My friend's 2009 Toyota is falling apart too. He plans to trade it September when he has some money coming in. His car is so bad, he is afraid to go on trips in it.
I've yet to meet anyone that had a "falling apart" Camry. Where do these mysterious Camrys come from? Literally every person I've known who has owned these, has owned them forever, and never, or at the very least very seldom had anything go wrong, has put sometimes 100's of thousands of miles on them, and were generally happy. That isn't to say Camrys can or do have issues. It's a machine. But there's a reason it's highly ranked: It's a good car.
Now - is it a car that is going to get looks? Probably not. It's made to do one thing: Get you back and forth to wherever reliably.
Anyway, we have owned several, and NONE have ever had a serious issue. The last one we owned had close to 300,000 miles on it before it was traded in.
A few Camrys (and other Toyota products such as older Tacomas) do tend to last quite a while.
With that said, I have had several friends with Camrys and Corollas who had very poor reliability from them. One got less than 80,000 miles out of theirs, and one is currently having massive problems with theirs at 60,000 miles.
Another friend owns both a Tundra and a Camry (nearly new), and both of their vehicles have spent many days in the shop with numerous problems. The Camry left the wife stranded at less than 4000 miles.
My wife and I have both found ourselves stranded twice on trips, and both times it was in friend's almost-new Toyotas. I can't say our experience indicates Toyotas to be any more reliable than any other cars. Our family's one Toyota (a Celica) ran well for nearly 100,000 miles, but was in no way any better than any of our other cars.
We've put over 200,000 miles on Ford, GM and Chrysler products with absolutely zero repairs. It doesn't get much better than that.
Our family owns 3 Toyota's. The newest being a 2009 Camry. It's been great. Nearing 70,000 miles and have not had any issues to complain about. After that, a 2006 Corolla with 65,000 miles that we just recently purchased. It's been great so far. And last, but certainly not least, is "Old Reliable," our 1996 Corolla. It has over 200,000 miles and has just recently had its original rear shocks and rear brakes replaced. It's been great and shows absolutely no signs of stopping anytime soon.
A bit of a side note, we also own a Honda CR-V which has also been an excellent car. Had its front drive axles replaced at 63,000 under the lifetime warranty. Other than that, no problems. Front brakes are original, and still have another 15-20,000 left!
I don't see why the domestic vs. import argument has to be so black and white. Really, there have been great imports and great domestics. And I've known of plenty of so-called "lemons" from each. One of the realities of mass production is the phenomenon that two identical cars produced on the same day in the same factory will behave totally differently in the real world. Why this is the case still baffles quality control experts.
I've worked at car dealerships for years, and there is no such thing as a perfect car... and many people are so prejudiced about a brand's past performance that they will never, ever give a new product a chance, no matter how good it is. Therefore, for most people, it is better to purchase from the brand you favor already, if you absolutely cannot have an open mind about a different car.
In my experience, the domestics are very reliable, but are bolted together pretty terribly. The imports seem tighter and usually a bit more technologically advanced, but can be prone to higher maintenance costs, initial costs, and have more engine trouble. But this is certainly not the rule, and is just my (one person's) experience/judgement.
I like a lot of foreign cars, I like a lot of American cars, and I dislike some of each. To repeat, over and over, that "domestics are all unreliable" or "imports are all bulletproof" is pretty pointless, and seems never to be pertinent to the review. To me, comments like this tell me more about the commenter than anything about the car. And arguments never change anyone's mind.
If it was an American car that had to have its front drive axles replaced at 63,000 miles, we would probably be hearing what junk it is, but because it is a Honda CR-V (which I admit I think are just absolutely dreadful vehicles), it's just the bee's knees. Go figure.
I have worked on cars for years. Today a friend brought me his falling-apart three-year-old Toyota. His A/C had stopped working. His puny plastic radiator fitting had cracked allowing most of the coolant to leak out. His "check engine" light was on. To call a three-year-old car with this many problems "reliable" is ridiculous. I see 10-year-old Ford and GM cars all the time that have never had a single repair. My own 10-year-old GM hasn't.
I read exact year and model reader's comments. If over 50% have the exact same issues of any kind repeated, it helps to get a clear idea of what to buy or to avoid. That applies equally if import or domestic.
Where it becomes more of a gray area, is if maintenance is not clearly defined. If a review actually had more information on exact mileage with oil-filter changes and other service intervals, it would actually provide better information.
With our company fleet vehicles, we keep detailed logs on all maintenance performed with dates, mileage etc. If we see issues on the same make and model vs. others owned, we perhaps switch to the vehicles with better reliability. That is the only variable on here.
Two owners, same make and model, may drive and maintain their vehicles entirely different. I had a relative that went through flywheels, and I did not with the same car. She would not come to a complete stop in reverse and go into drive. So she would be the one on here complaining about trans issues, when it was her own driving pattern.
The more reviews you read, the better to skew out the poor maintenance and driving habits. Same with ride and handling comments. I may be driving a luxury model, and drive a small import and find the ride deplorable. A person driving it coming from a small rough riding econo vehicle, may find it to be the best ride they ever experienced. A person never checking their anti freeze in a 100 degree climate and losing a head gasket or engine will likely never admit it was operator judgement and not the vehicle. That's where evaluating multiple reviews, exact make and model, is so important.
I wrote the comment about the drive axles needing to be replaced on our '06 CR-V at 63,000. I agree, a bit early for drive axle problems. But I don't really care, because like I stated in my previous comment, IT CAME WITH A LIFETIME WARRANTY. The CR-V now has almost 100,000 miles, and that was the only issue we've had with it, and it didn't even cost us a penny to fix.