A mid-size vehicle, the Toyota Camry was formerly a compact car that was manufactured by Toyota since 1980. The Toyota Camry was released with a wheelbase of 102.4 inches, a whole six inches longer than the Accord. The Camry featured much more legroom for backseat passengers. The Camry came with Camry's 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine at 92 horsepower. Available transmissions were a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic.
In January of 1980, Toyota originally launched the Toyota Celica Camry for the Japanese home market. Basically a second-generation Toyota Carina, this new Celica Camry featured updated body styling and a front end that was very similar to a 1978 Toyota Celica XX; known as the Celica Supra in export markets. Based on the rear-wheel drive Celica, this new model was powered by either a 1.6 liter 12T-U engine that produced 88 hp and 94 lb-ft of torque, or a 1.8 liter 13T-U engine that produced 94 hp and 108 lb-ft of torque. Near the end of its model life cycle, Toyota debuted a sports version of the Celica Camry that was equipped with the 16-valve double overhead camshaft 2.0 liter engine from the Celica that produced 96 hp. Today, this is the most enviable and sought after versions of the Celica Camry.
The Celica Camry shared the 98.4 wheelbase of the Celica, Corona and the Carina, but it was longer than the Carina, and shorter than both the Corona and the Celica. Over 100,000 models were constructed during it model cycle and sold in Japan. This model was also exported to a huge number of markets under the Carina's name and also replaced the second-generation Carina in those markets.
The Toyota Camry has been the best-selling vehicle for nine of the last ten years, beginning in 1997, and the only exception being 2001. The Toyota Camry sells particularly well in Cambodia, where a huge majority of cars sold are Camry's. The Camry also sells very well in Canada, Australia and a variety of Asian markets. Unfortunately, the Toyota Camry has not sold well in Europe, or its home market Japan.
The Camry became an independent model line in 1982 and was sold as a compact four-door sedan and the five-door hatchback. At this time, the Camry was positioned above the Carina and Corona, and there were limited exports, predominantly to right-hand-drive markets. In the early 1980's the trend was leaning towards the box-shaped vehicle, and in this aspect, the first generation Camry fit in quite well. The vehicle size and available options were characteristic of Japanese-designed vehicles of the time.
The Camry was the most attractive of the offered vehicles, but it was considered to very functional and came with a lot of outward visibility with its slim roof pillars and lots of glass area. Much like the Accord, the Camry was available in a few trim levels, the base model DX and the more luxurious LE model. The Camry was not offered in two-door form, unlike the Accord, though the four-door Camry could be purchased in either hatchback or sedan body styles.
The Camry was rated with strong attributes by the loving public, with fine build quality, comfortable and solid reliability and with a very ‘peppy performance'. For the first full year of production, the Toyota Camry was Toyota's new midsize family car. The following year the only changes for the lineup were a slight variety in colors, along with addition of flush-mounted headlights and an increase in the engine's output up to 95 horsepower.
The Toyota Camry was available in North America with a 92 hp 2.0 liter engine, or a 74 hp 2.0 liter 2C-TLC turbo-diesel engine. The Toyota Camry was a front-wheel drive vehicle that was built on an all-new platform, whereas the Celica Camry was rear-wheel drive. Only a gas-fueled hatchback model was sold in Australia, while the U.K. and most of Continental Europe received the sedan and hatchback versions.
A brand new and improved Accord was introduced in 1986, and though unfortunately the Camry couldn't compete, but the following year it would be back on strong with a whole new redesign. Dropping the hatchback body style, the second generation Toyota Camry lineup now included a station wagon. A all-new all-wheel drive system that was dubbed All-Trac was introduced in 1988 and featured a 2.5 liter, 160 hp V6 engine that were added as options for the first time. A GT model that used the older 3S-GE engine found on the Celica was debuted in Japan. This model had a factory strut brace that was similar to an AE92 Corolla and also ran on the V6 model's 15 inch alloy wheels. The GT model also featured an electronic instrument cluster.
