Toyota Camry Generations

Toyota Camry fro Sale

The history of the Toyota Camry spans four decades. Its story is built on outstanding dependability, reliable performance, and constant evolution. All eight generations of the Camry have what drivers love, and they also bring something different to the table each time. It’s that pioneering spirit that’s made it one of the most enduring sedans.

If you're thinking about driving home in a used Toyota Camry, it helps to know a bit more about its most popular generations. Our team at Val-U-Line® is here to help you find out which model years have the features and performance capabilities you need for the road ahead.

Let’s explore the Toyota Camry generations to see what they have to offer!

Toyota Camry: History Overview

The Toyota Camry originally made its debut in Japan in 1980. It landed in dealerships across America a few years later, in 1983. Ever since, it's been one of the most popular sedans for just about any driver. In fact, it was the best-selling car in America from 2002 to 2015.

Right from the start, the Camry was built to be a car of the people. It caters to everyone from growing families, commuters, and even college students. Generation after generation, it introduced tons of innovative technologies, making it a true pioneer for the sedan class.

The Toyota Camry generations are as follows:

  • First Generation: 1983 to 1986
  • Second Generation: 1987 to 1991
  • Third Generation: 1992 to 1996
  • Fourth Generation: 1997 to 2001
  • Fifth Generation: 2002 to 2006
  • Sixth Generation: 2007 to 2011
  • Seventh Generation: 2012 to 2017
  • Eighth Generation: 2018 to Present

A ninth-generation Camry could be right around the corner, so it’s time to get up to speed on the other eight!

First Generation: 1983 to 1986

The first generation of the Toyota Camry came as a 4-door sedan. Some model years were also available as a hatchback for added versatility. The hatchback option gave people more interior flexibility and storage space, while the sedan was one of the most efficient options around.

A 2.0L engine with a carburetor provided around 130 horsepower and worked with a 5-speed manual transmission, although a 4-speed automatic was available. It also came standard with front-wheel drive, which put plenty of pep in this sedan’s step.

In its first generation, Toyota Camry models averaged about 30 combined MPG. That’s an impressive fuel economy that could still compete with some new cars on the market today.

Second Generation: 1987 to 1991

The second generation carried over most design elements from the previous generation. It maintained the boxy style that was all the rage for sedans in the 1980s.

The only major stylistic change was the introduction of the new wagon body style. It replaced the hatchback from the first generation and provided more comfort and space for passengers onboard.

A more powerful performance was possible with the second-generation Camry. It was available with a potent V6 engine. All-wheel drive—a rarity for sedans of the day—was also an option. In fact, this was the only Camry to offer all-wheel drive until the model year 2020 was released.

Third Generation: 1992 to 1996

The Toyota Camry went through its first major redesign in the third generation, changing from a compact sedan to a midsize sedan. It came in about six inches longer and two inches wider than previous generations, giving the interior a lot more wiggle room. It also adopted more flowing lines to suit the style of drivers in the 1990s.

This was the last generation for the wagon body style, and the first for the debuting 2-door coupe body style.

A new 2.2L engine was made standard in the third generation, while the tried-and-true V6 was still available. Toyota did, however, make improvements to the V6 engine. It was built using a lightweight aluminum block, which helped improve efficiency.

Fourth Generation: 1997 to 2001

In the fourth generation, the Camry became a more U.S.-centric vehicle. Toyota’s engineering facility in Ann Arbor, Michigan, took over about half of the car’s development, while their home base in Japan remained responsible for the other half.

The coupe body style introduced in the previous generation went on hiatus from 1997 to 1998. It was reintroduced as the Camry Solara in 1999, which picked up a convertible variant later in the year 2000. This helped the Camry keep pace with other popular convertibles of the day.

On top of that, the sedan offered even more power compared to its previous generation. The engines remained the same, but performance upgrades boosted the output of the standard 2.2L 4-cylinder to 133 horsepower, while the available V6 was now capable of 194 horsepower.

