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5th & 6th Generation (2002-2006 & 2007-2011) Toyota Camry Discussion for years: 2002-2006 & 2007-2011 Topics of discussion range from fuel economy, safety, modifications, performance all involving America's favorite family car, the Toyota Camry.

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Old 07-28-2011, 11:15 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Best/worst Camry years?

Time to buy another Camry...
Our 4th Camry is at 283k and needs about $5k in repairs, although it's still driveable. It's a '98 XLE, and I absolutely loved it, but it's clearly on its last legs. Bought it a few years ago with 80k-100k on it from its initial owner.
I need your advice on what years to consider and stay away from. The dealer said his driveability tech suggested an '02, but my hubby thinks that's still too old. He drives 100 mi. a day round-trip to work, and we would like a bit of a newer car so we can take it up to the mountains without concern.
I prefer one with leather seats and a moon roof.
Thanks.
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Old 07-28-2011, 11:49 AM   #2 (permalink)
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get a brand new 2011.
in DFW area they are $18800 for base LE. leather-roof will run you another 2K.
buy new and you'll have good car for many years.
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Old 07-28-2011, 11:56 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Can't buy new...

I have extreme chemical sensitivities, so buying a car that's new or a year or two old really isn't an option for me.
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Old 07-28-2011, 11:59 AM   #4 (permalink)
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IMO, buy a 5th gen Camry. They were made between 2002-2006. I would avoid the 4 cyl. 6th gen from 2007-2009, the quality isn't as good as the 5th gens. Just ask numerous 5th gen owners around here-they love their car and wouldn't trade it for a 6th gen even if the price were right.
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Old 07-28-2011, 01:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I have the 04 Camry V6 LE and have had no major problems for 50,000 miles. The CD player went bad and was replaced under warranty. Toyota fixed the problem in the intermediate steering shaft after the warranty had expired. Look at the Consumer Union April issue to see which cars are trouble prone. Everything you will ever need to know about any car can be found on the internet. Regards
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Old 07-28-2011, 01:37 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I'm always surprised to hear if problems pop up in Camrys early on because we've always thought we were just breaking them in at 80k.
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Old 07-28-2011, 02:18 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Gen 5 V6, 04-06 would be best.
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Old 07-28-2011, 02:25 PM   #8 (permalink)
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i agree about the 5th gen. unfortunately, toyota got too big too fast and slacked off on quality. i think based on the news in the last couple of years of stuck accelerator pedals and other things, everyone is aware of this. often times it takes years for a lot of known problems to surface since companies like toyota do a very good job of burying things and hiding them from the media. i would say they are back on track to getting their reputation for quality back, but only time will tell.
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Old 07-28-2011, 02:30 PM   #9 (permalink)
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only time I bought a new car and Toyota drop the ball. '07 V6 model.
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Old 07-28-2011, 04:45 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I would avoid the 02-03 I4 engines. It was in that time frame that there were issues with head bolts pulling out of the blocks. If you can get a V6 07-09, they would be my first choice. The body style is contemporary. Issues with the engine and transmission were resolved in the first year. The engine is used on a number of platforms with few issues. The only concern that lingers is the potential failure of the water pump, which is no more frequent than any other car, is a bear to replace. The I4 engine in this period was lacking in power, and given your location you need power to turn that a/c pump.
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Old 07-28-2011, 05:02 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Which camry?

i currently own a 1997 LE 4 Cyl with 154,000. I also have a 2002 SE V6 with 220,000 miles, no problems from either one, so im not sure why people are saying that the 02-03 camry isnt as good as the 04-06
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Old 07-28-2011, 05:15 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arabianobsession View Post
IMO, buy a 5th gen Camry. They were made between 2002-2006. I would avoid the 4 cyl. 6th gen from 2007-2009, the quality isn't as good as the 5th gens. Just ask numerous 5th gen owners around here-they love their car and wouldn't trade it for a 6th gen even if the price were right.
Don't see how that's possible considering it's the same engine.
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Old 07-28-2011, 05:25 PM   #13 (permalink)
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*Sigh*
You caught me on a technicality. The 5th gen 4 cylinder seems to do the job better as it's not as big of a car nor near as heavy....and isn't plagued with a seemingly-guaranteed water pump problem. Also, when talking quality, I was more or less talking about the interior. Guess I should have made that more clear. Overall, a 5th gen 4 cyl. is a better choice than a 2007-2009, IMO.
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Old 07-28-2011, 07:11 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Frankly, I've been reading the reports over at Autobeef/Carcomplaints.com, and they really scared me. In number of complaints (pre-'09), '07 and '02 were the worst years, with '00, '01, '04, and '08 the best. But once you started looking at what the complaints were, time and again what happened was unexpected acceleration incidents. Some of the complaintants went into walls; it happened to someone else right on the freeway. One guy said he'd heard how wonderful Toyotas were, and this was his first and last one because it was the worst car he'd ever had.
This should not be happening at all. I've always laughed at friends who said they were trading their cars at 85k because that's just when Toyotas are wearing in.
I'm wondering whether Avalons have the same problem.
In one of the computer magazines online, the writer said the problem is with cheap software that's in the Toyotas.
Unfortunately, I can't see pouring $5k into a car that's already got nearly 283k miles on the engine. In the late '70s/early '80s, we bought our first Toyota. It was a pickup with a diesel engine. We replaced it with a gas engine at about 80-85k. We finally sold it when we'd had 425k miles on the truck.
This almost reminds me of my VW Rabbit. It was named Car of the Year by I think Consumer Reports. We had non-stop electrical problems, and it finally committed suicide. Went up in flames. (Nobody was hurt, thank God.)

Last edited by LagunaMom; 07-28-2011 at 07:14 PM. Reason: addition
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Old 07-28-2011, 07:20 PM   #15 (permalink)
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^This topic has been discussed WAY more on this site than you will ever find in any complaint website. I highly suggest you read some of the threads here, IMO, they're a better source of info anyway.

I work at a Toyota dealership and I drive, at minimum, a dozen DIFFERENT cars every day. After two years, I have never had any problems with unintended acceleration. Neither has anyone else at the dealership, ever, and we average 800+ cars on the lot year after year. I hate to say it, but honestly, I think a lot of those issues are driver error.

Currently cars have drive by wire, but if you go back far enough, cars had a throttle cable. I don't think the problem is going to continue over a change of technology like that, esp. if we're talking about a decade's worth of cars.

But hey, that's just me.
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