1998 Toyota Camry CSi from Australia and New Zealand - Comments

29th Mar 2009, 20:40

After 3000km (85% suburbs, 15% highway) I have been keeping fuel consumption records.

So far the best tank has seen 7.6L/100km, the worst 8.9L/100km. The average during the 3000km has been 8.24L/100km.

For a US MPG conversion that's 30.6MPG best, 26.2MPG worst, with a 28.15 MPG average.

29th Dec 2009, 06:01

After nearly 12000kms (116000 in total) and 12 months with the car, It felt like time for another update.

Firstly, the long term fuel economy has persisted at about 8.4L/100km. I have found that 9L or slightly above is the norm for city driving, while 7.5L is achievable on the highway with 270kg of extra weight and AC on - and 7 or under is achievable unladen, AC off, on the highway at speeds of 100-110km/h.

One small irritant is the short gearing on 5th gear that sees the 2.2 spinning at 3000rpm at 110kmh. Unladen, it could easily handle a much taller 5th gear, that would help improve highway economy.

I just completed a 2000km round trip for Christmas, which the Camry brushed off as if it was nothing. No mechanical or other problems have surfaced.

7th Jan 2010, 20:02

There were a few things I forgot to note in the last update.

Basically, if 80% or more of your driving is metro, get the four cylinder. With a manual, you'd be surprised at how easily the 2.2 5SFE engine gets up to speed. Without any passengers, the 4cyl does have a little bit of poke. If you drove highway/metro 50/50, the V6 would be much more relaxed, I would think, and would come within 10% of the four cylinder's economy. I was actually a little disapointed with the 7.7L/100km tanks that I was getting on a highway cruise, but this was to be expected with an anti-aero bike rack and massively increased weight. I think that if cruising at 80-90km/h, low 6L/100km would be within reach. I can't speak for automatic transmissions as I haven't sampled them, though of course economy would be worse and the joy of controlling gear selection would be lost.

For me, I'm still happy with my choice. At times I think I would love to have the extra zest and excitement of the 1MZ, especially considering the minimal fuel consumption penalty on longer drives. However while the 1MZ beats the 5SFE hands down for smoothness and performance, it loses on serviceability as the rear bank of cylinders is tucked up near the firewall. Also, from what I have read, the 1MZ appears slightly more susceptible than the 5SFE to the engine oil sludge issue that afflicted some Camry's, though to be honest I think both engines would be equally reliable if serviced regularly. Perhaps the 1MZ was quicker to sludge in response to owner neglect. In addition to this, the 1MZ appears to run better on premium ULP (95 Octane), whereas the 5SFE seems happy to run on regular. Considering that premium is another 10% more expensive than regular, the small fuel difference between 1MZ and 5SFE becomes a significant cost difference.

Another thing that struck me on the recent interstate trip was the above average cabin refinement on smoothish roads and the ability of the CSi-spec suspension and 14-inch tyres to give absolutely fantastic ride quality. There is a lot to be said for small wheels and high-profile tyres in passenger cars like this, as the slightly diminished handling in no way outweighs the bump-blotting capacity of the Camry. Before the trip I was driving a family-member's 2004 Corolla, and at highway speeds my 6 years older Camry definitely has its measure for interior noise and ride quality.

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