Toyota Camry 2000: Are they just as safe as today's models?

We are expecting our first child so car safety has been on our minds recently: Should we switch from our Toyota Camry 2000 to a new similar car (not necessarily the same make or model)? Are the safety features that have been added over the recent years worth the switch to a newer model? On the flip side, I’ve heard that the older Camrys are built more sturdily than the newer ones which are lighter and designed to be more fuel efficient.
Note: My Camry has 105,000 miles, has not had any major problems and I service it on the recommended schedule.

Newer are better. Do you have side airbags? They’re especially valuable.

The current Camry models have disc brakes front and rear, which you don’t unless you have the V6 model. Otherwise, your current Camry has discs in the front and drums in the rear

The current Camry has electronic stability control . . . which you definitely don’t have . . . plus more airbags

The current Camry has TPMS, which alerts you to low tire pressure. Your older Camry doesn’t have that. Some may disagree, but I think it’s a good thing, considering most drivers don’t regularly check their tire pressures

The new Camry has auto headlamps, which means you’ll never have to wonder if you remembered to turn them on

Not to mention that the newer Camry has iso-fix child seat anchors. Trust me, it’s a lot easier to install a car seat in a car with those iso-fix anchors. My nephew sometimes rides in my car, and it’s very easy to install the child seat

To answer one of your questions . . . Yes, the new Camry is safer than your car

If you can afford it, get a new car

But all those safety features can only supplement a good driver

A 2014 Camry has many more safety features than a 2000 model. Still your infant can be safely transported in a 2000 Camry. Buy a quality infant car seat and learn how to install it properly.

Agree with Uncle Turbo. Your best investment to protect your child is to take a Defensive Driving course from the AAA or similar organization. For $200 or so you will be amazed to learn what goes on on the road and how you can stay out of trouble.

Since the 60s there have been a large number of safety improvments in cars but litle or no improvement in driver skills.

You can buy a newer car, you can buy a Van which maybe safer still. But, you still have to make safe decisions to avoid having to take advantage of the cars innate safety. Remember too it’s your responsibility to drive safely later without your newborn in the car. Your safety is as Important now as it will be after.

When my brother’s family had their kid, they got a brand new Toyota . . . and they also stopped driving recklessly

They’re still not the greatest drivers, but they stopped some of their more dangerous driving habits

They still bang their cars up, due to not paying attention

At least they’re not aggressive drivers anymore

Love my older Camry.
Please be careful about buying a van.
I was passenger in a Toyota van. It rolled going 70 mph.
Good news, it was a Toyota. We survived.
Bad news, 2 different pros there said they roll way too often.
People will disagree. But you want safety, and that was my experience.

Here’s a site that collects all the test results and ranks the cars according to safety:

I guess it depends how safe you feel you need to be. A 2014 certainly has more safety features. But it still isn’t 100% safe. And the safety features add complexity which could result in other problems, like loss of use of the car while it is getting repaired, bigger repair bills, or getting stranded in a bad neighborhood. It’s a compromise.

Yes, new cars do have more safety features, but at 35 MPH and up, safety is a really vague concept. I don’t care how many airbags are in a car, accidents are dangerous. Stability control can’t beat the laws of physics. Getting some good defensive driving training where you will learn the “Smith System” or something similar will go a lot farther toward safety than wrecking a newer car will.

@GeorgeSanJose - cars have been getting more reliable, as well as safer. No compromise needed.

It’s not always just about what safety features the car has but how the car was designed. A 2000 Camry was designed to meet the standards of the day, we expect better results from any 2013-14 of a similar size. @doubleclutch makes a good point, the driver’s skill level is as important as what they are driving.

A big reason to get a new car is stability control. There is a significant drop in fatalities in cas with this feature. Still, there are fatalities so it isn’t fool proof. But, this and abs and the additional air bags along with more mandates for the security of infant seats and car compatability are well worth at least thinking about a newer car.

New definitely provide much more crash protection and crash prevention technology.

There are also common sense behaviors you can build into your driving that will greatly enhance your safety. It always amazes me how many people drive around in rotten weather without turning their lights on. Just before Xmas, I witness a 4-car accident that I can say with extreme confidence might not have happened if they drivers had their lights on. It was a pitch-black night, raining, and a car two cars in front of me pulled out from a stop sign right in front of a van doing about 40mph. Neither vehicle had their lights on. Visibility was terrible. I don’t think the car pulling out from the stop sign saw the van, and I doubt if the van saw the car…he never even tried to stop. The van slammed into the front of the car, ricocheted into an oncoming vehicle, and spun the car around and into the next car up at the stop sign…the one right in front of me.

As great as the new technology is, good driving practices cannot be underemphasized as an accident preventer.

“good driving practices cannot be underemphasized as an accident preventer.”

True, but several days ago, some total idiot coming from the opposite direction decided to make a left turn, against oncoming traffic. He didn’t have a green arrow or anything. There was no break in traffic. He just made a bad decision

I had absolutely no warning, and now this guy was suddenly in front of me. When he saw me, and realized what an idiot he was, he thankfully stopped.

But I had to slam on the brakes, because he was now directly in front of me. My abs ensured that I was able to stop straight. My old car w/o abs wouldn’t have stopped straight, and the brakes would have locked up. I know this from personal experience.

My point is this . . . technology can not only save you from yourself, it can also save you from the other boneheads on the road

Yes, safe driving is important, but usually we want to know “all other things being equal”, which car would you rather be in.

Last night, an idiot driving a big sedan, decided to pass to my right on the merge ramp and jump right in front of me and the semi next to me. I slowed down and let him go (well a bit of noise and light was prudent), but was also happy to have my kids in a bigger car with all the VSC and airbags, just in case.

“technology can not only save you from yourself, it can also save you from the other boneheads on the road”

A BIG +1 to db4690’s comment, above.

Yes, having excellent driving skills is very important, but because there will always be other drivers on the road who are…
high on drugs…
just plain reckless…
or, perhaps even suicidal…
…it is important to have a vehicle with as many passenger protection features as possible.

It’s vitally important for the OP to drive carefully, defensively, and skillfully, but even if he does these things consistently, he and his family are still at risk from…
drivers who run stop signs and red lights…
drivers whose cars drift across the median…
drivers who pass on curves, in no passing zones…
and, of course…
drivers who are texting while driving

The OP can be the most skilled & careful driver in the world, and it is still possible to have his family put in jeopardy by the actions of others on the road. That is why having the maximum possible level of passenger protection is important, and–generally speaking–the newer the car, the better its level of passenger protection.

Db, I wholeheartedly agree. It was not my intent to understate the benefits of modern crash prevention and passenger protection technology. It was only my intent to emphasize the importance also of safe driving practices. And I guess that 4-car accident left an impression on me.

And, yet, just 1/2 hour or so ago I was driving home as it grew dark and I was amazed at how many people did not have their lights on. Even in the dark. I’ve long believed that accidents would drop sharply if only manufacturers were required to have the lights come on…all the lights, not just DRLs… whenever the key is in the ON position.

.all the lights, not just DRLs.

I agree with this. It is really interesting to see people driving at night with just the DRL’s no marker lights, tail lights, or anything. They see light in front of them and think everything must be OK.