2021 Toyota Camry Walk-Around

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Here’s a look at something becoming kind of rare… a sedan. And something becoming even more rare: A sedan with a keyed door look/ignition and an available V6 – that doesn’t cost $50,000 either.

Full review will be up in a day or so, mojo willing!

. . . 

Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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  1. This version does look better than many i see on the road today, so +1 on that.

    Camry does have a good rep & I am becoming increasingly less a fan of turbo 4s, even with their increased horsepower.

    How’s that go? no replacement for displacement

    As in most things, simpler is better. I think that applies to the v6

  2. Nice walkthrough Eric (or should I say BatMan™)

    One thing I do not like about Camry (and other vehicles) is using larger sized rims. I think the Camry comes std with 17″ rims. I would prefer 14″ or 15″ rims on a Camry type car (16″ rims at most)

    Glad to hear that Toyota is keeping the regular key and key lock.

    • It’s interesting how things have come “full circle”, Eric! About half a century ago, when Toyota was beginning to make serious inroads (pun intended) into the USA car market, they had a “Baby Boomer”, more b/c they were affordable and they weren’t a Vee-Dub, which had its own cachet among their contemporaries as a “Hippie” (especially the Bus) hauler or a “flower child” car. Their main appeal (until about the mid-70s, it WASN’T styling, as they looked like knockoffs of European basic transportation) was low cost and fairly rugged reliability. And they weren’t the staid battleships with hubcaps that Mom and Dad, or heaven help us, Grandma and Grandpa drove! So as the memory of Pearl Harbor was fading, and especially after the ’64 Summer Olympics and the 1967 Bond movie, “You Only Live Twice”, Japan had once again a decent reputation with Americans.

      For their part, the Japanese automakers, working in connivance with their government, adopted a long term strategy to capture the American market, as they first set up design studios in SoCal and brought in “Gaijin” to better style their makes to appeal to young Americans. They also stuck with their market even when USA dollar devaluations cut heavily into their profits. The first round of gas price hikes and shortages in 1973 and 1974 gained them greater market share, and it was in the wake of the SECOND round in 1979 and 1980, along with the “Malaise Era” of some terrible American products, that now, their original Boomer customers moving up in the job market, and starting families, needed larger vehicles, plus the young men folk wanted trucks, so they had the lion’s share of that age group! That’s also when Honda became known more as a car maker instead of for its motorcycles, and we started seeing the Japanese version of “mid-sized” cars which were still rock-solid reliable and decent-looking, too.

      Now, Ford is phasing out its Fusion for the North American market, claiming that they’re not making enough profit on the line, and Chrysler likewise is abandoning four-door sedans. Both will still make them, just abroad and not for the USA market. Meanwhile, Camrys, Accords, and the Nissan equivalent have long been made in the US; though in factories located in NON-Union (i.e, “right to work”) states, and there’s no sign that they’re abandoning those product lines. Sheesh. Sometimes I wonder who REALLY won WWII! I guess I should take consolation that we still make a pretty good (atomic) bomb, though it’s well-understood that IF Japan were to abrogate its treaties on the subject, and engage in a “crash” program, they could have deployable nukes in a year, Fukushima notwithstanding. It wouldn’t surprise me if they’ve already lined up the facilities and have quietly done some design work and simulations on supercomputers.

      • Most people tout the build quality of foreign (Japanese) cars and they are absolutely correct. American auto manufacturers had to be dragged kicking and screaming to “up” their build quality. Today’s American cars have very similar build quality today; we can thank the foreign auto makers for giving them the “push” that was needed.
        However, people conveniently forget that Japanese cars of the 1970s were “rust buckets”, quite often not lasting as long as American cars. A friend of mine who bought a brand-new Datsun (Nissan) pickup truck watched it rust out in two years. You could almost see the rust forming on a daily basis.
        Another aspect to Japanese cars of the day was their engines and transmissions, which were made to tighter tolerances, and as such, required oil and filter changes on a frequent basis in order to keep them running properly. Foreign car automatic transmissions had the same issues and required regular maintenance.
        I can remember working on American cars, the oil having not been changed in ten thousand miles, looking as black as coal, and the automatic transmission fluid looked and smelled like burnt oil (water) and they still ran without issues. Try that with a Japanese car…
        Of course, today’s American cars require much more maintenance (fluid and filter changes, etc.) than in “the good old days”.