The second generation of the Toyota Camry was unveiled in 1987 with a bang! Intent on beating the Honda Accord, the Toyota Camry was introduced with numerous improvements. A much more modern, 16-valve, twin-cam engine design was introduced that resulted in an additional 20 more horsepower, though the four-cylinder engine's displacement remained at 2.0 liters. This was 17 more horsepower than the Honda Accord.
In Altona, Victoria, Australia, Toyota Australia began producing second generation Camry's; this was in fact the first Camry ever made outside of Japan. The base model featured a 1.8 liter four-cylinder engine that was rated at 86 hp. Meanwhile a 2.0 liter four-cylinder was available on all other models and was rated at 116 hp. A 2.5 liter V6 engine was introduced in 1988. This V6 sat at the top of the lineup and ended up being the only model imported from Japan. This version was very expensive and was sold in only small numbers. The 1.8 liter engine was deleted in 1989 and was replaced with a carbureted 2.0 liter engine that was capable of producing 110 hp.
The second generation Camry was now much quieter and had a significant decrease in vibration. The optional transmission now featured imperceptible gear changes. The Camry was customized for customers that wanted a smooth and quiet vehicle, while the Accord was aimed more at drivers who wanted interaction and feedback from their vehicle.
A sleeker new body was introduced for this generation, though it was still conservative, the Camry was much more upscale than the previous generation. For this year a wagon was introduced, while the five-door hatchback was dropped as American's preferred the four door model. Slim roof pillars were also once again introduced to minimize blind spots. For the 1987 model year, three trim levels were made available, base, 'value-equipped' DX, and the luxurious and well appointed luxurious LE.
For 1998 the Camry was introduced with a V6 option and the option of all-wheel drive. Producing 153 horsepower, the 2.5-liter V6 showcased double-overhead cams with four valves per cylinder. Stronger acceleration along with a smooth and quiet operation were the benefits from this refined powerplant. 'All-Trac'; the AWD system was available, but only with manual transmission and provided additional grip for those who drove in a slippery zone area, such as the Northeast and the Midwest.
The Camry was very well received in the U.S. and the decision was made by Toyota to begin production of the vehicle in the states. The first American-made Camry was chosen to be produced in Georgetown, Kentucky, and the model began rolling off the line in 1998. Consumers could now purchase a Japanese vehicle without feeling the guilt of taking away work from the Americans. The Toyota Manufacturing plant in Kentucky was the first wholly-owned U.S. Toyota plant. At this time, three trim levels of the second generation of Camry's were produced, the base model, the DX, and the LE.
The upscale Lexus ES 250 was repackaged with the 2.5 liter engine and Camry chassis. Basically, the Lexus ES 250 was the Japanese-market Camry hardtop. Anti-lock brakes became optional on the V6, LE, and station wagon models in 1991. In the U.S. these new second generation models were very popular.
Remaining basically unchanged for the next two years, in 1989 the Camry All-Trac could be purchased with the automatic gearbox. The Camry won great acclaim for generating high levels of reliability and build quality, and sales continued to climb higher.
The Toyota Camry became the Toyota's ‘jewel of a family car' and became the fifth best-selling vehicle in America as production was increased at the Kentucky plant. In 1991 antilock brakes became an optional feature on just a few of the Camry models. In this same year a knock sensor on the V6 was also added to ensure smoother operation.
In 1992 the Toyota Camry was introduced larger in every dimension. Nearly 6 inches longer in length, the Camry was also now 2 inches wider and both the height and wheelbase were an entire inch larger than before. Much more aesthetic to the eye, the all-new Camry featured much more room for passengers. The 1992 Camry featured a much smoother engine, more sound insulation and car that featured much less noise than vehicles that cost much more than the Toyota Camry. The 1992 Camry was also the model for the 1992 Lexus ES 300.
The all-new larger Camry now featured a much larger engine and the four-cylinder engine now displaced 2.2 liters and now displaced 130 horsepower. Now reaching 185 horsepower, the V6 jumped up to 3.0 liters which launched the Camry from 0-60mph in barely under 8 seconds.
In this same year the DX, LE, XLE and SE joined the Toyota Camry's lineup. The SE featured sport seats, a rear spoiler, door handle, mirror trim and a blacked-out window. This same model also featured performance suspension, a faster steering ratio, larger tires on special alloy wheels and a numerically higher final drive ratio.
