The most impressive features of this car are the quiet, silky smooth and powerful 3.0 liter V6 engine and the 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes. I had a 1997 4 cylinder Camry prior to this one for about two months, but it was totaled in an accident. The difference in engines plus the front disc/rear drum to all disc brakes is like night and day. The brakes are extremely effective and powerful plus no rear wheel moan as is typical with rear drum Camry/Sienna brakes. Often times after I start the engine when it is warm I have to look at the tach on the dash to see if its running it is so smooth and quiet.
Merging onto the highway has never been a problem with this car. Stomp on the throttle and it moves. Power is a tad weak for a V6 from a start to about 25 mph, but comes on nicely after that. This is typical of modern higher reving gas engines where torque peaks at higher rpms than older cars with larger engine. Mileage isn't bad since I average about 24-25 in mostly rush hour stop and go driving. I have yet to measure gas mileage on an all out highway trip, but I'm sure I could approach 29 or 30 mpg. I do miss the 35-40 mpg of our previous 4 cylinder 5-speed Civic, but the Camry is much nicer to drive.
The transmission is smooth as well, but when coasting it is sensitive to lockup even if a bit of throttle is given. Not a big deal just a quirk.
The suspension is overly soft and driving on uneven pavement gives a wallowy ride reminiscent of my dad's mid-70's Lincolns and Cadillacs. Toyota could have firmed up the suspension more and not sacrificed ride quality too much. The car did have a front strut problem, so common to late 90's Camry's when we bought it, but I made the dealer repair it as a condition of our purchase and they did.
I have owned and driven several Toyota's including trucks, Camrys, Sienna's and Corollas and their seats need improvement. One should not have to opt for a top line model to get good seats. Interior room overall is good and the trunk room is fantastic for a mid-size car. I have packed an amazing amount of stuff in that trunk numerous times. Air-conditioning, heater and rear defrost work excellent and the A/C is powerful. My judge of a good A/C is if it causes pain it is effective.
Overall I have had good luck with this Camry as was expected considering my past experience with Toyota's. Some improvements could have been made, but I buy cars for reliable transportation. When I'm sitting in traffic as are most of my driving conditions I don't car how exciting the car is while going 40 mph with hundreds of other cars and trucks. I want reliability and good road manners.