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Old 10th December 2020, 20:14   #1
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Default 2007 Toyota Camry MT : The Never-Say-Die Car!

Introduction

This story dates back to Oct 2014, when a friend in Chennai wanted a Toyota Camry as a replacement for his 2006 Toyota Corolla Limited Edition H6.

Why Camry?

I have known several guys who have looked at the Camry as the logical upgrade to a Corolla. The 2006-2011 Camry has a powerful 2.4L engine, with dual zone air-conditioning and a lot of airbags for its time. Yes, the interiors were bland and the steering wheel was no different from the Corolla Altis, but the snob value of this Toyota in India was pretty high.

The only catch in sourcing a Camry was that the car was rarer to find than the full moon, and as expected, the moment I found an average looking Camry in Chennai, this friend went all out to take a look.

Inspection

This car was a Nov 2007 Camry MT in Super White, 2nd owner owned, 87,000km done. The 2006-11 Camrys were very hard to come by in Chennai and this one was listed at just INR 5.45 lacs in 2014 – enough to make me suspect that the car wasn’t perfect. Sure enough, this is what I found:

The Great

• Excellent seats – even the driver seat leather was almost perfect
• Silver finish on the steering wheel was intact
• All functions working
• Excellent engine, transmission and suspension
• Original red Toyota Long Life Hybrid Organic Acid Technology (HOAT) coolant still intact

The Bad

• Portions of the dashboard towards the center and left had gotten sticky and some of the liner had even come off – characteristic issue with the 2007-09 Camrys
• Nail marks on some of the dashboard due to the sticky liner
• Four tyres were OE but bald. The spare alloy was there but the spare tyre was a 50 profile tyre and flat
• The right headlamp washer cover was missing – I’ve seen several used cars with one or both headlamp washer covers missing and it is quite an eyesore
• Crack on the lens of the left side headlamp
• Slight judder in the clutch when setting off from standstill; clutch action was good, though

Decision Making (Go-No Go) and Negotiations

I advised my friend to go ahead if he was willing to overlook the deficiencies in the car listed above. His better half beat the dealer down and eventually they sealed the deal for INR 4.6 lacs (including dealer commission) with the following riders:

• The spare tyre would be fixed and inflated by the seller
• The left headlamp would be rectified by the seller

Delivery

Delivery of the car wasn’t smooth. The spare tyre wasn’t fixed and so was the left headlamp. After making a lot of noise, the car got ready 2 days after the scheduled date of delivery. Fortunately, the documents and keys were all handed over without fuss.

I believe that the car was “owned” by another dealer and the documents would have obviously been handed over to this dealer only on realization of payment.

Enter the Camry !!
2007 Toyota Camry MT : The Never-Say-Die Car!-camry_front.jpg
2007 Toyota Camry MT : The Never-Say-Die Car!-camry_topview.jpg

Last edited by vigsom : 10th December 2020 at 21:31.
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Old 10th December 2020, 20:39   #2
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Default re: 2007 Toyota Camry MT : The Never-Say-Die Car!

Variants in the Camry

Unlike the Corolla, variants in the Toyota Camry were straightforward – the MT and the AT. The AT came with cruise control and VSC too. This Camry saw a minor cosmetic upgrade in 2009 with a modified grille and 10 spoke alloy wheels, and then variants of the Camry were finally classified as follows:

• W1 MT and W2 AT without sunroof
• W3 MT and W4 AT with sunroof

The 2006-09 Toyota Camry
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The 2009-11 Toyota Camry
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Small yet significant things about the 2006-11 Toyota Camry

• The 2006 Camry came with light brown faux wood inserts while the 2007-11 cars came with a darker faux wood finish. I personally liked the 2006 finish better
• Driver, passenger, curtain airbags – IIRC eight in all (two for the driver and front passenger, two in the A-pillars, two in the front seats, and two in the C-pillars); a huge thing in India for a 2006 car
• Low beams were via HID projectors and high beams were courtesy halogens
• Headlamp washers
• Hood is held on struts unlike a rod that most cars come with
• Power seats – slide, height and lumbar for the driver and only slide for the front passenger
• There is an adaptor for the wheel nuts – lose that and the main wheel spanner is useless
Rear seat can be released and folded via a seat release lever located in the boot, unlike in other cars where the release knob/lever is above the seat inside the cabin.
• Ashtrays on the rear door armrests
• The battery of the Camry is way bigger than those on other Toyota petrols
• All Toyotas come with an Organic Acid Technology red coolant (now pink since 2016), which has an initial drain interval of 1,60,000km and subsequent drain intervals of 80,000km
• On the AT, The automatic transmission fluid need not be replaced for life. The word “life” here can be debated but I believe it is forever (I later discovered that the Ford Endeavour and the Maruti automatics also came with an ATF replacement interval of 1,65,000km or 11 years). Yes, dusty driving conditions, constant stop and go in crowded cities, and other such severe driving conditions can alter the fluid drain interval
• Simple looking, yet very high quality rubber components, wiring, switches. The white lettering on the switches were all intact despite the car being 7 years old.
• Most electricals were from Denso – virtually indestructible

