Toyota Camry Image Gallery 
Toyota Camry Image Gallery 

©2007 Toyota via Wieck The Toyota Camry hit the U.S. market in the 1983 model year. This See more pictures of the Toyota Camry.

Toyota Camry Overview

The 2007 Toyota Camry traces its roots in the U.S. to the 1983 model year and was one of the first Japanese cars designed expressly for the American market. Replacing the rear-wheel-drive Toyota Corona, the front-wheel-drive Camry quickly became Toyota's number-two U.S. seller.

By 1987, Camry was the company's top-selling model. A few years later, it displaced the Ford Taurus and Honda Accord as America's most popular line of passenger cars, a title it has held most every year since. Even today, despite a broader-than-ever Toyota lineup and the popularity of sport-utility vehicles, the Camry draws some 450,000 yearly sales, about 45 percent of Toyota's total U.S. car volume.

What's the secret of this success? It's not sex appeal or driving fun. Though a few Camry models do tilt toward sportiness, Camry has never tried to be anything more than a no-nonsense mainstream family car. Its key traits have always been solid engineering, high-grade workmanship, and strong value for money, a combination most competitors don't match. Camry also enjoys Toyota's reputation for high reliability and strong resale value, two more factors that keep it demand as both a new car and used car.

The Camry embodies the much-publicized rise of the Toyota brand itself. Indeed, it's one reason Toyota has grown to rank No. 3 in U.S. vehicle sales (as of 2006). Analysts predict Toyota will soon overhaul perennial No. 2 Ford Motor Co., and then pass General Motors to become the largest vehicle maker in the world.

This article traces Camry's evolution, from its beginning to the latest 2007 models. It's divided by the car's six design generations, starting in 1983.

©2007 Toyota via Wieck The

Each page begins with a description of the major design and engineering features for that generation. Then it discusses the significant changes to Camry for each model year within the generation.

Each page also includes a segment entitled "Toyota Camry Reliability." This lists the car's notable trouble spots as reported by owners and mechanics, and includes problems covered in company-issued service bulletins.

The pages conclude with "Toyota Camry Safety Recalls." These are recalls issued by the U.S. government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

©2007 Toyota via Wieck The Toyota Camry -- such as this model from it has been one of the most popular and durable cars on the road.

Camry has grown larger, more powerful, and more luxurious over the years. It's also proven an ideal basis for the Lexus ES, the best-selling model from Toyota's upscale division. Camry has not been without its critics, and is by no means mechanically perfect. But by almost any measure, it is a remarkable automotive achievement. Learn all about it in the pages that follow.

For advice, reviews, photos, prices, reliability trouble spots, and even examples of used cars you're considering that are on sale in your area, check out:
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  • You've found the vehicle you want to buy, but only a Vehicle History Report can tell you if the odometer is accurate, if it's received any safety recall repairs, and a host of other essential information.
  • The Toyota Camry has been a perennial among Consumer Guide's Best Buy and Recommended vehicles. Find out why, and learn about our other top new-car values.
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©2007 Toyota via Wieck The 1983 Toyota Camry was available in two body styles, a four-door hatchback (front) and a four-door sedan (back).

1983, 1984, 1985, 1986 Toyota Camry

Camry put Toyota into the American-market mainstream with a roomy, economical compact that drew new buyers to the Japanese brand. A hatchback body style and an available diesel engine broadened its appeal. 

1983 Toyota Camry

Camry bowed during the 1983 model year as Toyota belatedly switched its compact car from rear-wheel drive to front-wheel drive. Built in Japan, the Camry model line consisted of a four-door sedan and a four-door hatchback, which Toyota called the Liftback. Both body styles came in Deluxe and uplevel LE trim.

One engine was available: a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with fuel injection and 92 horsepower. Transmissions were the expected choice of standard five-speed manual and optional four-speed automatic. Both featured gas-saving overdrive top-gear ratios. The automatic featured electronic shift control with driver-selectable shift modes labeled Economy, Normal and Power.

External dimensions for the 1983 Toyota Camry were squarely in the compact-car class. Wheelbase was 102.4 inches and overall length was 175.6. The car was 66.5 inches wide and 53.9 inches tall. Despite the trim size, Camry offered good interior space and a spacious feel, helped by practical boxy bodylines and generous glass areas. The Liftback's folding rear seat afforded wagonlike cargo space and versatility.

©2007 Toyota via Wieck Although it was considered a compact, the 1983 Camry had good interior space.

All models rode a four-wheel independent suspension with rather soft calibrations that made for a relatively smooth ride but compromised cornering precision. Even so, Camry was pleasant to drive, predictable in emergency maneuvers, and fairly quiet by mid-1980s standards.

1984 Toyota Camry[/b]

The Deluxe sedan version of the 1984 Toyota Camry added a four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine as a new option. The 1.8-liter unit was rated at 73 horsepower and was limited to manual transmission. A special gauge cluster and unique "quiet" exhaust system were included.

The one other change involved Camry's automatic transmission, which added an overdrive lockout switch that inhibited an upshift to fourth gear, useful in stop-and-go driving. Consumer Guide[/i] judged the Camry "a fine family sedan that lacks the power and suspension of a sport sedan. Other than that, it's hard to find fault..."

1985 Toyota Camry

A new grille, headlamps and taillamps gave the 1985 Toyota Camry a subtly sleeker look. A revised instrument panel sported new climate-system controls and a larger glovebox. Camry LE models offered optional digi-graphic gauges, and an anti-theft alarm system was a new option for all models.

Deluxe versions added a standard tilt steering wheel, previously limited to LEs. All models received premium gas-charged front shock absorbers and stiffer rear springs. The turbodiesel sedan was now available with automatic transmission, but without electronic shift control. The regular automatic lost its Economy shift mode.

