As one of Canada’s bestselling mid-size sedans, and a model with a solid reputation for reliability, residual values, safety, and quality, the Toyota Camry remains a go-to model that leads up its highly competitive market segment.
A worry-free driving experience, with good fuel mileage and low running costs.
An all-new Camry is launching for model year 2018, meaning the previous-generation unit has now transitioned fully into used-car territory.
Options were numerous in Camry variations throughout this seventh-generation model, with four- or six-cylinder power, an available hybrid, multiple trim grades and options packages, and plenty more.
When this updated Camry launched for 2012, it brought new looks, a wider and lower stance, a newly revised cabin, revised powertrains, and more feature content along for the ride.
Look for full multimedia connectivity, available heated leather seating, a moonroof, premium audio, navigation, and plenty more. With numerous engine options, trim levels, and accessories, it’s easy to match your needs and budget with the perfect used Camry.
Also included was Toyota’s STAR safety system, which was standard on all models from this generation and included active technologies like Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), and Smart Stop Technology (SST). The various features which comprise the STAR system play a role in maintaining driver control in all situations.
Various model-line revisions through this generation saw additional value and feature content added, including a 2014 update that saw all units fitted with a 6.1-inch display screen, heated mirrors, a back-up camera, and more.
Engines / Trim
All three of Camry’s power plants were enhanced to provide higher performance and/or better fuel economy for 2012 and on. The common 2.5L four-cylinder engine delivered an improved 178 hp, and the potent 3.5L V6 maintained output at 268 hp while improving fuel efficiency. The Camry Hybrid powertrain was also updated for a significant increase in output and mileage.
What Owners Like
In most aspects of comfort, space, ride quality, and a feel of sturdy and confident driving, the Camry is highly rated by owners. Many owner reviews also reference a worry-free driving experience, with good fuel mileage and low running costs. Owners of top-line models love the premium stereo system, leather seats and sunroof. Notably, more than one owner expressed surprise at the resale value of their used Camry, which could be a pro or a con for used shoppers, depending on several factors.
What Owners Dislike
Reported gripes are few and far between, with most centering around bland styling, the awkward placement of some interior controls, and so-so performance on models with the hybrid or gasoline four-cylinder engine.
The Test Drive
Start with a full inspection of the painted surfaces of the Camry you’re considering. In this thread, owners discuss easily marked, easily scratched paint, which may show numerous rock chips and permanent scratches, even from a young age with minimal mileage. Some owners say that modern paint jobs simply aren’t as “tough” as older (less environmentally friendly) paint jobs, though paint condition and durability is, at least somewhat, at the mercy of locale and owner maintenance practices. If you note any excessive fading, chipping, scratching, or other signs of paint wear, call them into your pricing negotiations. Note that rust likes to hang out and hide beneath the lower, inner edges of the doors, hood, and trunk, as well as the lower, inner edges of the wheel-wells, so be on the lookout for it.
On board, confirm that all electronics work as expected, running the climate control, Bluetooth, all steering-wheel-mounted controls, the stereo, and any motorized power seat adjustments through their paces. If the model you’re considering has a sunroof, be sure to familiarize yourself with this thread, which outlines a notable problem with potentially wonky sunroof switches.
Confirm, several times, that each remote keyfob works all doors and locks, and the trunk, before you purchase. Confirm that the push-button-start system (if equipped), fires up the engine, every time, quickly, with all available keyfobs, too. If that’s not the case, they may require reprogramming or replacement, which can be pricey. Bad engine start buttons are not unheard of, either.
Interestingly, shoppers are also advised to confirm seat comfort, thanks to this thread, and this one, which outline some fussiness from the seats. Some owners perceive a popping or crinkling sensation from the seat, possibly originating from the lumbar area within the seatback, or from the seat track, as they shift around in their seats, while boarding or exiting, or during natural movements in their seat as they drive around. If you detect any unwelcome sensations from the driver seat, it may require adjustment or repair.
Here’s some reading on rare but noteworthy potential issues with the Camry’s transmission. Some owners have reported rough or harsh shifting, slippage, and other unwelcomed sensations, including a shudder through the vehicle driveline at certain speeds and in certain gears. Your best defence? Be on the lookout for any unusual sensations from the Camry’s driveline on your test drive, during low, moderate, and hard acceleration, and at various speeds. Whether or not any are detected, be sure the model isn’t overdue for any transmission servicing, and work with a dealer service advisor to confirm that all applicable software updates for the transmission have been installed.
Considering a Camry Hybrid? Confirm that all software updates and any applicable recalls have been carried out, for maximum peace of mind. Running a hybrid car with the latest available driveline software on board is a great way to prevent issues and headaches. A full inspection of all vehicle systems, including the hybrid battery and motor cooling system, is advised, and should only be carried out by a Toyota dealer, for maximum peace of mind. Finally, remember that the Camry Hybrid is also a regular Camry in many regards – so don’t overlook other standard used-car checks, including the suspension, tires, and brakes, and the like.
By and large, this generation Camry looks like a worry-free bet in a second-hand mid-size sedan. Buy confidently, once the model you’re considering gets a clean bill of health after a pre-purchase inspection.
Here’s a list of recalls.
Crash Test Ratings
IIHS: Top Safety Pick
NHTSA: 5/5 Stars