Toyota Camry Review: Price, Models, Reliability and More

Toyota Camry Review: Price, Models, Reliability and More

Dependable, efficient, economical, what's not to love about the Toyota Camry?

Toyota first released the Camry in 1983, on the heels of the global oil crisis of the 1970s that sent gas prices skyrocketing and consumers on the hunt for more fuel-efficient vehicles. The sensible sedan quickly soared into the hearts of American drivers. Eventually, it became – in 1997, specifically – the first Toyota to win the title of best-selling car in the United States. Except for 2001, the Camry remained at the top of that list for nearly two decades until 2018. On average, Toyota sold between 300,000 and 400,000 models in the U.S. alone in each of those years, making for a total of some 10 million to date.

Those chart-topping numbers make the Camry's name, which comes from the Japanese word for "crown," "kanmuri," all the more fitting.

Over the years, what was once strictly a four-door sedan has tried different looks on for size, including two-door coupe hardtop and convertible variants as well as a station wagon version. Now in its eighth generation, the Camry is strictly a sedan again. And it's available as a hybrid and as an AWD, too.

The car's most recent redesign in 2018 brought a sleek, stealthy silhouette with sharp lines that offers a smooth ride, precise handling, and several engine options. It also comes with a full menu of standard safety features and a straightforward infotainment system.

Adaptable, pleasant, and practical without sacrificing its style, it's no surprise why drivers around the globe adore the Camry so.

What different trim options does the Toyota Camry feature?

Versatility is king in the Camry's eyes, with several different trim options from which to choose.

The Camry comes in five variants: the LE base model, the SE, the XLE, the XSE, and the TRD. Two different engine options are also available: a 2.5-liter, 206-horsepower four-cylinder or a 3.5-liter, 301-horsepower V6 only available on the XLE, the XSE, and the TRD. If added oomph is a must, the punchier powertrain is the way to go.

New base model Camrys start at just shy of $25,000, whereas the top-tier TRD goes for slightly more than $32,000. Used Camrys, however, bring significant savings, with prices as low as $11,000 depending on the trim and model year. Top-end TRDs sell for as little as $23,000.

How has the Toyota Camry changed over the years?

Just as Rome wasn't built in a day, the Toyota Camry didn't become one of the best-selling cars of all time overnight. Over the years, the car has evolved in size and body style to reflect the changing times and keep up with technological advances.

In terms of size, contemporary Camrys measure nearly a foot longer and half a foot wider than the original 1983 models. Traditionally sold as a four-door sedan, Toyota also offered the car as a two-door coupe known as the Camry Solara from 1999 to 2008 that was available as either a hardtop or a convertible. Before that, from 1991 to 1996, the Camry came in a wagon option with a rear tailgate door, too.

Nowadays, the Camry is back to its original four-door sedan body style with clean, modern lines that all in all make for a polished profile.

Toyota unveiled a fully reworked look with the 2018 edition, which featured increased speed capacity and improved fuel efficiency and handling. The Camry officially became smart-phone compatible with Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa in 2019 and Android Auto in 2020. The new decade also brought the option of all-wheel-drive and the current trim-topping TRD edition. Aside from the prospect of swapping the standard 7-inch touchscreen for a 9-inch upgrade, the 2021 Camry essentially looks and feels like its slightly older siblings. In short, all the more reason to consider a used model rather than buying new.

How fuel-efficient is the Toyota Camry?

It's no coincidence that the Camry happens to be the best-seller that it is and is so fuel-efficient, too.

The Camry can run up to 31 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the freeway with the smaller four-cylinder engine. By comparison, the perkier V6 travels up to 22 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.

It's also worth noting that the Camry was also one of the first cars to offer a hybrid option beginning with the 2006 model.

Hybrid Camrys travel up to 51 mpg in the city and 53 mpg on the freeway and used models tend to hover in the mid-$20,000s. That's essentially on par with the price tag of new gas-powered base models. So, in short, opting for a slightly used hybrid instead of a similarly priced new base model will cost you roughly the same upfront. Best of all, in theory, it will save you up to approximately 40 percent in fuel costs, too.

2019 Toyota Camry SE (from $23,950)

2019 Toyota Camry SE (from $23,950)
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2019 Toyota Camry SE (from $23,950)
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How does the Toyota Camry compare to other midsize sedans in terms of safety?

The Camry earned equally stellar ratings from the Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Both consider it to be one of the safest midsize sedans on the road today.

While most Camrys feature front-wheel-drive, keep in mind that Toyota also offers an all-wheel-drive option, which raises the Camry's safety ratings even more. In general, vehicles with all-wheel-drive offer significantly increased handling on wet, snowy, and icy roads, thanks to the fact that all four wheels of the car operate in unison. So if your neck of the woods happens to receive rain and snowfall regularly, an AWD Camry may be a smart option for you.

As far as driver-assist safety features go, the Camry is dressed to the nines. Standard features include lane-trace and lane-keep assist, lane departure, forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, traffic-sign recognition, rearview cameras, and adaptive cruise control. Among the Camry's additional upgrade options are blind-spot monitoring, rear-cross traffic alert, reverse automatic emergency braking, and a surround-view parking camera system.

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How does the Toyota Camry's interior size up?

Not too big but indeed not too small, the Camry features a spacious cabin that sports sufficient room for up to five full-size adults in either the front or back seats. While the 15.1-cubic-foot trunk falls on the small side when compared to other midsize sedans, it still offers sufficient storage for a decent amount of cargo and features folding rear seats to accommodate lengthier items, too.

As far as tech goes, the standard on the Camry is Toyota's Entune 3.0 infotainment system, which includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa. The car also features Bluetooth, a Wi-Fi hot spot, satellite radio, a six-speaker stereo, and two USB ports. All Camrys come with a seven-inch touchscreen, with the option to upgrade to a sizable nine-incher.

2015 Toyota Camry SE (from $17,250)

2015 Toyota Camry SE (from $17,250)
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2015 Toyota Camry SE (from $17,250)
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Crowning the Camry a winner

The Camry's impressive safety ratings and fuel economy, paired with the reliability and longevity for which all Toyotas are known, make it one of the most popular cars around the globe. Remember, Toyota has churned out more than 10 million to date. So if you're in the market for a solid used car, the Camry most certainly belongs on your shortlist.

Shift's inventory includes dozens of Camrys from which to choose, all of which you can buy directly online from the comfort of your home, know it has no hidden issues thanks to their 150-point inspection, and get a fair, up-front price from the start.

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Author
Shift Editorial Team