1986 Toyota Camry

The big news for the 1986 Toyota Camry was a little more power. The 2.0-liter gas engine went up three horsepower, to 95, thanks to a more-efficient fuel-injection system. The turbodiesel four was now a 2.0-liter engine with 79 horsepower, up 6 from the 1.8-liter version. Automatic transmission was now mandatory with the turbodiesel and newly available in the LE sedan.

The only other changes were a revised power-brake system and, for LEs, new cloth seat and door trim.

Toyota Camry Reliability

Oil pump gaskets (1983 and 1984 model years): According to owner complaints filed with NHTSA, these gaskets can fail at high mileages or after around 10 years service; periodic inspection for oil leaks is advised.

Ignition module (1983, 1984): This electronic controller can also fail as time passes or the miles pile up. Because of its design, it cannot be repaired and must be replaced.

Seatbelts (1983, 1984, 1985, 1986): Buckles can stick or fail to latch securely; plastic components can crack or fall apart at around the 10-year mark. Belt retractors sometimes bind or don't fully take up slack in the belt.

Timing belts (1983, 1984, 1985, 1986): Engine timing belts should be replaced every 50,000 miles. Failure to do so risks engine damage.

Electrical system (1983, 1984, 1985, 1986): NHTSA received a few complaints that various components could fail or malfunction after 10 years or so.

©2007 Toyota via Wieck Toyota Camrys from 1983 were recalled for replacement of the cruise control computer.

Toyota Camry Safety Recalls

1983, 1984: Cruise control computer could malfunction in cold temperatures after shutting off. If the cruise control switch is left "on," restarting the engine could cause racing (high revving) that could cause loss of control. Dealers would replace the computer with one of improved design.

1983, 1984: The voltage regulator, which controls the amount of electrical flow between the battery and alternator, may have a faulty integrated circuit that could cause overcharging of the battery. Dealers would replace the voltage regulator.

With Camry firmly established, Toyota was poised to broaden the car's audience with new body styles and new technical features, such as all-wheel drive. It was also ready to open an assembly plant in the U.S., a decision that would prove significant to the American automotive scene. Learn about these important new developments on the next page.

For advice, reviews, photos, prices, reliability trouble spots, and even examples of used cars you're considering that are on sale in your area, check out:
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  • You've found the vehicle you want to buy, but only a Vehicle History Report can tell you if the odometer is accurate, if it's received any safety recall repairs, and a host of other essential information.
  • The Toyota Camry has been a perennial among Consumer Guide's Best Buy and Recommended vehicles. Find out why, and learn about our other top new-car values.
  • Shopping for a hybrid car? Click here to see the 2007 Toyota Camry hybrid and other 2007 hybrid car pictures.
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©2007 Toyota via Wieck The Camry emerged as Toyota's top-selling model in 1987.

1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991 Toyota Camry

America got a taste of Toyota's rapid pace of development when the popular Camry was redesigned after just four model years. The second-generation brought a station wagon body style, available all-wheel drive, and the car's first V-6 engine. And in a move that would have long-term repercussions for the domestic auto industry, Toyota opened an assembly plant in Kentucky in 1988, and began building Camrys there.

1987 Toyota Camry

With fresh styling, more power and the addition of a station wagon model, the 1987 Camry became Toyota's top-selling U.S. model line.

New exterior sheet metal softened the angular bodylines, but added 6.5 inches to length and a notable 200 pounds to curb weight. Wheelbase was unchanged, as were the car's basic architecture and most interior dimensions.

The four-door wagon replaced the sloped-roof Liftback body style. It came with a 60/40 split folding rear seat for up to 65.1 cubic feet of cargo space, plus a one-piece liftgate. The 1987 Toyota Camry sedan and wagon came in Deluxe and LE trim.

©2007 Toyota via Wieck The 1987 model year brought the Toyota Camry four-door station wagon.

Under Camry hoods, the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine switched from a single overhead camshaft to a twincam design that combined with other changes for 115 horsepower, up 20. LEs now came only with a four-speed automatic transmission (again with Normal and Power modes). This automatic was optional for Deluxes in lieu of a standard five-speed manual.

Meeting a new federal mandate for "passive" front-occupant restraints were motorized shoulder belts that automatically pivoted into place with the doors closed and the ignition switched on; lap belts still required manual fastening. Among other new features were an upgrade from 13- to 14-inch standard tires, an available "Acoustic Flavor" audio system, and fold-down rear seatbacks and an optional power glass sunroof for the LE sedan. A Standard sedan with a lower price and fewer standard features arrived during the '87 model year.

Consumer Guide generally applauded Camry's makeover, but found the engine rather noisy, acceleration little more than adequate (betraying the added weight), and the automatic transmission reluctant to downshift for passing without a heavy stab on the gas pedal.

On the plus side, "The front-drive chassis provides capable handling, and the all-season tires have good grip in rain or snow. Highway cruising is stable and comfortable, and the absorbent suspension soaks up most bumps easily." In all, "Camry is a well-designed, pleasant compact that compares favorably with the [rival Honda] Accord in most areas.

1988 Toyota Camry

Reflecting an industry trend, Toyota gave Camry an All-Trac sedan with permanently engaged all-wheel drive. The AWD system split engine torque 50/50 front/rear; it lacked separate low-range gears like a 4WD truck, but had a mechanical center differential that could be locked for maximum traction in slippery conditions via a dashboard switch. The All-Trac came only in LE trim and with manual transmission.

©2007 Toyota via Wieck The all-wheel-drive Camry All-Trac sedan was new for the 1988 model year.

