: Review of a 2011 Toyota Camry.



ga_etc
03-30-11, 07:54 PM
As many of you know, less than 24 hours after trading for the Thunderbird I was rear ended by a guy in a 2007 Nissan Maxima. No one was hurt and little damage was done to either car. The paint on his front bumper was scuffed and the paint on my rear bumper was scuffed and busted in a couple of places.

The scuffs on his bumper are hard to see.
http://i685.photobucket.com/albums/vv220/austin99etc/IMG_20110316_184643.jpg

Mine is a little more noticeable.
http://i685.photobucket.com/albums/vv220/austin99etc/IMG_20110316_182212.jpg

After getting everything squared away with his insurance company, Progressive, I dropped the Bird off at the body shop Monday morning to have the bumper repainted. Since it was going to take a few days to get the car back, the insurance company had to provide me with a rental. The agent from Enterprise showed up and after getting the mandatory paperwork out of the way I was presented with a choice of cars. Option A was a black 2010 Chrysler Sebring and option B was a dark grey 2011 Toyota Camry that the agent drove there. He said I could have the Sebring, or for $3 more a day, out of my pocket, I could have the Camry. Considering I was already going to have to pay for the rental insurance anyway, at $20 a day, I figured what the hell's another $10 to avoid the Sebring? So I took the key to the Camry and made my way to work.

This particular car was a 2011 Camry LE. 2.5L 4 cylinder with the 6 speed auto transmission with a manual shift mode.
http://i685.photobucket.com/albums/vv220/austin99etc/IMG_20110330_151357.jpg
http://i685.photobucket.com/albums/vv220/austin99etc/IMG_20110330_150623.jpg

After having the car from 8:30am Monday to 3:00pm today, and putting 200 miles on it, these are my feelings on it.

Exterior styling. It's ugly. Period. It's not a well executed, flowing design, by any means. It's lumpy, bulky, and awkward. There's nothing visually pleasing about this car. The only two things I liked about the design of this car are the LED brake lights, and the fact that I didn't have to look at it while I was driving it.

I can't say much about paint quality because it's been kinda rainy and dreary here the past few days and the car wasn't exactly clean. Panel gaps were even and everything shut tightly.

Interior. At 24,000 miles it was still squeak and rattle free, and road noise was very low. That said, Toyota is definitely slipping. The plastics weren't horrible to look at, but they weren't so great to touch. Giving the door panels a knock returned a hollow and cheap sounding thud. Same result with the dash. The center console is finished in a flat satin silver and a small splash of "chrome" outlining the shift gate and stalk of the shifter. The head of the shifter is the same grey plastic as on the dash and doors, and looks a little unfinished. Fit and finish quality inside is spotty, with some glaring panel gap problems with glove box alignment and a misaligned trim piece on the dash.
http://i685.photobucket.com/albums/vv220/austin99etc/IMG_20110330_150206.jpg
http://i685.photobucket.com/albums/vv220/austin99etc/IMG_20110330_150121.jpg
http://i685.photobucket.com/albums/vv220/austin99etc/IMG_20110330_150128.jpg

The cloth on the seats is soft to the touch and looks like it will wear well, but not particularly interesting to look at.
http://i685.photobucket.com/albums/vv220/austin99etc/IMG_20110330_150137.jpg
http://i685.photobucket.com/albums/vv220/austin99etc/IMG_20110330_150144.jpg

Ride quality/Comfort/Handling. Ride quality is good, if not nice. It's a smooth and quiet car.
Handling is surprisingly good. It's not the most toss-able car I've ever gotten in, but it sticks to the road very well even with the standard Michelins on this one. I was never nervous about putting it into a curve and seeing what I could get it to take, but it also never made me smile. Steering feedback was minimal but nicely weighted.
Comfort is the real downfall to me. These seats suck. They're hard, flat, and unsupportive. After an hour or so of sitting sitting still in them I'd start to squirm and have to readjust. The seating position was never very comfortable either. I always felt a little awkward.