Later on during the 1992 model year, a wagon rejoined the Camry lineup, and was roomy enough to allow for a third-seat option. The station was also offered in LE and DX trim levels.
In July of 1990, the third-generation SV30 Camry debuted exclusively to the Japanese market. In Japan, the Toyota Scepter was a widened version of this same model, and featured a very unique front and rear-end styling, with the side doors and other various sheet metal and mechanical components that were interchangeable between the two cars. The Scepter was known as the Camry SXV10 in other markets outside of Japan.
In July of 1992, an updated model was introduced. This new model featured a larger grille and an updated AC unit. The GT package was replaced with the ZX touring package.
For 1993 the Camry was refined slightly, and now featured improved gear shifting quality of manual transmission/four cylinder vehicles. For this same year, a new variety of colors were also introduced along with DX model that featured color-keyed body-side moldings. By 1993 the Kentucky plant now produced 75% of all Camry sedans sold in the U.S. and 100% of all Camry wagons, sold worldwide.
The '94 Camry received a few major innovations as it entered into its third year of its third-generation of design. The Camry was introduced in a popular two-door version to combat Honda's Accord Coupe for this year. The Camry also featured a passenger airbag to encourage additional safety. Now featuring 188 horsepower, the 1994 V6 was completely redesigned and showcased more power and a much smoother operation.
The SV40 Camry was introduced in July of 1994 and was exclusive for the Japanese market. The SV40 used a 1.8 liter, a 2.0 liter, and a 2.2 liter turbodiesel. The 2.0 liter model was only version first available in all-wheel drive, though later the 2.2 liter turbo-diesel was made available for this system.
The following year the SV40 was updated with anti-lock brakes and dual air bags that were now standard equipment.
For the following year, the Camry received a slight update that included a new grille, taillight and headlights that made the model seem much more upscale. The LE trim was now the only choice for the Camry wagon as the DX wagon was dropped. ABS was offered as a standard option on the XLE, and was optional on other trim levels. The 1995 Camry met the 1997 Government side-impact crash standards.
The 1996 Camry was unveiled for its Fifth, and final year of the generation, with only slight updates from the year before. Leather seats became optional on the LE, and a new seat fabric was introduced on the interior of the DX while the LE Wagon now introduced a power seat option. The fifth generation continued as a sedan and station wagon; which was called the Camry Gracia in Japan and wasn't sold in the U.S.
For the following year the Toyota Camry was completely redesigned with a new body style that replaced the curves of the generation before for sharp angles on a wedge-like profile. Both the station wagon and the two-door version were deleted. The width of the '97 Camry was also increased slightly and a 2-inch stretch was added in wheelbase which now provided legroom for back-seat passengers. The sporty SE was deleted from the lineup, while 3 lineups were now introduced, the base CE, the LE, and the very loaded XLE.
Producing 133 horsepower, the 2.2-linter inline four was a much more powerful engine while the V6 now featured 194 horsepower. LE and XLE Camry models had automatic transmission as standard and the four-cylinder CE came with a choice of automatic or five-speed manual. The only Camry equipped with a manual gearbox, the CE V6 was able to reach 0-60mph in less than 8 seconds. For this year not much changed with the suspension except for a slight improvement in handling and ride.
In this same year, ABS became standard on all Camry's except for the four-cylinder CE model. Antilock brakes were now more readily available, and the new bumpers could now withstand a 5-mph impact along with the option of traction control for V6 LE and XLE models. For this year, the Camry was the best-selling car in the U.S. The Japanese Scepter was deleted while the Japanese Camry models adopted the 1795 mm wide platform.
For the 1998 model year, side-impact airbags were offered as an option for all models. The V6 already featured the inline four, and for this year earned LEV name. An engine immobilizer was also added and was now improved and featured with a new anti-theft system. Once again, the Toyota Camry became the most popular vehicle in America.
