1994 TOYOTA CAMRY LE V6 SEDAN
Used Car - 1994 Toyota Camry LE V6 sedan in Cincinnati, Oh
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1994 Toyota Camry ReviewThis car review is specific to this model, not the actual vehicle for sale.
Think again, all those who believe that transporting the kids-or heading out for a weekend excursion-in a midsize station wagon means tolerating a boxy, lumbering vehicle. The 1994 Toyota Camry LE Wagon is superbly styled, excels in performance and offers plenty of room.
If you happen to be one of your household's more popular forms of public transportation, the Camry LE Wagon can carry as many as seven passengers with its optional third-seat package. And whether you're running errands or taking an extended road trip, there's plenty of storage space. With both back seats down, there's 74.8 cubic feet of cargo room. Up top, the adjustable roof rack lets you carry as much as 100 pounds of luggage.
The Camry LE Wagon comes standard with a four-cylinder engine, but we tested the transverse-mounted, 3.0-liter, 188-hp V6 model.
The MSRP of our test wagon, including standard air conditioning, power windows and door locks, and cruise control, was $22,918. We added a jazzier sound system with eight speakers, an anti-lock braking system (ABS), the third rear-seat package, carpeted floor mats and a roof rack, and the price jumped to $25,398.
With its fine lines, rounded sides, and silky finish, it was hard to keep our hands off the Camry LE Wagon's smooth body. The hood was slightly raised with a delicate curve. Directly underneath was a metal sheet to protect the bottom from bouncing rocks. The sides of the LE Wagon were extremely clean in design-from the subtle plastic strip that highlighted its platinum sheen to the recessed door handles.
The hood was easy to open with a flip of a lever, and the oil dipstick and reservoir were within easy reach.
In the rear, two windshield wipers suggested a seriousness about visibility. Really, who can see out the back of a one-rear-wiper window in poor conditions? The taillights wrapped slightly around the rear corners, adding to our impression that everything about this wagon fit together perfectly.
Overall, there wasn't a lot of decoration other than the chrome Toyota emblem and name. But we think the simple, elegant styling of this wagon will still turn a few heads.
Our 6-foot test driver slipped easily into the Camry LE Wagon when the steering wheel was raised. Once in the cockpit, he found a comfortable seat that provided good visibility and a surprising sense of spaciousness for a midsize vehicle.
Overall, the dash looked well engineered. Controls weren't jammed into comers or hidden out of sight. The only feature we did have a problem locating was the hood release. After consulting the owner's manual, we finally found it under the parking brake.
The driver's seat could be adjusted front to back with a lever, and there were knobs to adjust the lower torso support. The driver's seat reclined further than most wagons we tested. It also sat back a bit and offered plenty of headroom.
The backseat was comfortable enough for three people and, with 34.7-inches of legroom, a tag person wouldn't have to worry about feeling cramped. The 60/40 seat transition was easily accomplished with a touch of a button, leaving plenty of space for long, oversized cargo.
There were several well-thought-out safety features, such as hefty, velour-covered support posts, childproof rear door locks and backseat three-point seat belts.
The rear hatch was quite wide, and rear storage could accommodate 40 cubic feet of cargo. Our valuables were hidden by a retractable mat.
Our Camry LE Wagon started up as quietly as a sewing machine and remained rattle-free throughout our drive. On the highway, it accelerated quickly and smoothly to 70 mph with a peppy, throaty sound. Once up to speed, the our test wagon was comfortable and handled responsively when merging into traffic. The cruise-control buttons were on the steering wheel itself, so we didn't have to worry about quickly locating a lever to activate this feature.
The LE Wagon offered a sporty, high-performance drive compared with the heavy handling of some other wagons. Shifting in and out of gear was simple, and the lever was ergonomically designed to feel good in our driver's hand. (Keep in mind that the LE Wagon won't shift into drive unless the brake is on.)
Control was never a problem, whether we were driving on ice or packed snow, or when we tried a 360-degree turn at 45 mph. We were even able to swing a U-turn on a normal-width side street. Braking on an icy road from 20 mph, we found the ABS worked as advertised but made a loud grating sound.
When going up a steep hill or pulling a load, we slipped out of overdrive, floored it and quickly reached 45 mph at 6,000 rpms.
As for the ride, the high-tech suspension didn't prevent us from feeling bumps and irregularities in the road, but after a few days of commuting we probably wouldn't have noticed the slight bouncing.
One important standout: We found that our LE Wagon was so easy to park, it almost seemed to assist in the effort.
Keeping in mind Toyota's reputation for fantastic fit-and-finish, the LE Wagon didn't disappoint us.
Nor can its flair for providing all-around comfort be overemphasized. The Camry's roominess, in particular, is one of the car's most pleasant features, which is surprising when you consider the tight wheelbase (103.1 inches). But lots of legroom is a splendid bonus on this vehicle that has touched all the bases.
However, enthusiasm about this wagon's overall package might be tempered a bit by its hefty price tag. After all, a few more bucks would get you an even roomier minivan-but what you might gain in space you'd probably lose in styling and performance.
In the end, we found this to be a well-engineered utility vehicle that happens to be a station wagon. For those who feel that a wagon is a throwback to the old boat your mother schlepped you around in, there is n o similarity. This is a performance car-one that your kids might even ask to borrow.