Drivetrain/Performance. The LE comes standard with the 2.5L 4 cylinder and a 6 speed manual. This one, of course, came with the 6 speed auto with a manual shift mode. I'll just go ahead and say, that feature is pointless in this car. It only provides a false sense of control over the car. The transmission will still do what it wants. Shifts are generally smooth, but sometimes will shift awkward and abruptly. Never harsh though, just strange. And always hunts for the highest gear possible in the name of fuel economy.
The 2.5l 4 isn't the most powerful, rated at 169-179HP, but it does a reasonable job of hauling the bulbous Camry around. It's responsive and pulls well though the rev band, but does it's best work above 4k when the Dual VVTi comes in. It's a smooth mill that's near silent on idle and never gets buzzy in the upper revs, though it's not particularly sweet sounding.
Performance is adequate. Not horrible, not breath taking.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VDpTWWpZlSM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFE-M0Cp7JA

Conclusion. It doesn't excel at anything. It's reasonably fuel efficient. It's fairly spacious. It's mid-pack performance wise. It's forgettable.
It's perfect for soccer moms with 2 or 3 kids in elementary or middle school who really don't care what they're driving as long as it's safe, reliable, and won't break the bank. I can see why there are so many of them on the road, it's just not for me.

ben.gators
03-30-11, 08:06 PM
It's perfect for soccer moms with 2 or 3 kids in elementary or middle school who really don't care what they're driving as long as it's safe, reliable, and won't break the bank. I can see why there are so many of them on the road, it's just not for me.

This sentence is all enough to describe the car.... The review can be summarized in this single sentence!

RippyPartsDept
03-30-11, 08:21 PM
yeah i scrolled down for the conclusion also

Jesda
03-30-11, 08:57 PM
That center stack is nasty. I can't believe how poorly misaligned the pieces are. That might be passable in a 15 year old Ford, but not a modern family car.

ga_etc
03-30-11, 09:11 PM
My '88 Thunderbird isn't that bad. And it's even ugly at night.
http://i685.photobucket.com/albums/vv220/austin99etc/IMG_20110328_231327.jpg

Jesda
03-30-11, 09:38 PM
Reminds me of:
http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B00004U55O.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpg

Aron9000
03-30-11, 10:00 PM
I've never gotten the obession with making the center stack look like a $15 wal-mart radio. GM is guilty of this in some of their newer cars, but the GM ones do look nicer and are bolted together a whole lot tighter.

I don't know why they can't make the radios/center stacks look like real high end audio gear.


http://www.ultimateavmag.com/images/mcintosh.jpg?1282071895

I~LUV~Caddys8792
03-30-11, 10:09 PM
As much as I don't like the Camry, I'd take it over an Altima, because atleast with the Camry you can get a conventional six speed automatic, not that stupid CVT.

With that being said, I do not miss my dad's fully loaded, 269hp V6 powered 07 XLE Camry. His Malibu is such a better car. Much better in terms of exterior and interior design, comfort and build quality. His Camry (the first year of this generation) was chock full of build quality issues, namely squeaks, rattles and other various noises. He could never track them all down and just decided to hell with it and traded it off.

ga_etc
03-30-11, 10:14 PM
Not to mention I felt like an old woman driving that car. I feel younger driving the Roadmaster, that's 20 years old, than that new Camry.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
03-30-11, 10:28 PM
My favorite car in this class is probably the Kia Optima. It's the best looking car in it's class, has an awesome interior and a pair of state of the art direct injected four bangers. Their 2.0 liter turbo engine makes more horsepower and torque than most of the competition's V6's. The Sonata is much the same underneath, but doesn't feel or look as unique as the Optima. If Toyota and Honda don't watch out and start getting more competitive and building better looking and driving cars, they'll soon be sitting backseat to the Koreans in the sales game.

ga_etc
03-30-11, 10:32 PM
Oh yeah, definitely.

SDCaddyLacky
03-31-11, 12:19 AM
So how would you compare the ride and quietness in the Camry vs your 92 Roadie?

Toyota's are for really old people, and people that are not into cars, Toyota knows this, and that is why the interiors haven't changed much in the last 10 or 15 years. That dash is soooo...Toyota, very bland, very boring, very basic for very basic minded people..it's that simple.

