I had a new Camry for a few days...

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3,593
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Outside smalltown, IL
I had my daughters new Camry SE 2.4L auto for a few days and about 600 miles last week and thought I tell everyone my opinions. I dove it into Chicago twice from home and a few miles around both the city and on rural roads. Even though I'm known here as one of the Toyota cheerleaders, I have to say I'm completely underwhelmed with this car. It has some nice things - The engine has good power at RPM and would be great in lighter car with a manual trans. It's really smooth and feels like a high RPM engine should. The interior doesn't look too cheap but it's not exactly expensive looking either. The seats are decent. It has a huge amount of space in both the interior and the trunk for such a small car. The ride and handling are fine for what the car is, a family sedan. It has a decent sized fuel tank vs. the mileage. Getting almost 500 miles from the tank was no problem. I like the styling and the overall fit and finish is typical Toyota, which means excellent. Nice paint, well fitting panels, solid construction, etc. Other stuff is typical Toyota too like good headlights, decent ventilation, etc. The bad stuff - The driving position is the worst of any car I've ever driven. No joke. It must be made for someone that's 6'2" tall but with a 24" inseam and 36" arms. There's no way to get the steering wheel close enough and not have the pedals be so close they're almost impossible to work for any length of time. Expect to have your knee and ankle cramp in just a few miles and since your right leg is pulled back so far it's pressed into the hard plastic console. And it's just as bad trying to reach the radio and climate controls. My arms just never seemed long enough. The driving position is low relative to the beltline too. So you can't see any of the metal on the car. No hood, no front fenders, just the base of the windshield. The bottom of the window is also so high you can't rest your arm on it. That might be ok except the armrest is so low and far away you can't use it either. So you end up feeling like you're doing squats while hanging on the steering wheel. The engine is torqueless. It's bad enough that with the cruise set on 75mph the trans has to downshift to maintain speed on even small hills like Illinois interstate overpasses. The transmission also seemed like it was always "behind." It's slow to downshift when it needs to and sloppy when it does. The only thing it does right is let the engine spin up where it needs to be when you're acceleration hard. The fuel economy was so-so. I got not quite 29mpg over the time I had it. 450 miles of 75mph on the highway and the rest mixed city/rural. The truth is IMO, this car little or no better than the 2001 V6 Taurus she had a few years ago. The Taurus didn't have as much room, especially front leg room but overall it was a lot more comfortable. I really wish she'd have looked harder at the Ford Fusion and I'd have gone with her when she did. It wouldn't surprise me at all if it's every bit as nice as the Camry and better in some ways. The trade off I suppose being membership in the Ford Recall Of The Month Club...
 
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119
Location
Atlanta, GA
Interesting take. Personally, I prefer the styling of the model it just replaced. True about the FORD - but at the rate Toyota has been going recently with Recall-A-Thon, she may get that membership yet.
 
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9,427
Location
Pensacola & Vero Beach FL
Did you realize that the steering column in the new Camry telescopes, in addition to tilting? I drove one a couple weeks ago, just to try it, and that feature alone makes a huge difference. This feature is standard on all of them, from the lowliest CE to through the XLE V-6. Also, you may need to adjust the seating position more (or are you "vertically challenged"?). I sit high (long torso), the one I drove was white, and I was annoyed at glare off the hood -- I was definitely seeing it, and wishing I wasn't. The I-4 isn't meant to be a torquemonster -- you get the V-6 if that's what you're after. As to the trans, I'm wondering if these 5, 6, and 7 spd autos are worth the bother. Yeah, they theoretically keep the engine nearer optimum speeds, but they do a lot more shifting to achieve that. I don't think it's a perfect car either, but I personally wouldn't mark it as far down as you have. [Cheers!]
 

