Pros

  • Superb value for money.
  • Excellent reputation for reliability.
  • Huge support network.
  • Relatively inexpensive to maintain and repair.

Cons

  • Lacking in terms of safety, tech and equipment.
  • Many are showing enormous mileage.
  • Many have not been cared for.
  • Overall reliable, although they aren’t without their gremlins.

Verdict

The Camry’s popularity has never been forged through performance, or a sexy image, or a luxury experience, the Camry has sold in the millions because it is a no nonsense, rugged, reliable and dependable car and if you’re on the tightest of budgets, this generation Camry is simply the one...

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Publish: April 14, 2023

The 1997 to 2002 XV20 Toyota Camry was available as a sedan or wagon, packing either a 4 or 6-cylinder engine with a manual or automatic transmission and although all Camry’s in Australia powered the front wheels only, select markets did receive all-wheel drive variants.

Speaking of variants, depending on the year model and if it is a sedan or wagon, before the mid-life update you’ll generally have three specs to choose from however, there was a whole different Camry that wasn’t technically a Camry, but it was and that was called the Vienta.

The Vienta existed from 1997 to 2000 and was simply the fancy schmancy V6. It too was available as a sedan or wagon in two trim specs.

After the mid-life update in September 2000, the Vienta was discontinued and the Camry range increased to five variants like most updates, it included a subtle facelift, some mechanical changes and the levels of equipment increased.

The 1997 to 2002 XV20 Toyota Camry was available as a sedan or wagon, packing either a 4 or 6-cylinder engine with a manual or automatic transmission and although all Camry’s in Australia powered the front wheels only, select markets did receive all-wheel drive variants.

Speaking of variants, depending on the year model and if it is a sedan or wagon, before the mid-life update you’ll generally have three specs to choose from however, there was a whole different Camry that wasn’t technically a Camry, but it was and that was called the Vienta.

The Vienta existed from 1997 to 2000 and was simply the fancy schmancy V6. It too was available as a sedan or wagon in two trim specs.

After the mid-life update in September 2000, the Vienta was discontinued and the Camry range increased to five variants like most updates, it included a subtle facelift, some mechanical changes and the levels of equipment increased.

The 1997 to 2002 XV20 Toyota Camry was available as a sedan or wagon, packing either a 4 or 6-cylinder engine with a manual or automatic transmission and although all Camry’s in Australia powered the front wheels only, select markets did receive all-wheel drive variants.

Speaking of variants, depending on the year model and if it is a sedan or wagon, before the mid-life update you’ll generally have three specs to choose from however, there was a whole different Camry that wasn’t technically a Camry, but it was and that was called the Vienta.

The Vienta existed from 1997 to 2000 and was simply the fancy schmancy V6. It too was available as a sedan or wagon in two trim specs.

After the mid-life update in September 2000, the Vienta was discontinued and the Camry range increased to five variants like most updates, it included a subtle facelift, some mechanical changes and the levels of equipment increased.

Exterior:

Commonly found on examples that have been left out in the harsh Australian sun, never ever garaged, parked regularly near salt water or that have never ever been cleaned or cared for, the paint and clear coat can fade and degrade heavily.

The good news, with even the bare minimum of care, like washing it once every 2 years, the paint can handle harsh conditions very well.

There are reports that the tail light harnesses are known to wear out or break overtime due to the wiring routing through the hinges of the boot lid which it rubs against, resulting in the brake lights or reverse lights not working.

In very rare cases, and on automatics, this can prevent the transmission from deselecting park.

Interior:

There are complaints of centre consoles being flimsy and fragile, with latches and hinges breaking which then causes the console lid to come off.

Headlining commonly looses its adhesion with the roof.

The plastic or vinyl steering wheels have a habit of basically biodegrading.

There are some reports of the fan for the air con and heater only working at certain speeds, this is usually due to the blower resistor motor failing and therefore needs replacing.

Exterior:

Commonly found on examples that have been left out in the harsh Australian sun, never ever garaged, parked regularly near salt water or that have never ever been cleaned or cared for, the paint and clear coat can fade and degrade heavily.

The good news, with even the bare minimum of care, like washing it once every 2 years, the paint can handle harsh conditions very well.

