I got this car (used, 2800 miles), because the seats of the Accord V6 that is now my wife's car are too hard, too low, too narrow, with bucket wings too steeply angled for my fat ass and bad hips. With a 3 in. high-density foam cushion my wife made for me, the Camry seat is now acceptable. Why don't these best sellers offer the plush "theater seating" that lowly Ford managed to offer on its low-end Focus, back in 2000?
I love the "floaty" ride. Some may see this as a disadvantage, but I don't like every little bump in the road reminding me that my state doesn't maintain its roads properly.
My car has side head-curtain airbags fore and aft, as well as the front-seat, side-mountain airbags, for a total of 8 airbags. This is a must on a Camry, since all the crash test reports show that the Camry rates poorly without the side airbags. I haven't needed them yet, but I feel safer in my car than in the Accord, which lacks head-curtain airbags.
There's more back seat room and more trunk space than the Accord. When Mom visits, my 6'1" wife sits comfortably in the Camry's back seat. When we tried this arrangement in the Accord, the wife's knees were up to her shoulders. In the trunk, In the Camry's trunk, I have a small subwoofer, a milk crate with emergency gear, and an earthquake-preparedness backpack, and I still have room for a rolling garment bag and small suitcase.
The car's been reliable, which one would expect in a brand-new Camry (post-2002, anyway, after Toyota redesigned the engine to eliminate the sludge problem).
As nearly everyone has noted, however, the car accelerates sluggishly in first and second gears. If I ever need to "punch it" from a full-stop, I'll probably need those extra airbags.
The OEM audio system is pathetic. I was on the phone with my wife when the stereo installer handed her the OEM speakers. Her comment was, "I've pulled better-looking speakers out of a '57 Chevy!" Her Accord, by contrast, has a good enough set of OEM speakers and a powerful enough amp receiver to have satisfied me, if it were comfortable enough for me to drive. Now that I have a rolling concert hall, though, I'll stop bitching.
The ventilation system is adequate, but Toyota needs to double the number of fan settings from 4 to 8, just like the Accord, so that my choices aren't "barely feeling it" or being blasted by it.
The separate, recessed display for the clock must have sounded bold and distinctive in planning. In practice, it's dangerous in all weather conditions, but partly cloudy, between 8-9 AM and 4-5 PM around my area. There's too much contrast during daylight and nighttime between ambient light levels and the recessed clock to quickly shift focus from the road to the clock and back. It takes me 3–4 seconds to switch my attention back and forth, versus 1-2 seconds for the dash-mounted Accord's clock. As any auto accident victim will tell you, a lot can happen in 2–3 seconds. Plus, I get tired of hearing my carpool passenger ask, "What time is it?", since she can't see the clock from the passenger seat. And who needs a real-time temperature display, unless it's part of a climate control system? Just crack open the window, dammit, and that'll tell you all you need to know.
Cup holders are adequate, but the Accord's 4-spring-loaded-pincer mechanism is vastly superior. Cups and bottles shift a bit in the Camry, whereas the Accord holds every container snugly.
The center storage console is adequate, but Honda was thoughtful enough to include spring-loaded coin-holders for loose change in to the top compartment. In the Camry, loose change is, well, loose.
And why, in God's name, does an automatic-shift car need a tachometer? Toyota and Honda should both replace their useless displays with displays for parking sensors, so that we don't ding our bumpers on light poles and scrape them on curbs. SmartPark (by Zorg) makes nice 2- and 4-sensor kits, with color LED displays, that they would *love* to sell to these car makers as an OEM option.
Now for the final annoyances: the nanny noises. Horns when you lock the car, when you unlock the car. Really — does anybody mix up these two operations? I guess one could, seeing as the lock an unlock buttons are *exactly* the same shape (the little bump on the lock button just doesn't cut it to distinguish the two). Using different-shaped buttons — like my *1997* Chevy Lumina's key fob did — would be much more useful. And what did we do before remotes? That's right — we manually checked the door locks. Are we so lazy that we can't tug on a door handle any more?
Then there's beeping — when open the car, more beeping when you open the rear doors, and yet another beep (long and shrill) when you open the trunk. How distracted are car drivers today, anyway, that we need all these attention getters? I bet there's a useless wailing alarm if someone breaks in, too. (If you want security, get yourself a Ravelco system — no shrieking alarms, just rock-solid protection.) Then there are the bloody ding-ding-dings when you leave off your seatbelt: a minute at a slow pace, and another minute at a quicker, more insistent pace. Hey, Toyota: if I'm stupid enough to not wear a seat belt, my insurer makes me pay my whole medical bill in case of an accident. That's plenty of incentive. And for those of you without insurance, it's your life to gamble with.
Toyota ought to let owners *easily* disable every blessed one of these audio nuisances.
In summary, the Camry is an adequate, smooth-riding, roomy sedan, but no more. For those of you who want a more intelligently designed car, however, go with an Accord.