Commitment. What is it all about? It's little more than the knowledge that when you need something or someone, they'll be there.
For the past 12 years, I have been committed to a 1989 Ice Blue Pearl Metallic Camry. Or, rather, it has been committed to me. No, it's not the slickest ride in car-crazy Los Angeles, and no, my friends weren't clamoring for a ride in its blue velour interior, like I was when they got their fancy new wheels. But I've never had to call them to rescue me when the ignition didn't turn or wail despondently when a costly new transmission became necessary.
I haven't driven my Camry in the almost two years that I've been working at Edmunds. Rather, I've been traipsing in and out of press cars, fancy or not. Each time I pass by my Camry, I feel a twinge of guilt, having neglected it so. Yet I know that whenever I may need it, it'll fire up and provide me with the conveyance I require.
This is the appeal of a Camry. Utter dependability. Apparently, others feel the same. For the fourth year in a row, Americans have made the Camry the best-selling car, outgunning stalwarts Honda Accord and Ford Taurus. Look around you; like pod people, they've multiplied and infiltrated the ranks. You can barely look up without spotting a Camry on the road. Plus, by the sheer size and scope of their upcoming advertising campaign, the largest ever in automotive history, you won't be able to take the Camry for granted.
Affection can grow from such promising seedling, but Toyota wants to fertilize the field further by adding a heretofore lacking component: emotion. They want you to desire the 2002 Camry, rather than merely need it. "Sensual" replaces the prosaic "sensible."
Now the question remains, how do you improve on a bestseller? Simple give the people more of what they like. And the engineers at Toyota have done just that, simultaneously retaining all the things that make a Camry great while imbuing it with a new feel.
This is the first all-new platform for Camry since 1992. You've probably heard about it before, though; its underpinnings hold up the Highlander and Camry's fancy all-new twin, the Lexus ES 300. In the future, it will be the basis of the Sienna, the Solara and the Avalon. Added room was a key goal with this redesign. The wheelbase has been lengthened by 2 inches, resulting in 1.5 more inches of legroom in back for a total of 37.8 inches. Its stance was widened by more than half an inch, and the overall height increased about 2.5 inches, depending on wheel size.
The trunk is cavernous, with 16.7 cubic feet of storage space, an improvement of 2.6 cubic feet. Although it's a bit hampered by high liftover, the gooseneck hinges avoid mangling luggage. Torsional rigidity has been increased with a multitude of spot welds, including various ones on the roof, that add to a battened-down, more stable vehicle.
Toyota also added a bit of flair without detracting from what made the Camry a best-seller in the first place: an inoffensive, clean-lined vehicle that appropriates "hot" styling cues of the moment. Third-generation Camry? Had that Puffalump roundness about it. Fourth? Crisp deckline, sharper edges. The new Camry sports triangular headlamps like those on the Celica and the ES 300, but lacks that "pulled-tight" look that's sometimes unpleasant to some sharp-tongued observers. It's swoopy and aerodynamic enough to reduce the coefficient of drag from 0.30 to 0.284. The rear still has a crease on the trunk, but the taillamps are D-shaped rather than a strip, reminiscent of those of a Dodge Neon, Nissan Maxima or Ford Taurus.
More changes grace the interior for the better. It's all but shed its boring, generic center stack, and morphed into something decidedly more Lexus-like, with three rotary dials for the climate control in the SE and LE models. The XLE has automatic controls. FYI, they're all electronically controlled, which means no cables and wires. Why is that better? Less componentry decreases the chance of developing those annoying rattles and squeaks. Plus, it's easier to replace the dash. It also allowed engineers to dial in great "feel" in terms of engagement, and it worked. The flawlessly assembled controls felt substantial and hefty, as befitting a precisely engineered car.
Two engines motivate the Camry. The 194-horsepower 3.0-liter V6 is little more than tweaked; it now achieves ULEV certification (due to a new catalyst design that warms up faster) and improved acceleration times. According to Toyota, 0 to 60 miles per hour is reached in 8.3 seconds, a 0.4-second improvement over the previous engine, thanks to a revised induction system, increased intake manifold length and a mild supercharging effect at lower engine revs.
It results in smooth, linear power and quiet, effortless operation while somehow slightly improving fuel mileage estimates by a couple of miles to the gallon. While throttle response is perfectly adequate for most driving situations, we feel that there is room for improvement, especially considering that the 2002 Nissan Altima will be roaring with 240 horses.
