Bought in '05 with 148000 kms in perfect condition. Very well built (much better than most new cars), incredibly reliable, but a bit boring. The V6 is very smooth and quiet but it lacks low end torque and seems to bog if you step on it. Ride is very smooth but floaty and needs to be more controlled. Steering is not very sharp. Tranny shifts well most of the time, but short shifts in normal mode and hangs on to revs too much in power mode. Quality of materials and build is awesome. Leather is excellent quality but front seat padding is hard and pinches the thighs. Overall a very good car with some minor shortcomings.
Reliability, build quality, smooth and quiet, up to 37mpg (imp gals) on the hwy, feels like it will last forever.
Boring to drive, engine lacks torque, ride should be as smooth yet be much more controlled, front driver's seat is hard and uncomfortable, poor headroom with sunroof, not as quiet as some newer vehicles (to be expected).
This car is meant to keep going. I have now put over 255,000 miles on the car and it still runs very well. The car is very comfortable for the driver and for up to 4 passengers (both long and short trips). 188hp very peppy for a mid-sized car. The exterior looks are phenomenal, basically a Lexus in Camry clothes. Interior has held up very well for 12 year old leather. Even with today's fancier features (nav, heated mirrors, etc) I would buy this car again in a heart beat. Camry (Cam-Mou-ri = Crown in japanese) is the gem of the Toyota lineup. I am very pleased with the long life, high miles, and literally NO maintenance of this vehicle.
I really like the perks of the Collector's Edition: power seats, CD player, leather, moonroof, Lexus pearl white paint, faux-wood interior, alloy wheels, and gold trim/pinstripe. I like how I can still get 26 mpg (mixed city/highway) on most fillups when newer cars can't even get that.
To complete the package, heated mirrors would be a plus. But seriously, this car has been, and continues to be, amazing in every way. I only wish they'd bring it back into production. I'd order one for myself and one for my wife!
After my 93 Grand Am (which had 189,000 miles) was hit buy a drunk motorist, I bought a 96 Camry from my mother, with 130000 miles on it. And I feel spoiled in the Camry! Im sorry but my faithfulness to American cars ended very quickly once behind the wheel of the Toyota! This is one of the cars that could be driven over the bumpest roads without ever spilling a drop of your favorite coffee! The 11 year old V6 still competes very well on the road and can actually "peel out" reaching a top speed of 135 MPH!! The tire grip is outstanding despite the excess body lean (which I'm sure got addressed in newer Camrys). The car took some getting used to but I think it was well worth it!
Steering effort is perfect for this car, The "power" button is great for those crazy days and the visibility is superb because there are no rear head rests blocking your view like in newer Camrys, and no cab-forward design which causes a long dash, so in my opinion, 96 was Camry's best year ever!
Toyota needs to have a factory supercharger availible for this style. Wish I had the SE edition. Oh softer seats are needed! I think Fred Flintstone sat on softer seats than this! Heads-up-display and digital displays would be killer!