Interiors of the 2006 Camry -note the light brown faux wood finish
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Interiors of the 2007 Camry
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Engine Bay
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Instrument Cluster - Plain and Functional with MID
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Curtain Airbags on the A and C Pillars
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The rear seat fold down release lever
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Power Seats with electric operated lumbar support
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Sticky Dashboard on the 2006-09 Camrys

This was a chronic issue with all Toyota Camrys built in this time. IIRC Toyota had announced recalls to address this issue. The pictures below are representative ones just to highlight how one sore point can make an otherwise great car look horrible.

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First drive and Impressions

I got to drive the 2007 Camry a day after delivery, and was floored by not only the sheer size of the car, but also its ability to glide through traffic even in tight lanes. For those in Chennai, imagine a Camry navigating the crowded streets of Ramakrishnapuram, West Mambalam and you will know what I am talking about.

Likes

Made in Japan !
• Powerful engine – this is the 2AZFE engine with just 167bhp on tap but more than adequate power
• 10 way power seats with electrically operated lumbar support for the driver; passenger seat was powered too
• Brilliant steering for the city
• Mechanicals hold up very well against abuse and time; note that this was not a greatly kept car but everything was still working perfectly
• Dual zone air-conditioning
• Great sounding OEM audio set up for a 2007 car
• Cavernous boot
• Easy maneuverability through even narrow roads
• Pulls clean from standstill in no.2 gear with ability to move even at 15kmph in no.3 gear
• Stress free driving for a 4.8m long and 1.8m wide car

Shortcomings

• Low ground clearance
• Boat like ride on some surfaces
• Ordinary looking interiors and exteriors
• Fuel efficiency in the city @7-8 kmpl
• No chrome handles or boot garnish; not that this was a disqualification. This was an international model, hence no bling

Last edited by vigsom : 10th December 2020 at 21:41.
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Old 10th December 2020, 21:21   #3
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Default re: 2007 Toyota Camry MT : The Never-Say-Die Car!

Tyres replaced – Oct 2014

This was an immediate requirement; I advised my friend to go in for the OE tyres viz. Yokohama ASPEC A348 in 215/60R16. Four tyres cost INR 32,000 and the best of the four old tyres was used as the spare.

Yokohama ASPEC A348 Tyres
2007 Toyota Camry MT : The Never-Say-Die Car!-yokohamaa348_1.jpg
2007 Toyota Camry MT : The Never-Say-Die Car!-yokohamaa348_2.jpg
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First Maintenance – Oct 2015

I am mentioning this yet again – some of my friends may be de-jure owners but I would end up as the de-facto owner and Chief Maintenance Advisor for most of their cars.

This car needed an oil change and I had the following jobs performed at 90,000km.

• Engine oil replacement – Castrol Magnatec 10W40 API SN
• Toyota genuine oil filter
• Air filter cleaning
• Spark plugs inspection – Iridium plugs

The air filter box on the Camry had bolts, unlike the quick release clamps that we see on other cars.

Total costs INR 3,640

Restoration of Power seats – Feb 2016

The Camry was saved from full damage in the Dec 2015 floods in Chennai because the car had been parked in an elevated parking. However, the elevated parking could not save the car from a low level flooding that had just touched the seat control switches. My friend reported that the seats were working once the water levels had receded but the carpet was wet. The carpet was cleaned out and disinfected professionally.

About a month later, In Jan 2016, he mentioned that the seats were not sliding back and forth or moving up and down. I was out of India and couldn't help him then. So as soon as I returned, I embarked on this project to try and get the seats back to working ways.

Observations

1. None of the adjustments except the seat back were working
2. Seat slide/ travel mechanism and metal panel were badly corroded
3. The driver seat has three motors below the seat - one for height adjustment , one for travel and one for lumbar support while the passenger seat has only one motor below the seat for travel adjustment.
4. Removed the seats and found that the wiring couplers for the seat motors and the seat airbags were intact
5. The seat adjustment switch panels showed sulfation (copper sulphate) and some contact points were missing.

