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Reader test:Toyota Camry 300 SEI

2009-10-02 08:17

Eugene Viviers

I was looking for a car to replace my Ford Granada. Being a Fleet Manager and somewhat of a car enthusiast, I was well aware of the reliability of the Toyotas. I knew I needed a Camry.

The 220 would have been more than adequate, but the 3.0-litre seemed like an even better idea. I needed a tow vehicle for a medium-sized caravan, so I wanted a manual and a comfortable family car. Not that I had a family at the time, but I needed my passengers (three to four adults) to be comfortable.

I purchased the car second-hand in 2000 with 100 000 km on the clock. Nine years later and 370 000 km on the clock, it has never let me down.

Recently we took a trip down to the Cape with five adults in the Camry and four in a Merc C 180 Kompressor. The Merc that was only 18 months old broke down halfway back to Johannesburg. The Camry never missed a beat and returned fuel consumption of between 9 and 10 l/100 km. I average closer to 11 l/100 km in day-to-day motoring.

Like new

Apart from normal services, I only replaced the clutch at 250 000 km (normal maintenance), the cambelt (normal maintenance), the shock absorbers at 350 000 km (for the first time - exceptional) and the water pump.

Engine is still 100% standard and runs like new. It revs quite high for a 3.0-litre V6, especially compared to the Cressida 3.0-litre straight six with a lot more low-down torque.

I had it on 220 km/h a couple of times and it handled well. It cruises comfortably at 180km/h. ABS works very well. All the standard equipment still works like new.

My next car will be a Toyota Avensis 2.4 (unfortunately only available in automatic) and I am very comfortable in knowing that the car will give me the same motoring pleasure my Camry does.

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