The 2004 Toyota Camry Is a Reliable Used Car for Under $10,000
The 2004 Toyota Camry is the third model year of the fifth generation Camry. As with many Toyotas, the 2004 Camry is an excellent, albeit boring, used car, and you can get an excellent example for less than $10k. However, not all Camry models are made equal, and knowing what trim best suits your needs will help you get the most for your money.
The Toyota Camry is a safe choice
When hasn’t a Toyota Camry been a safe choice? Probably never, so it should come as no surprise that we’d recommend a 2004 Toyota Camry as a reliable used car. With a Camry, you get three engine options: a 2.4L 4 Cylinder and a 3.0L or 3.3L V6. For 2004, the 2.4L makes 157 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque, the 3.0L V6 makes 190 hp and 197 lb-ft of torque, and the 3.3L V6 makes 225 hp and 240 lb-ft of torque. Though the Nissan Maxima and Honda Accord boasted more powerful engine options, the Camry is certainly powerful enough to get out of its own way and hit 60 mph in only 7.2 seconds with the V6, reports MotorTrend. With the 2.4L, you could choose a four-speed automatic transmission or stick with a five-speed manual. Unfortunately for enthusiasts, the V6 could only be fitted with a five-speed automatic.
Cheap but very comfortable
Fuel economy for the 2004 Toyota Camry sits at 24 city mpg and 33 highway mpg when equipped with the five-speed manual and four-cylinder engine. If you want the automatic, you’ll be penalized by 1 mpg for both city and highway driving. If you opt for the smooth and quiet 3.0 V6, you’ll get a respectable 21 city mpg and 29 highway mpg. Not bad for a V6! The 3.3L in the SE V6 would achieve the same highway figure but drop to 20 city mpg.
Regarding comfort, the Camry has a smooth and quiet ride even with the four-cylinder, reports Autoblog. Not only is the ride great, but passengers will have plenty of room with 37.8” of rear legroom. This beats out the Accord by 1 inch. The Camry also has an additional 2.7 cu. ft. trunk space when compared to the Accord.
Cloth seats and fake wood in the interior trims
Today, any 2004 Toyota Camry trim can likely be purchased for under $10k, but only some include certain features you might be looking for in 2023.
The cheapest trim was the STD. With an original MSRP of $18,045, it was the most affordable but was also limited on features. The STD came only with the four-cylinder and manual transmission. It did also come with A/C, a radio, and driver lumbar support, according to Autoblog.
Jumping to $19,045 for the LE/five-speed manual, you only get a remote keyfob and the option for the automatic, which will cost you an additional $830.
The SE trim gets a power sunroof, premium cloth seats, fog lights, and even bigger 16-inch steel wheels. You could keep it under $20,000 if you opt for the manual transmission, but opting not to row your own gears will again add $830 to the original MSRP. The SE also gets higher-rate springs and anti-roll bars to contribute to better handling.
Of course, the LE V6 trim gave you the buttery V6, but it also added 15-inch alloy wheels to replace the steelies on the lower trims. Otherwise, it was really just the LE trim with a bigger engine. The addition of the V6 would set you back $22,260. The same can be said for the SE V6, which had an MSRP of $23,315. In 2004 the SE V6 would also mean exclusive access to the newer and more powerful 3.3L V6. This engine made 225 horsepower and 240 lb-ft of torque, which made for quite the power bump over the 3.0L.
The XLE and XLE V6 added automatic climate control, heated mirrors, and wood trim. It is worth noting that the XLE, XLE V6, LE V6, and SE V6 are the only trims to get leather seats, which could also be heated, depending on the spec.
The Camry is reliable and boring
The 2004 Camry is cheap to buy, cheap to run, very comfortable, and can even be fairly well equipped. Is it exciting? Not at all. It’s also pretty dull to look at, but when you tick over 250k miles in affordable comfort, you’ll probably forget all about that.