jsharp

Thread starter
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3,593
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Outside smalltown, IL
Ek, I thought the wheel was "out" but maybe not. I needed about 4-6 more inches and that wouldn't have helped with the dash controls. Good points all about the depreciation. That'll be a big deal to her since she can't seem to keep a car more than about 3 years. One other thing - I'm maybe harder on the car than most would be because I'm so impressed with my 2000 4Runner just like I was the '80 Corolla I had. The 4Runner beats her Camry in every way provided fuel cost isn't an issue. It's quieter with a *much* more solid body being body on frame, has better visibility, better seats, is more comfortable, has more usable power even though it's heavier, and the handling is plenty good enough for normal driving. That comparison makes it easy to see why people buy SUV's Funny thing about her and her friends. They hardly look at domestic cars anymore. Her Taurus was ok but had plenty of recalls and lots of other small stuff broken in the time she had it. She got sick of it. If it hadn't soured her for a domestic car the 4 year old Grand Cherokee finished it off. It was a classic "Heep" that had just about all the failures you see in those vehicles show up all on one truck. She finally ditched it to buy the Camry when the trans started acting funny at 90K miles. After driving her car and talking to her I decided the domestics will have an easier time building cars that are every bit as good as the Japanese than they will convincing all the young owners they've lost forever to ever buy another one...
 
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49
Location
Lansing, MI
Well, I heard similar stories too. Actually there are several complains regarding speed control, etc regarding 07 Camry on NHTSA. If you google "07 Camry transmission problem" you will find lots of complains too. For example, check this one out. It can be a flaw. http://autos.yahoo.com/newcars/toyota_camry_2007/4775/model_user_reviews.html?sort=lr&modelid=4775&start=1&show=atl. Actually IMHO, toyota is going down in terms of quality. It is probably getting too big and starts to have problems, like some other car makers. Nobody (or no company) is way better than others.
 
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9,427
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Pensacola & Vero Beach FL
You guys need to do more homework on, for example, the 07 Camry V-6 transmission problem. Early build cars had a problem with a snap ring in the 6-spd auto, a V-6 only feature (I-4s are 5-spd). When detected, Toyota launched an aggressive campaign to remedy the problem. They've given affected customers replacement rental cars free pending repair or buyback of the afflicted car. For those keeping the fixed cars, they are offering a free 100k mile extended warranty as a goodwill gesture for their trouble. There's a long thread on this at Toyotanation.com. Understandably, some customers are disillusioned, but since detecting the problem, Toyota is working awfully hard to make right. So, what has GM done for all the people stuck with leaky intake gaskets on their 60 deg V-6 engines??? That they continued to build with a known leaky part for a decade or so??? No, Toyota isn't "going down" in quality, they fluctuate just like any other enterprise striving to make a profit while building extraordinarily complex machines.
 
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1,268
Location
SoCal, CA USA
Well put, ekpolk. Some guys here are dying to hear that bird poop will stain Japanese paint so they can compare with US junk on an even playing field. I just laugh and continue to drive my "boring" and "not better than any other car" day in and day out and smile. Scott
 
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7,430
Location
beaver land EH?
very well put ekpolk. some of the car owners simply doesn't understand/appreciate the complexity of a modern day automobile, letting alone the total count of nuts and bolts involved in the process (lol! I lost count long time ago).
 
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239
Location
USA
quote:
Originally posted by Ken E.: Probably going down in quality 'cause they build'em in the states now.
Don't blame the USA. It's the supervision is what's to blame. You can blame the Japanese for the problems. Have you toured the Hyundai Alabama plant? You can see why the Hyundai's are such high quality over there. Sometimes the workers play around, then when they see a Korean supervisor , they put their game face on.
 
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49
Location
Lansing, MI
Well, some people really need to do some homework. If you read the link I provided, you will find out that some complains are brand new. Also there are lots of complains on 5AT. Yes, you can say those are make-up or whatever. Actually I don't trust any company, especially the big ones. I have to say that there are people who would never listen to even a bad word against their toyota. Fine, your choice. Worth it? I doubt it.
 
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7,256
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USA
Its another average car like their entire line. They excel at nothing except predicted reliability and durability.
 
