Car buying advice... Toyota Camry SE?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by jeff lam, Oct 27, 2004.

  1. jeff lam

    jeff lam Screenwriter

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    I'm close to making a decision on a new car. I want to get a great value but a nice car. I would love to get maybe a BMW, Lexus, or Acura TL, but they just seem a little too impractical for me at this point (expensive). I was looking at the Camry and the Accord and it seems the Camry is a winner, especially the 04 and 05 models.

    I just want to get some opinions about the Camry from those of you that know a lot about them and maybe own one. We looked at them the other day and saw an 04 Camry SE that we liked a lot. The SE doesn't seem to be very popular though and I wanted to know why. I always see the LE and XLE around and I have a friend that got a fully loaded XLE and he's very happy with it. I kinda like the SE the best so far but I wish it came with leather seats. The one we looked at was an 04 demo (managers drove it around town as advertisement). It has 6000 miles on it but is very nice. What would a good price for this car be. I may make an offer on it.

    I wanted to also ask what the main differences are between the 04's and 05's. I also heard the 4 cyl engine is more reliable than the V6 and easier to do work on... is this true?

    Is the SE a good choice?
     
  2. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    Full list of options here. Looks like there are some cosmetic differences also:

    SE:
    [​IMG]

    XLE:
    [​IMG]

    The SE has a bigger V6 (3.3L vs 3.0) but I'm liking that grill and lower lip on the XLE. Getting a 4-cylinder for a 3,200lb car is not a good idea imo. Every little bit of torque helps.
     
  3. Jason Merrick

    Jason Merrick Supporting Actor

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    Jeff,

    Have you considered the Acura TSX? It's basically the european version of the Honda Accord, but is very nice. Fully loaded is the only way it comes, standard leather, dual zone climate control, heated seats, moonroof, etc. etc., the only choices you have to make are whether you want the 5-speed auto or the 6-speed manual and whether or not you want navigation. Standard (and only) engine is a 200hp 4 cylinder. The models without navigation are selling for right around $25k even. Not sure what the Toyota is selling for, so I can't compare the two. But keep in mind that the Acura comes fully loaded, so make sure to compare prices on fully loaded models of whatever other vehicles you are considering. Acura's also come standard with a 4 year, 50,000 mile warranty and have very high resale values.

    Just a thought since you apparently desire a very nice vehicle but seem to be "settling" for a Camry.
     
  4. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I bought an '04 Accord EX last December and I really like it. I also considered the Camry. It was a good car, but the Accord was a bit more style in the feature set, price, and feel of driving.

    But you can't go wrong with a Camry. By all reviews and all reports, they are great cars with excellent reliability. I don't know the trim levels on the Camry, but I'd expect it's just a matter of engine size and creature comforts.
     
  5. Daniel Kikin

    Daniel Kikin Screenwriter

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    Like Dave I considered a Camry a couple of years back but went the Accord which was much more affordable, drives great, and has great features too. The Camry is a great car too, just very expensive, go with the Accord and save the extra money for HT equipment. [​IMG]
     
  6. Jon_Gregory

    Jon_Gregory Stunt Coordinator

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    Another car to look at in the same class would be the Nissan Maxima. The maxima is a little sportier than the above cars, I guess that is why I like it. Nissan's 3.5L V6, 260hp is a great reliable, POWERFULL engin. I love the look of the Maxima over the Camry and the Accord, but that is just my preference.
     
  7. Daniel Kikin

    Daniel Kikin Screenwriter

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    The Maxima is a great car too, maybe even better that the Camry depending on what you're looking for, but also in a higher price range than the Accord.
     
  8. DavidY

    DavidY Supporting Actor

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    How about the Mazda6? IMO, the Mazda6 is the nicest looking car of the bunch so far.

    Dave
     
  9. AjayM

    AjayM Screenwriter

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    Don't rule out the yuppie brands just yet [​IMG]. BMW/Lexus/Acura all have certified pre-owned programs, most of those vehicles will be cars coming off of a lease, and the CPO part of it will extend the warranty out quite a bit. As an example, my GF just bought an 02 BMW 325i that was loaded up very well (everything but premium sound and xenon lights) for $25k (after they gave us a LOT for the trade), the car had 29k miles on it. And because it was a CPO, BMW financial was giving great rates (3.9% for up to 5 years, 2.9% was also available under other terms).

    Past that the Camry is a nice car obviously, and you certainly can't go wrong with it. I've never owned one, but know plenty of people who have, and not a single one of them was unhappy about owning the car.

    But go take a look at what your local BMW/Lexus/Acura/MB dealer has to offer, you may be suprised at what you can get.

    Andrew
     
  10. Phil_L

    Phil_L Second Unit

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    Camry is always a good choice. Superior build quality and reliability. You should not hesitate if you like it and it fits in your budget.

    I picked up the Acura TL this summer and have loved every minute of it. You may be able to pick up the base TL for not much more than a loaded Camry.

    I'd pass on the Germans, their reliability of late has been poor, especially Audi.

    The Accord is always a great car, I owned one for quite some time, actually I still own my Accord for use when I want to protect the Acura from the elements.

    Maxima is also great, Mom has one, she loves it.

    Mazda 6 is fun, my bud bought one but had endless trouble with it. Probably an isolated incident, though.

    Let us know what you decide Jeff.
     
  11. Scott McGillivray

    Scott McGillivray Supporting Actor

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    I have a 2002 Camry with the 4 cyl and it is not much difference in "pep" from the 6 cyl. I have raced against my friend who has a 6 and there is little difference. With its VVT (Variable Valve Timing) it really performs better than what one might expect base simply on HP alone.