Now Toyota's Camry line has something for just about everybody.
Previous Camry models, including sedans and wagons, have been successfully marketed as family vehicles. With the introduction of the coupe, which can compete with the likes of the Ford Thunderbird and Pontiac Grand Prix, there's now a Camry that can appeal to a different type of buyer.
The Camry Coupe brings legendary Toyota quality to the coupe market segment in three different levels of trim and standard equipment: DX, LE and SE. The DX base model is a price leader. The LE and SE Coupes offer a greater variety of standard features, with LE leaning toward luxury and SE offering a more sporty flavor.
Our test model was the Camry SE Coupe. It was pricey, topping out at $26,830. It included such expensive options as a moonroof, a premium sound system, leather interior, anti-lock brakes (ABS) and a security System. But its price was still comparable to Thunderbird and Grand Prix models loaded with the same premium equipment. The top-of-the-line SE Coupe is offered only with a powerful 188-hp, four-cam, 24-valve V6 engine.
The Camry SE Coupe looks impressive. See it for the first time and you immediately want to know who makes it. It looks more lean and trim than the Thunderbird or Grand Prix-it's less massive-looking than the Thunderbird, and its styling has more forethought than that of the Grand Prix, which has added-on body cladding.
Toyota stylists have hit a high water mark here. The Coupe SE bears an unmistakable resemblance to the Camry sedans and wagons, but it's also a fine-looking coupe on its own.
The Camry Coupe has a mono-chromatic paint scheme with body-colored protective side molding and bumpers. Our SE model was finished in Cashmere Beige Metallic. There are a number of distinctive design touches such as wraparound parking, turn signal and side marker lights. Another nice detail: We opened the gas tank access door and found a small, tray-like device that held the gas cap while we filled up. Fit-and-finish were of Toyota's usual quality-which is to say, the best.
The front bucket seats were comfortable. The six-way adjustable driver's seat (standard on the SE coupe) easily accommodated short and tall members of our test team. All controls and switches were readily available and well-marked, and they operated smoothly.
We predict this car's interior will be popular with coupe fanciers-it is definitely in the cockpit format. Speedometer, tachometer and all other gauges and lights are mounted above the steering wheel in a panel shaded by an 'eyelid' that curves to the right and down to encompass air-conditioning/heating vents and controls and a premium sound system. This all blends into a console that holds a storage bin, cupholders and a gear selector for the four-speed, electronically controlled 'Intelligent' automatic transmission.
The optional leather seating package includes a leather-wrapped four-spoke steering wheel. Dual air bags are standard, as are a host of other items such as power windows and door locks, cruise control, automatic illuminated entry, air conditioning and a 60/40 split rear seatback that provides access to the trunk and enables longer cargo such as skis to be stowed while still accommodating a passenger. This is an idea borrowed from sport utility vehicles and is so handy we wonder why all coupes don't offer it.
When we tried the moonroof, we found it to be a worthwhile option. When it was open, there was some noise intrusion-but a lot less than we expected. And while it did ventilate the cabin, it didn't blast us out of the vehicle. In fact, this was a moonroof that could be used in the winter - even in cold-weather climates.
The Camry SE Coupe performs and rides like the Camry sedans. The suspension action is firm, positive and sporty. The aluminum V6 engine pumps out a serious 203 pound-feet of torque, but its 188 hp is less than the horsepower on the upscale Thunderbird and Grand Prix models. However, the front-wheel drive Camry is a shade lighter than similarly equipped rear-wheel drive Thunderbird and Grand Prix models. The V6 Camry SE Coupe is more responsive than its Ford and Pontiac competitors equipped with standard engines. Compared with the 160-hp Grand Prix, for example, Camry comes out on top-most likely because of better breathing through the four-cam, 24valve arrangement.
On to the four-speed electronically controlled automatic transaxle. It's intelligent, which is Toyota's way of saying it's possible for the transaxle to perform in either a normal or a power setting. A driving pattern selector switch alters the shift points to provide lower gearing for more economical normal driving, or more power for acceleration. This device is located on the gear selector lever, which also holds a switch for over-drive.
Our test Camry Coupe was equipped with four-wheel disc brakes (standard on the SE model) and optional ABS. Braking was exceptional, furthering our impression that this is a serious sports car. This notion also was furthered by the standard specially tuned sport suspension system that includes stiffer, gas-filled shock absorbers and bushings, and body mounts that provide greater road feel. Handling was, in a word, outstanding.
Just when the demand for Japanese products in the US. automotive market falls off, Toyota launches a coupe in its successful Camry series. A marketing mistake? Not likely. Toyota appears to be in the U.S. car market for the long haul, and the Camry Coupe is the latest manifestation of that commitment.
We think the Camry SE Coupe will be a formidable competitor in the sport coupe market. It is handsome and comfortable, and it offers top-of-the-line performance. As well as boasting many standard features, the SE Coupe is more trim and seemingly more agile than the competition. It also has that fabulous Toyota fit-and-finish, an objective other automakers are trying to attain. And in case patriotism is an issue, this car is built in Kentucky. All and all, the Camry SE is an impressive case. Ford and Pontiac should be more than a little concerned.