Toyota Camry: Top sedan through the years

James Raia

Since its humble debut nearly 32 years ago, the Toyota Camry has been a hit. It wasn’t touted much, but soon after it replaced the Toyota Corona, the public responded.

As such, with impressive quality, comfortable ride and durability, the Camry has been near the top or the top-selling sedan in the United States for more than 25 years. It’s been the sedan sales leader for the past 12 years.

While impressive, Toyota made several surprising changes across all trims for the 2015 Camry, available at dealers since September. The changes include: a stiffer body, new grille, softer interior materials, new controls and, according to the manufacturer, about 2000 new parts.

The surprise is that Toyota also revised the now seventh generation Camry halfway through the 2014 model distribution year.

The likely reason? Competition in the midsize sedan segment is stellar and includes: Chevrolet Malibu, Chrysler 200, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Mazda 6, Nissan Altima and Volkswagen Passat.

Still, the Camry endures. Its sales exceeded more than 400,000 the past two years.

Toyota Camry: Top sedan through the years 1

As such, here are five keen Camry models through the years:

1985 Toyota Camry:

The Toyota Camry was only two years old, and like other Japanese imports it was small, boxy and sturdy. But there were a few updates, including flush-mounted headlights, new color choices two body styles a four-door sedan or a five-door hatchback and in LE and DLE trims.

Horsepower was minimal 30 years ago, but the 1985 Camry received a slight increase to 95 horsepower in its two-liter engine. A four-speed automatic or five-speed manual was available and gas mileage was an estimated 31 mpg.

2000 Toyota Camry

The first makeover of the general with massive interior changes and exterior changes that include varying tire sizes, new wheel covers as well as news front and rear styling.

The new styling was the result of the car’s already well-heeled reputation as a plain sedan. A long list of options were available to modernize the car, including side airbags, leather trims and a power moonroof. The stodgy old Camry was gone.

2005 Toyota Camry

To attract more buyers, a entry-level model was added to the trim lineup. And there were lots of other changes: a new grille, headlamps, taillamps and wheel designs. Antilock brakes became standard equipment.

Manual and automatic transmissions were available, with the latter improving from a four-speed to a five-speed. Also now for 2005 were steering wheel audio controls, a rear center headrest and upgraded seat fabrics.

2010 Toyota Camry

An improved engine marked the biggest change. A 2.5-liter, four-cylinder replaced a 2.4-liter and provides an increase 11 to 21 horsepower improvement. The automatic transmission also improved from five to six speeds and stability control became standard on all trims.

And there were lots of other changes: a restyled grille and taillights, a new optional audio system with satellite radio and Bluetooth for base and LE models, and auto up/down windows on all four doors. Finally, stability control is now standard across the model range.

2015 Toyota Camry

What a surprise. A major overhaul only three years since the previous massive resign, new exterior and interior changes remove any remaining stigma of the Camry as boring or bland.

Where to start? The grille is bigger and more prominent and smoothed out style gives the Camry some maturity and luxury attitude. The roof remained the same, but almost everything else — bigger controls and classy-looking gauges — has been changed.

Article Last Updated: November 11, 2014.

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