The Camry, the best-selling car in the United States the last three years, enters its final season in its current form. A redesigned Camry is scheduled to arrive during the 2002 model year.
The big news for this year is a new Gallery Series version of the LE model the most popular Camry. Two-tone paint and interior trim and chrome accents inside and outside are key elements of the package.
Toyota sells more than 400,000 Camrys a year in the United States, and the same front-drive platform serves as the basic architecture for the Camry Solara coupe and convertible, the Avalon sedan and the Lexus ES 300. Most Camrys sold in the United States are built at Toyotas Georgetown, Ky., plant, but some are imported from Japan.
The Camrys 105-inch wheelbase is 2 inches shorter than the rival Honda Accords, and the 189-inch overall length is the same as the Accords. But unlike the Accord, which comes in coupe and sedan styling, the Camry comes only as a sedan. The Camry Solara coupe and convertible, which wear different styling, is treated as a separate model by Toyota.
The Camry has ample space for four adults, and the drivers seat has enough fore-aft travel to accommodate tall or short people. The dashboard layout is a typical Toyota design that is uncluttered, attractive and convenient, except for the climate controls, which are too low to operate easily while driving. Split rear seatbacks are standard on all models and supplement the 14-cubic-foot trunk.
Under the Hood
A 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine with 136 horsepower is standard on the CE and LE models. A 194-hp 3.0-liter V-6 is standard on the XLE and optional on the LE. Versions of the V-6 also are used in the Lexus ES 300 sedan and RX 300 sport utility vehicle. A five-speed manual transmission is standard on the CE and LE V-6, and a four-speed automatic is optional. All others come with the automatic.
Side-impact airbags for the front seats are optional on all models. Antilock brakes are standard on V-6 models and optional on those with the four-cylinder engine, and traction control is optional on V-6 models with automatic transmission.
The Camry is as close to a blue-chip investment as there is in a family car. All cars lose resale value as they age, but the Camry loses less than most, and someone else will be happy to buy yours when youre done with it.
The Camrys quality, reliability and durability are three more good reasons to buy this car. Because the ES 300 uses the same basic design as the Camry, some of what makes the ES 300 a good entry-level luxury car makes the Camry an excellent family car.