        • Wrong again, Annie. Truly you are the father of lies. Today’s American cars require far LESS maintenance than they did in the “good old days”. I can remember grease jobs needed ever 1000 miles, points and plugs every 10K miles, oil changes every couple of thousand miles (some engines didn’t even have oil filters). Today’s American cars require very little maintenance in comparison.,

          This is absolute, unassailable, 100% PROOF POSITIVE that you are a filthy liar.

          • Hi Jason,

            Yup; I still own a vehicle with points and these need to be checked/cleaned/adjusted regularly; the upside is it’s cheap and easy to do this. No question modern cars – American and Japanese – rarely need much, if anything, in the way of maintenance. But when they do (e.g., timing belts) or something stops working, it can and often does cost the proverbial big bucks, in part because the diagnostics/repair are often much more involved. Pros and cons!

          • Have your meds checked, Jason. Being ill-informed about the current state of automotive maintenance for American products, versus a generation or two ago, does not make one THE “Father of Lies” (John 8:44). Interesting point…to WHOM did the Savior direct THAT comparison?

          • Why do you pollute this site by name-calling?
            I guess that your tribal instincts cloud whatever good judgement you have.
            Go back to your shetl and wave your chickens above your head. It should make you feel better.

        • Most Japanese cars were made for Japanese driving conditions back when they had few freeways or even long stretches of open road. Vehicles rarely saw 100 km/hr, many couldn’t even go that fast given their final drive ratios were often about 4:1, to allow for good hill climbing (a LOT of hills and mountains in Japan) and to not overwork. A little Datsun 1200 (aka “Sunny” or B110) with its 1.2L four-banger engine that put out a ‘whopping” 52 hp would get worn out very quickly trying to keep up with the “Gaijin” cars on USA freeways. This is one reason the Japanese were first to introduce 5-speed manual gear boxes; it was necessary to keep the barely acceptable “pickup” and still allow the vehicle to cruise at 70 mph without the engine having to have a ring job after 20,000 miles. This wasn’t true of all of Nissan’s offerings, as the USA version of the “Fairlady Z”, the Datsun 240Z, had a 2.4L OHC Six with the British-made twin SU (“Skinners Union”) side-draft carbs, this rig put out almost 150 bhp, so it had the coveted “1 horse per cube” metric!

          American engines were slow-turning, being torquey beasts, hence why it wasn’t uncommon to see axle drive ratios at less than 3:1. And while most developed annoying leaks (Pontiacs were the worst, I’ll be Eric’s T/A has pissed a few barrels of 30W in its life on his driveway out the rear main seals) and you were lucky to not see a puff of blue smoke out the tail pipe until 125K miles; they’d keep on chugging. I had, during my college days right after my Mormon mission in the early 80s, a ’63 Dart that had seen better days, but it got me to and from school and was useful as a work vehicle for cleaning offices at night. It’s Slant Six too, had seen better days, and had started to drink a little bit of oil! In fact, I took it from Fresno to the Bay Area on a trip, and put in two quarts of oil by the time I’d gotten to Oakland, and another quart between Oakland and my sis’ house in West Sacramento. It took another two quarts the next day on the way back to Fresno. It wasn’t too bad just driving around town, but it was obvious the engine was tired; yet, it NEVER failed to start. What I’d do is not even worry about CHANGING the oil, as I was putting in 1-2 quarts a month! Instead, I had my Dad save the old oil from changing it on his Mercury and I’d just pour that in; I took to adding some STP every two months and that helped. Every three months, I’d change the oil filter and clean and gap the plugs, which usually were just a tad oily, a few shots of WD-40, wipe it with a shop cloth, file the electrode with my point file, coat the threads with anti-seize (I’d splurged on a big tube), and be careful re-installing them. Before that ritual, though, I’d try a trick my Dad taught me; while running the engine in neutral, pour transmission fluid or Marvel Mystery Oil down the carb throat while trying to keep it open about one-third throttle; there’d be a crap load of whitish-blue smoke out the tail pipe, so I’d do this like on a Saturday at a nearby school parking lot when no one was there! Once the quart of fluid was used up, I’d jump in and immediately take off and get that thing going down Herndon and take it out to Tollhouse Road where I could “haul ass”…for a ’63 Dart! I’d keep going, leaving clouds of smoke, until it cleared, usually by the time I got to Academy Road, then turn around and head back for it’s quarterly “tune up”. Yes, this was a tad annoying, but I had reliable transportation, and no one messed with it!