Other models returned from '87 with detail trim and equipment changes, including standard outboard shoulder belts for the rear seat and an available package with power windows and door locks. The LE's power sunroof was newly available for Deluxe models.

Following Honda's lead with its American-built Accord, Toyota began building some Camry sedans at a new plant in Georgetown, KY -- the company's first "transplant" factory. This was in line with Toyota's aim to "build where we sell," and would have long-term implications for Toyota and the entire U.S. auto industry.

At about the same time, the Camry line again expanded, this time with V6 models offered as Deluxe and LE sedans and an LE wagon. The engine, a twincam 2.5-liter with 153 horsepower, would be shared with the Camry-based ES 250, the junior model for Toyota's new luxury Lexus brand launched for model-year 1989. In another first for Camry, V6 LEs offered optional antilock brakes (ABS).

1989 Toyota Camry

The 1989 Toyota Camry saw few alterations, a change of pace after two busy years of developments. The All Trac sedan could now be ordered with automatic transmission and, like front-drive LEs, optional ABS. But the model remained a tough sell, and Consumer Guide noted, "High price and the resulting prospect of limited sales have ruled out a V6 All Trac Camry, according to Toyota."

1990 Toyota Camry

News was again sparse where the 1990 Toyota Camry was concerned. The V6 gained three horsepower for 156 total. Deluxe sedans added available 60/40 split folding rear seatbacks. And all Deluxes got a standard tachometer (previously optional).

Consumer Guide noted the new Kentucky plant "is now at capacity, producing 200,000 Camry sedans per year for sale in the U.S." Camry sales, which had been rising all along, hit a new peak at just under 284,600.

1991 Toyota Camry[/b]

Little news again, as the 1991 Toyota Camry mostly marked time as Toyota prepared to launch a fully redesigned version for 1992. The only changes of note were eliminating the Deluxe V6 wagon and the manual-transmission All Trac Deluxe sedan.

Toyota Camry Reliability

Engine head gaskets (1988, 1989, 1990, 1991 model years):[/b] These seals were apparently prone to letting oil leak into the engine compartment, thus posing the risk of possible fire. Toyota issued a service bulletin concerning gasket repairs or replacement for affected vehicles.

Fuel tank/fuel system (1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991):[/b] NHTSA received various owner complaints of leaking fuel and/or fuel vapors, possibly the result of improper assembly and/or faulty components. Most reports indicated the leaks occurred from around the connection between the fuel tank and fuel-filler neck. A few reports mentioned premature or unexpected tank rusting. Toyota issued a service bulletin covering "engine sag and poor performance due to fuel foaming," but it's unclear whether this related to the reported problems.

): Various owner complaints filed with NHTSA state that certain components failed or malfunctioned after eight or more years or at high mileage (typically over 50,000 miles). The components implicated most frequently were the ignition system, lighting equipment, power door locks, and the motorized front shoulder belts. [/b]

): Various complaints filed with NHTSA suggest some vehicles may have a "sticky" linkage between the accelerator pedal and the engine's throttle mechanism; some owners reported "sudden acceleration" if the pedal did not immediately return to idle position on being released. [/b]

Brake pads (1990, 1991):[/b] Toyota issued a service bulletin on replacement disc-brake pads to cure a "clicking noise" reported by some owners.

): NHTSA received various owner complaints about poor or erratic air conditioning performance. Toyota issued a technical service bulletin concerning a "retrofit" service program for affected vehicles. [/b]

Toyota Camry Safety Recalls

1987: Liquid spilled in the console area may cause failure or malfunction of the electronic control unit for the front automatic seatbelts, resulting in lack of seatbelt protection. Dealers would install a protective cover to the electronic control unit.

1987[/b]: The electronic control unit for the power door lock system can fail, causing component damage that could prevent the doors from being unlocked manually. Dealers would install an additional sub-circuit relay control to prevent malfunction of the original relays in the ECU.

1987, 1988, 1989: Lap-belt retractors can lock in the retracted, stowed position, thus rendering the belt unusable. Dealers would install a redesigned belt guide.

1988, 1989: Due to a design defect, the jack supplied with station wagons may allow a raised vehicle to lower itself, thus causing possible injury. Dealers would replace the jack with one of improved design.

1991: Failure of a specific component in the radio can cause an electrical short circuit, possibly resulting in a fire. Dealers will repair or replace the radio.

Confident that Camry had struck a chord in America, Toyota would boldly push the car into new directions in the coming years. Find out how Camry grew, both literally and in market appeal, on the next page.

For advice, reviews, photos, prices, reliability trouble spots, and even examples of used cars you're considering that are on sale in your area, check out:
  • Get expert analysis of thousands of used cars over the past decade at Consumer Guide's Used Car Reviews.
  • You've found the vehicle you want to buy, but only a Vehicle History Report can tell you if the odometer is accurate, if it's received any safety recall repairs, and a host of other essential information.
  • The Toyota Camry has been a perennial among Consumer Guide's Best Buy and Recommended vehicles. Find out why, and learn about our other top new-car values.
  • Shopping for a hybrid car? Click here to see the 2007 Toyota Camry hybrid and other 2007 hybrid car pictures.
2007 hybrid car pictures
2007 hybrid car pictures

©2007 Toyota via Wieck Bigger was better: In 1992, the Camry moved from the compact to the midsize class.

1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996 Toyota Camry

The 1992 Toyota Camry launched the third generation of this popular nameplate. The major news was an increase in size that took Camry from the compact-car class to the midsize category. Unadventurous but attractively rounded new styling, larger engines, introduction of a coupe body style, and the gradual addition of standard airbags also were parts of the story.

