A competent conventional sedan
Front shocks squeaked.
O2 sensor failed causing engine warning light.
Rear shocks bushing cause rattle.
Wires to back lights, at trunk hinge, were cut by the hinge.
Front brakes vibrated during high speed deceleration coming off of a freeway.
Any one of the rear lights (brake, turning and so on) burn out about once a year.
Rear wheels squeak on cold days for a few kilometers.
Rear door windows are hard to defrost.
I've never been able to get comfortable in the drivers seat, and adjust the seat frequently to change where it hurts.
The mechanical problems were fixed, without ever causing me to be stranded, just annoyed to have to get something fixed at the routine service intervals.
I've had a love/hate relationship with this 1998 Camry. Before this one, I had a Japanese designed and built 1985 Camry; I bought it second hand, and we really liked it. So, after I paid off the house mortgage, I thought I'd treat myself, and my family, to a really nice, conventional family sedan, and bought a brand new 1998 Toyota Camry CE with air conditioning and automatic transmission.
Well this California designed (for the North American market), and Kentucky built, car was no Toyota, like the ones that made the company so respected. I'd been in Japanese ones around the world, and always loved their "Toyota tough", and exquisite Japanese styling, engineering and craftsmanship. Well this new Camry of mine, could have been just another GM or Ford sedan.
But I'll give it marks for reliability, because I measure reliability based on whether or not the problems can be fixed. My dealer spots them almost before I do. And they are always fixed pretty well, with a new part or something. This is a lot better than tales I've heard from friends about other kinds of cars that just can't be fixed (like the car won't start in winter, or the steering vibrates at speed, tires always wear out, or some mystery unfix-able electrical malfunction with wipers or alarms, or lights or something).
Will I buy a Toyota again? Of course. But I won't expect it to be a Lexus, this time.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 21st July, 2006