          • Really the first Jap cars that were well adapted to American tastes and driving conditions were the Toyota Corona and Datsun 510. If you could keep them from rusting they lasted a good long time and had sufficient power for decent performance, 90 hp for the Corona, 96 for the 510 with its SOHC engine. (The Toyopet Crown that Toyota tried to sell here in the late 1950s was pretty pathetic.)

            • Hi Jason,

              A high school buddy had a rusted out Datsun 510 with a non-working reverse gear. To back it up, we’d open the door and use our feet, Fred Flintstone-style. True story!

              • Obviously if the 1974 Dodge Monaco police car you picked up at the Mt. Prospect, IL, auction, with “cop motor, cop tires, cop shocks, 440 ‘plant’ before catalytic converters, so it’ll run good on regular gas”, had ITS reverse gear go out, it’d be the “immovable object” unless you had somewhat of a downslope. However, those Torqueflite 727s were BULLETPROOF, so that almost never happened. So were the GM Turbo-Hydramatics and the Ford C6s.

                Modern vehicles are typically packaged to be mechanic UN-friendly, so indeed it’s fortunate that for the first 100K to 150K miles, as long as you adhere to the oil and filter changes, and expect one or two coolant and/or spark plug changes, most rides, even the cheaper ones, will give trouble-free service. For most drivers, that 7 to 10 years, which historically, isn’t bad for the service life of a private automobile. Once they do require significant work, even so much as a “module” can doom the vehicle, as the repair cost may well exceed what it’s worth. Which is sad. There are perfectly usable cars being scrapped because of this; and it’s part of the “planned obsolescence”. A modern car, even with all the electronic gizmos, can still be serviceable by a mechanic with modest skills; but that’s not how the auto makers want it.

                A consequence of this maintenance-hostile design isn’t just less wrenching, and the decline of the “hot rod” culture among young men, but also the decline of the corner “service” station, where, guess what, you actually took your ride for “service” (oil changes, tune ups, brake jobs, tires). The modern equivalent is some chain outfit like Pep Boys, but as to their efficacy, YMMV.

                • Hell, in some states that require inspections a check engine light dooms many perfectly running and driving cars. It’s a f’n crime.

    • The 16″, 17″, and even 18″ wheels being used on sedans is a function of mandated fuel economy standards, also, the older, smaller sizes have been relegated to the specialty tire market, where, if you’ve got an old ride, you have to go! Just drive up to Pep Boys and get some new rubber for your vintage 1964 Plymouth Valiant sporting those 6.50-13s! The larger rim has also gone hand in hand with smaller aspect ratios, whereas about a half century ago, “78s” were standard, with 70 as “wide profile”, and a 60 for a “hot rod”, now 60s are standard, with 55s and 50s quite common. My 2014 Ford Focus used 215/60s, and it was just a small “grocery getter”.


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