1992 Toyota Camry[/b]

A redesign increased the wheelbase of the 1992 Toyota Camry by less than an inch, to 103.1, but the car's overall length stretched 6 inches (to 187.8) and width swelled by 2 inches (to 69.7). Weight naturally went up, ballooning by some 250 pounds, but that was partly offset by stronger engines.

The base four-cylinder was now a 2.2-liter twincam design with 135 horsepower. The V6 was a new 3.0-liter twincam unit rated at 185 horsepower.

Sedans went on sale first, in base DLX (formerly Deluxe), midline LE, and new top-line XLE trim levels. The slow-selling all-wheel-drive All-Trac did not return. A sporty SE sedan followed a few months later, as did DLX and LE wagons, newly sourced from Toyota's Kentucky plant.

©2007 Toyota via Wieck The 1992 SE sedan featured alloy wheels and a rear spoiler.

A five-speed manual transmission was standard on DLX and SE sedans. A four-speed automatic transmission was optional on those models and standard on all other Camrys.

The standard driver's airbag met the government's passive-restraint requirement without motorized shoulder belts, which had drawn a cold shoulder from consumers. The bag was designed to deploy from the steering-wheel hub to provide chest protection in a frontal collision. Serving active safety, antilock brakes were now optional for all Camrys.

The new SE sedan sported a rear spoiler, higher-speed-rated tires on alloy wheels (versus steel rims), a slightly firmer suspension, and sport bucket front seats. The top-line XLE catered to luxury lovers with optional leather upholstery and additional standard features including power sunroof and power driver's seat. Wagons offered a newly optional third-row seat that upped capacity from five to seven passengers. Toyota's Lexus luxury brand again offered a gilded V6 Camry sedan in its new ES 300.

©2007 Toyota via Wieck The 1992 Camry wagon could hold up to seven passengers.

Previous Camrys had earned Consumer Guide Best Buy ribbons, and the larger third-generation did too. "Workmanship is like the proverbial bank vault, noise levels are low, and ride is comfortably absorbent. Handling is competent for a family car, though you notice body lean in tight, fast turns," the editors said. They termed acceleration "brisk" with the V6, only "so-so" with the four-cylinder engine. But fuel economy was deemed "good either way...What's not to like? A hard, overly raked rear seatback, restricted vision directly aft -- and cost...But if not the best dollar value, Camry is tops for refinement and quality."

1993 Toyota Camry

DLX models were rebadged DX, acquired color-keyed body side moldings, and offered an oak-color interior. Bronze-tint glass was newly optional for all models.

1994 Toyota Camry

A two-door coupe body style arrived in four-cylinder and V6 DX, LE and SE versions. It was basically a sedan with a different roofline and slightly lower stance. All 1994 Camrys adopted a standard passenger-side airbag. Also new was an aluminum-block 3.0-liter V6 with 188 horsepower, three more than the previous iron-block engine.

©2007 Toyota via Wieck The Toyota Camry two-door coupe debuted in the 1994 model year.

Most Camrys were still sold with automatic transmission, which gained new electronic controls that adjusted shift action to match driving style: faster, snappier shifts with more aggressive driving, smoother changes with gentle use of the throttle. Cruise control and power windows/locks/mirrors were now standard for SEs, instead of optional.

1995 Toyota Camry

The DX wagon did not return as a choice for the 1995 Toyota Camry line. Other models received subtle appearance changes, plus structural upgrades designed to meet the government's more stringent side-impact requirements for 1997.

Antilock brakes became standard on the top-line XLE sedan, but remained optional elsewhere. The mainstay 2.2-liter four-cylinder lost five horsepower (to 125) due to retuning for stricter emissions limits in all states.

Camry got a big brother this year in the 1995 Toyota Avalon. With seating for six versus Camry's seating for five, the Avalon was in effect Toyota's first "full-size" sedan. It was built alongside Camry in Kentucky and packaged Camry's V-6/automatic-transmission powertrain in a stretched Camry platform to do battle with popular domestic large cars like the Buick LeSabre and Ford Crown Victoria.

1996 Toyota Camry

Aside from the usual adjustments to colors and prices, The 1996 Toyota Camry was a carryover. Toyota stretched the car's "design cycle" from four model years to five to save some money, but there was no effect on Camry sales, which had been climbing fast since 1993. This year's total was the highest yet: nearly 359,500 units.

Toyota Camry Reliability

Air conditioner (1992 and 1993 model years): A problem with the expansion valve causes the air conditioner to gradually lose efficiency.

Automatic transmission (1992-96): The "A-40 series" automatic transmission may shift harshly because rubber check balls shrink, blow through a plate, and become dislodged.

Coolant leak (1992-96): Head-gasket failure on 3.0-liter engines allows coolant to enter the cylinders.

Hard starting (1992-96): A "cold soak" (prolonged interval between starts) may cause hard starting, due to ignition-coil voltage leaking to an inappropriate ground.

Suspension noise (1992-95): Front and rear sway-bar bushings were redesigned using a self-lubricating material.

Trunklid (1992-96): The trunklid may not stay fully open on sedans with a spoiler; adjusting the support torsion rod should cure the problem.

Toyota Camry Safety Recalls

1994-96: Insufficiently tightened steering-wheel nut may cause steering vibration and looseness; nut could eventually come off, causing steering wheel to separate from shaft.

1996: The plastic holders for taillight bulbs on some cars can deform due to heat from the bulb.

It was clear Americans had a taste for the larger, more powerful, and better-equipped Camry. Find out on the next page how Toyota would capitalize on that appetite with the next-generation Camry.

