toyota cars

The Toyota Camry takes on ...

See the 2007 version of this comparison

Chrysler 300

Chrysler's latest entries have actually been ranking right up near Toyota in reliability - the PT Cruiser and Jeep Liberty have been beating most comers, and coming very close to Toyota. So we think it's fair to take the 300, which by all reports is meant to meet the Camry's repair records, and compare the two very, very different cars.

It is interesting to note that the Chrysler 300 isn't much larger than the Camry inside, with another two inches of rear leg room and two inches of hip room, but its extra weight - a stunning 3,700 to 4,000 pounds! - makes the rear-wheel-drive vehicle much less fuel-efficient with identical acceleration. However, cornering is far better, with a more balanced feel, and the expensive 300C option makes acceleration superlative.

2004 Toyota Camry 2004 Chrysler 300
Front Rear Front Rear
Headroom 39 38 39 38
Legroom 42 38 42 40
Hip room 54 54 56 56
Shoulder room 57.5 57 59 58
Trunk space 16.7 cubic feet 15.6 cubic feet
HP Torque HP Torque
Base engine 157 162 190 190
Optional engines 210
225
225
240
250
340
250
390
City mpg Highway mpg City mpg Highway mpg
Base engine, manual trans 24 33 n/a n/a
Base engine, automatic 23 32 21 28
Optional engine 21 (Premium) 29 (Premium) 17
17
27 (Midgrade)
25
0-60, manual / base engine 9.1 seconds n/a
0-60, automatic / base engine 9.9 seconds 9.9 seconds
0-60, optional engines 8.3 seconds 8.3 seconds
6.4 seconds
Emissions ULEV, both engines [Unknown]
Base price
  • $19,500 (LE 4)
  • $22,750 (LE V6)
  • $26,000 (XLE V6)
  • $23,585 (base)
  • $27,395 (Touring)
  • $32,995 (Limited)

Dodge Neon

While Toyota has built a solid reputation for quality and reliability, Dodge has been catching up in terms of quality (though they are not there yet, not by a long shot - to be fair, neither are most Japanese automakers!). The Dodge Neon in particular offers great value to those who would like a Camry-sized sedan, but don't really have the money for a Camry. While it does not offer all the amenities of the Camry - no navigation system, etc. - it does offer a great deal of space, and is much less expensive. Because it is lighter, the smaller engine still manages to make it as faster than the Camry!

So, before you buy a Camry...unless you're really into luxury or navigation systems...at least test drive a Neon, with an open mind. You may decide that you actually prefer it; or that you'd like to save $8,000 plus interest. At least, you'll know when you buy your Camry that you looked at the alternatives!

The Dodge Neon is not up to the level of reliability of the Camry, but appears to be at the level of the Honda Civic, so, it's not too bad. Long-term Neon owners report that their cars remain "good as new."

Here, it is interesting to note that the Neon is roughly the same size as the Camry inside, save for a considerably smaller trunk and shoulder room. Of course, the Neon does not have the Camry's pleasantly soft, well-insulated ride.

All dimensions are in inches
unless otherwise noted.
2002 Camry 2002 Neon
Front Rear Front Rear
Headroom 39 38 38.4 37
Legroom 41.6 38 42 35
Hip room 54 54 52.4 53
Shoulder room 57.5 56.7 53.4 53
Trunk space 16.7 cubic feet 13 cubic feet
HP Torque HP Torque
Base engine 157 162 132 130
Optional engines 192 209 150 R/T
225 SRT
135 R/T
235 SRT
City mpg Highway mpg City mpg Highway mpg
Base engine, manual trans 24 33 27 33
Base engine, automatic 23 32 24 31
Optional engine (Premium) 20 28 27* 33*
Other optional engine Unknown Unknown
0-60, manual / base engine 9.1 seconds 8.5 seconds
0-60, automatic / base engine 9.9 seconds [unknown]
0-60, optional engines 8.3 seconds (V6) 8.2 seconds (C&D) - R/T
5.8 seconds (C&D) - SRT
Emissions ULEV, both engines [Unknown]
Base price
  • $19,500 (LE 4)
  • $22,750 (LE V6)
  • $11,215**
  • $14,000 (R/T)**
  • $21,000 (SRT-4)

* Can take premium or regular. Premium recommended.
** With standard rebates available to all buyers