My time with a Toyota Camry… my most hated car.

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DISCLAIMER: I hate most Toyotas, especially Camrys. So if you’re a fan of Toyota, or work for them, please feel free to skip to the bottom of this post so you can read my ONE redeeming quality of this generic, boring, Tim-Duncan-esque vehicle.

I sold my car a couple of years ago because a well engineered piece of German motorwerk was just sitting in my parking spot, collecting dust. And to be honest, the gas prices for premium a couple of years ago was somewhere around $1.60+/litre, paying insurance, and I barely drove in the summer… so I sold ‘er. Since then I have been experimenting with Uber, Autoshare, Bixi/BikeShare, and renting cars to do what I gots to do.

All was going ok until things got really busy, and there were days where I just had to rent a car. Like anyone else, I would go online – select a car, book it, and pick up said selected car from the rental spot… except the last couple of times, it was not that simple. I would select a mid-size sedan – which would show me either a VW Passat (which is a good car that I like) or a Nissan Altima (great car, in my opinion), but in both cases… I ended up with a Toyota Camry.

I hate Camrys. I always have. And I’ve repeatedly told the kind-but-clearly-negligent rental clerk that I don’t want a Camry – and lo! He always replies with “hey man, all I’ve got are Camrys.”

I could imagine by now a lot of you are saying “why? Camrys are good, reliable, and affordable cars.” I understand that, and apparently I stand alone with my feelings since the Camry has been the best selling sedan in North America for years – and there’s probably a billion on the road in our continent. BUT – I’m going to break it down right now for everyone, because my hate for Camrys is much deeper than what most may notice…

Simply put – a Camry to a brown person is like fried chicken to a black person.

You see?!?! Isn’t it terrible? Now I bet now when you see someone of South-Asian descent in a Camry the first thing that comes to mind is Dave Chappelle’s voice saying “look at him… he loves it!” I bet that dude at the car rental place had other cars available – but when he saw me walk in he’s like “this guy FOR SURE wants a Camry”.

But… how does it drive you ask? Like a cab. Further perpetuating the stereotype. I mean, look at the size of that steering wheel. It’s the size of a turkey platter on Thanksgiving. On top of that, the buttons on the steering wheel are also huge – like one of those old-school senior’s phones with the giant numbers.

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That wheel is wayyy too big. But them pants tho…..

And don’t get me started on that age-old Toyota digital clock over the centre console. It’s 2015 people – either update it or get it out of there.

I avoided the Camry like the plague, and developped a general hatred for Toyotas. They are the world’s biggest car manufacturer, but only produce a handful of cars I like/would drive:
’96-’02 4Runner SR5 (shout out PMac!)
– Vintage Land Cruiser (J40, J60)
MR2
Marty McFly’s pickup (Hilux) from Back to the Future
Lexus LFA (only because Jeremy Clarkson told me so)
…. and doesn’t that seem weird that a company that makes so many vehicles only make a handful of cars that me, an enthusiast who usually finds solace in any car, would only consider five models to drive or own? Four of them being vintage models, no less. Also, has as anyone put a poster of a Toyota on their wall… ever? Not sure, at least not this generation.

So maybe it’s because their generic approach to providing something with 4 wheels and doors to take people places is so boring I just can’t get over it. But that said, Tim Duncan has won how many championships? (I call that dude ‘Boiled Chicken’ – all substance, no flavour, btw.) And they keep selling Camrys year after year after year, and other mid-size sedans just can’t seem to keep up.

ONE REDEEMING QUALITY:

Being a rental car, you’ve got to ‘be kind and rewind’ and return the vehicle with a full tank. This is where the Camry tried to win me over. In both times when I wound up with the car, I didn’t have to visit the pumps – I just took it back to the rental spot with the needle still on F. I was driving the 2.5L in-line 4-cylinder, and if you drive gingerly – and I mean James May style gingerly – you can get some crazy gas mileage out of it. In fact, if you can keep that little green ‘eco’ light on, you can get up to 76 kms before the needle moves from the F.

The green 'eco' thing.

The green ‘eco’ thing.

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76.6 kms!

IN CONCLUSION…

I still dislike Camrys very much. Drive German whenever you can.

“Gas pedal down, middle finger up” – AB

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