I don't even think Toyota even cares about their cars anymore, meaning truly improving the whole car lineup. How can they allow their interiors to get so bad? My dad has an 95 Camry, that still runs fine, and rides good. The interior has much more soft panel trim, and padded vinyl compared to the new Camry's. Nothing squeaks or rattles in the car either.

I believe once Toyota was able to capture longtime Toyota loyalist, and the belief that there cars are reliable, (They once were), Toyota started to cut corners, and cheapened up the whole lineup.

I remember once I rented an 09 Malibu, that was very well made car, and Enterprise lend me the basic trim model of the Malibu, but it was still great. The interior door handles is made of METAL, not plastic, I was surprised, and satisfied at the same time. The car rode nice, and was super quiet, extremely quiet as a matter of fact. Quieter than my Fleetwood. The interior materials were decent, some cheap plastic, but nothing like the inside of that Camry, lot's of soft material to touch, and the dash was really cool looking especially at night. The 4 cylinder 2.5 liter was pretty quick for such a heavy mid size car, the only problem was, the MPG's were terrible, it drank gas like a V8!

GM has made as well as Ford, huge steps forward in terms of quality. But too many long time Toyota and Asian brand loyalist still see American cars, as being unreliable junk, this is the stigma that needs to change in order for Toyota and other Jap rivals to go down in the sales rankings.

I will tell you this, Europeans that come to America, have been told in their home country that American cars, are unreliable and not made well. I know this because where I live in my apartment complex, we have a huge Russian immigrant population that live here, and just about every single one of them drive a Toyota!! If not Toyota, then it's a European car of some sort. This Russian guy told me this, he said that back in Russia, Toyota's, more so Camry's, have always been thought of the "MUST CAR TO OWN " in Russia. It's like buying a BMW to them.

So they come here, and buy Toyota's. Many of these Russian immigrants have money, yet they live in Section 8 Housing:annoyed::sneaky:

These people are very sneaky and do not associate with Americans, some are on Social Security, yet never paid one cent in taxes in America. So when i see a brand spankin new Toyo parked in low income housing complex, that makes me wonder " Huh" how in the hell are these people able to afford an almost $30,000 car??? Living in HUD housing?? Offshore accounts anyone?? Lying to our Government?? Hint Hint...

ga_etc
03-31-11, 12:36 AM
The RM is noisier, but it's more comfortable, and for me, nicer to drive. And the interior in the RM is MUCH more interesting to look at, and cozier to be in.

OffThaHorseCEO
03-31-11, 12:37 AM
So how would you compare the ride and quietness in the Camry vs your 92 Roadie?

Toyota's are for really old people, and people that are not into cars, Toyota knows this, and that is why the interiors haven't changed much in the last 10 or 15 years. That dash is soooo...Toyota, very bland, very boring, very basic for very basic minded people..it's that simple.

I don't even think Toyota even cares about their cars anymore, meaning truly improving the whole car lineup. How can they allow their interiors to get so bad? My dad has an 95 Camry, that still runs fine, and rides good. The interior has much more soft panel trim, and padded vinyl compared to the new Camry's. Nothing squeaks or rattles in the car either.

I believe once Toyota was able to capture longtime Toyota loyalist, and the belief that there cars are reliable, (They once were), Toyota started to cut corners, and cheapened up the whole lineup.

I remember once I rented an 09 Malibu, that was very well made car, and Enterprise lend me the basic trim model of the Malibu, but it was still great. The interior door handles is made of METAL, not plastic, I was surprised, and satisfied at the same time. The car rode nice, and was super quiet, extremely quiet as a matter of fact. Quieter than my Fleetwood. The interior materials were decent, some cheap plastic, but nothing like the inside of that Camry, lot's of soft material to touch, and the dash was really cool looking especially at night. The 4 cylinder 2.5 liter was pretty quick for such a heavy mid size car, the only problem was, the MPG's were terrible, it drank gas like a V8!

GM has made as well as Ford, huge steps forward in terms of quality. But too many long time Toyota and Asian brand loyalist still see American cars, as being unreliable junk, this is the stigma that needs to change in order for Toyota and other Jap rivals to go down in the sales rankings.

