18th Feb 2009, 23:22

I have to agree with comment 12:49. Later model Camrys are not very reliable, and most auto magazines and reviews show this. The Ford Fusion is rated two full levels above the Camry in reliability by Consumer Reports. The Malibu (last year's American Car of the Year) is also a great solution to the Camry woes, as is the excellent G6, LaCross, or even the Dodge Avenger.

19th Feb 2009, 06:42

Also go to consumeraffairs.com and look at Toyota owners comments.

19th Feb 2009, 11:51

"Also go to consumeraffairs.com and look at Toyota owners comments".

And then realize that consumeraffairs.com isn't a scientific survey.

They don't maintain strict standards, have no control over false responses (other scientific surveys use registration data to confirm ownership), they maintain no controls over sample sizes, and they have no mechanism to try to make sure that their sample would be representative and not skewed by manufacturers. Unlike CU they also accept advertising (a fair amount of GM advertising, in fact). They are much like this site; designed for owners to present experiences so others may know what TYPES of problems are out there and whether the manufacturer or dealer made things right. That's their value. What these sites cannot do is tell you what PERCENTAGE of owners are having a particular problem. For that, you need to go to Truedelta or Consumer Reports (others may offer data too). For initial quality J D Power is a good source. You may or may not like the conclusions reached by these publications, but at least the way they reached them is controlled, scientific, repeatable, and reasonably transparent.

19th Feb 2009, 11:59

In the 90's Toyota targeted Taurus (then the country's best-selling car) with a series of ads that always showed a Taurus being towed in the background. As a therapist, I can assure you that this not-so-subliminal method worked just great for Toyota. People "suddenly remembered" seeing broken down Tauruses. When asked WHERE, they could NEVER REMEMBER. This is a classic example of using subliminal cues to manipulate people's thinking, and I'm sure Toyota paid some psychologist a hefty fee to help design that commercial.

In the past 20 years of driving on the freeway 40 miles round trip to my office I have seen HUNDREDS of Camrys, Civics, Nissans and other Japanese cars broken down on the road. I've seen ONE Ford in all that time. That holds true to my own personal experience. I have never once been stranded on a trip in ANY of my domestics. My wife and I have found ourselves stranded TWICE in friends' Toyotas.

19th Feb 2009, 13:45

Another one of these subliminal ads I saw every day last year during the evening news is for a product to keep your digestion regular. In the foreground, there is a big tough guy at a construction site. But in the background there is a large pickup with the bed filled with barrels. All of a sudden a strap breaks and they all the barrels break loose and fall to the ground. Kind of disgusting when you think about what they are advertising.

19th Feb 2009, 16:59

I have found out tremendous bits of service information waiting in the import dealerships waiting rooms from other customers. You see the same make and model pull up ask what their issues are and why they are there sitting with you. I do not ask the dealership or for people sitting in new cars inside the showroom. The waiting room is where to ask.

19th Feb 2009, 22:01

My Pathfinder has left me stranded quite a few times, while my old Explorer never has.

20th Feb 2009, 09:32

I had new 2 Taurus, then new Crown Vics and new Mercury Marquis, all as company cars. They were not mine so there's no bias, regret or justification felt for many that may buy a car and regret acknowledging a bad purchase.

On all I had them since new, kept them serviced, oil changed at correct intervals then turned them in. I wonder how many stretch maintenance and then complain. Import or domestics, if you treat them with respect and not shave a buck on maintenance, it pays dividends.

I had excellent service on my Ford models, but I took very good care of them as they were my livelihood to earn income. Keep in mind on any review, the actual owner may not maintain them properly. I drove up to 100,000 miles on all very rapidly and good maintenance paid off.

20th Feb 2009, 18:50

Since I first started driving in 1962, the only cars that have ever broken down with me on the road were built in Japan. Both were Toyotas.

21st Feb 2009, 00:49

The basic reliability data CR gives is pretty good and scientific. But I find the "conclusions" seem to be more geared toward entertainment and providing people with good tidbits for "water cooler conversation."

How about the year they decided to downgrade models that had sun visors that did not fit neatly into the headliner. Then they learned that the size and shape of the sun visors is federally mandated. Now if you read carefully, CR says they have a policy of not commenting on federally mandated features. Or how about the year they decided to down grade cars that did not have ash trays in the rear seats, without regard for the fact that all the car companies had market research showing that was a feature no one cared about, and actually were wishing would go away.

The "conclusions" you get from CR are those from a bunch of middle aged men who all kind of like fast cars and don't really have much insight about other people. In one issue they were reviewing minivans and said they realized maybe they were a little short in understanding those, so they brought in a couple of mothers to look at them (their wives I suppose.) And that is supposed to compare to the kinds of market research car companies do? They try to make that sound good by saying they bring in "real people." So the market research was done with 1000 "fake people?"

Can anyone understand what CR means when they describe a cars ride as being "supple." I have seen them say that about German sports sedans, Minivans, SUVs and luxury Sedans.

Does anyone else remember the issue where they said the Fusion had an "extremely" wide turning radius of 42 feet. The same issue reported in the back that the Accord had a turning radius of 41 feet. But the Accord review said nothing about it. If 42 gets an "extremely" wouldn't a 41 get a "somewhat" or "slightly" or something?

The most pathetic display out of CR a couple of years ago was when they said they were "demanding" car companies provide Electronic Stability Control and car companies were "starting to listen" and ESC would be more widespread next year. Of course it takes many years to engineer systems like that, work with federal regulators, do cost versus benefit studies with real cars and crash data, and introduce them into product cycles. When CR made their demand, the addition of ESC was well underway. But CR tried to make it sound like they scared the car companies so much, ESC got put into cars the very next year.

Besides, if they thought ESC was so important, why didn't they make a big deal out of it for those years that it was available on the Ford minivans, but not available at all for Toyota and Honda minivans?

The August 2008 CR issue says they are revamping their survey to better report on cars. I am looking forward to that.