Fifth Generation: 2002 to 2006

The 2002 Toyota Camry kicked off the fifth generation, and it was the first to become the best-selling vehicle in the country—a title which it maintained for 14 straight years.

Fifth-generation Camry models introduced a new, more distinct overall look. With a swooping exterior design and a larger body, it was one of the most eye-catching cars of that time. It also had another growth spurt. The slightly larger design offered more than just aesthetic benefits; it also provided more legroom and space inside. It could also be equipped with more modern technology, like a voice-activated navigation system.

In terms of performance, Camry models from 2002 to 2006 maintained the impressive V6 as an option. This generation also received an upgraded standard engine. The new 2.4L 4-cylinder could generate a lively 157 horsepower for a more exhilarating performance

Sixth Generation: 2007 to 2011

Welcome to the sixth generation. During this time, the Toyota Camry revolutionized itself while remaining the best-selling vehicle in America. Drivers were spoiled for choice with several new trim levels being made available for the sedan body style.

The Star Safety System—a groundbreaking automotive safety suite—was introduced during this generation. It made its debut in 2010 and came standard with the following:

  • Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control
  • Traction Control
  • Anti-lock Brake System
  • Electronic Brake-force Distribution
  • Brake Assist

Performance upgrades are really what made the sixth-generation Camry models stand out. The 2.4L 4-cylinder carried over, and the 3.3L V6 was dropped in favor of an all-new 3.5L V6 that pumped out a whopping 268 horsepower.

Perhaps the most exciting advancement was the introduction of the Camry Hybrid. The iconic Hybrid Synergy Drive system coupled the 2.4L 4-cylinder engine to a permanent magnet AC synchronous electric motor. They generated an impressive 187 combined horsepower and provided an EPA-estimated 33 city/34 highway MPG.

Seventh Generation: 2012 to 2017

The seventh generation of the Toyota Camry is where we see this sedan leap into the modern age with styling updates and advanced technologies. It could be outfitted with a litany of convenient features like cruise control, power windows, and even keyless entry.

One of the most innovative features for these model years was the Entune® infotainment system. It helped drivers stay connected and entertained when behind the wheel. It included a responsive touch-screen that gave drivers control of available technologies like:

  • iPod® connectivity
  • Bluetooth® wireless technology
  • SiriusXM® All Access Radio
  • HD Radio
  • Premium JBL® Audio system

This generation also gave sedan seekers more peace of mind with advanced safety options. Later model years offered Lane Departure Alert and a Blind Spot Monitor, which helped keep drivers at ease out on the open highway. A Pre-Collision System was also available to warn of impending frontal collisions.

Eighth Generation: 2018 to Present

Used Toyota Camry

Today's Toyota Camry embodies many different aspects from its previous generations as well as some of the most modern features and technologies available. It’s still one of the most efficient sedans out there, with an EPA-estimated 28 city/39 highway MPG for its base configuration. Plus, a hybrid powertrain is still available for the LE, SE, XLE, and XSE trims.

Toyota Safety Sense™ P is the big addition for the eighth generation. This standard safety suite bundled many of the innovative systems pioneered by Toyota. It also included a few new safety features. It made its debut in 2018 and came standard with:

  • Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection
  • Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist
  • Automatic High Beams
  • Dynamic Radar Cruise Control

The Camry also adopted Toyota’s latest TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) platform in this generation, which vastly improved the handling thanks to its lower center of gravity. This renovation came just in time. As the competition in the midsize sedan segment starts to heat up, it’s sure to help the Camry hold onto its place near the top.

What Are the Toyota Camry Generations?

The various Toyota Camry generations all have something to bring to the table. Whether you’re purchasing a model from the best-selling sixth generation or the latest-and-greatest eighth generation, you’re sure to get a vehicle with the features you need. Plus, after all these years, one thing has remained a constant: the Camry’s undying dependability.

The Camry remains one of the most reliable sedans out there. If you're ready to see which one is best for you, our team at Val-U-Line® is here to help! Just get in touch with us or visit one of our nationwide used car dealerships to test drive a used Camry today!