Restoration of motors

Restoration of motors was performed at my FNG under my supervision.

1. The lowest motor under the seat is the one that controls seat travel back and forth
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2. The worm gears , drive cable from motor to gear(resembles the inner cable of a motorcycle speedometer cable) and the motor inner bearings were all jammed.

3. Had the whole motor drive assembly, bearings cleaned with WD-40, re-greased with gel grease and boxed up.

4. Armature and commutator were cleaned with iso propyl alcohol. Carbon brushes were found to be in good order

5. Repeated the above for the other two motors (which needed some effort as their screws were not easily accessible)

6. Repeated the exercise for the passenger seat bottom motor which was equally bad

Seat bottom looked like this
2007 Toyota Camry MT : The Never-Say-Die Car!-camry_underseat_view.jpg

Driver seat motors serviced and being fitted back
2007 Toyota Camry MT : The Never-Say-Die Car!-camry_driverseat_wip.jpg

Restoration of the Power Seat Switch Assembly

1. The 4 way power seat switch assemblies of both the driver seat and the passenger seat were in bad shape - lot of copper sulphate had formed and some contact points had disintegrated.

2. The switch assemblies were not available locally, thus making it necessary to build the switch circuits again

3. We used contact points from a spare circuit board to repair the switch circuits , provided a copper contact plate below and soldered jump-over wires from the contact points to the nearest available 12V supply lines to establish continuity.

4. The seat slide mechanism needed some wd40 to help it regain its lost touch

Driver Seat main switch before repair - note the missing contact points
2007 Toyota Camry MT : The Never-Say-Die Car!-camrydriverseatswitchbefore_1.jpg

Passenger seat main switch after repair - the green indicates portions that were re-built
2007 Toyota Camry MT : The Never-Say-Die Car!-camrypassengerseatswitchafter_1.jpg

Driver seat lumbar switch after rectification
2007 Toyota Camry MT : The Never-Say-Die Car!-camrydriverlumbarseatswitch_after.jpg

Results

1. Seats motors' wiring was coupled back
2. Motors were observed to work normal
3. Seats installed back and we were back to pre-flood days - voila

Total spend INR 2,500 ; this exercise took two full days and was a tough challenge , but we emerged victors !!

Just for reference - in the Camry, every motor under the seat costs INR 14,000 (making it INR 56,000 for four non-functional motors) and the three power seat switches were listed at a total of INR 17,400.

Two days of effort saved my friend a potential INR 71,000.

Expenses from 2014 to 2016

Break up of expenses on the Camry in INR was as follows:

A: Capex INR 32,000

1. Tyres Yokohama ASPEC A348 INR 32,000

B: Maintenance INR 3,640

1. Oil (Castrol Magnatec 10W40) + Oil filter + spark plugs inspection + Air filter cleaning + Wash INR 3,640

C: Flood Damage INR 6,300

1. Seats motors and switches restoration INR 2,500
2. Carpets disinfection INR 3,800

Total expenses A+B+C INR 41,940

Current Status of the Camry

The Camry has been retained in my friend’s family and is still soldering on, true to Toyota’s tradition of its cars keeping the owners happy. I've lost track of expenses and records on this car since 2016 but what difference does it make as long as the owner is happy.

The Toyota Camry is as much of a fill-it-shut-it-forget-it car as the Corolla, as long as the car is kept well and does not need unforeseen expenses like in floods.

Prince at the castle
2007 Toyota Camry MT : The Never-Say-Die Car!-camry_house.jpg

Last edited by vigsom : 10th December 2020 at 21:46.
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Old 11th December 2020, 06:39   #4
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Default re: 2007 Toyota Camry MT : The Never-Say-Die Car!

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 11th December 2020, 12:10   #5
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Default Re: 2007 Toyota Camry MT : The Never-Say-Die Car!

Another great thread Vigsom, thanks! Off all the Camry designs this is the one I was most partial to, even today. I think it looks butch. Yes, this was a natural upgrade and I enquired about one back in 2011 but with prices approaching 35L OTR I thought it wasn't really worth the money.

Unfortunately TKM have only brought in the hybrid Camry driving up the price further to a statospheric (for this type of car) 45-50L OTR in MH. But to be fair they have really upped the fit and finish of the new Camry which makes it look and feel like a Lexus.
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Old 11th December 2020, 12:59   #6
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Default Re: 2007 Toyota Camry MT : The Never-Say-Die Car!