I will tell you this, Europeans that come to America, have been told in their home country that American cars, are unreliable and not made well. I know this because where I live in my apartment complex, we have a huge Russian immigrant population that live here, and just about every single one of them drive a Toyota!! If not Toyota, then it's a European car of some sort. This Russian guy told me this, he said that back in Russia, Toyota's, more so Camry's, have always been thought of the "MUST CAR TO OWN " in Russia. It's like buying a BMW to them.

So they come here, and buy Toyota's. Many of these Russian immigrants have money, yet they live in Section 8 Housing:annoyed::sneaky:

These people are very sneaky and do not associate with Americans, some are on Social Security, yet never paid one cent in taxes in America. So when i see a brand spankin new Toyo parked in low income housing complex, that makes me wonder " Huh" how in the hell are these people able to afford an almost $30,000 car??? Living in HUD housing?? Offshore accounts anyone?? Lying to our Government?? Hint Hint...

Impossible...only mexicans do that. We take all your jobs too. Theres no such thing as white immigrants. (that last sentence was actually spoken by our local sheriff)

ben.gators
03-31-11, 12:40 AM
SMy dad has an 95 Camry, that still runs fine, and rides good. The interior has much more soft panel trim, and padded vinyl compared to the new Camry's. Nothing squeaks or rattles in the car either.

I believe once Toyota was able to capture longtime Toyota loyalist, and the belief that there cars are reliable, (They once were), Toyota started to cut corners, and cheapened up the whole lineup.
Absolutely correct... A friend of mine has a 99 Camry.... I can not describe how much I hate the looks of that stupid car, but that car is damn reliable! My friend has no idea about the car, she even does not know that there is oil inside the engine and that oil should be changed regularly! BUT that abused car never ever has created a single problem for her so far! And the quality of interior is much better than a new Camry.... Twice a year I take the car to change the engine oil and check brakes etc... And I can securely claim the car does not leak or use even one single drop of oil! I fill the oil to the full line and 6 month later the oil level is exactly there! I hate to compare it with my STS and its oil consumption and leak....:nono:

ryannel2003
03-31-11, 01:05 AM
Having previously owned a 2000 Camry LE and also driven a few of the current generation models I can safely say I'd much rather drive the older Camry than the new ones. The design hasn't aged well at all over time, and the quality just sucks compared to my old one. Things like the soft touch dashboard and panels of the old car has given way to cheap feeling shit that belongs in a mid-90's Pontiac, and not a Toyota. Camry's have never been speed demons, but the newer model I drove had an annoying pause before downshifting that really pissed me off after driving it for 20 minutes. This might have been fixed by now though, but it's still something that I remember many years after driving that car. The current generation Accord is a much more involving car to drive, and even in 4 cylinder form doesn't feel like a penalty pit. The same can be said for the current Malibu as well.

Toyota has been slipping for 10-15 years to be honest though. The last great Camry was built in '96. The last good Camry was built in 2001. The last ok Camry was built in 2006. They have all gotten cheap feeling and ugly after the 5th Generation.

Aron9000
03-31-11, 01:38 AM
The new Camry is JUNK IMO. Our family's 2000 Avalon(I know, a bit of a step up in terms of size and price over a standard issue 2000 Camry) is a much better built car than the current gen Camry. I say this after hopping in our 200k, 11 year old Avalon, the plastics still feel nicer, everything feels more tightly screwed together in the Avalon. Doesn't squeak or rattle either, steering is still tight, runs/shifts like a new car and doesn't leak/use oil. Shocks are a wee bit soft, but you have to be on some pretty nasty pavement or driving like Juan Pablo Montoya to really notice.

Jesda
03-31-11, 01:39 AM
The late 90s/early 2000s Camry was particularly good looking. 92-97 arguably had the nicest interior.

I thought it was neat that the 87-91 generation had the option of a wagon with AWD.

Aron9000
03-31-11, 01:53 AM
The late 90s/early 2000s Camry was particularly good looking. 92-97 arguably had the nicest interior.

