Car reviews - Toyota - Camry - CSi sedan
Space, comfort, quietness, family-friendly design, big boot, good dynamics, usual Toyota reliability and durability
Room for improvement
Bland styling inside and out, 2.2 engine works hard to haul heavy body around
1 Aug 2003
THE Australian-built Camry, released in February, 1993, was a much larger car in all directions than previous models.
It was based on a widened Lexus ES300 floorpan, hence the "wide body" tag which Toyota used so effectively in the Camry advertising campaigns.
In reality, the Camry's interior space is roomy and almost matches its main four-cylinder rival, the Magna.
Toyota used the extra size to good advantage and equipped and marketed the Camry to compete for sales in both the medium and full-size sectors.
Holden also sold the Camry, rebadged as the Apollo, through its dealer network.
But the Apollo was not anywhere near as popular as the Camry because model sharing confuses buyers and they tend to shy away.
There were 14 models in the Camry range which included sedans and station wagons in three equipment levels with four and six- cylinder engines.
The Executive equipment level was aimed at fleet buyers, followed by the mid-level CSi and the luxury level Ultima.
The CSi has power steering, central locking and a four-speaker AM/FM radio/cassette. Air-conditioning and anti-lock brakes were available as options.
Inside, the Camry's front bucket seats are well shaped and supportive. The rear-seat back is split 40/60 and folds down for interior access to a big boot. The interior is trimmed in woven cloth.
Toyota improved the safety and security of the Camry in mid-1995 with a remote control anti-theft system, belt lockers on all seatbelts and a lap/sash belt for the centre rear-seat passenger. A package of ABS brakes, airbag and air-conditioning became available as an option.
The CSi level comes with a 2.2-litre, four-cylinder engine delivering 95kW at 5200rpm and 185Nm of torque at 4400rpm.
Toyota used some clever engineering to produce a smoother four- cylinder engine. Two balance shafts are gear driven directly by the crankshaft, instead of using chains or belts which eventually wear out.
The Camry's good fuel economy and large capacity fuel tank gives it a better than average range. Reasonable driving on the highway can stretch the distance between fuel stops to more than 750km.
The standard transmission is a five-speed manual, which has synchromesh on all gears including reverse, but the optional four-speed automatic was the most popular choice.
The Camry has independent suspension all round using MacPherson struts and coil springs with anti-roll bars at the front and rear.
The steering and handling are much better than previous models while the ride remained good even if it did not quite match the Magna.
The wide-body Camry has established a reputation for being reliable and trouble free.
Running costs per kilometre are one of the lowest for a front- wheel drive car.
This has helped retain value and hold prices up.
The Camry is an excellent choice of transport for the family with a combination of almost full size interior space, good quality and ample power for most people.
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