@vigsom Love your restoration and used series.

Beauty of Toyotas (Hondas too).

Maybe not PC for this era of vehicles with determined EOL period ( xxxxx institutional overreach ) , EVs and autonomous what not.

But the beauty of cars that work just like new, ten years down the line is awesome.
Call it boring or robotic, you will fall in love with it only after 10+ years of service. Pity that most customers are not that patient, and end up selling after the loan period.
Yes, life is too short to drive boring cars. But in our market, ita more of snob value or bling/gimmicks that rule, so the saying doesn't count.

Pretty sure the auto mags of that era would have found this Camry boring, ordinary in front of other 'distinguished' Europeans.
Funny that we can't find any BHPians picking up 10+ year old Europeans (barring MB/BMW) like they pick up Corollas or Camrys.
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Old 11th December 2020, 13:36   #7
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Default Re: 2007 Toyota Camry MT : The Never-Say-Die Car!

One of my favorite cars. At the time it was launched, the Camry competed with the C class in pricing. It was a few lakhs cheaper and offered much more by way of features and reliability. Great review and thanksnfor sharing.

Would you recommend anyone to explore a Camry in the used market today? Older models are availabke for a very low price, and even if you keep 5 lakhs for maintenance over a few years, it seems like a great car to have.
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Old 11th December 2020, 17:25   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R2D2 View Post
Off all the Camry designs this is the one I was most partial to, even today. I think it looks butch.
Thank You @R2D2. Yes, this was a good design and the 2009 face-lift was just right in upping the looks of the car. I have driven a 2009 Camry MT in metallic beige done 32,000km and it felt way better than the 2007 model.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DicKy View Post
@vigsomBut the beauty of cars that work just like new, ten years down the line is awesome.
Call it boring or robotic, you will fall in love with it only after 10+ years of service
Very true @DicKy. I have a 2007 Grand Vitara and can only agree with the quoted statement. Yes, there will be some hiccups but the joy of keeping an ageless wonder cannot be put in words.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cessna182 View Post
Would you recommend anyone to explore a Camry in the used market today? Older models are available for a very low price, and even if you keep 5 lakhs for maintenance over a few years, it seems like a great car to have.
Thank You @Cessna182. I would personally recommend a 2008-11 Corolla Altis over a Camry anyday for India. Some spares of the Camry are frightfully expensive and can cause heart attacks should these need attention. The Altis VL AT for example offers 80% of what the Camry offers, with the engine size being the only major difference.
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Old 11th December 2020, 17:31   #9
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Excellent writeup as always, I’ve read almost all of your used car reviews and they are indeed very informative. I can bet, just by going through your reviews readers can gain confidence in going the used car route and it will definitely be helpful during the present phase that we all are going through.
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Old 12th December 2020, 05:29   #10
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Default Re: 2007 Toyota Camry MT : The Never-Say-Die Car!

Lovely thread, Vigsom. You seem to have quite the history with Maruti and Toyota cars. I particularly enjoyed how you got the car’s seat issues fixed after flood damage. That’s where most people would’ve either ignored the issue or sold the car entirely. Thank you for sharing.
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Old 12th December 2020, 10:21   #11
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Default Re: 2007 Toyota Camry MT : The Never-Say-Die Car!

Quote:
Originally Posted by vigsom View Post

The Camry was saved from full damage in the Dec 2015 floods in Chennai because the car had been parked in an elevated parking. However, the elevated parking could not save the car from a low level flooding that had just touched the seat control switches.

Total spend INR 2,500 ; this exercise took two full days and was a tough challenge , but we emerged victors !!

Just for reference - in the Camry, every motor under the seat costs INR 14,000 (making it INR 56,000 for four non-functional motors) and the three power seat switches were listed at a total of INR 17,400.

Two days of effort saved my friend a potential INR 71,000.

C: Flood Damage INR 6,300

1. Seats motors and switches restoration INR 2,500
2. Carpets disinfection INR 3,800


The Toyota Camry is as much of a fill-it-shut-it-forget-it car as the Corolla, as long as the car is kept well and does not need unforeseen expenses like in floods.