But 75 percent of Camry buyers opt for the inline four engine, and this is where the engineers chose to concentrate. The 2.4-liter I4 is all-new, and now makes 157 horsepower and 162 lb-ft of twist, besting the previous engine's numbers by 24 and 14, respectively. This should take a full second off the 0-to-60 acceleration time. The unit is now all-aluminum, which results in lowered noise, harshness and vibration levels. It's also more compact and 19 percent lighter than the previous engine.
Indeed, the Camry offers a smooth, refined ride. No, it doesn't inspire you to test its limits or take the long route home, but the four-strut suspension design results in a quiet, solid and stable drive. Steering is direct and well proportioned; Toyota tightened up the turning circle by about a foot, giving the larger vehicle a more nimble feel. It gives little feedback from the road and, as with most front-wheel-drivers, is subject to a bit of understeer.
The brake pedal offers plenty of linearity and great stopping power, although the four-cylinder LE model still sports rear drums. The rest of the lineup features discs at all four corners. We see that Toyota still isn't offering ABS as standard equipment on the LE model; "Some of our customers don't want ABS," Toyota officials maintain.
The engines are mated to any of three brand-new transmission units. You can get an SE or an LE with the four-cylinder and a five-speed manual tranny for row-'em-yourself thrills. Both engines have new four-speed automatics, as well, with an Electronically Controlled Transmission system with intelligence (ECT-i). They feature an uphill/downhill shift logic system, which holds a lower gear during both ascents and descents, reducing that annoying lag when you're driving up a curvy road.
Toyota has also increased the feature content; dropped is the base-model CE, which means that you can't get a no-frills Camry for under $19,000 (prices for other models have slightly dropped, however). In its place is the LE, which offers electric windows with driver-side auto down, power mirrors and locks, air conditioning with particulate filtration, cruise control and ambient temperature gauge. We think that keyless remote entry should be on the standard features list, but Toyota doesn't.
Three trim levels for the Camry are on the plate, all available with either engine, which Toyota claims is now more taste-driven than price-driven. Step up to the pleasure dome of the XLE and get power driver and passenger seats, heated outside mirrors, faux wood, climate control with rear-seat vents, steering wheel-mounted controls for the trip computer and the clock display, a compass in the electrochromic mirror, rear sunshade and 16-inch wheels. Oddly enough, the XLE has a foot-operated emergency brake, whereas the other two have handbrakes.
Toyota now offers a sporty SE model (Camry and sporty were previously contradictory terms, but somehow this works). Included in this subtly distinctive trim level are foglights, a blackened grille, rear spoiler, headlamps with black insets, a three-spoke steering wheel and lovely silver-faced gauges. Most importantly, the SE also rides on 16-inch wheels and a sport-tuned suspension with firmer springs and shock damping. It results in a tauter ride, enjoyable on twisty roads. No, it's no sports car, but that's not the raison d'etre of a Camry, now is it?
Optional for all V6 models is a Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) system, which corrects understeer and oversteer deviancy. Side and, for the first time, side curtain airbags for front and rear passengers are also available. Next year, power adjustable pedals that can move 3 inches up and down, allowing shorter drivers to find the perfect driving position, will be available. Make sure your kid is strapped in his seat with the proffered LATCH anchors.
Other add-ons to keep the Camry up-to-date include Toyota's excellent navigation system and an in-dash six-disc changer. Fully loaded, a top-of-the-line Camry XLE is a few hundred dollars more than a stripped-down Lexus ES 300. Unless your day depends on being the owner of a luxury marque car with real wood trim, we can't imagine that anyone would forego the Camry.
Toyota wants to engineer an image shift from being the "most respected car company in America" to being the "most loved car company in America." Isn't that romantic?
Is the 2002 Toyota Camry a good car? Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2002 Toyota Camry and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2002 Camry featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our Review Process All of our reviews are written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
How do people like the 2002 Toyota Camry? Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2002 Toyota Camry and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2002 Camry 4.4 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2002 Camry.