For the following year, the Camry Solara coupe was introduced into the lineup. The Solara featured a very attractive swoopy roofline, a unique nose and tail and heavily creased sides. The Solara was built on the same platform as the sedan, but delivered a sportier feel due to a tightened suspension along with recalibrated, firmer steering. V6 models now also offered a optional Sport package that featured 16-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler and a stiffer suspension. By 2000 a Solara convertible form was introduced.
The Camry SE was dropped in the U.S. while the base model Solara was renamed the CE for the 1997 model year. Carryovers from the previous generation, the LE and the XLE were available with either the 2.2 L I4 or the 3.0 L V6 engine except for the Solara SLE, which was only available with the V6. The 2001 model year ushered in the LE-based Collector Edition.
For the Camry, power was pumped p to 133 hp SAE for the 5S-FE 2.2 L I4 and 194 hp SEA for the 1MZ-FE V6. CE trim level, LE V6 and any Solara models were the only ones to feature manual transmissions.
Identical to the export version of the Toyota Camry, the Daihatsu Altis was the first Camry to be sold for the General Export market, and was offered as 2.2 GLX and 3.0 V6 Grande. In 1997 a more upscale version of the Camry Gracia wagon was marketed in Japan as the Mark II Qualis. This model was available in 3.0G version with 1MZ-FE V6 engine, though it was not available in JDM Camry's.
This newest coupe was offered in SE trim with the option of either the four-cylinder or V6, while the SLE, which was encased in leather, came with either engine along with the option of other manual or automatic transmission. The SLE was pimped out much like an XLE sedan, while the SE featured a level of equipment much like an LE sedan.
LE and XLE Camry's received daytime running lights as a standard feature in 1999, while the CE also received it if it came with optional antilock brakes. Other updates included upgraded sound systems with both CD and cassette players, along with a new variety of color options.
For 2000, Toyota chose to spice p the four-year-old Camry sedan body style with fresh front and rear ends. New enlarged taillights were featured on the tail, while a chrome outline for the grille added flair to the nose. The exterior was also even more enhanced with revised side moldings along with new wheel cover and wheel designs. On the inside of the Toyota Camry, a newly standard stereo with cassette and CD players for all models was the biggest update. Faux wood trim also became standard on the XLE.
In 2001 the fourth-generation Camry was debuted and showcased a unique 'Gallery Series' edition. This edition featured two-tone treatments for the paint and interior along with chrome accents on the wheel covers, the exhaust tip and vent surrounds. This LE series also featured a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearshift.
Introduced without the station wagon for the first time, the Toyota Camry was released in September 2001 and as a larger sedan. The Camry wagon was replaced by the Toyota Sienna mini-van and the Highlander SUV, both vehicles that utilized the Camry's platform. A technique that had been adopted by compact vehicles, the front end of the car was short, which left a great deal of length to the cabin. An extremely tall vehicle, this sixth generation of the Toyota Camry was 2.5 inches taller and had a 2 inch longer wheelbase than the previous model.
For the 2002 model year, Toyota introduced an all-new Camry that featured an even more substantial and more aerodynamic than earlier models. This newest generation was considered to be even more upscale and elegant that its forbearers. The boot was also increased by 2.6 cubic feet which featured an end result of 16.7 cubic feet. The base CE model was dropped, while the SE sport model was reintroduced to the lineup.
Rather than complicate the design procedure with added trim levels to jazz up buyer interest, Toyota kept it simple by offering only a few versions to suit buyers' needs. The base CE was dropped as Toyota felt the lack of interest from consumers in a vehicle that featured manual windows and no air conditioning. Now there were only three Camry models to pick from, the LE, the sporty SE and the XLE.
For 2002 the option level lay once again in either four or six-cylinder engine power. The V6 lost some horsepower to qualify for ULEV status and to lower emissions, but it was still stellar. The new inline four engine featured 157 horsepower and at 2.4 liters; 162 lb-ft of torque.
The Solara stayed on the sixth generation chassis though it only received minor styling updates to the front and rear ends. The Solara did receive the same 2.4L 2AZ-FE VVT-I I4 engine that was available on the Camry.
The 2002 to 2006 Camry was available in five different trims in Australia and New Zealand; the Altise, Ateva, Sportivo, Grande and Azura. These models were significantly different from other Camry models worldwide, and featured around 77% locally developed components that would sit both Australian and New Zealand roads and driving conditions.
