Despite a few problems, it's still a good car
Back in 2001, I found a jewel: a year-old Camry with slightly high mileage, but "broken in" well. I have driven the car for six years, and have been pretty well satisfied.
Other than routine maintenance (oil change every 3,000 miles., battery, tires, brakes, timing belt every 60,000 miles.), I was stranded only once. This was due to the water pump seizing up @ 119,000 miles., just before I was to replace the timing belt for the second time. As I remember, I was actually glad that it seized up when it did, because the old belt was shredded to pieces rather than a new one. Pump and belt replaced, I was on with my business.
Fast forward to May of 2007, exactly six years after purchase, the 5S-FE 4 cylinder started knocking... LOUDLY. With a rod about to be thrown, my gut feeling was not good. And, after "crow-hopping" the car to my mechanic, was faced with the unpleasant reality. After 159,674 miles., my engine was as good as dead. It was fixable, but not cost-effective.
Rather than replacing the entire car, I "traded" in my engine for an identical new 5S-FE. I am uncertain as to why the old engine died so prematurely (I've heard countless stories of 300,000 miles. Toyota engines), but I DID in fact maintain the engine as specified in the owner's manual. Well out of warranty, I really can't complain about the engine. After six years and that many miles, it's not exactly a "Lemon", but I am disappointed at the engine's longevity.
Excellent fuel economy (36 mpg highway)
Good power for a 4 cylinder engine
Poor AM/FM/CD unit (volume control)
Poor quality headlamp lenses (plastic yellows)
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 31st August, 2007