The 2004 Toyota Camry is by no means a monumental vehicle. You won’t find it in a history book or hall of fame. Boiled down, it’s a forgettable car. But I drove the best forgettable car I could.
The 2004 Toyota Camry SE has a 3.3L V6 and 4 speed automatic transmission. The SE was the top trim level for 2004, which came with the largest engine offered. A sedan with a 3.3L v6 is not a slow behemoth, but more of an athletic commuter. I would go as far as to say the SE is a modern sleeper. Everyone expects to blow the doors off of a Camry, but your standard BRZ or Civic owner is going to have to do some serious re-thinking after lining up next to the Camry SE. The 3.3L is paired to a 4 speed automatic, and I really wish it wasn’t. The automatic transmission isn’t bad, but a manual would really make the SE feel alive, and gain the respect it deserves from car enthusiasts.
The interior is not impressive. I honestly cannot remember one single feature that impressed me or made me say “wow”. It’s a functional interior, but this is really where the Camry can’t escape it’s economy car heritage. Even the SE, the highest trim level, feels like an average car that will be forgotten.
The Camry SE is an interesting car. On one hand, it has surprising performance that isn’t expected from a car like this. On the other hand, the interior cannot escape the rental car feel. This isn’t a car I would specifically search up to purchase, but if a clean example was available in my area, I might give it a second look.
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