Awesome car! We leased an '03 Camry which feels and looks like a Buick... which isn't good when you're 24! It's reliable as heck, but it's not sporty. My father had a 97 Camry with all the tricks (and spoiler) and I loved driving it, so I knew that this was a good series (97-01) for us. The '03 Camry feels too big--it doesn't feel sporty. My last car was a 91 Accord, so the 01 Camry is a bit closer in terms of size. We bought this car outright at the local dealers auto auction with 37,000 miles on it. It was a leased vehicle turned in to Southeast Toyota Finance. All maintenace records were given to us.
I don't understand the "CE" designation, because the car has power everything, plus etched VIN#'s in all the glass panels, an alarm system and a spoiler...all upgrades for a "CE" -- so this car is basically an "LE" now. It came with terrible tires--Bridgestone Eager. My guess is that the guy who leased it turned it in with garbage tires and so SETF just stuck whatever they could find on there. I have since replaced those with new Goodyear Regatta 2's (all tires including spare--I wanted a full size spare in the trunk).
Car drives like a dream. It's fun to look at--unlike our '03 Buick (I mean Camry). It has good pickup and it's smooth as heck. I find myself enjoying driving again -- literally. On my days off, my wife and I will just go for a drive--whereas I used to hate driving mainly because of the traffic, but also because of the car.
I paid $10,800 out the door (taxes, everything) and I'm expecting this thing to go at least 200k miles. I will be keeping it that long.
Oh, one other thing. I've spent hours reading about the sludge issue...don't deny it exists although so far I'm unaffected. Use synthetic oil on these cars... that should eliminate the sludge problem, as synthetic has a higher heat resistance unlike standard oil which sludges because it "bakes" in very high heat. I recommend Amsoil, although I currently have Mobil One in the car and it's been great.
Don't waste your money on additives--they do more harm than good. Maybe some fuel injector cleaner here and there, but even that to me is usually just a waste of money. These things were designed well. Change the oil on time (I'd say probably 7,500 miles with Amsoil; 3,000 with regular oil) ; do the air filter at 30k and you should be good!
I love this car--in fact, we're looking for another one to replace the '03 when we turn it back in next year. Never lease a car! Dumbest thing we ever did! I love OWNING my '01. It's mine! Leasing costs you more in car insurance, and it costs more when you register it each year at the tag agency. It's a waste of money.