The Toyota Camry is one of the biggest and famous nameplates in the world and especially in the US. With Corolla being the biggest and bestselling car in the world, the Camry model just falls a little short of the same impact in the automotive consumer space. It is a mid-size car which started as a compact car that has outsold every sedan in the US. With just 8 generations, the Camry have sure left great impressions on consumers’ mind especially in terms of reliability. It is one of the few car models that consumers keep buy year after year as a result of the years of delivering what exactly the consumers want.
The Camry model came as a replacement for the Corona in order to compete with the Honda Accord especially with the rising interest in very specific areas such as fuel efficiency and aerodynamic performance.
Variation and Class
The first generation Camry model (V10), 1982 to 1986, had a 4-door sedan and a 5-door liftback body style. It came with a 2.0-litre fuel-injected single-overhead-cam inline-four engine (92 hp) alongside other five other engine types of 1.8-litre and 2.0-litre capacity. Transmission wise, the Camry had a 5-speed manual and a 4-speed automatic transmission. With time, a Turbo-diesel option was added later on. This compact car had a transverse front-engine, front-wheel-drive with a coil spring suspension system which featured MacPherson strut. Various trims levels existed for the Camry sedan, LT, XT, SE, ZX. It was well received in the US but not in their domestic market, Japan.
With the 2nd generation (1986 to 1992) came, more interior space and more rounded edges. The Camry model had similar wheelbase as the 1st generation. Also, Toyota decided to introduced a wagon style with the same engine as the sedan. The engine specifications of both cars was 16-valve 2.0-litre 4-cylinder (112 hp). With opening a manufacturing plant in the US due to the limit to the export numbers by the US government, Toyota was empowered to bring more options to the roads. The 4-cylinder models came with an all-wheel-drive option. Later on, a 2.5-litre V-6 engine (153 hp) was added for both sedan and wagon. In terms of body style, the 4-door sedan, 4-door hardtop sedan, 5-door station wagon were the select options that the Camry model gave consumers. Having front-engine layout with either front-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive, the Camry car had a 5-speed manual and 4-speed automatic transmission. Between this period, focus was steered towards a more American style rather than a Japanese design since the japan market wasn’t really doing well. Noise isolation features were improved by adding the rear suspension from Celica to the Camry engine design. With new features and more variant in place, sales hit the 200000 mark.
The 3rd generation, 1992 to 1996, came with the 4-door sedan and 4-door hardtop sedan option. Using the same transmission as with previous generation, the transverse front-engine, front-wheel-drive and 4-wheel-drive is in use alongside a 1.8 litre I4 gasoline (4S-FE) and 2.0-litre I4 gasoline (3S-FE, 3S-GE), and so on. Increase size with revised styling is a big addition to this generation models. Same suspension as the 2nd generation but with high-end front-drive trims. Some advanced features were added such as Toyota Electronic Modulated Suspension (TEMS) and speed sensitive four-wheel steering are added. Within this generation, the XV10 was released which defined the unique Camry design with 2.2-litre and 3.0-litre V-6 engine. With the sleekness and refinement, the new Toyota Camry was well received and a high reception especially in the US.
Between 1997 to 2001, the same car layout is used as with previous generations but with a slightly different body style choice, 4-door sedan and 4-door hardtop sedan (Vista only). Three engine layout; 1.8-litre I4 gasoline (4S-FE), 2.0-litre I4 gasoline (3S-FE), 2.2-litre I4-T diesel 3C-T are used. Camry Prominent hardtop was discontinued. The Toyota Vista was continued from the previous generation. Safety features were updated with anti-lock brake and dual air bags.
In the 5th generation (2002 to 2006), the wagon was reintroduced with the hardtop sedan model discontinued with the 4-door sedan maintaining the standard design. The engine specifications; 1.8-litre I4 and 2.0-litre I4 engines. Under the V50 model, none of the model were released as Camry but as Vista (both the sedan and wagon). Under the XV30 model, there was a massive redesign based on the previous generation design bringing a longer wheelbase and a higher seating position. The Camry Solara coupe introduced in the 4th gen was redesigned and was giving a luxury feel having a 3.3-litre V-6 engine.
With a bigger and similar look, the 6th generation which spanned 5 years from 2007 to 2011 had a 2.4-litre engine (158 hp) and a 3.5-litre engine (268 hp) option. Camry hybrid was introduced with a 33 mpg city with a 187 hp. The Solara coupe was discontinued. The front end was the difference between the 7th generation (2012 to 2017) and the previous in terms of exterior. Most of the specifications were similar to the previous generation aside from some fuel efficiency features and the hybrid drivetrain and the interior features. Due to low receptions, Toyota release a 2015 model with a better exterior and a more improved interior.
The 8th generation (XV70), 2018 till present, began with a 3.5 litre 4-cylinder and V-6 engine (301 hp) with Camry providing improved dynamics and more power and increased suspension. A sport model was released via the Camry TRD sporty model with stronger suspension and a very powerful 3.5-litre V-6 engine which tops at 301-hp.
Safety Features and Reliability
In terms of safety, the Camry scores high with a 35.3 out of 36.00 in Adult occupant protection and 44.44 out of 49.00 in Child occupant protection and 14.22 out of 18.00 in Safety Assist. Some of the safety features that give the Toyota Camry such scores are blind spot monitoring, advanced ten-airbag system, a trademark safety system called Star Safety System which includes stability control, anti-locking brakes and electronic brake-force distribution. In a recent survey, Toyota Camry had a lowest problem per 100 vehicles ratio. It is no reason why the Toyota Camry has been the best-selling car in America for 16 years. The impression that current consumers have is that the Camry model is a long-lasting car.
Acclaim and Reception
In 2020, the Toyota Camry received a 5-star overall safety rating from NHTSA, an IIHS TSP+, Best Midsize car among others. In the US, since 1997 till 2016, the Camry was considered the best-selling passenger car as well as in Australia since 1993.The Camry is considered a luxury car that delivers, and as had a high sales volume within the range of 250,000 and 500,000 since 1980 till date in the US.
Without a doubt, the Toyota Camry is a top-class mid-size car which delivers in safety, compactness, speed and performance. In terms of luxury, it doesn’t fall short either.