Lame and Reliable: 2006 Toyota Camry (Sedan)

2006 Toyota Camry (Sedan)

Between 2006 and 2008, I did a lot of travelling for work. I was a professional poster salesman, you see, and travelling to see good customers was part of the gig, as were trade shows, but at least those were fun. I was an habitué of airports, hotels and rental cars, and life was good. Except for the selling posters part, but that’s hardly the point, now is it?

Now as anybody that travels a lot for business will tell you, it’s better to concentrate on a single brand, or company, as to maximize rewards. Travel on the same airline, stay in the same hotel chain, and rent cars from the same company. For my part, I was with Hertz. For obvious reasons, I got a Taurus pretty often, but since that’s what I drove at home, it got boring. In an effort to change things around a bit, I once requested a Toyota Camry… The Year: 2006 (or 2007); The Car: Toyota Camry; The Color: Fleet Beige; The Verdict: Loose and Lame.

In case you’ve forgotten this paragon of design, here’s a picture. Try not to throw up on your computer.

2006 Toyota Camry (Sedan)
2006 Toyota Camry (Sedan)

I’m told, and I’m inclined to believe, that the Toyota Camry is an exceptionally reliable car, with good gas mileage and all that stuff. Fine.

Now I’m not going to be as verbose as I wish I could be here in describing how unbelievably lame this car is, because it was a while ago and it was anything but memorable, but remember this: no matter how harsh I sound, it was worse. Time heals all wounds, doesn’t it?

My first recollection about driving this up-ended noodle bowl is that it was … loose. Everything felt like it had a built in slackness, for lack of a better word. You know, the kind of car that hesitates to accelerate when you floor it, and pressing the brakes is akin to punching a pillow? All the buttons and dials in the Camry felt indistinct and vague. Is the AC on or not? Is it directed at the floor or at the cabin? It’s anybody’s guess!

Of course, there’s also the driving. I’m not going to say that it didn’t handle well, because I didn’t have the occasion to race it (nor would I have wanted to), but it didn’t feel like it would do a good job. The suspension felt like a 70s American big-body car: bouncy and overly generous, which usually doesn’t bode well for cornering, and the steering felt like it was made of Jello: it would turn – eventually – but there was so much play in it it was ridiculous. Needless to say, the car didn’t accelerate well, either, but I wasn’t too keen on testing the upper limits of this geriatric stallion.

Compared to this, the regular beige Taurus that was my usual fare seemed like unbridled luxury. I’ve been sharing the news about this terrible car to everyone since, and now, thanks to the power of the Internet, I can tell a lot more people about the Toyota Camry: you are, beyond a doubt, the lamest, most boring and uninspiring reliable car ever conceived. May your utter lameness never be equaled!

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