For advice, reviews, photos, prices, reliability trouble spots, and even examples of used cars you're considering that are on sale in your area, check out:
  • Get expert analysis of thousands of used cars over the past decade at Consumer Guide's Used Car Reviews.
  • You've found the vehicle you want to buy, but only a Vehicle History Report can tell you if the odometer is accurate, if it's received any safety recall repairs, and a host of other essential information.
  • The Toyota Camry has been a perennial among Consumer Guide's Best Buy and Recommended vehicles. Find out why, and learn about our other top new-car values.
  • Shopping for a hybrid car? Click here to see the 2007 Toyota Camry hybrid and other 2007 hybrid car pictures.
2007 hybrid car pictures
2007 hybrid car pictures

©2007 Toyota via Wieck A number of new features, including side airbags, were introduced in the 1997 Camry.

1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Toyota Camry

The 1997 Toyota Camry was an all-new interpretation of a flourishing formula. Still more increases in size and power marked the fourth-generation Camry. Safety moved ahead with the addition of side airbags, and Toyota took the coupe version in a new direction, and even branched out with a convertible.

1997 Toyota Camry[/b]

As the redesigned 1997 Toyota Camry rolled into showrooms, shoppers noticed the absence of a wagon body style, which had been dropped for lack of sales interest. Coupes were also missing, but would return.

This left mainstay sedans with a slightly sleeker new appearance on a wheelbase lengthened 2.1 inches (to 105.2). Other dimensions, inside and out, gained less than an inch apiece. Weight increases were modest this time, but cargo volume shrank from 14.9 to 14.1 cubic feet. Trim levels were CE (replacing DX), midrange LE, and top-line XLE; the sport SE was in limbo.

A 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine and 3.0-liter V6 were available for each "grade," but the four-cylinder rebounded from 125 to 133 horsepower, while the V6 was tweaked to 194 horsepower. A four-speed automatic transmission was standard except on the four-cylinder CE (where automatic was optional) and the V6 CE, which came only with five-speed manual.

This Camry was the first front-drive Toyota to offer traction control; an option for LE and XLE V6s, it minimized wheelspin during acceleration by reducing engine power and/or applying the brakes as needed. It worked in conjunction with antilock brakes (ABS) that were available for the four-cylinder CE and newly standard for all other Camrys.

Inside, three-point lap/shoulder belts were provided at all five seating positions, thus banishing the unpopular motorized front "mousebelts." Inside, a new-design dashboard put the audio unit above the climate controls, switching their positions, and leather upholstery was available for LEs as well as XLEs.

©2007 Toyota via Wieck The 1997 Camry was a huge hit, racking up record sales figures.

Consumer Guide found the new Camry "quieter, roomier and more refined than the previous model," but thought it "lacks personality, both in its performance and its appearance. However, it's hard to find a better choice in a midsize family sedan." No wonder the 1997 Toyota Camry earned another CG Best Buy honor while setting another sales record at over 397,000 units.

1998 Toyota Camry

The 1998 Toyota Camry added a passive-safety plus with seat-mounted side airbags as a new option for all models. An "engine immobilizer" designed to prevent "hot-wire" starting was incorporated into the antitheft system (standard XLE, available LE). Camry's four-cylinder engine now joined the V-6 in rating Low Emissions Vehicle status (LEV) status in California, albeit with minor reductions in horsepower and torque. Calendar-year sales exceeded 400,000 units for the first time, totaling 429,575.

1999 Toyota Camry

A Camry coupe returned this season, but with separate billing as the Solara. Actually, it was marketed as the 1999 Toyota Camry Solara, so buyers wouldn't miss the kinship, but the Camry badge appeared nowhere on the car itself. Unlike previous Camry coupes, Solaras had unique styling and chassis tuning. Solara came as the four-cylinder and V-6 SEs with manual or automatic transmission and a flagship V6 SLE with automatic only. In another distinction, Solara's four-cylinder engine had two more horsepower than the similar Camry sedan unit, while the V6 had 200 horsepower vs. 194.

©2007 Toyota via Wieck The coupe made a comeback with the 1999 Solara.

Despite its sportier looks, a Solara was no more exciting to drive than a comparably equipped Camry sedan, but Consumer Guide deemed both "exceptionally well done mainstream midsizers with the attractions of Toyota reliability and high resale value. We might wish for more personality...but these cars are hard to fault and tough to beat." More buyers than ever agreed, and sales of the 1999 Toyota Camry reached 448,000 in the calendar year.

2000 Toyota Camry

Sedan versions of the 2000 Toyota Camry were spruced up with mildly revised grilles, bumpers, and taillights, plus multireflector headlamps and self-propping hoods. XLE sedans added pseudo-wood interior trim; the V6 XLE moved up to standard 16-inch wheels vs. other models 14s or 15s. The four-cylinder sedan engine gained three horsepower for 136 total.

©2007 Toyota via Wieck Solara convertibles arrived in showrooms in 2000.

Solara coupes were little changed for their sophomore season, but convertible versions arrived in spring 2000: a four-cylinder SE, V6 SE and V6 SLE. All included a power top with heated glass rear window, plus all the features of counterpart coupes, but were restricted to automatic transmission.

Sales of the 2000 Toyota Camry retreated slightly to just under 423,000, ending an eight-year streak of sales increases.

2001 Toyota Camry

Solaras were unchanged. Among sedans, the base 2001 Toyota Camry CE replaced 14-inch tires and a compact spare with 15-inch wheels and a full-size spare. One step up, the LE sedan offered a new Gallery Series dress-up package comprising two-tone paint and cloth interior, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, and other trim items.

Camry posted a second straight sales loss, falling to around 390,500. One likely factor was the 2001 debut of the Toyota Highlander, a Camry-based sport-utility wagon that proved highly popular right out of the box.