There are reports that the tail light harnesses are known to wear out or break overtime due to the wiring routing through the hinges of the boot lid which it rubs against, resulting in the brake lights or reverse lights not working.

In very rare cases, and on automatics, this can prevent the transmission from deselecting park.

Interior:

There are complaints of centre consoles being flimsy and fragile, with latches and hinges breaking which then causes the console lid to come off.

Headlining commonly looses its adhesion with the roof.

The plastic or vinyl steering wheels have a habit of basically biodegrading.

There are some reports of the fan for the air con and heater only working at certain speeds, this is usually due to the blower resistor motor failing and therefore needs replacing.

Exterior:

Commonly found on examples that have been left out in the harsh Australian sun, never ever garaged, parked regularly near salt water or that have never ever been cleaned or cared for, the paint and clear coat can fade and degrade heavily.

The good news, with even the bare minimum of care, like washing it once every 2 years, the paint can handle harsh conditions very well.

There are reports that the tail light harnesses are known to wear out or break overtime due to the wiring routing through the hinges of the boot lid which it rubs against, resulting in the brake lights or reverse lights not working.

In very rare cases, and on automatics, this can prevent the transmission from deselecting park.

Interior:

There are complaints of centre consoles being flimsy and fragile, with latches and hinges breaking which then causes the console lid to come off.

Headlining commonly looses its adhesion with the roof.

The plastic or vinyl steering wheels have a habit of basically biodegrading.

There are some reports of the fan for the air con and heater only working at certain speeds, this is usually due to the blower resistor motor failing and therefore needs replacing.

Body Style:

4-door sedan (CSi, CSX, Conquest, Advantage, Intrigue, Touring, Vienta VXi, Vienta Grande, Azura)

5-door wagon (CSi, CSX, Conquest, Touring Vienta VXi)

Engines:

2.2 litre 4-cylinder petrol (CSi, CSX, Conquest, Advantage, Intrigue)

3.0 litre V6 petrol (CSi, Conquest, Touring, Advantage, Vienta VXi, Vienta Grande, Azura)

Power:

95kW – 2.2 litre 4-cylinder petrol

141kW – 3.0 litre V6 petrol

Torque:

187Nm – 2.2 litre 4-cylinder petrol

279Nm – 3.0 litre V6 petrol

Transmission & drivetrains:

5-speed manual, front wheel drive (FWD)

4-speed automatic, front wheel drive (FWD)

Fuel Consumption:

8.2 – 9.3L/100km

Length:

4770mm (sedan)

4775mm (wagon)

Width:

1780mm

Height:

1420mm (sedan)

1445mm (wagon)

Kerb Weight:

1325 – 1475kg (4 door Sedan)

1390 – 1544kg (5 door Wagon)

Towing (braked/unbreaked)

1100/500kg – 2.2 litre 4-cylinder petrol

1200/500kg – 3.0 litre V6 petrol

Body Style:

4-door sedan (CSi, CSX, Conquest, Advantage, Intrigue, Touring, Vienta VXi, Vienta Grande, Azura)

5-door wagon (CSi, CSX, Conquest, Touring Vienta VXi)

Engines:

2.2 litre 4-cylinder petrol (CSi, CSX, Conquest, Advantage, Intrigue)

3.0 litre V6 petrol (CSi, Conquest, Touring, Advantage, Vienta VXi, Vienta Grande, Azura)

Power:

95kW – 2.2 litre 4-cylinder petrol

141kW – 3.0 litre V6 petrol

Torque:

187Nm – 2.2 litre 4-cylinder petrol

279Nm – 3.0 litre V6 petrol

Transmission & drivetrains:

5-speed manual, front wheel drive (FWD)

4-speed automatic, front wheel drive (FWD)

Fuel Consumption:

8.2 – 9.3L/100km

Length:

4770mm (sedan)

4775mm (wagon)

Width:

1780mm

Height:

1420mm (sedan)

1445mm (wagon)

Kerb Weight:

1325 – 1475kg (4 door Sedan)

1390 – 1544kg (5 door Wagon)

Towing (braked/unbreaked)

1100/500kg – 2.2 litre 4-cylinder petrol

1200/500kg – 3.0 litre V6 petrol

Body Style:

4-door sedan (CSi, CSX, Conquest, Advantage, Intrigue, Touring, Vienta VXi, Vienta Grande, Azura)

