Toyota Camry 2002 - 2006 review
The 2002-2006 Toyota Camry is a very spacious, reliable mid-size sedan with a smooth ride and one of the most economical 4-cylinder engine in its class.
The Camry is only available as a four-door sedan. A two-door version is sold as Toyota Camry Solara.
Toyota Camry 2006
Toyota Camry 2006
Toyota Camry 2.4-liter engine
The 2002-2006 Camry has a front-wheel drive. The drivetrain choices include a 4-cylinder or V6 engine and a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission (replaced with a 5-speed automatic transmission from 2004). The 2.4L 4-cylinder engine (model 2AZ-FE) combines decent power with excellent fuel economy. This engine does not have a timing belt; a timing chain is used instead. A timing chain doesn't need to be replaced unless there is a problem with it.
The optional 3.0-liter 24-valve V6 is a smooth and powerful engine. Starting from 2004, the 3.3-liter V6 DOHC VVT-i engine became available on SE V6 model. Both the 3.0L and 3.3L V6 engines have a timing belt that must be replaced at recommended intervals. The Camry has disc brakes in the front, drums or discs in the back. Anti-lock Brakes (ABS) were optional; standard from 2005.
The Camry's interior is comfortable and very roomy with plenty of rear-seat space. The dashboard looks a bit plain but everything is well laid out. In the same style, the instrument panel is very simple with large gauges. Controls are conveniently located and easy to use. Seats are on the soft side with little side support.
On the road, the Camry is a pleasure to drive with a smooth and quiet ride. The Camry's soft suspension absorbs road bumps and cracks well. The steering is light; brakes feel a little soft. The 2.4L 4-cylinder engine has enough power for everyday driving while the V6 offers better acceleration with more stable ride. Overall, the handling is good, although you wouldn't call it sporty.
In NHTSA frontal crash tests, the 2002-2003 Camry received five stars for the driver and four stars for the front passenger. The 2004 model received four stars for both the driver and the front passenger, while the improved 2005-2006 Camry received five stars for both the driver and the front passenger. The EPA rates 2006 Toyota Camry with a 4-cylinder engine and an automatic transmission at 21/31mpg (11.2/7.6 L/100 km); that's 416 miles (670 km) on one 18.5-gallon (70 L) tank of gas. The estimated annual fuel cost is $2,250 per EPA.
- Great on gas (4-cylinder models)
- Smooth quiet ride
- Rear seat space
- Spacious trunk
- Easy to maintain
- Good resale value, easy to sell
- Above-average reliability
- Plain interior design
- Pricey compared to competitors
- Front seats lack lateral support
- Paint is easy to scratch
The 2002-2006 Toyota Camry is a very spacious reliable family sedan with a smooth ride and fuel-efficient 4-cylinder engine. I recommend a 4-cylinder model over the V6 because it's more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly. Plus, you don't need to change a timing belt. If you want more 'hi-tech' interior and more sporty ride, Honda Accord is another top choice in this category.
What to look for buying a used Toyota Camry
As a first step, check the used car history records. A history report may help you to uncover some of the problems the car might have in the past such as accidents, flood damage, rolled back odometer, rental use, etc.
Follow this link: How to check used car history
- Check the service records if available - it's good to know if the vehicle was properly maintained.
- Look for knocking noise in the steering column (Toyota has issued a Technical Service Bulletin on this).
- On a V6 model, check if the timing belt has been replaced.
- If you notice blue smoke from exhaust, even if it's just a brief puff of blue smoke at startup, avoid such a car.
- If the "check engine" light is on, have the problem assessed with your mechanic or a dealer before buying a car; in the worst cases the repair might be quite expensive.
Learn more what to look for when buying a used car
- Before buying a car have it inspected by a mechanic of your choice.
- After you bought a car, check with a Toyota dealer if all safety recalls have been performed.
- A regularly applied car wax will help to protect the paint.
- To keep your engine in a good shape, change engine oil regularly.
- Synthetic oil can offer extra protection for your engine.
- Avoid overheating the engine, it may cause serious damage.
- Change the transmission fluid regularly using only original Toyota transmission fluid.
- Stick with original Toyota parts.
- A V6 engine has a timing belt that must be replaced at recommended intervals.
- Follow recommended maintenance schedule and keep all the fluids clean and topped up.
- Take care of any minor problems before they become expensive to fix.
- Have your car inspected, at least once a year, in a garage on the lift (e.g. when doing tire rotation) to keep it safe. Many components (e.g. brakes, steering, suspension) cannot be properly inspected by simple visual inspection at fast lube places; the vehicle must be on the lift.
More on maintenance:
| 10 simple tips how to keep
your car running longer »
| Easy car maintenance
checklist with photos »
Toyota Camry specifications (2006 model)
| Overall length:
| 189.2 (4805 mm)
107.1 in (2720 mm)
70.7 in (1795 mm)
58.7 in (1490 mm)
|| 16.7 cu. ft (.47 m³)
| Camry LE, SE
LE V6, XLE V6
| 2.4-liter 16-valve DOHC VVT-i
154 hp @ 5,700 rpm, 160 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm
3.0-liter DOHC 24-valve VVT-i all-aluminum V6
190 hp @ 5,800 rpm, 197 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm
3.3-liter DOHC 24-valve VVT-i all-aluminum V6
210 hp @ 5,600 rpm, 220 lb-ft @ 3,600 rpm
|EPA Fuel Economy (US mpg, L/100 km):|
| 2.4L, 4-cyl engine, Manual transmission.
2.4L, 4-cyl engine, Automatic transmission.
3.0L, V6 engine, Automatic transmission.
3.3L, V6 engine, Automatic transmission.
| city: 21 mpg (11.2 L/100 km)
hwy: 30 mpg (7.8 L/100 km)
city: 21 mpg (11.2 L/100 km)
hwy: 31 mpg (7.6 L/100 km)
city: 18 mpg (13.1 L/100 km)
hwy: 26 mpg (9.0 L/100 km)
city: 18 mpg (13.1 L/100 km)
hwy: 27 mpg (8.7 L/100 km)
|| Regular unleaded
|Fuel Tank Capacity:
||18.5 US gallons (70 liters)