Getting firsthand information from an actual car owner is one sure way to get an idea of car performance once it leaves the lot. Autobytel features real consumer reviews that give the unbiased experience of a car.
Pros: good looks
Cons: noisy rear suspension
Advice: test drive vehicle on bumpy roads you will hear suspension noise!car is a nice looking vehicle, which was the reason why i bought it. but once you drive the vehicle on bumpy roads you will notice the rear suspension makes a thumping noise.I brought the vehicle back to dealer next day, they told me the noise is common in all 02,03,04 camry's. I test drove other 04 similar models the se has the loudest rear suspension noise. Toyota advertises 'the SE's sport-tuned suspension is surprisingly smooth and quiet thanks to its low noise, vibration and harshness.' Beware Toyota will not stand by their claim and deem the noise as common. Toyota is dropping the ball big time on this, by refusing to fix this probem. Do not make same mistake!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Pros: Electric driver's seat.
Cons: Driver's leg room. I am 6 foot 4 inches. The electric seat helps but I still bounce my knee against the emergency brake handle while driving.
Advice: Look no further.Very quiet, smooth ride. Handles well. Accelerates very well for a 4 cylinder engine. Great gas mileage!
Pros: navigation system
Cons: jerky transmission
Advice: don't buy oneShift from 1st to 2nd gear floats; shift from 2nd to 3rd gear is a hard double jerk. Just maintaining speed at 1200-1400 rpm and just over 40 mph, engine/transmission pulsates as though transmission can't figure out what to do. Toyota won't fix transmission; they say hard shift is a characteristic, not a fault. Can't hear stereo at highway speeds due to road noise. Seats uncomfortable after 30 minutes, no thigh support. Can't see out the rear window. Lower part of rear fenders loose and will move 1/4 inch. $30,000 piece of junk. Trade-in value of 7 month old car is only 60% of new car price.
Pros: the hidden 12V charger inside the compartment between the front seats...can hide away your electronics while charging them.
Advice: As one of the most popular cars in Americavery smooth ride and excellent get up and go for a 4 cylinder that's good on gas mileage.
Pros: JBL stereo rocks! Moonroof, brushed chrome, white dial gauges, full spare, element attenna, Exterior paint, quiet smooth ride
Cons: the initial sticker price is too high, low gas mileage, no engine punch for a 210 HP, no standard traction control
Advice: The local dealer has a rebate of $1,000 but ends June 30th so buy now before the 2004. Toyota will not deal on hot cars so expect to pay $500-1000 less sticker at the most. Try the Corolla S! Also look at the Mazda 6 and Altima.I just purchased my Toyota SE V-6, which was unexpected. I had a Solara SLE V-6 with 75000 and thought I should purchase a new vehicle. I was comparing Nissan Altima, Kia Optima, Mazda 6 and Toyota Corolla S. The Altima has classy exterior but the interior looked like a Pontiac or GM quality. I was disappointed. The seats were very comfortable but the ceiling had gaps and there was dripping glue from the ceiling to the back freakin seat! Engine was more powerful but the options killed the price tag. The Kia Optima looks like a mini-Mercedes from the front but the paint exterior was poor compared to others and the seat was so uncomfortable, it hurt my rear. I would need a personal Chiropractor to ride with me in this car. I did not get to sit in the Mazda but it looked sharp. Great engine but the paint selection was plain. The most surprising car was the Corolla S. It looked and rode like a mini-lexus. It was a looker. However, the 130 HP engine was noisy when pushed (more of a purr) and the car drifted a little on the highway. Funny thing was, I was not even looking at the Camry. The dealer had a late 2002 SE V-6 Moonroof, JBL 8-speaker with ABS breaks sitting on the lot (GM's wife's car with 2000 miles) The Camry SE suspension is tighter, crips, and smooth. The exterior is Lunar Mist Metallic which looks pearl, super sharp. The ride is awesome and quiet. The V-6 does not have punch because it is VVT and computered controlled, but it moves with no effort or sound! I do not feel any bumps in the road like I did with my Solara. The steering does not drift. The inside is quality! The SE has brushed chrome door panels and the Dial is white. The seats are comfortable although I prefer leather. The SE takes corners tight with little roll. I did not plan I buying a Camry but I am quite satisfied with the reliable of this car. I also considered the VW Passat but two of four people I know who have VW have had transmission problems within two years of purchase and the dealers raise the sticker $3,000 over the MRSP. Go figure. I got this Camry with a $1,000 rebate and for $2,000 UNDER invoice! I hope the care does not blow up or something! Advice to Solara owners...do not expect a good trade-in, the blue book for my 1999 (75,000) was $8125! That is like an American car! Camrys are reasonablly priced and the quality is unmatched with the exception of Honda Accord (I also checked out the Accord but the freakin front seat hurt my back, I hated the seat). Buy the Camry, it is a low risk high quality investment.
Pros: Build quality
Cons: Driver seating
Advice: Take a lengthy test drive to make sure you are comfortable.I drove the 2003 Camry LE V6. The strong points of this vehicle are acceleration, ride, noise level (although a little more road noise was evident than in my '99 Camry LE) handling and build quality. However, I found the driver's seat to be uncomfortable in terms of thigh and lateral support, even with the 8 way power seat. I am of normal male height and weight, but it seems that these seats are designed for a much smaller frame. This detracts from an otherwise fine vehicle and was the only reason I did not purchase it.
Pros: It is comfortable and rides well.
Cons: Nothing so far.
Advice: Based on other people's' reviews, I believe we're different enough to have to make our own judgments.Since my 1989 V6 LE got 417,000 miles I was interested in another V6 Toyota. After reading a lot of reviews in Autobytel and Consummer reports I was concerned that the 2003 Camry might somehow be of lesser quality, comfort, and driveability. Since I go on long trips to ultraruns across country, I often put the passanger seat back and nap overnight at rest stops. After trying out the seats in the Highlander Limited V6, Avalon XLS, and Solara SLE V6 I found that their lumbar supports were just too pronounced for my back even in the upright position, and intolerable in the reclined position. But I found the Camry was very comfortable in both positions. Other things I like-- the new 210 HP engine gives lots of cruising power, the transmition shifts quietly and smoothly, the Michelin tires and suspension take bumps very well, the sound system sounds great, the heating and air conditioning controls are easy to see and use, the trunk and passenger areas are roomy, and nothing looks or feels chintzy. I bought the car withought test driving it. I'm hoping Toyota's reputation for quality is not wasted on this car and that this made-in- America-car exceeds the lack of quality according to Consummer reports that is unfortunately and sometimes apparent in other cars made here.