nice.
It is extremely simple to install a new head unit, documentation about wiring looms can be easily found on the Internet.
The headlights are superb, this car was made back when they made real glass lenses, and the throw on the high beams beats any other standard installation that I have seen as yet. (Even the newer Camry's)
The seats could have a bit more support; passengers can move laterally a lot, which makes it slightly uncomfortable for scenic drives where you are moved around sideways a bit.
The interior is well thought out, a bit boring though. The fabric is coming out of the door panel on the driver's side. I have seen many Camry's with this fault.
There is a stack of leg room in all 4 main seats in the car. The drivers seat provides people with long legs (like myself) heaps of room to move, with more room to spare. On the other end of the scale, someone who is 5 foot tall can happily drive this car with no problems reaching any controls.
The handling is average for a car of this size, it seems to roll a fair bit, but it sticks to the road relatively well with decent tires.
The engine is very quiet; I have thought it was off a few times until I looked at the taco. Road noise is minimal on well sealed roads, slightly rougher roads and dirt tracks are fairly noisy, but nothing the stock stereo can't cope with.
Due to the shape of the back of the car, it is difficult to see small objects, and you have to guess how far you can reverse. I am not too sure if the spoiler would increase the likelihood of seeing how far back you can go.
The boot opens extremely quickly and can shock people and it feels as if it is doing some damage. It has yet to fall off or break though.
The centre rear seat comes with a 3 point safety belt with an inertia reel, which is a nice addition. It makes me feel much more confident when taking 4 passengers in my car.
The rear seat belts also have locking functions, so you can strap down objects to the back seat.
Some people here have complained about oil leaks. I have not seen any oil leaks as yet even after 180,000ks.
Bumper seems to be solid, a rather large kangaroo went underneath my car and nothing was damaged.
Door trims are a pain to remove, I am not too sure if this is standard these days though. There are a series of hidden clips, claps and screws all around the door itself. Once you get the hang of it they are easy to manage though.
Make sure you change the oil every 10,000km with this engine. I have heard stories of people leaving their cars for over 20,000km without an engine oil change, and they now require a complete rebuild which costs just less than what the car is worth itself!
I would recommend buying this model Camry for anyone on a limited budget (~$13,000) as it is a reliable, enjoyable and smooth ride.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 31st December, 2005