I thought it was neat that the 87-91 generation had the option of a wagon with AWD.
1
Funny how they quietly left that niche all alone to Suburu for the next 20 years, which the general public has FINALLY decided to embrace. Suburu has been building some great cars in that time, I just think people(aka baby boomers) were hung up on SUV styling and wouldn't DARE be seen in a "frumpy" wagon.

ryannel2003
03-31-11, 02:13 AM
My Camry looked like a poor man's Lexus ES300. It was ordered brand new in 2000 by my grandmother. It had a nice looking two tone Super White/Oak exterior with Oak leather interior, power sunroof, power seats, 15" alloy wheels, pin stripe, and the gold package (which I normally hate, but looks right on this car). When she passed away in 2006 I need a car as my 1st, so my parents bought this for me. Only had 32k miles when they bought it. I drove it 2 years and it never gave me one problem. Great car, but I'm glad I bought the Seville.

http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n46/ryannel2003/IMG_3499.jpg

Jesda
03-31-11, 02:20 AM
My dad had a really sharp 1999 Camry. It was dark blue pearl with 17" wheels and a tan interior. The transmission died at 99k. :/

He dumped it on Craigslist and never bought another Toyota after that. Strange thing is, that generation is known for engine problems but not transmission problems.

Playdrv4me
03-31-11, 02:21 AM
I've never gotten the obession with making the center stack look like a $15 wal-mart radio. GM is guilty of this in some of their newer cars, but the GM ones do look nicer and are bolted together a whole lot tighter.

I don't know why they can't make the radios/center stacks look like real high end audio gear.


http://www.ultimateavmag.com/images/mcintosh.jpg?1282071895

http://us1.webpublications.com.au/static/images/articles/i12/1242_18mg.jpg

:)

I~LUV~Caddys8792
03-31-11, 02:21 AM
That's a good looking Camry Ryan, arguably their best design. But that's like saying "That was Roseanne Barr's hottest era".

Jesda
03-31-11, 02:25 AM
Subaru + Mcintosh = :drool: :yup:

Aron9000
03-31-11, 03:23 AM
My Camry looked like a poor man's Lexus ES300. It was ordered brand new in 2000 by my grandmother. It had a nice looking two tone Super White/Oak exterior with Oak leather interior, power sunroof, power seats, 15" alloy wheels, pin stripe, and the gold package (which I normally hate, but looks right on this car). When she passed away in 2006 I need a car as my 1st, so my parents bought this for me. Only had 32k miles when they bought it. I drove it 2 years and it never gave me one problem. Great car, but I'm glad I bought the Seville.

http://i109.photobucket.com/albums/n46/ryannel2003/IMG_3499.jpg

I forgot how hansome and well proportioned that generation of Camry looked. Yeah its boring and conserative, but its still a good design that you cannot fault for being ugly. Unlike the last two generations of the Camry. With the right wheels(like that one above), it really dresses it up.

Never knew that McIntosh got into car audio. Is that a factory system or an aftermarket head unit?

Playdrv4me
03-31-11, 03:40 AM
I forgot how hansome and well proportioned that generation of Camry looked. Yeah its boring and conserative, but its still a good design that you cannot fault for being ugly. Unlike the last two generations of the Camry. With the right wheels(like that one above), it really dresses it up.

Never knew that McIntosh got into car audio. Is that a factory system or an aftermarket head unit?

I agree, that was my favorite (can you have a "favorite" Camry?) Camry body style. Well proportioned is exactly how I describe it. It looks like a quality car, if nothing special. I like the ES300 from that generation even more.

McIntosh did the Subaru audio systems in the Outback and Legacy as a ONE shot deal for whatever few years the option was available. That right there is an entirely OEM sound system with a McIntosh designed head unit and a genuine McIntosh amp. Soon after they decided to exit that market, probably for worries of dilution to the brand.

