3 Reasons to Choose (And 2 to Skip) the 2004 Toyota Camry

Are you shopping for a comfortable, fuel-efficient car that offers excellent reliability at an affordable price? If so, the 2004 Toyota Camry should be at the top of your list, unless you’re looking for something that turns heads when you drive past. But if you want affordable, reliable transportation that’s guaranteed not to stop traffic, a 2004 Camry is a great choice. 

A 2004 Toyota Camry on display.
A Toyota Camry | Toyota via Getty Images

The 2004 Toyota Camry’s reliability

The 2004 Toyota Camry is part of the fifth generation from 2002 to 2006. According to CarComplaints’ data, the entire fifth generation received few owner complaints compared to the sixth, and the 2004 Camry is near the top for the fewest issues for the decade to follow. 

Excessive oil consumption and persistent “Check Engine” light issues caused the most complaints, which would warrant a qualified mechanic’s inspection before buying a 2004 Camry. 

What engines are available on this model?

The 2004 Camry is offered in three trim levels, the base LE, the sportier SE, and the well-appointed XLE, each available with either a 2.4-liter four-cylinder or a 3.0-liter V6. 

Most four-cylinder equipped models featured a four-speed automatic transmission though LE and SE models offered a five-speed manual shift transmission and the V6 models had a five-speed automatic. 

Camrys fitted with the 157-horsepower 2.4-liter enjoyed 162 lb-ft of torque and a 24 mpg combined rating from the EPA. However, the 3.0-liter V6 models introduced in 2003 made 192 horsepower and 209 lb-ft of torque while still getting a respectable 21 mpg combined EPA rating. 

The 2004 Toyota Camry is comfortable, quiet, and unassuming

Autoblog says Toyota admits that “few people aspire to own a Camry,” it’s often recommended to friends and family because it is “a safe buy.” While Autoblog based its 2004 Camry review on its experience testing the 2003 Camry, the review is relevant due to the similarity of the models. The Autoblog reviewer called the Camry “an easy car to drive,” noting that “it does everything just right.” 

The fifth Camry generation saw a marked reduction in engine noise and a new engine mounting system that limits transmitted vibration into the car’s interior. In addition, the new, stiffer chassis reduces road noise and allows the suspension to soak up bumps for a comfortable ride and confident handling. 

While most drivers will find the 2004 Toyota Camry’s driving characteristics pleasant, some will want more character. 

Two reasons to skip the 2004 Toyota Camry

Related

How Many Miles Will a Toyota Camry Hybrid Last?

While the Camry’s steadfast qualities are its biggest plus, for some, that same trait leads to the two biggest reasons to skip the 2004 Camry; its bland design and uninspired overall performance. 

Compared to rivals, such as the Nissan Altima and Volkswagen Passat, the Camry doesn’t provide the same performance or driving excitement. While dismissing a car because it’s not fun to drive may seem shallow, remember that you’ll likely drive this car every day for years while making monthly payments. Some options provide more fun and still offer economy and reliability. 

Is the 2004 Toyota Camry a good car?

The 2004 Toyota Camry is excellent for anyone looking to keep ownership costs low with a drama-free daily commute. The Camry features reliable, comfortable transportation in a package that works when you need it, more often than not. Who wouldn’t want that?