I usually give a car model a generation number, but in the case of the Toyota Camry XV30, I’ll stick with the technical name of the generation. Toyota Camry, the most international car that most Europeans have probably never heard of. But you can buy one. Yes, there are enough Toyota Camry XV30 models for sale on international websites, and you can even find a few in our country, but the sales in Europe are nothing compared to what the Camry achieves internationally.

In any case, it’s very hard not to have heard of this name, but it’s technically possible. Toyota Camry XV30 – the Marylin Monroe of the automotive world. Because it’s a legend that made a lot of noise but many people nowadays don’t know much about.

Built on the same platform as the Lexus ES and Lexus RX, the Toyota Camry XV30 was a kind of Toyota’s answer to the 5 Series, only more practical, cheaper and more reliable. Seriously now, the Toyota Camry was as big as a 5 Series and only came with petrol power. It could seriously compete with the 5 Series but only in a straight line. That’s because the Toyota Camry XV30 was designed for America, Canada, Australia, and other countries where driving in a straight line was the norm. Bends were the bane for American cars’ existence, and the Camry has a strong North American vibe to it.

So, what was it doing in Europe then? In practice, the Camry lived in Europe for a while, but the folks at Toyota Spain thought it might be too large, and that a smaller model would sell better. And that’s how the Toyota Avensis was born, which replaced the Camry and suddenly became their largest sedan at that time and one of our national cars, built in our country. Sure, the Avensis did fairly well but ultimatelly failed and the Camry was brought over to Europe again, but it was one of our most beloved cars.

But back to this generation of the Camry, I can say that it’s like an burger kid of  car. It has a bit of everything. You have 4-cylinder or 6-cylinder engines, manual or automatic transmissions, front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. You have ABS, standard front airbags, and optional side curtain airbags. MacPherson suspension at the front and semi-independent at the rear. They needed all these configurations because this car was sold literally everywhere. And by millions. In the US alone, 400,000-450,000 Camrys were sold annually. And it is still being sold, albeit in smaller numbers because the sedan is more outdated than I am and more aesthetically challenged than Ozzy Osbourne. Really good in the 90s and 2000s, but now it’s old. Doesn’t look too old but not exactly fresh either.


Toyota Camry XV30 front side almostcarreviews

Toyota Camry XV30 Engines

  • 2.0 1AZ-FE of 144 horsepower – The 2-liter 4-cylinder engine is 1AZ-FE is abit of an antique, as it was used in European models like the original Rav4, but I’m not very convinced of bolting this engine on the Camry. Won’t go fast anywhere any time soon, except towards the petrol station.
  • 2.4 2AZ-FE of 157 horsepower – The only new engine in the lineup, and the only one with reliability issues essentially. The main issue is that while for other engines the issue of oil consumption is a matter of “maybe,” for the 2.4 2AZ-FE, it’s just a matter of “when,” and there’s not much you can do about it.
  • 3.0 1MZ-FE of 192 and 210 horsepower – Another indestructible engine that may only have issues with the VVT-i system and may start eating oil late in life, but overall, this engine is trully is a revving anvil.
  • 3.3 3MZ-FE of 225 horsepower – It may not have been the most popular engine on an already not very popular car here in Europe, but in North America this was the standard engine and it is one great anvil of an engine that will outlast you. MPG may not be the greatest, but you will save in running costs. As with the other engines, it is prone to oil consumption later in life. Specific to this engine however is the cooling system which can’t cope with hot weather so if you live somewhere hot, make sure to keep the coolant, radiator, lines, thermostat and pretty much everything in shape.


Toyota Camry XV30 rear almostcarreviews

Toyota Camry XV30 Reliability Issues

  • Avoid the 4-speed automatic transmission. Which is not a issue because there are also 5-speed automatic transmissions available. And a manual transmission for the budget conscious motorist as Google doesn’t allow me to write the word pheasant but without the “h” as it’s marked as insensitive wording.
  • I’ve mentioned this already, but I’ll say it again. It’s an American car – fast in a straight line, not so good in the bends. And the boat-like suspension doesn’t help much because it’s more fragile than you’d expect.
  • The air conditioning can blow excessively cold air, and you can freeze and turn into Captain America, and you’ll be 500 years old, because you need to be 500 years old to drive a car like this.
  • Don’t leave it in the sun because the dashboard can melt. It’s unlikely to happen in our country, but in very hot countries, it can happen. It happened in the US. It happened in Australia. It can also happen in the landfill from where I’m writing these things.


Toyota Camry XV30 side almostcarreviews

Toyota Camry XV30 Verdict

If you want a car to leave as an inheritance but you can’t fit in the Avensis, then the Toyota Camry XV30 is the solution. If you have an American fetish, I can tell you it’s very hard to find anything more American in Europe. Because we have Mustang, Hummer, Wrangler, and Commander in mind when we think of an American car. But the Toyota Camry XV30 sold better than all of them combined. And it only has American engines, for real men. And a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine for the kids. A monument to reliability but also to excess.

Which engines do I recommend? Simple. The 2.0-liter 145-horsepower petrol engine if you’re on a budget and the 3.3 liter V6 if you’re a real man.