In early 2009, my grandfather’s second cousin died. Part of his estate was a 2003 Toyota Camry XLE, 4-cylinder, automatic. If you ever wanted to know what it felt like to be the walking dead, just drive this car.
The XLE is the top of the line 4-cylinder trim blessed with god knows what options or features. I don’t know. I didn’t really care. You wouldn’t care or be able to tell anyways. However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
You see, driving this car had a redeeming feature – you get in, turn it on, and your brain shuts down. Then, miraculously, you arrive at your destination. Yes, this car warps space and time rendering it perhaps one of the greatest transportation appliances of all time.
The car is also rather good when you think about it. It’s dead reliable, it’s fuel efficient, it’s aerodynamic, and frankly the handling isn’t that horrible – it sort of rolls and holds a set in a safe, secure, and predictable way that’s sure to get the drones of the world to their windowless offices. Throttle response isn’t so much a thing as something which they decided to engineer out. Acceleration can be rather scary to the average driver, you know.
So, as much as I hate on this, I find it hard to actually hate the car. It just does everything it’s supposed to. I think part of the reason I hate so many cars is that they advertise themselves as Sporty and wind up being tepid, or as luxurious but wind up being cheap. There are no false pretenses with the Camry. Every Camry buyer knows what they’re getting, which has helped make it one of the best selling cars in America for as long as I can remember.
It’s just not for me.