    But hey, take both for a test drive and see if you think you can tell the difference (or if the difference is worth the money).
     
  12. ChrisHeflen

    ChrisHeflen Supporting Actor

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    I've owned both Maxima's and Honda (currently driving).
    I look at them this way.
    Maxima= performance and sporty driving.
    Camry= comfortable, soft ride.
    Honda= somewhere in between. Sportier performance than the Camry, but not up to the level of the Maxima.

    I like my Honda, but I miss the Maxima a ton.

    I agree though, you can't go wrong with either. I would opt for the v-6 in either case though.
     
  13. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I test drove one and it was my second choice car. I thought it was a bit pricey for its size and brand reputation (quality).

    The Maxima is pretty expensive; it's more in the Lexus and Acura range. More in line with the Accord and Camry is the Altima, which is a nice car. The headroom with the moonroof was a bit low for my tastes.

    The VW Passat is also a very nice car. Reliability is reputed to be lesser than the Accord and Camry, but its a great car overall. Similar refinement as the Audi A4 but much less expensive.
     
  14. Phil_L

    Phil_L Second Unit

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    The Passat and A4 have both had reliability problems, I'd steer clear. Also, the A4 backseat is miniscule.
     
  15. ChrisMatson

    ChrisMatson Cinematographer

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    I did a quick search on Edmunds.
    For the 2005 Toyota Camry LE 4dr Sedan (2.4L 4cyl 5M), don't pay over $17,200

    for the 2005 Toyota Camry SE V6 4dr Sedan (3.3L 6cyl 5A), don't go over $21,200

    for the 2005 Toyota Camry XLE V6 4dr Sedan (3.0L 6cyl 5A), max out at $22,700

    You can easily find invoice prices for specific car makes/models with options online. Remember that the dealer doesn't actually pay "invoice." There is a customary 3% dealer hold-back. For high volume cars like the Accord or Camry, shop around, get quotes online, go in to the dealership with a folder full of research and do not be afraid to walk away. If they want you to pay more than $100 or so over invoice, you can do better. If you are not in an emergency situation in which you need a car tomorrow, you have time to let the price come to you.

    Good luck!
     
  16. Scott_lb

    Scott_lb Supporting Actor

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    I own a 1997 Camry LE and it's been fantastic. I purchased it from my mom four years ago and have pampered it ever since. I like the newer models more, however, I will drive this one until the wheels fall off. I was suprised to see the low prices that Chris listed, as I thought these cars were much more expensive than the amounts listed.

    If I were in the market for a new car right now, I personally would strongly consider the TSX. My Camry is a little to "comfy" and I miss having a sports car. The TSX seems like a nice blend between comfort and sportiness.
     
  17. jeff lam

    jeff lam Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the input guys. I have a friend that recommended me the TSX. I told him I was thinking about a new car and would love to seriously look at the Acura TL but told him it was out of my price range. He highly recommended the TSX which another friend of ours has and seems to love.

    I'll consider the TSX too. I'm not afraid to look around and bargin hard.
     
  18. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Camry SEs are much less common than LE and XLE. They were meant to be a sports version of the Camry, have somwhat stiffer suspensions and more sports oriented interior trim (brushed metal look where XLE has fake woodgrain).

    Unless you are going to be hauling 5 passengers up steep freeway grades on a regular basis you do not need the V6.

    The 3.3 V6 with vvti is not as smooth as the old 3.0 without it, and in fact is only a bit smoother than the 4, and a small bit at that.

    The V6 is every bit as reliable as the 4, maintenance is a bit harder in that the back sparkplugs are a bear to get at. Good news is they have iridium plugs good for 90k miles.

    I also would strongly recommend you test drive a Mazda 6 and the Nissan Maxima if you like a sporty handling car. The Altima 3.5 SE is also a very nice car and considerably more sports oriented than the Camry SE.

    The Acura TSX is rated something like 200hp from a 4 cylinder engine, it's one of those high-winding things that is fairly gutless as far as low end torque. A 160ish hp 4 in a Camry, Altima, or Mazda 6 will probably be better in everyday driving.

    If you can go a size smaller, I'd also strongly recommend you test drive a Mazda 3 with the 2.3 liter engine--extrememly smooth engine, very nice handling, and if you like a manual trans it shifts and clutches like butter. It shares it's platform with the Volvo S-40 and is about as close to a BMW 3 series as you can get for under 20k.
     
  19. Scott L

    Scott L Producer

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    My bro bought a black TSX 2 weeks ago, it's a sweet car in both looks and build quality. The options made it easily over 30g's though. The 4 cylinder is pretty quiet too. My friend has a 2002 V6 Accord and it's pretty speedy, though road noise seeps in.

    I think a Camry is a nice mix of the two. Nissan dealers suck. [​IMG] But I love my Maxima. [​IMG] Almost 9 years old and can outperform all the cars I just listed.
     
  20. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    I've always felt the Maxima was badly underrated. The ones I've driven have been reallly solid feeling with excellent handling, braking, and acceleration even in the non-SE versions. Sort European but without the poor reliablity.

    Unlike the Toyota Avalon (which is imho a LeSabre wannabe at a premium price) the Maxima is a tiny bit less quiet but feels so much more solid. It not only doesn't rattle it feels like it can't rattle. First generation Altimas were similarly solid in feel. My ex has a '94 Altima that was T-boned by an old lady in a Taurus doing 40mph. Even after repairs this thing feels like it was carved out of a solid block of steel.
     

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