The Toyota Camry often gets a bad rap for being boring, but it’s really not a bad car. That is especially true when talking about the XV10 chassis, sold in the US from 1991-96, and we’re not even talking about its stone cold reliability. The steering isn’t sharp, but it actually holds the road surprisingly well for something that passes over every bump in the road like a puffy cloud. That goes doubly so for the sporty SE trim.
In fact, the 1993 Motorweek review for the car spent the entire time comparing it to BMWs and Mercedes. It’s not really a fair contest, since the much cheaper front-driver would obviously not live up to the expectations of luxury rear-drivers in terms of handling. But, in metrics like the 0-60 time — which the Camry SE ran in 7.2 seconds thanks to its 185-horses and 195 lb-ft of torque — it outperformed a BMW 325i.
The SE model also came with a sport suspension, alloy wheels, and a spoiler. But the real magic was in the 3.0-liter V6 and 5-speed manual combo. Add in a spacious, no-nonsense cabin, an entirely analog driving experience, and that aforementioned bulletproof reliability, and it’s starting to look like a pretty appealing package. In 1993 the starting price of an SE was $19,138, but you can pick up a manual V6 for under $5,000 today, making it a positively excellent daily driver.