5-door wagon (CSi, CSX, Conquest, Touring Vienta VXi)

Engines:

2.2 litre 4-cylinder petrol (CSi, CSX, Conquest, Advantage, Intrigue)

3.0 litre V6 petrol (CSi, Conquest, Touring, Advantage, Vienta VXi, Vienta Grande, Azura)

Power:

95kW – 2.2 litre 4-cylinder petrol

141kW – 3.0 litre V6 petrol

Torque:

187Nm – 2.2 litre 4-cylinder petrol

279Nm – 3.0 litre V6 petrol

Transmission & drivetrains:

5-speed manual, front wheel drive (FWD)

4-speed automatic, front wheel drive (FWD)

Fuel Consumption:

8.2 – 9.3L/100km

Length:

4770mm (sedan)

4775mm (wagon)

Width:

1780mm

Height:

1420mm (sedan)

1445mm (wagon)

Kerb Weight:

1325 – 1475kg (4 door Sedan)

1390 – 1544kg (5 door Wagon)

Towing (braked/unbreaked)

1100/500kg – 2.2 litre 4-cylinder petrol

1200/500kg – 3.0 litre V6 petrol

Warranty:

3 years/100,000km

Servicing:

12 months/10,000km

Model range, pricing & features

Toyota Camry-5

CSi (1997-2002)

Price when new: $24,750 - $31,165

Price used: $300 - $3,200

The CSi was the base model of the XV20 Camry range which offered a basic set of features. The Series II update added a driver’s airbag from January 2001, speed alert warning, power antenna, electric front windows and 60:40 folding seats on sedan and wagon.

The CSi was available as with a 4-cylinder or V6 engine, either coupled to a 5-speed manual or optional 4-speed automatic.

Standard features:

14-inch steel wheels
Body coloured bumper bars
Electric side mirrors
Intermittent wipers
Remote central locking
Engine immobiliser
Tachometer
Fuel gauge
Steering wheel – tilt (up/down) adjust
Heating and ventilation controls
Cloth upholstery
Manually adjustable driver’s seat
Height adjustable front headrests
4-speaker sound system
AM/FM radio
Cassette player
Cupholders
Centre console storage
Glovebox
60:40 rear folding seats (wagon only)
Fuel lid release

Series II updates:

Driver’s airbag (January 2001)
Speed alert warning
Power antenna
Electric windows – front only
60:40 rear folding seats (sedan and wagon)

Advantage (2002)

Price when new: $28,155 - $32,405

Price used: $300 - $3,400

The Avantage was a limited-run model based on the CSi and introduced in 2002. It adds 15-inch alloys, “Advantage” badging, manual air conditioning, cruise control, front and rear electric windows, 6-speaker stereo system and CD player.

In addition to CSi:

15-inch alloy wheels
“Advantage” badging
Manual air conditioning
Cruise control
Electric windows – front and rear with driver’s side auto up/down
6-speaker stereo system
CD player

Conquest (1997-2002)

Price when new: $27,888 - $36,665

Price used: $300 - $3,300

The safety-orientated Conquest added ABS, driver and front passenger airbag along with manual air conditioning and electric front windows. The Series II update was largely unchanged except for the addition of front and rear electric windows.

In addition to CSi:

15-inch steel wheels
Anti-lock braking system (ABS) – omitted from Series II
Driver and front passenger airbag
Electric windows – front only
Manual air conditioning (from April 1998)

Series II updates:

Electric windows – front and rear with driver’s side auto up/down

Intrigue (2001)

Price when new: $29,990

Price used: $300 - $3,200

The limited-run Intrigue was introduced in 2001 and adds alloy wheels, 6-speaker sound system, CD player and a special interior upholstery.

In addition to Conquest:

15-inch alloy wheels
Anti-lock braking system (ABS)
6-speaker stereo system
CD player
“Cosmos” Jacquard seat upholstery
Rear seat headrests

CSX (1997-2002)

Price when new: $28,850 - $34,350

Price used: $300 - $3,100

The CSX adds larger steel wheels, driver’s airbag, cruise control, climate control, velour trim and 6-speaker sound system.