Toyota Camry Reliability

Audio system (1997 model year): CD player may not accept or eject CDs.

Brake noise (1997-2001): Original-equipment brake pads are prone to noisy groaning, grinding, and squeaking on application, when vibration may felt. Revised pads are available.

Brake noise (1999): Groaning noise from the rear brakes may be corrected with revised brake drums.

Fuel-filler door (1997, 1998): This may not open when the release is pulled due to a weak spring.

Engine noise (2001, 2002, 2003): With 2AZ-FE engine, fan belt squeal and rattle noises on cold starting were traced to a faulty tensioner; an improved replacement tensioner is available.

Power seats (1997, 1998): The front power seats may chatter when positioned, requiring replacement of the seat-adjuster assembly.

Sunroof/moonroof (1997): This may rattle when opened about 4 inches, or the glass panel may become skewed and will not retract.

Suspension noise (1997, 1998): Defective upper strut-tower cushions may cause front-end noises when driving over dips in the road.

Suspension noise (1997, 1998): Groaning noise from front end when going over speed bumps, etc. can be corrected by installing revised spring bumpers on front struts.

Toyota Camry Safety Recalls

1997 in 19 states: In extreme cold for an extended period, accumulated moisture can temporarily freeze in brake-vacuum hose, resulting in elimination of power-brake assist.

1997: Accumulated moisture can temporarily freeze in brake-vacuum hose, eliminating power-brake assist.

1997: Ignition key can be removed even when gearshift lever is not in "Park" position.

1997, 1998: Insufficiently tightened steering-wheel nut may cause steering vibration and looseness; nut could eventually come off, causing steering wheel to separate from shaft.

1998: Audiovox "Securikey+" security system can malfunction, causing electrical failure; can cause engine to run poorly and stall, and electrical components can intermittently fail.

1998: Some wheel lug nuts are defective, causing loss of torque, fatigue fracture of wheel, and possible loss of wheel.

1998, 1999, 2000 cars made in KY: Accelerator-cable housing could be deformed at the cruise-control actuator-to-throttle-body connection. The accelerator inner-cable could wear away and eventually break, increasing the risk of a crash.

2000: Due to improper heat treatment, certain rear-axle shafts could fail or break after extended use.

2001: Accelerator cable housing could fail at the cruise control actuator-to-throttle body connection. This could allow the throttle to return to idle or remain in its last position regardless of accelerator pedal operation.

2001: Front-subframe assembly was not adequately welded on some cars. This condition could cause failure of the assembly, increasing the risk of a crash. Dealers will inspect and replace the front sub frame if necessary.

The fourth-generation Camry had experienced new sales heights, but after two straight years of sales declines, it was clear the car faced fresh challenges in an American market suddenly in love with SUVs. Find out on the next page what Toyota did to restore the popularity of its mainstay passenger car.

For advice, reviews, photos, prices, reliability trouble spots, and even examples of used cars you're considering that are on sale in your area, check out:
  • Get expert analysis of thousands of used cars over the past decade at Consumer Guide's Used Car Reviews.
  • You've found the vehicle you want to buy, but only a Vehicle History Report can tell you if the odometer is accurate, if it's received any safety recall repairs, and a host of other essential information.
  • The Toyota Camry has been a perennial among Consumer Guide's Best Buy and Recommended vehicles. Find out why, and learn about our other top new-car values.
  • Shopping for a hybrid car? Click here to see the 2007 Toyota Camry hybrid and other 2007 hybrid car pictures.
2007 hybrid car pictures
2007 hybrid car pictures

©2007 Toyota via Wieck Consumer Guide had this to say about the 2002 Camry: "Don't buy a midsize car without shopping this one."

2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 Toyota Camry

With new styling that made it look more than ever like a baby Lexus, the 2002 Toyota Camry signaled the start of yet another design generation for this landmark sedan. Sales rebounded from 2001 on the strength of the new model and availability of such up-to-date features as curtain side airbags and antiskid and navigation systems. Styling wasn't the only Lexuslike attribute of the new Camry; its mechanical refinement was worthy of Toyota's luxury brand, too.

2002 Toyota Camry[/b]

Calendar-year sales of the 2002 Toyota Camry shot past 434,000 with arrival of the car's fully redesigned fifth-generation sedans. The pleasant Camry character was still in evidence, but the redesign made for a roomier family four-door that was 2.5 inches taller (at 58.3 inches overall) on a 2-inch longer wheelbase (now 107.1 inches). Length and width swelled less than inch apiece, and weight, to Toyota's credit, was little changed from the 1997-2001 generation.

©2007 Toyota via Wieck Consumer Guide had this to say about the 2002 Camry:

The lineup was reshuffled into base LE, uplevel XLE, and sporty SE models. All carried a new four-cylinder standard engine, a 2.4-liter with 157 horsepower, 21 more than the 2.2-liter it replaced. The 3.0 V-6, available linewide, returned in 192-horsepower LEV tune for nationwide sale.

All V6 sedans and the four-cylinder XLE came with a four-speed automatic transmission and antilock brakes (ABS); both items were optional for other models. Front torso side airbags and curtain side airbags were newly available to further improve passive safety; V-6 models bundled those features with an antiskid system.

©2007 Toyota via Wieck Luxury features such as a navigation system were part of the 2002 Camry.

Another new option was Camry's first navigation system, operated from a dashboard touch screen that also absorbed some audio and climate functions. Making another try to introduce some sporty flavor, Toyota gave the SE sedan a firmer suspension with 16-inch tires, plus standard fog lamps, rear spoiler, and special trim. The top-line XLE was more lavish than ever, gaining heated power mirrors, power front seats, automatic climate control, trip computer, rear sunshade, and other luxury-league amenities.