Review If you locate a 2002 2.4 liter SE with more than 170k miles on it.., that has a condensation visual appearance exhaust, BUY IT! You won't go wrong. These motors are pretty much bullet proof, besides the normal replacement of worn engine parts, batteries, tires and struts. The owner of my Camry always kept 'Amsoil' in every sump the car had..., including the coolant. I truly appreciate this, for this is why I made the purchase. The previous owner obviously knew the importance of quality lubes (synthetic) and other chemicals. I took a leak down test of the vehicle, before I actually purchased it, and without going through the technical part of things, both the compression rings and cylinder walls revealed that of practically a new car. I expect to get 500k miles out of this little transverse inline 2.4 liter work horse. The car as a whole, endured the punishing heat of Central Florida since 2002, when it was purchased new. The paint in nothing to write home about.., but that engine is build correctly. I'm a diesel guy! I own a 7.3 liter Ford Excursion with 236k miles on it. Hardly broken in.., for a diesel that is. I put the 2002 Toyota Camry longevity and reliability on the same platform as my Navistar 7.3 liter diesel. It just that darn dependable!!!! In conclusion, I will keep it on a steady diet of 'Amsoil 3000 Series HD Diesel motor oil.' The drain interval for me is 25k, so all you have to do is change the oil filter every 7k miles, religiously. This is a sound practice that I've used for more than 15 years, but with the 3000 Series Diesel synthetic oil only. I also own a 1986 Dodge 318ci pick-up with 617K miles on it, using the 3000 series Diesel only. If you come across a 2000-2006 Toyota Camry 2.4 liter..., BUY IT. It'll be the best investment you'll ever make. Darren T. Jackson (Chicago, IL)
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What options are available on the 2002 Toyota Camry?
Available Toyota Camry 2002 Submodel Types: Sedan
Available Trims: LE, SE, XLE, XSE, XLE V6, SE Sport, LE V6, CE, L, Base, SE V6, SE Limited Edition, Special Edition, Standard, DX
Exterior Colors: Super White, Celestial Silver Metallic, Predawn Gray Mica, Midnight Black Metallic, Attitude Black Metallic, Classic Silver Metallic, Magnetic Gray Metallic, Cosmic Gray Mica, Galactic Aqua Mica, Ruby Flare Pearl, Barcelona Red Metallic, Brownstone, Wind Chill Pearl, Parisian Night Pearl, Creme Brulee Mica, Black, Blue Crush Metallic, Desert Sand Mica, Cypress Pearl, Lunar Mist Metallic, Blue Streak Metallic, Blizzard Pearl, Blue Ribbon Metallic, Titanium Metallic, Aloe Green Metallic, Sandy Beach Metallic, Phantom Gray Pearl, Magnetic Gray, Catalina Blue Metallic, Sky Blue Pearl, Cashmere Beige Metallic, Clearwater Blue Metallic, Spruce Mica, Wind Chill Pearl/Midnight Black Metallic Roof, Aspen Green Pearl, Blue Streak Metallic/Midnight Black Metallic Roof, Champagne Mica, Graphite Gray Pearl, Salsa Red Pearl, Stratosphere Mica, Celestial Silver Metallic/Midnight Black Metallic Roof, Mineral Green Opalescent, Black Walnut Pearl, Sailfin Blue Metallic, Antique Sage Pearl, Classic Green Pearl, Indigo Ink Pearl, Lunar Mist, Mineral Green Opal, Silver Taupe Metallic, Woodland Pearl
Interior Colors: Ash cloth, Black leatherette/cloth, Ash leather, Black premium cloth, Black cloth, Black leather, Macadamia cloth, Ash leatherette/cloth, Ivory cloth, Black leather/suede, Black and Ash leather/suede, Black/Ash leatherette/cloth, Bisque cloth, Macadamia leather, Almond cloth, Almond leather, Dark Charcoal leather, Ivory leather, Stone, Cockpit Red leather, Gray, Ash premium cloth, Black/Ash premium cloth, Dark Charcoal premium cloth, Taupe, Bisque leather, Bisque premium cloth, Fawn, Black/Blue leatherette/cloth, Stone cloth, Taupe cloth, Dark Charcoal, Dark Gray
Popular Features: Rear Bench Seats, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Fold Flat Rear Seats, Aux Audio Inputs, Tire Pressure Warning, Power Driver Seat, Stability Control, Trip Computer, Bluetooth, USB Inputs, Back-up camera, Alarm, Upgraded Headlights, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, Pre-collision safety system, Auto Climate Control, Sunroof/Moonroof, Multi-Zone Climate Control, Heated seats, Blind Spot Monitoring, Leather Seats, Keyless Entry/Start, Navigation, Post-collision safety system, Mobile Internet, Upgraded Stereo, Heads up display, 360-degree camera, Remote Start