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9,427
Location
Pensacola & Vero Beach FL
quote:
Originally posted by chromatin: Well, some people really need to do some homework. If you read the link I provided, you will find out that some complains are brand new. Also there are lots of complains on 5AT. Yes, you can say those are make-up or whatever. Actually I don't trust any company, especially the big ones. I have to say that there are people who would never listen to even a bad word against their toyota. Fine, your choice. Worth it? I doubt it.
No cromatin, though I do own two of them, I'm no partisan. I eagerly monitor for word of what's happening, good and bad, as some of it may impact the products I own. You missed my point. I picked the snap ring issue because it's a great, singular example of Toyota reacting to a problem and scrambling to protect its reputation. That's in stark contrast to the many-year saga of the leaky GM intake gaskets. Where did I say the snap ring thing was the only problem Toyota has suffered? In fact, I'm well aware of some of Toyota's notable blunders, such as the 1MZ-FE and 5S-FE sludge debacle. That should never have happened, and they reacted far too slowly when it did. Do I find Toyota ownership "worth it"? You bet, and you can doubt it all you want. Each Toyota we've had has delivered an ultra-superior, trouble-free ownership experience. Uh-oh, here we go again. . .
 
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853
Location
east TN
I really think toyota "quality" will go down the crapper in the next 20 years. It appears it is starting to circle the bowl already. Toyota will have to build stuff 10x's worse than similar products from the big three (at a higher price) to tarnish their image to the kool aid drinkers but hey I can hope. Selling cars on perception is much more important that product quality.
 
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10,858
Location
Nokesville, VA
quote:
Originally posted by Ken E.: Probably going down in quality 'cause they build'em in the states now.
Depends--are these screwups bad assembly or bad engineering?
 

jsharp

Thread starter
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3,593
Location
Outside smalltown, IL
quote:
Originally posted by Clyde65: jsharp, What would you think about the car if it had a telescopic steering wheel, would it be livable then?
If the driving position was usable I could live with it I suppose. But notice my comments comparing it to my 6 year old 4Runner with 96K miles. The 4Runner is a better vehicle in every way IMO. Quieter, better engine characteristics, easier to drive, better ergonomics, tighter still even after all the miles, better visibility, etc, etc. I know it cost 50% more but it's a 10 year old design on a truck chassis. So I guess I just expected more from the Camry. As I said, other than the additional room in the Camry I don't see it as functionally a better car than the 2001 Taurus the kid had previously. My guess is there will be no comparison in reliabilty though. The Camry will win it easily. I disagree with the people slamming Toyota quality too. These are design decisions I don't agree with on the Camry, not quality issues as we normally think of them. The assembly quality and overall fit and finish were top notch on the car. The paintwork and exterior were especially nice, almost jewelry like and that reminded me of my old Corolla. I'm sort of surprised at the responses and the side I seem to be on here. [I dont know]
 

jsharp

Thread starter
Messages
3,593
Location
Outside smalltown, IL
quote:
Originally posted by milwaukee: I really think toyota "quality" will go down the crapper in the next 20 years. It appears it is starting to circle the bowl already. Toyota will have to build stuff 10x's worse than similar products from the big three (at a higher price) to tarnish their image to the kool aid drinkers but hey I can hope. Selling cars on perception is much more important that product quality.
The quality is still there on my daughters car, but in this case I don't care for the design decisions that were made. I guess I didn't make that clear enough. Most of the people buying these aren't kool aid drinkers. Many of them, my daughter included, got burned repeatedly by previous cars proudly made by the US automakers. When the Toyota ends up reliable as I'm sure it will it'll reinforce the impression that Toyota builds better cars. That's not some marketing snow job, that's the real deal...
 
The finish and quality on my new Corolla and one year old Kluger (Highlander) are more than the equal of the BMWs and Volvos my wife and I have owned over the past 20 years We have also owned Ford and Nissan which were not in the same league, in fact I would never own another Ford. Roger
 
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