For 2003 the Toyota Camry remained virtually unchanged except for the addition of newly available power-adjustable pedals. The all new 2004 Camry SE featured a 3.3-liter V6 that boosted hp up to 225 and torque to 220 lb-ft. The LE and XLE trim's 3.0-liter V6 output was also upgraded to 210 hp and 220 lb-ft of torque. A new Limited Edition trim was sold this model year and featured an exclusive Crystal White color, a very unique grille design and foglights that were standard.
For 2005 a new entry-level standard model was added to the lineup. All Camry models received updated styling, new standard anti-lock brakes, steering wheel audio controls, Optitron gauges and upgraded seat fabrics. New standard leather upholstery was also added to the XLE V6. Also added to the 2005 model was a rear center head restraint, a storage bin in the door, standard leather seating on V6-powered XLE's and Optitron gauges. A new base trim level was also offered for 2005 and was also priced lower than the Camry LE. Both the V6 and I4 engines were now available on a 5-speed automatic transmission while the I4 engine received the new transmission for the '05 model year.
Introduced in 2003 as a 2004 model, the second generation Camry Solara featured all new unique styling in comparison from the Camry. The Solara now took its styling cues from the Lexus SC430. Though the 2.4 L VVT-i engine was still available, an all new 2.2 L VVT-i V6 was available. The same 5-speed automatic transmission was placed in the Solara that was in the sedan. A brand new SE Sport was now offered in addition to the SE and SLE trims. The SLE trim could now be had with the four-cylinder engine, unlike the first generation Solara. In the Japanese market, the Daihatsu continued with its twin Altis model.
The fifth generation Toyota Camry was introduced in the Philippines with 2.0 and 2.4 liter engines with four-speed automatics and no manual option. This was different from the U.S. version and featured a different front end design along with new inner taillight garnishes.
For the following year, not many changes were made except for the addition of a navigation system to the SE V6's options list. New standardized horsepower testing procedure lowered power ratings for this year, though actual output didn't change much.
In March of 2006, the seventh generation of the Camry went on sale. The Toyota Camry was completely redesigned with radically updated styling. The smooth body of the previous generation was replaced with a more angular and distinctive form. The interior of the Camry was also updated to feature a more eye-catching appearance with new teal lighting. Additional passenger space and new luxury-oriented features were also added to the '07 model.
This new generation now had a 56 mm longer wheelbase, though the overall length remained the same. This version was introduced at the 2006 North American International Auto show, right alongside the new hybrid version. This version was sold in some countries in Asia and the Middle East. In the U.S., the primary market for the Toyota Camry, the sales were significantly increased in the year following its release. The quarterly sales totally 46,630 units sold for the second quarter of the U.S. '07 model year for the Toyota Camry.
For 2007 the four trim levels of the Toyota Camry offered were the base CE, the LE, the sporty SE and the ultra-luxurious XLE. The 2.4-liter four-cylinder remained basically unchanged while producing 158 hp and 161 lb-ft of torque. The optional 3.5-liter V6 engine featured 28 mpg on the highway and produced an amazing 268 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque. Transmission choices for the four-cylinder offered a five-speed automatic or a five-speed manual for transmission choices, while the V6 engine featured its power with a six-speed automatic.
This was the first generation in which the Camry has been offered as a gasoline/electric hybrid. The Hybrid used Toyota's second generation Hybrid Synergy Drive and also contained a 4-cylinder engine in conjunction with a 40 HP electric motor. Originally built solely in Japan, Camry Hybrids were shifted to Toyota's Georgetown, Kentucky plant almost completed. This plant is estimated to produce nearly 45,000 units per year.
The 2007 Toyota Camry and the Camry Hybrid both received a five-star safety rating for frontal crashes for both driver and passenger by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. For rollovers, the Camry also received a four-star safety rating, though the Hybrid was not. The seventh generation Camry received a four-star safety rating due to Australasian New Car Assessment Program testing.
The base model deleted its CE designation for 2008, and no changes so far have been made for the 2009 model.By Jessica Donaldson