For years, the Camry has ranked as one of Toyota's top-selling cars. Its reliability and design have made it a favorite. But what is the best year Toyota Camry?

The Toyota Camry is known for its simple yet elegant design and is well-recognized for its reliability. With a pocket-friendly price, nearly all models of the Toyota Camry are respectable. However, the 2013 to 2015 models are proven to be most reliable by statistics and user reviews.

As a car that has been an automotive staple for nearly forty years, the Toyota Camry needs no introduction. Even though consumers have made a significant shift towards modern crossovers, the Camry still sells like hot cake.

According to Car and Driver, Toyota Camry has always remained in the top ranks among other passenger cars. The midsized sedan sells over 200,000 units every year to remain the most popular choice of US families.

Best Year Toyota Camry

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America's Most Popular Sedan

Toyota Camry has been an American favorite for decades now. Toyota's dedication to making continuous upgrades to an already reliable and well-designed car has made the Camry a consumer favorite.

While many argue that it is not the flashiest of vehicles and is often marked as practical, the Camry has not failed to reap a huge market share. It is Toyota's second most sold vehicle, behind the RAV4.

During the pandemic of 2020, the automotive industry was badly hit, and car sales saw a great decline. Even with the sluggish sales all across the country, the Toyota Camry stood out. It outsold not only all other sedans but many SUVs.

According to the Car and Driver list of most sold cars in 2020, the Toyota Camry stood six. It was outrun only by two SUVs and three trucks. In a truck and SUV-dominated market, the sixth position is still impressive for a sedan. The car has also maintained its position for 2021.

Even with all the popularity, the Camry is hardly celebrated. The sedan has long maintained its reliability, and this has become a standard. Most people now know what to expect from a Camry, and the car never fails to meet and exceed expectations.

The New Camry

The only thing that the latest Camry shares with its predecessors is the name. The new design and performance make it stand out. Just like the previous models, the car comes in various trims. For your daily driving, you have the standard four-cylinder engine. If you are really into fuel-saving, you can opt for the hybrid version.

But if you are more into Need for Speed, you will want to get the Camry TRD. The TRD houses a six-cylinder engine that pushes out 301 horsepower through an eight-speed automatic transmission. The body kit, a stylish rear spoiler, and 18 inch black rims are added to the style.

Depending on the trim you prefer, a brand new Toyota Camry can cost anywhere between $28,000 and  $32,000.

Welcome to America - Camry over the Years

In the early 1980s, the Camry first set its feet (or tires) on American soil. It did not take long for the car to become a hot favorite. It has carried through its attraction for eight generations now and still counting.

Let us look at all the generations of the Camry briefly

First Generation (1983 - 1986)

The first Camry was released in 1983. The four-door sedan housed a 2.0-liter engine delivering power through a 5-speed manual transmission. It was designed to serve as a replacement for the Toyota Corona.

Second Generation (1987 - 1991)

Only after four years of its introduction, the second generation was launched in 1987. This model hosted a larger interior and came with more trims. Adding a little curve to the older boxy design portrayed better aerodynamics.

In 1988, Toyota opened a new facility in Kentucky to start production in the USA. Adding an American touch to the Japanese car, the new four-cylinder engine was more powerful with an all-wheel-drive option. Toyota also offered a 2.5-liter V6 engine that delivered 153 horsepower as an option. The car was now also available in manual and automatic transmission.

Third Generation (1992 - 1996)

This was the generation that proved to be a turning point in Camry's history. This American Camry was different from the global versions. This generation had a considerable change in the exterior, and the car boasted a more rounded appearance than the boxy ones before.

The sedan offered two new engine variants under the hood:   2.2-liter four-cylinder and 3.0 liter V6.

The car enthusiasts were impressed by this model and often term the third generation  Camry as a benchmark for mainstream sedans.

Fourth Generation (1997 - 2001)

With some parts still being imported from Japan, by 1997, the car was mostly being developed within US borders. More local assembly allowed Toyota USA to make changes as per the US market requirements.

With increasing acceptance, Camry became the best-selling car in the United States for the first time in 1997. It also won the 10 Best Cars Award in 1997. Little did we know back then, the Camry would hold this reputation for years to come.

The new design and sleeker looks made the car an attraction amongst mid-size sedan lovers. The 2.2 liters four-cylinder and 3.0-liter V6 engines were carried forward from the previous generation but with more horsepower.

Fifth Generation (2002 - 2006)

The fifth-generation was again a total redesign. The car became longer and taller than before. Flaunting a raised driver and passenger seat, the new car provided more legroom for the backseat passengers.

With an increase in size, Toyota decided to upsize the engines as well. The standard variant now came with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that would produce 157 hp. The 3.0 liter V6, however, still carried over. But the V6 variant was coupled with only automatic transmission.

It was in this generation that Toyota offered its first in-dash navigation system.

Sixth Generation (2007 - 2011)

By now, Camry redesigns had become predictable. We assumed that every new generation of Camry was going to look quite different from the previous ones. We also knew that it would be bigger and more powerful than before. The sixth-generation did not disappoint.