In addition to CSi:

15-inch steel wheels
Driver’s airbag
Cruise control
Electric windows – front only
Single-zone climate control
Velour trim
6-speaker sound system

Series II updates:

Electric windows – front and rear with driver’s side auto up/down

Touring (1999-2002)

Price when new: $33,909 - $38,580

Price used: $300 - $3,900

The Touring was the top-of-the-range for the Camry model (until the Series II update), and added alloy wheels, sports suspension, rear spoiler, 6-speaker sound system with Fujitsu Ten head unit and digital sound processing and a power antenna.

In addition to Conquest/CSX:

15-inch alloy wheels
Gas pressurised dampers
Stiffer springs
Body-coloured door handles
Rear spoiler
“Touring” badges
LED stop light
Leather wrapped steering wheel
Leather wrapped gearshift
Leather wrapped handbrake lever
Plush-knit seat fabric
6-speaker stereo system
Fujitsu Ten head unit
Digital sound processing
Power antenna

Series II updates:

Anti-lock braking system (ABS)
Sports suspension
16-inch alloy wheels
Grey radiator grille with chrome surround
Electric windows – front and rear with driver’s side auto up/down

Vienta VXi (1997-2000)

Price when new: $36,900 - $40,485

Price used: $300 - $3,000

The Vienta was a separately named version of the Camry (like the Berlina/Calais is to the Commodore or Fairmont to the Falcon) and was the luxury tier models of the Camry until the models were condensed under the Camry Azure nameplate in 2000.

In addition to Conquest/CSX:

15-inch alloy wheels
Cruise control
Electric windows – front and rear with driver’s side auto up/down
Single-zone climate control
Velour upholstery
Power antenna
6-speaker stereo system

Vienta Grande (1997-2000)

Price when new: $44,561 - $46,285

Price used: $300 - $3,600

The Vienta Grande was the top-of-the-range model in the Camry/Vienta range until it was replaced in 2000 by the Camry Azura.

The Grande model adds (over the VXi): two-tone paint, electric sunroom, woodgrain interior trim and CD stacker in the boot.

In addition to Vienta VXi:

Two-tone paint
Electric sunroof
Woodgrain interior trim
Leather-wrapped steering wheel
Electrically adjustable driver’s and front passenger’s seat
CD player
Six-disc boot-mounted CD stacker

Azura (2000-2002)

Price when new: $43,670 - $45,835

Price used: $400 - $4,300

The Azura replaced the Vienta VXi and Grande in 2000 and comprised of the same features as the Vienta Grande.

In addition to Touring:

Two-tone paint
Electrically adjustable driver’s and front passenger’s seat
Electric sunroof
Woodgrain interior trim
Leather-wrapped steering wheel
Electrically adjustable driver’s and front passenger’s seat
CD player
Six-disc boot-mounted CD stacker

The Camry’s popularity has never been forged through performance, or a sexy image, or a luxury experience, the Camry has sold in the millions because it is a no nonsense, rugged, reliable and dependable car and if you’re on the tightest of budgets, this generation Camry is simply the one to get.

But, remember it’s not all that safe, it is absolutely critical that you have a pre-purchase inspection carried out and make sure you have some money left over to maintain it as well as you can but, even when the very worst examples are still pretty bloody good, what a car.

The Camry’s popularity has never been forged through performance, or a sexy image, or a luxury experience, the Camry has sold in the millions because it is a no nonsense, rugged, reliable and dependable car and if you’re on the tightest of budgets, this generation Camry is simply the one to get.

But, remember it’s not all that safe, it is absolutely critical that you have a pre-purchase inspection carried out and make sure you have some money left over to maintain it as well as you can but, even when the very worst examples are still pretty bloody good, what a car.

The Camry’s popularity has never been forged through performance, or a sexy image, or a luxury experience, the Camry has sold in the millions because it is a no nonsense, rugged, reliable and dependable car and if you’re on the tightest of budgets, this generation Camry is simply the one to get.

But, remember it’s not all that safe, it is absolutely critical that you have a pre-purchase inspection carried out and make sure you have some money left over to maintain it as well as you can but, even when the very worst examples are still pretty bloody good, what a car.

Disclaimer

Please note that pricing information is subject to fluctuations in the automotive market.

Information correct as of April 14, 2023.

The advice provided on this website is general advice only. It has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this advice, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice, having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.

Read our full terms and conditions here.

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