Another great ownership thread vigsom, looks like you and floods are inseparable wherever you go, be it Gujrat or Taminadu From your Premier Padmini to Camry you mastered the art of restoring flood vehicles for cheap. I too did the same with our Wagon-R this year. Our massage chair and recliner too got affected due to floods in Hyderabad, I opened the motors, got the bearings changed at my friend's lathe shop with original SKF made in japan bearings and used WD-40 to clean the motor shafts, I can relate to your post on how you worked on your friend's Camry's power adjustable seats. I just loved reading this thread.

I agree on Toyota's reliability, not just Camry, even our Qualis (423K), Innova (173K) and Crysta (40 K) are fill it - shut it - forget it cars. We are spoilt by Toyotas reliability and are afraid of going back to Tata which has more promising and good looking cars. I will also write ownership reviews of my Qualis and Innova soon. Toyota is a legendary brand for its reliability, I'm just waiting to see their transition to complete electric vehicles and if they provide equally reliable electric motors and battery pack. They are already doing it with their hybrids like Prius, Camry, Lexus, etc but wonder what happens to their all electric cars.

Also yesterday I happened to watch the first Zero emissions car, The hydrogen fuel cell powered 2021 Toyota Mirai's launch, the concept it very interesting and Toyota will definitely make them reliable.


Last edited by WhiteSierra : 12th December 2020 at 10:39. Reason: added video link
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Old 12th December 2020, 17:44   #12
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Default Re: 2007 Toyota Camry MT : The Never-Say-Die Car!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SulemanP View Post
readers can gain confidence in going the used car route and it will definitely be helpful
Thank You @SulemanP. My intent through these reviews is to highlight one point- that simple, inexpensive solutions to automotive issues exist if one gets involved and performs the right fault diagnosis and solution development.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crow View Post
particularly enjoyed how you got the car’s seat issues fixed after flood damage. That’s where most people would’ve either ignored the issue or sold the car entirely.
Thank You @Crow. Yes, people chicken out when faced with issues; and fat estimates from service centers only compound the fear.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhiteSierra View Post
looks like you and floods are inseparable wherever you go, be it Gujrat or Taminadu
Tasks completed in two states -

Gujarat
1. my Premier Padmini, friend's Premier Padmini in 1998
2. three Maruti ECMs restored in 2006
3. my own Grand Vitara needed a floor clean out post water wading in 2019.

Chennai - 2016
1. fully flooded Etios diesel restored
2. partially affected 2013 Ritz and 2007 Camry restored

A colleague of mine from Vizag calls me Varada Raju (king of floods) since I carry them wherever I go :-(

I must compliment you on the work you did post the Hyderabad deluge. Rolling up one's sleeves and taking the onus of rectifying things gives immense satisfaction and a sense of achievement.

Last edited by vigsom : 12th December 2020 at 17:45.
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Old 12th December 2020, 18:31   #13
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Default Re: 2007 Toyota Camry MT : The Never-Say-Die Car!

Camry at the price of an Alto A 13 year old car and still no worries of reliability. Lovely deal.

When electric cars become mainstream, I expect that the gap between reliability of Toyota and other brands will decrease. Engine and transmission are big expensive components that can go wrong. And in electric cars the drivetrain won't go wrong easily because it's so simple.
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Old 13th December 2020, 09:17   #14
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Default Re: 2007 Toyota Camry MT : The Never-Say-Die Car!

Lovely thread again. Honestly@vigsom, o didn't even see the user name, two paras in and I knew it was one of your threads.

Suggestion. Change your titles to the one we find in clickbait websites, "5 dirty tricks that car service centers hate" lol.

But seriously, the repairs you do seem logical and effortless but save money to the tune of lakhs. Hats off
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Old 13th December 2020, 09:39   #15
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Default Re: 2007 Toyota Camry MT : The Never-Say-Die Car!

Looking good.

This is indeed one of those cars that just keeps going on and on and on. You have picked up a fine example.

Had the W1 MT 2007 model. Lasted us for many years and I ve been told the person to whom it was sold still uses it as a back up car. Should be over 2L kms by.

It was mostly trouble free. The back seat was a 'sofa' and had decent performance. I remember this was the car I touched 180 on the GT road just to see how fast it could go back in the day. The interiors were functional though lacked alot of bells and whistles. But everything worked unlike the Superb I had back then.

The few things I did not like was the low seating position and ground clearance and the handling was tuned for more sedated drive than spirited. Eventually the spares got a bit thick for our skin and maintaining it with the A.S.S was starting to pinch. The mileage was also nothing to write home about but overall a solid buy.

Enjoy your time with it.

Last edited by bigron : 13th December 2020 at 09:44.
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