Out of all the years, Toyota sold the most units of Camry in 2007; over 473,000 cars were given new homes in one year! That is selling nearly 1500 cars a day, every day!

This time, the 2.4-liter engine was carried over. But the 3.0 liter was replaced with a 3.5 liter V6 beast, giving Camry a whopping 269 horsepower. The car could do 0-60 mph in just 5.8 seconds, and a quarter-mile drag race would take no more than 14.3 seconds.

Seventh Generation (2012 - 2017)

The 2012 Camry did not entice much excitement. The style was new, but the US market did not like it very much. The engines and other features were mostly carried over. One new feature that was added in this generation was the hybrid version.

This was the first generation that skipped the manual transmission altogether. All cars came with an automatic transmission. The interior was more spacious and hosted an upbeat infotainment system with smartphone connectivity.

However, due to numerous critical reviews, this version of the Camry did not make impressive sales. But the numbers surely got Toyota to spring into action.

Eighth Generation (2018 - Present)

Toyota built high expectations for this generation by debuting the car at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show. The engine was upgraded to a 2.5-liter four-cylinder, and the 3.5 liter V6 was also adjusted to produce more power. Then came the TRD in 2020.

The TRD had a better suspension, that racecar look and housed the 3.5 liter V6 that could produce 301 hp. The car came with black rims and shiny dual exhausts that attracted car enthusiasts' attention.

Reliability of Toyota Camry

According to consumerreports.org, Toyota is one of the most reliable auto brands in the US. With popular models in all categories like Corolla, Camry, Highlander, RAV4, and the massive Sequoia and  Tundra, all models have met or exceeded expectations when it comes to reliability.

The Camry is a mid-sized sedan that does not fall short in reliability. Camry owners can get around by maintaining their car for $388 annually. The closest competitors like the Honda Accord or Hyundai Sonata require $526 of maintenance.

Similarly, when it comes to unscheduled repairs, every owner needs to bring the car to a repair shop once every 3.5 years. For competing models, this time is reduced to 2.5 years. This means that with your Camry, you will have fewer unexpected issues as compared to its competitors.

Reliability Awards

Over the years, Toyota Camry has received numerous awards. Here are some of the more recent ones.

  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awarded a 5 Star Safety Rating to Camry 2020
  • Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded Top Safety Pick+ 2020
  • World Report 2020 and US News awarded Best Midsize Car for the Money 2020
  • Kelly Blue Book awarded Best Resale Value Award to Toyota Camry 2019

Some Models to Avoid

With all the hype about reliability and affordability, chances are you will begin to feel that any Camry is a safe bet. But it is important to understand that not all models are the same. Little adjustments while upgrading can pose several problems.

If you look at the statistics, you will see that Camry has almost aced reliability tests for many years. However, during 2007, '08, and '09, the reliability score came down to 4 out of 5. These models had the highest recalls and the highest number of complaints recorded.

You will likely find the price tag on these models very attractive, ranging between $5,000 and $7,000. But if you fail to check the car thoroughly before buying, it will not take long for your great bargain to turn into a bottomless money pit.

For these three models, there have been numerous complaints. From excessive oil consumption to total engine failure, these issues can easily end up burning a hole in your pocket. Here are a few complaint statistics for the three years

2007

This year, Toyota made record sales for the Camry. However, it also received the most complaints this year. A total of 998 complaints with over 550 related to engine issues were filed. The company also had ten recalls this year.

2009

In 2009, the company also had ten recalls. However, the complaints reduced to 458, but almost all of them had something to do with excessive engine oil consumption.

2008

Out of the three bad years for Camry, this was the least bad. It received fewer complaints, but again, all of them were severe and engine-related. There were complaints of car lurching, engine oil consumption, and total engine failure.

Best Year Toyota Camry Model

If you are looking to get good value for your money, you can buy a used Camry. The car has been proven to go well beyond 200,000 miles without any major issues. Here are some of the top picks of the best year Toyota Camry.

7th Generation

If you are looking to get the most value for your hard-earned money, the models from 2013 to 2015 are what you should be looking for. While the seventh generation continued from 2012 to 2017, you will still want to opt for 2013, '14, and '15. These three years had the least recalls by Toyota. These models also had the least number of consumer complaints, and most of them were not major.

You can find a decent Camry between $9,000 and $15,000 for these years

6th Generation

This was the generation that had the highest number of bad apples. But consider yourself lucky if you find a reliable 2010 Camry. For this generation, 2010 had the least number of complaints and received 4-star customer satisfaction.

5th Generation

If you are comfortable driving an older car, you can look for a 2004 Camry with low mileage. It will be a hard find but will justify your effort. You might be able to sign a deal for lower than $5,000 for a reliable car.

Even though it has been running for almost 20 years, the car still has a very low complaint ratio compared to other competitors.

About THE AUTHOR

Charles Redding

Charles Redding

I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.

Read More About Charles Redding