Once more, a new Camry scored big with mainstream car buyers. Journalists, too, were impressed. Consumer Guide sounded familiar themes in stating the redesigned 2002 Toyota Camry "brings laudable new safety and lifts comfort, convenience and refinement to near Lexus-class. Although all these cars still engage the head more than the heart, Toyota reliability and resale values are always tough to beat...Don't buy a midsize car without shopping this one."

While Camry sedans were redesigned for 2002, the 2002 Toyota Solara continued the 1992-2001 sedan platform. This year's Solara coupes and convertibles received minor cosmetic updates inside and out, plus the same new four-cylinder adopted for the redesigned '02 sedans.

2003 Toyota Camry

Power-adjustable pedals were newly optional on Camry sedans with automatic transmission. The XLE picked up standard fog lamps, while the LE joined other models in having standard remote keyless entry.

The 2003 Toyota Solara was unchanged pending a move to the new-generation sedan platform for model-year 2004.

2004 Toyota Camry

The SE sedan got more available kick from a new 225-horsepower 3.3-liter V6. The 3.0-liter V6 available for LE and XLE sedans was also juiced up, adding 18 horsepower for 210 total. Both these engines mated exclusively to a new five-speed automatic transmission; a four-speed automatic continued for four-cylinder sedans.

Reflecting tougher-than-ever market competition, Toyota added a lower-priced Standard sedan during the model year; this came only with the four-cylinder engine, fewer standard frills, and no options.

Meantime, 2004 Toyota Solara coupes and convertibles were remodeled, moving to the latest sedan platform. New styling added about an inch to length and 2 inches to wheelbase and overall height. It also imparted a family resemblance to the tony two-seat 2004 Lexus SC 430 retractable hardtop-convertible.

©2007 Toyota via Wieck New styling made the 2004 Solara convertible bigger and more luxurious.

The 2004 Toyota Solara coupes came in SE, new SE Sport and luxury SLE versions, convertibles in SE and SLE trim. Powertrains and other underskin components were shared with the 2004 Toyota Camry sedans. Front side airbags were standard for all Solaras, with curtain side airbags optional. Also available were navigation system, satellite radio, and, for V6 SLEs, an antiskid system.

2005 Toyota Camry

Standard and LE sedan versions of the 2005 Toyota Camry came with antilock brakes like other Camrys. In addition, the optional automatic transmission for four-cylinder models was upgraded to the five-speed unit previously restricted to V6s.

All editions of the 2005 Toyota Camry received minor changes inside and out, including standard steering-wheel audio controls and a rear center headrest. SE sedans gained a specific new grille and a firmer suspension. Satellite radio joined the options list. The 2005 Toyota Solara stood pat for the model year.

2006 Toyota Camry

The 2006 Toyota Camry was essentially unchanged, a hint that redesigned replacements were on the way. The slow-selling Solaras mostly marked time, as well.

Toyota Camry Reliability

Engine noise (2002, 2003, 2004 model years): The 2AZ-FE engine is prone to fan belt squeal and rattle noises on cold starting due to a faulty tensioner; an improved replacement tensioner is available.

Engine stalling (2002): The check-engine light may come on when ambient temperature is below freezing (32 degrees F), accompanied by reduced engine performance. This requires replacement of the throttle body, gasket, and intake surge tank.

Fuel pump (2002): The gas cap on some cars may become stuck, thus possibly affecting fuel feed from the gas tank to the engine. An improved cap is available.

Poor transmission shift (2002): The automatic transmission fitted to early model-year vehicles may shift poorly. The revised engine-control module designed for 2003 models can be installed in 2002 vehicles.

Valve cover leaks (2003): The oil baffle inside the valve cover may be bent or broken by careless or improper insertion of the oil-fill nozzle on some bulk oil-fill equipment, thus possibly causing leaks around the valve cover.

Toyota Camry Safety Recalls

2002 Camry with three-spoke steering wheel: During airbag deployment, the bottom portion of the airbag cover could strike the driver, causing personal injury. Dealers would replace the driver's-side airbag module.

2002, 2003, 2004 Camry with curtain side airbags: One or both of the curtain side airbags may be twisted near the inflator and may therefore not deploy as rapidly as designed. Dealers would inspect the airbags in affected vehicles and replace components as needed.

2004, 2005 Camry with front passenger power seat: Installing certain rear-facing infant seats with excessively high belt tension could affect the passenger seat's buckle status switch, leading to unwanted deployment of the right dashboard airbag.

2004, 2005, 2006 Camry: Some airbag inflators were produced with an insufficient amount of heating agents; in this condition, the expansion force of the gas may be insufficient to properly inflate the airbag, increasing the risk of injury in a crash. Dealers would replace the affected airbag.

2006 Camry: Tire information sticker gives incorrect spare tire size. Correct information and instructions are distributed to owners.

Despite a U.S. vehicle market flooded more models than ever and one in which trucks were outselling cars, the fifth-generation Camry remained a major moneymaker for Toyota. By 2006, Camry sales were back to record levels: 448,445 units for the calendar year, an impressive showing against Toyota's 1.1 million total car sales, including luxury Lexus models and its youth-oriented Scion brand. But Toyota could not rest on its laurels, and on the next page you'll learn what it did to keep Camry at the top of its game.

