Toyota Camry LE Review
Our inquiry starts with the sheetmetal. The automobile that once defined mid-market inoffensiveness now pays lip service to high priced sports sedan standards– like Kenny G dorking-up a John Coltrane classic. The Camry’s new schnoz says Mazda 6- albeit an older, overweight version with multiple neoplastic lesions. The Camry’s back end is pure BMW-Bangle– though Chris and Co. wisely treated their over-sized taillights to high dose design-studio chemotherapy, and Toyota didn’t. On the positive side, 16" rims hide the Camry's added height, and its cab-forward stance speeds up the biggie-sized silhouette.
All is not lost; the Camry’s interior comes with the model’s hallmark (velvet-flocked) coin tray and a trick dashboard storage binnacle. The cargo hole offers an MP3 connection and a false wall to hide the associated wiring while in play. The Camry’s wheel-mounted buttonology is welcome, but gives mixed messages. The left side implies "you're stupid" (with four words to describe a single button) while the right proclaims "you're cheap" (with a non-functional plastic plug). The trunk is a marvel of packaging efficiency; complete with built-in bottle holder, easy close deck lid, embroidered trunk mat and convenient seat release pull knobs.
While this whip has no road-hugging flava, the ride is supa-smooth. Potholes, speed bumps and rough pavement are no match for this softly sprung baby-Lexus. The power stats seem fairly dire: 158 horses @ 6000 rpm and 161 ft.-lbs. @ 4000rpm. But thanks to its VVT-I engineering and crisp, wide-ratio five-speed automatic, the Camry’s standard 2.4-liter four-pot serves-up surprising amounts of grunt throughout the powerband, with minimal noise and thrash. A leggy top gear makes highway cruising a thoroughly effortless exercise. Even without considering the Camry’s admirable fuel economy, its power train is more than merely adequate for all but the [displaced] performance junky.
Given the current mechanical problems with the Avalon, massive worldwide recalls and our tester's quality shortcomings, the question must be raised: is Toyota cutting too many corners? For over a decade the Camry LE consistently provided the American consumer the four-wheeled equivalent of the FDIC. Now that a Ford Fusion SE offers tighter panel gaps, unique style, strong V6 power and uber accident-avoidance adhesion for the same 24-large; now that Hyundai’s in the hunt, Toyota's breadwinner may no longer have a "lock" on the high quality, high value sedan market.
[Toyota provided the vehicle reviewed, insurance, taxes and a tank of gas.]
Chuck D on Jan 11, 2007
Drove Saabs and Volvos long before they became yuppy badges. Autocrossed them too. Now have three Camrys one with 15x7 Borbets, strut tower bar, kraut shocks, and a brake upgrade.. sends BMW boys back to dealerman for tuneups. OK the Gen 4 V6 IS a rare 5 speed, but it is fast, trouble free and flys under the radar. Oil gel??? Toyota has been fixing cars with 25,000 miles on them and the FACTORY installed oil filter, usnally the minivan. You know the drill, it is "unmanly" to even CHECK the oil in the wife's car. It has often been said by people who know as opposed to those who bloviate that the Gen 3 Camry was about as well built as one could ask for back then. We have one and I agree.
Romanjetfighter on May 25, 2008
I just got a 2009 Camry LE yesterday. I bought it without test-driving it or even looking inside of it because I was just too excited to get my first car (I passed my driving test less than 24 hours before) and it's a Camry so you can't go wrong, right? -The steering wheel is a bit too skinny and feels hard, compared to my mom's 1996 Camry. -The steering feel is non-existant and it's super light. Upside - easy to maneuver. -The seats fabric is nice and grippy. -The turn stalk/window controls don't move with buttery consistancy. -The doors, imho, DO thunk with reassurance, and it doesn't feel cheap. Not as solid and vaulty like my friend's 2007 C230, but that's 10k more. -Misaligned plastic dash. -I like the combination of projector and reflective lamps in the headlights. -Turn radius is nice. Overall, I think it's a good car, but they could've done a better job. Thank god for good resale value! I'm unloading this fucker once I graduate college! Don't understand why LE is 1k more for just keyless entry and one power seat, though.
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