"I bought this car (LE V6) used, for my kids when they were in high school. It had approximately 89,000 miles on it in about 2004. I now have just under 440,000 miles on it, (yes, I drive a lot). Virtually everything in this car is original..engine, transmission, radiator, suspension, exhaust. I'm not sure the valve cover has even been off. I have never changed the timing belt! I haven't had a single costly repair. It broke my heart when I put a dent in the left front. The seats are still firm and upholstery untorn anywhere. It starts every time, right away, except for once when the battery needed replacing. I get oil changes every 5k miles or so from my regular mechanic. I could drive a fancier car, but I still think this a nice looking car, and it drives almost as good as it did when I bought it. The V6 is a great engine! I wouldn't hesitate to take it on any long extended road trip. I adore this car!!"
Pros: "Great gas mileage, Great family car, reliable"
Cons: "Little elbow room when traveling long trips"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I inherited a used Gold 97 Camry from my parents, who bought it off my grandparents (1st owners), and drove it for 4 years before we sold it to regular customers at dad's garage. They drove a car that, quite literally, was in his shop every two to three weeks. This car had nearly 400k miles on it when we sold it and the only time I ever had to have it in the garage was for regular maintenance and once for a broken lower right control arm after hitting a pot hole one night. This was the vehicle we drove everywhere from New York to Louisiana and along the east coast. The gas mileage couldn't be beaten for a car of its age. This is by far my favorite car I have owned and if it were my choice I'd still be driving the wheels off of it. We sold it 6 months ago and I still see them from time to time driving around town. A very solid car, a tank for sure. Nothing could stop that thing."
"The '97 camry 4-cyl LE isn't a hotrod, but for 20 years it's provided amazingly reliable transportation. Good mpg, and I like the ride - comfortable, & very secure. I've had to avoid my share of random out-of-nowhere obstacles on the highway, and it handles great. I had an oil pan leak early on, covered under warranty, then 15 years of nothing but standard maintenance. In the last few years I've had to replace the distributor points, radiator, right front axle and boot. Oh yeah, I replaced the headlights myself last winter just because the plastic had yellowed. The A/C finally bought the farm last year, and the clear coat started peeling a year ago. However, the transmission is still smooth as ever, & the engine purrs like it's brand new. With some TLC I bet it could go another 10 years or more, but I'm ready to upgrade once I hit the magic 300K."
Pros: "Great price, handles well, reliable, good speakers"
Cons: "Trunk space, turning radius, cabin noise"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"This was my first car. Bought it used in 2006 with low mileage (had been previously owned by an elderly woman who hadn't driven it much). Had absolutely no problems with it other than routine maintenance for about 5 years. Around 2011 I had to have the catalytic converter replaced (cost about $700), but the car was fine for a few more years afterwards. Started having problems with it more regularly as it got older- needed the AC fixed, had an oil leak, some problems with the brakes, and at one point I was having trouble accelerating after a stop. This is when things started to get pricey. Ultimately, I decided to sell my car when it needed a new exhaust system, O2 sensor, and a few other things that prohibited it from passing the emissions test. I figured the cost of repairs at that point were more than the value of the car. I was honestly sad to see it go. It had been a reliable car considering that it was nearly 16 years old, and I loved the way it handled; it drove so smoothly and felt like such a solid machine. I'd imagine that under difference circumstances this car would have lasted much longer. My Camry definitely had its work cut out for it given all of the long distance driving I'd done, the poorly maintained roads where I live, and the fact that I didn't have a clue about car maintenance when I bought it, so didn't maintain it properly until I was a little older. My only complaints are that the car has a large turning radius, that when you fold down the back seats there's only a small opening from the trunk into the rest of the car, and that there's a lot of cabin noise on the highway."
Cons: "Plasic cup holders in back seat broke 5 years ago."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Car has never left me stranded. With regular oil changes all has been great. Only big item was 10,000 miles ago when the transmission was howling. Never quit working in any way just noise I could not take. Replaced with used 80,000 mile transmission and all has been great."