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We had owned a V6 Camry GX before we bought this car. It is a white Camry V6 Sport which we have owned for 6 years. (I have also recently bought a second Dark Pearl Red V6 Sport so now we have 2..YAY!!!)
What can I say about this car.It is true that it is indeed a baby Lexus and it was often unfairly overlooked as a quality Luxury saloon.
The standard Camry V6 (It is a Lexus engine) is a good quality car but fairly ordinary looking and with innocuous character. It's funny how the adition of the "Sport" spec can change this into a stonking car. The "Sport" adds rear spoiler, front lip spoiler, sport grill, side skirts, lowered sports suspension and 17 inch wheels.
Being that this car is mainly made for the American market the "Sport" suspension is a little hard. The ride quality over the typically awful potholed British roads is at best mediocre....Every time you go over even a minor bump you feel like the car is going to fall apart or you will break bones in the process....don't let this put you off..it is not the cars fault British roads are terrible and when you get on a decent surface she floats along beautifully.
The rear visibility isn't great and I highly reccomend having a decent parking sensor kit fitted.
The standard "Sport" alloys are 17 inch wheels made by a British company...they are terrible quality and they aren't helped by having 215/45 series tyres as standard meaning the rims do not have adequate protection against pothole damage...and believe me they will get damaged! We persevered until atleast 2 of our wheels had either a crack or were buckled....the other 2 never balanced properly in 5 years though strangely this never seemed to effect the way the car drove. A testament to it's quality no doubt. - My answer is to get a decent set of 7.5j x 17 wheels and fit larger 235/45 series tyres to more adequately protect the rims...IT WORKS TOO!!! and has the added bonus of improving the ride :D
Now I have 2 some common problems have reared their head...they are easily fixed though...The first is the Handbrake on warning switch seems to give up the ghost...it went on my white car last year and my new one has the same problem...the handbrake on warning light intermittently flashes on and off...easy fix...new switch from Toyota is about a tenner and it's a simple DIY job to replace.
The other common faults are a little more annoying and involved but not hugely expensive to fix. The suspension exhibits rattling noises and sound slike a strut is damaged or about to fall off...this is worse when cold!!! Whilst quite alarming it is nothing to worry about..the car will drive fine and I promise it will not try to kill you..hehe....The rubber originally used in the bushes and the turret top mounts is of a poor quality and degrades quite easily....replacement of the bushes and the strut top mounts almost always solves any rattling issues. The mounts are about 40 quid and the bushes are not hugely expensive...if doing DIY you need a spring compressor but replacing the mounts is a 2 hour job so dont let the mechanic rip you off!!!
The only other issue is a time one...changing the plugs (they are platinum items and very expensive but should be good for over 80k) or the rocker gaskets is involved for the rear bank of cylinders due to having to strip all the gubbins from the top....sounds daunting but it's not difficult just a little time consuming...
We have NEVER had any major issues with our car...it has been 100 percent reliable and we haven't even bothered changing the strut mounts to stop early morning rattles as the car drives the same as the day it was new! We service her twice a year and the engine starts on the dot every time and never uses any oil.
Once warm it is whisper quiet and on a decent road it floats along and is a joy. There is loads of space inside...front seats are supportive in leather and also electrically operated...there is loads of space up front for even larger people and nobody has difficulty finding a decent driving position (I am only 5ft 3). The dash is simply laid out and all controls are concise and clear....all plastics are of a high and durable quality and everything is well screwed together and has a long lasting feeling! High spec including electric sunroof..electronic climate control again simple to use with a large screen which controls a superb ventilation system (the centre vents blow cool air when the setting is on feet or screen), cruise control and standard 4 spd auto gearbox that is ultra smooth and yet kicks down with a fantastic punch! there is a cubby hole for sunglasses aswell as 2 large cup/bottle holders in the centre console...there are 2 power sockets in the centre dash too!
The rear seats are comfortable and large and rear head room and foot room is absolutely superb....A VIP would be happy in the back of this car!!The boot is huge and hides 2 side cubby holes and a spare full sized wheel.
The car has a superb standard stereo! Radio Cassette with single cd unit underneath and an electric aerial on the rear wing.. I changed these units for a double din kenwood single cd.DOuble din so it fit in nicely with my dash..there was absolutely nothing wrong with the original unit ...the only reason i changed was to be able to play ,mp3 discs! The speakers and sound in this car is one of the best sounding systems this side of a full BOSE setup in an Audi! Seriously...we also have a BMW 530D and used to have a Lexus GS430 and it is better than both! Standard 6 x 9's in the rear shelf provide power and a punchy bass note and excellent quality mids and tweeters in the front provide the clarity....Andrea Bocelli is my personal reccomendation!!
Handling is excellent and the car grips well on more demanding roads with neautral handling with just a touch of understeer....steering feel is very good and direct with the only minor gripe being a very poor turning circle.
We ran ours for years on Pirelli P6000 tyres and we were changing them less than 10000 miles....my reccomendation is to switch to a more hard wearing tyre (it's no sportscar and you don't need that extra grip ... it handles fine)...Khumo's are a good budget choice but I use Dunlop as a good in between..Bridgestone and Goodyear are also good...Honest John reccomends Michelin Primacy for quiter drive and longer lasting but I could never bring myself to buy or reccomend anything French..hehe
Being a front wheel drive car it handles snow and ice better than a powerful rear wheel drive motor....it does go through brake discs and pads quite greedily but this is as a result of being a 190bhp automatic more than any failing...brakes always feel nicely progressive with good bite and feel even when running low!
I find fuel economy ok...you have to remeber it is a petrol V6 but it certainly won't bankrupt you and you will pat yourself on the back every time you get in it anyway :)
The car looks great especially from the front...so often people ask me what it is..they are rare generally but with the V6 engine and sport trim I have only ever seen 2...and I own them both...hehe...it is also one of the few cars that looks good in white!!! They dont suffer from poor paintwork and are very solid to boot!
All in all I love our Camry's.....if you want a quality car that will be reliable and put a smile on your face and If you can find one ( and I think part of the reason they are so rare is people don't want to sell ) them..hehe) i can promise you wont be dissapointed...buy one..service it twice a year and it will last a lifetime! enjoy!