What's New for 2001
Want air conditioning, power windows/locks/mirrors and variable intermittent wipers on the CE? Buy the Value Package. To get remote keyless entry or a power driver seat on the LE, you must buy a Value Package. A power moonroof and an in-dash six-disc CD changer require the Leather Value Package on XLE models. LE V6 models get daytime running lights standard, while JBL audio is optional on all LEs. The anti-theft system with engine immobilizer is restricted to XLE V6 models.
The Toyota Camry is one of America's most-favored mid-size sedans. The reasons are simple. It boasts room for five adults, can be ordered with a powerful and smooth-revving V6, and comes with the reputation of solid Toyota reliability.
But can you believe the recent "I'm Too Sexy" advertising campaign? Featuring the lead singer from one-hit-wonder band Right Said Fred, the TV ads proclaim that the Camry is too sexy for a number of things, including drive-thrus, car washes and dry cleaning pick-up runs. So, uh, what are you supposed to use the innocuously styled sedan for? Picking up hot dates? Running Laguna Seca? Impressing the Joneses?
Camry can be equipped for everything from rugged family life or plush luxury touring, but nothing particularly sexy. Club hopping and canyon carving are not on the menu, though Toyota Racing Development (TRD - how sexy is that acronym? Further evidence supporting our case for truthfulness in advertising.) will sell you a kit that turns this grocery-getter into a competent handler.
There are three different trims: base-level CE, mid-level LE, and the top-level XLE. LE and XLE can be equipped with a delicious 3.0-liter V6 engine, which produces 200 horsepower and 214 foot-pounds of torque. Acceleration is impressive, and unlike six-pot Honda Accords and Mitsubishi Galants, the Camry LE V6 can be ordered with a manual transmission. Pop the TuRD components on, and you've got a hell of a sleeper. Braking is swift and sure with the antilock system, and Camry hangs on well in corners despite rather meek all-season radials and substantial body roll. This car is tuned for a soft, quiet ride out of the factory.
Inside, controls and gauges are laid-out nicely in a dated but ergonomically correct dashboard. The switches and stalks all exhibit a solid heft, imparting a sense of quality. Abundant storage areas include a deep center console, door bins, and dashboard bins. Front cupholders accommodate 20-ounce bottles of your favorite beverage. The only downside to this cabin is that you might find the seats uncomfortable.
Notable options include side airbags, traction control, a JBL sound system, leather interior trim, and a power moonroof. ABS is standard on LE and XLE models equipped with a V6 engine.
For 2001, Toyota has juggled value package content and stand-alone option availability. Want air conditioning and power windows/locks/mirrors on the CE? How about remote keyless entry or a power driver's seat on the LE? Don't forget a power moonroof and six-disc in-dash CD changer on an XLE. All require the purchase of a Value Package. A JBL audio system is newly optional on all LEs, this year, and an anti-theft system with engine immobilizer is restricted to XLE V6 models.
Overall, Camry works well as a family sedan. Fully optioned, it's considerably more expensive than domestic competitors, but given the Camry's best-seller status, it seems most Americans consider this Toyota to be a worthwhile expenditure.