Jesda
03-31-11, 03:43 AM
I just noticed that the climate control display used by Subaru has identical icons, buttons, and text as the 1990-2001 Q45 as well as the higher-trim Maximas. I bet they shared the same supplier.

gdwriter
03-31-11, 02:14 PM
Good lord, I don't know if I've ever seen a more bland, cheap-ass interior — inexcusable in 2011. And I agree with Jesda on the nastiness of that center stack, especially with that piss-poor lighting. GM during its malaise years had better looking interiors. As for the lack of seat comfort and crummy driving position, I had an '06 Corolla rental once that was the most uncomfortable car I've ever driven. No matter how many ways I adjusted the seat, I could not find a driving position that wasn't awkward.

And lumpy certainly describes the exterior. The grille was bad before; for some inexplicable reason, Toyota choose to make it even more bulbous with a giant sombrero that's probably as big (or bigger) than the wreath and crest on an Escalade (I hate the current practice of giant emblems, including Cadillacs). But what really annoys me whenever I'm behind a Camry is how because of the contours of the trunk lid, the Camry nameplate looks crooked. You'd think the UAW was working at Toyota plants.

Toyota has really been coasting on its reputation for years while cheapening its cars and making them even more dull. I can only think Toyota's once sterling reputation for reliability is the only reason these cars sell so well. But as Toyota's bulletproof reliability has become more a previous reputation than current reality, maybe buyers will finally wake up.

The current Accord is fugly, but Hondas are still decent drivers and don't feel like they've been cost cut all to hell. I think everybody except for Chrysler makes a better mid-size car, and even if the 200 is really a Sebring pig with lipstick, it still has a better looking interior than this Toyota.

gdwriter
03-31-11, 02:26 PM
Even the 90s Camry interiors looked cheap and plasticky. The interiors of my '95 and '99 Accords were so much nicer and had much more of a quality feel. Just as one example, the Camry had plastic door handles, while the Accord's were chrome. You'd be amazed at the difference such a small detail can make.

http://static.cargurus.com/images/site/2009/08/22/10/42/1996_toyota_camry_4_dr_le_sedan-pic-4059308392723257037.jpeg

http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/vehicle-pictures/1997/honda/accord/95802041000317-480.jpg

SDCaddyLacky
03-31-11, 10:07 PM
My mom had a 94 Accord, that was the best car she ever owned, and hands down had better quality materials vs the newer 2008-10's.

The Camry of the 90's actually had nice feeling plastics and vinyl's, they both started to slip a little in the 98 model years, since that's when both Toyo and Honda introduced there new designs. I have been in a 98 Accord Coupe, and the plastics feel a little cheaper, like the window switches, in the 94 Accords, they had a nice sturdy feel to them, also the window rollers or whatever, sounds louder and less refined in the 98 Accord, than in the 94's. One contributer to this could be from the fact that the Accord Coupes were made in the US using lower quality parts, while the sedans were made in Japan.

Or maybe just Honda didn't focus heavily in the Coupe interiors. For instance the 94 Accord had a soft padded vinyl dash, the 98 is hard plastic.

Even with some of the cost cutting both companies have made to each new generation, this recent generation, is totally obvious that Toyota has hit an all time low when it comes to quality. Funky shifting transmissions, and what not, toy plastic materials for it's interiors that feel like there gonna snap off any moment. Uncomfortable seats, the list goes on.

77CDV
04-01-11, 04:54 PM
What an incredibly boring interior on that rental Camry. I'm amazed you didn't fall asleep driving it. It has all the visual excitement of central Nebraska.

Destroyer
04-04-11, 12:32 AM
If Toyota and Honda don't watch out and start getting more competitive and building better looking and driving cars, they'll soon be sitting backseat to the Koreans in the sales game.
Well, the number 1 selling car in Florida right now is the Hyundai Sonata. Toyota and Honda have taken a back seat to the Koreans here. :bonkers: I am still considering a Sonata as the next family car purchase for the wife. I test drove one a few months ago before getting the '03 XJ8 and I really didn't like it. Reminded me of my much hated '00 Camry (albeit nicer). I will take a closer look at the Optima as well. The Sonata now has a Turbo option. I'll probably just get another used high end luxury car when push comes to shove. I guess I'd rather dump a few grand in annual repairs on a car I really like than make a payment on a car I just tolerate. Gas prices will be the deciding factor when the time comes.