For advice, reviews, photos, prices, reliability trouble spots, and even examples of used cars you're considering that are on sale in your area, check out:
  • Get expert analysis of thousands of used cars over the past decade at Consumer Guide's Used Car Reviews.
  • You've found the vehicle you want to buy, but only a Vehicle History Report can tell you if the odometer is accurate, if it's received any safety recall repairs, and a host of other essential information.
  • The Toyota Camry has been a perennial among Consumer Guide's Best Buy and Recommended vehicles. Find out why, and learn about our other top new-car values.
  • Shopping for a hybrid car? Click here to see the 2007 Toyota Camry hybrid and other 2007 hybrid car pictures.
2007 hybrid car pictures
2007 hybrid car pictures

©2007 Toyota via Wieck The 2007 Toyota Camry was built stronger to meet government safety standards.

2007 Toyota Camry

Camry had climbed to the top of America's sales charts, and Toyota sought to build on its strengths with an all-new version for 2007. Camry ushered in its sixth design generation with new styling, more muscle -- up to 268 horsepower -- and first-time availability of a gasoline/electric hybrid version.

The redesigned 2007 Toyota Camry had a more muscular appearance thanks to all-new sheet metal on a 2.2-inch longer wheelbase (now 109.3 inches). Height was trimmed an inch, but body dimensions were otherwise much as for the 2002-2006 sedans. Weight, however, increased some 200 pounds. That was partly owed to a stronger new structure designed to better withstand side impacts in line with government standards.

A revised model lineup was comprised of price-leader CE, volume-selling LE, sporty SE, and luxury XLE trim levels. (The Toyota Solara again slipped out of phase with sedan platform engineering and continued for 2007 on the previous-generation design.)

Standard for versions of the 2007 Toyota Camry was an updated 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 158 horsepower in "45-state" tune, slightly less when calibrated for the stricter emissions limits required in California and four Northeastern states.

As before, the four-cylinder used a five-speed manual transmission or a five-speed automatic. LE, SE, and XLE Camrys also offered a V-6 engine, but the former 210-horsepower 3.3-liter unit gave way to a 3.5-liter with 268 horsepower. The V-6 models also got a new six-speed automatic transmission.

The 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid teamed a special 2.4-liter four-cylinder gas engine with a battery-powered electric motor to net a maximum 187 horsepower. Like Toyota's smaller Prius sedan, the Camry Hybrid was able to run on one or both of its power sources, depending on driving conditions. It required no plug-in charging. Power to the front wheels was by a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that lacked conventional gears but provided a near-infinite number of drive ratios.

©2007 Toyota via Wieck The gas/electric Toyota Camry Hybrid can run on one or both of its power sources.

Antilock four-wheel disc brakes continued as standard for all models. So did front side airbags, but curtain side airbags were now standard too, as well as a knee airbag for the driver. The Camry Hybrid added traction/antiskid control, which was optional for other models. SE sedans again sported a firmer suspension and, like the Hybrid, specific interior and exterior trim.

A split folding rear seat was standard except on SE, which featured center pass-through. The Hybrid had a fixed back seat, because the battery pack was placed directly behind it. For the same reason, the Hybrid had less trunk volume than other Camrys (10.6 cubic feet versus 15.0).

Among features to new Camry was a keyless-entry/starting system, which was standard for the Hybrid and optional for the V6 XLE. A pocket transmitter provided hands-free wireless operation of the door locks and a dashboard on/off button for the engine.

A navigation system with wireless cell phone link was optional for SE, XLE, and Hybrid models, as were heated seats. Leather upholstery was standard for XLE V6, available for SEs and the four-cylinder XLE.

©2007 Toyota via Wieck A keyless-entry/starting system and standard curtain-side airbags are just two new features of the 2007 Camry.

The Camry has come a long way since 1983, yet the more it's changed, the more it's seemed to stay the same. Consumer Guide said, "The redesigned 2007s improve on a winning formula. This is still no excitement machine -- not even the sporty SE version -- and recent test examples have suffered uncharacteristic lapses in materials and workmanship. But every Camry is a class benchmark for powertrain and chassis refinement."

Toyota Camry Reliability

Electrical/electronic systems (2007 model year): Several owners have filed complaints with the NHTSA regarding unsatisfactory cruise-control operation and, in four-cylinder models with automatic transmission, delays in acceleration after pressing the gas pedal. While it's yet unclear whether these represent isolated incidents or more-pervasive faults, NHTSA currently has no active "defect investigations" concerning 2007 Camry and Solara vehicles.

Four-cylinder engine/automatic transmission (2007): NHTSA has also received a few owner complaints of worrisome or unsatisfactory driving characteristics in 4-cylinder models with automatic transmission; these may or may not be related to the electrical/electronic systems complaints noted above.

Toyota Camry Safety Recalls

2007 Camry: On some vehicles, the front side airbags, curtain shield airbags and/or driver's knee airbag may have inflators with an insufficient amount of the heating agents necessary for proper airbag deployment, thus increasing the risk of occupant injury in a crash. Dealers will replace the affected airbags.

2007 Solara: On some vehicles with curtain side airbags, a tether strap in the windshield pillar may be incorrectly routed; as a result, the front of the curtain airbag would not deploy as designed, thus increasing the risk of occupant injury in a side-impact crash or rollover event. Dealers will inspect both tether straps and reroute them as necessary.

For advice, reviews, photos, prices, reliability trouble spots, and even examples of used cars you're considering that are on sale in your area, check out:
  • Get expert analysis of thousands of used cars over the past decade at Consumer Guide's Used Car Reviews.
  • You've found the vehicle you want to buy, but only a Vehicle History Report can tell you if the odometer is accurate, if it's received any safety recall repairs, and a host of other essential information.
  • The Toyota Camry has been a perennial among Consumer Guide's Best Buy and Recommended vehicles. Find out why, and learn about our other top new-car values.
  • Shopping for a hybrid car? Click here to see the 2007 Toyota Camry hybrid and other 2007 hybrid car pictures.