Midsize car; Built in USA, Japan
  • 2-door convertible
  • 2-door coupe
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $2,200 – $8,200*

1998 Toyota Camry LE

1998 Toyota Camry XLE V-6

1999 Toyota Camry Solara SLE

1997 Toyota Camry interior

1999 Toyota Camry Solara SE

  • Acceleration (V6)
  • Build quality
  • Quietness
  • Ride
  • Rear visibility
  • Steering feel

Tight, careful assembly quality helps make the Camry a top-notch value, and a top choice in a midsize family sedan.


When Toyota redesigned its mainstream model for 1997, it grew from compact to midsize. In addition, the former coupe and wagon body styles were deleted. All that remained was the 4-door sedan. Wheelbase grew by 2.1 inches. Other exterior and interior dimensions increased by less than an inch apiece. Weight rose only modestly, and cargo volume shrunk from 14.9 to 14.1 cubic feet. Sedans came in base CE, midrange LE, and top-line XLE trim, with a 2.2-liter 4-cylinder engine or 3.0-liter V6. An automatic transmission was standard, except for the 4-cylinder CE (where automatic was optional), and the V6 CE, which came only with manual shift. All Camrys had dual airbags. Antilock braking was optional on the 4-cylinder CE, but standard on other models. Sedans with the V6 engine had 4-wheel disc brakes, while 4-cylinder models halted with rear drums. A redesigned interior now had 3-point lap/shoulder belts at all five seating positions. Audio controls stood above the climate controls in the new instrument panel, and a low washer-fluid warning was added.

Yearly Updates

1998 Camry/Solara
Seat-mounted side airbags became optional.
1999 Camry/Solara
A Camry Solara coupe joined the sedan this season. Unlike previous Camry coupes, the Solara had unique styling and chassis tuning. In base SE trim, the Solara had a 4-cylinder engine, with manual or automatic transmission, but the SLE coupe had the V6 and automatic. Solara engines were slightly more powerful than those installed in Camry sedans.
2000 Camry/Solara
Camry grilles, bumpers, and taillights were new, along with multireflector headlamps and self-propping hoods. XLE models added imitation wood interior trim, and the XLE V6 adopted standard 16-inch wheels. The CE’s 4-cylinder engine gained 3 horsepower. A Solara convertible joined the coupe in midseason, in three versions: 4-cylinder SE, SE V6, and SLE.
2001 Camry/Solara
For 2001, a new Gallery Series package dressed up LEs with 2-tone paint and cloth interior, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, among other trim items. CE models replaced 14-inch tires and a compact spare with 15-inch wheels and a full-size spare.
2002 Solara
Camry was redesigned in 2002, but Toyota continued to sell the Solara for two more years on the existing platform. The only significant change for ’02 to the Solara was a switch to a new 4-cylinder engine. Now displacing 2.4 liters, it made 157 horsepower, up from 138 a year prior.
2003 Solara
Solara was unchanged for ’03. A new model would debut in 2004.


transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

A 2.2-liter 4-cylinder engine was standard under Camry hoods, rated at 133 horsepower (raised to 136 in 2000). Any model might have the optional dual-overhead-cam V6 instead, making 194 horsepower. Except for the CE series, a 4-speed automatic transmission was standard. Horsepower/torque ratings were slightly lower when sold with California emissions equipment. Solara engines were rated at 135 and 200 horsepower, respectively, in 1999. Solara’s 4-cylinder rose to 138 horsepower in 2000.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.2/132
Engine HP 133-138
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 147
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.4/144
Engine HP 157
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 162
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.0/183
Engine HP 194-200
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 209-214
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic

Road Test

All models have less wind and road noise than average. Suspensions readily iron out the rough stuff, while providing a stable and comfortable highway ride. Cornering is marked by moderate body lean, with good grip and safe front-drive responses. Steering is quick and centers well after turns, but effort is too low and road feel is too numb for the best control. In addition, even the more firmly suspended Solara coupe tends to “float” over uneven surfaces.

Smooth and quiet for a 4-cylinder, Camry’s base engine provides adequate acceleration even with an automatic transmission.Better in 2002 when the engine was enlarged to 2.4 liters. The V6 is far more impressive–smoother and quieter yet, yielding good pickup from low speeds as well as swift passing/merging action. An LE sedan with the V6 averaged a passable 20.4 mpg in hard city/freeway driving. An ’01 4-cylinder model returned 22.5 mpg, despite more urban driving. Brakes work beautifully, capable of short, arrow-straight panic stops with little nosedive.

Back-seat space is greater than in the prior generation, but four adults will be more comfortable than five. Like most midsize cars, Camry does not have quite enough rear-cabin width to permit uncrowded three-abreast travel. Head and leg room are ample, however, in both front and rear. Entry/exit isn’t a problem, either, except into the backseat of the Solara coupe, due to low, narrow rear passageways and lack of a slide-forward driver’s seat. Camry cargo space is competitive, and all models have a handy split folding rear seatback. Solara’s trunk opening is high, and space is not all that large.

Dashboards are typical Toyota, conveniently organized and attractively styled. Most instruments and controls are easy to see and reach. One exception involves the climate panel, which is too low in the center for the easiest operation while driving. Visibility is good, except for a minor over-the-right-shoulder blind spot, due to the wide rear roof posts and tall trunk. Solara coupes have more visibility troubles than the sedan.


Model Tested: 1998 Toyota Camry LE V-6

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 6
Fuel Economy - 4
Ride Quality - 6
Steering/Handling - 5
Quietness - 6


Controls/Materials - 6
Room/Comfort Front - 5
Room/Comfort Rear - 4
Cargo Room - 3


Value - 7

Total: 52


2-door convertible
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
105.1 190.0 71.1 55.5
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
8.8 18.5 4
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.8 37.7 43.3 35.3
2-door coupe
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
105.2 190.0 71.1 55.1
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
13.8 18.5 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.3 36.2 43.3 35.2
4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
105.2 188.5 70.1 55.4
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
14.1 18.5 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.6 37.6 43.5 35.5
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1999 Camry Solara 2-door coupe


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
Front Passenger Injury - N/A

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 3
Rear Passenger Injury - 5


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 81
Injury 93
Theft 100

Trouble Spots

Brake noise
Description: Original-equipment brake pads are noisy causing groaning, grinding, squeaking, and vibration. A revised lining is available. (1997-98)
Brake noise
Description: Groaning from the rear brakes may be corrected with revised brake drums. (1999)
Description: The fuel door does not open when the release is pulled due to weak spring. (1997-98)
Engine noise
Description: Belt squeal and rattle on cold engine due to faulty tensioner on 2AZ-FE engine requires updated tensioner. (2001-03)
Power seats
Description: The front power seats may chatter requiring replacement of the seat-adjuster assembly (1997-98) or manually operated seat cushion on driver’s side moves. (1997)
Audio system
Description: The CD player may not accept or eject CDs. (1997)
Description: The moonroof may rattle when it is opened about four inches or the glass panel may get skewed and will not retract. (1997)
Suspension noise
Description: Noises from the front end when driving over dips in the road are a result of defective upper strut-tower cushions. (1997-98)
Suspension noise
Description: Groaning noise from front end when going over speed bumps etc. corrected by installing revised spring bumpers on front struts. (1997-98)
Water leak
Description: Water leaks into trunk due to loose or missing air duct flaps. (1997-01)

Recall History

Description: Ignition key can be removed even when gearshift lever is not in “Park” position.
1997 in 19 states
Description: In extreme cold for an extended period, accumulated moisture can temporarily freeze in brake-vacuum hose, resulting in elimination of power-brake assist.
Description: Accumulated moisture can temporarily freeze in brake-vacuum hose.
Description: Insufficiently tightened steering-wheel nut may cause steering vibration and looseness; nut could eventually come off, leading to separation from shaft.
Description: Some wheel lug nuts are defective, causing loss of torque, fatigue fracture of wheel, and possible loss of wheel.
Description: Audiovox Securikey+ Security System can malfunction causing electrical failure; can cause engine to run poorly and stall, and electrical components can intermittently fail.
1998-2000 Camry made in KY
Description: Accelerator-cable housing could be deformed at the cruise-control actuator-to-throttle body connection. The accelerator inner-cable could wear away and eventually break, increasing the risk of a crash.
Description: Due to improper heat treatment, certain rear-axle shafts could fail or break after extended use.
2001 Camry
Description: Front-subframe assembly was not adequately welded. This condition could cause failure of the assembly, increasing the risk of a crash.
2001 Camry
Description: Accelerator cable housing could fail at the cruise control actuator-to-throttle body connection. This could allow the throttle to return to idle or remain in its most recent position regardless of accelerator pedal operation.
2001 Camry
Description: The front sub frame assembly has not been adequately welded. This condition could cause failure of the assembly following long-term usage, increasing the risk of a crash. Dealers will inspect and replace the front sub frame, if necessary.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.

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