The Toyota Camry is the mid-size big brother to the Toyota Corolla. Its roomy interior and cushy features, coupled with excellent crash test ratings and top-notch reliability helped to make it the number one selling car in the US for many years. Starting off from hunble beginnings as a compact first first launched only to the Japanese market, it has now grown into a vehicle sold nationwide with sporty styling.
Check out the unique history we’ve compiled below. If your Toyota Camry is in need of a windshield, sidelite, or back glass replacement, use Glass.com to find a local replacement shop near you.
First Generation Toyota Camry
The first generation of the Toyota Camry debuted in 1982 as a small four-door sedan with front-wheel drive. It became available as a five-door liftback not long after its initial release. The fuel efficient compact sedan was Toyota’s rebuttal to Honda’s Accord. Many manufacturers at the time were scrambling to create economical cars due to a fuel crisis. The next year, in 1983, the Camry was exported from Japan to North America. It was also released to Europe and Australia in the same generation. This is a feat that many foreign manufacturers don’t reach until later years.
The Camry was equipped standard with a four-cylinder motor paired to a five-speed manual transmission. The motor could either be had as a 1.8-liter turbocharged diesel motor, or a naturally aspirated 2.0-liter gas engine. An automatic transmission became optional. One notable feature of the Camry was a sensor that monitored brake pad wear and alarmed when replacement was needed.
Second Generation Toyota Camry
The second generation Toyota Camry was released in 1986 which brought a more Americanized design that featured sleeker, aerodynamic lines. A station wagon was released, replacing the five-door liftback. Toyota attempted to surpass its competition by focusing on details and using quality parts. Close attention was paid to body lines, gaps, braking, and noise dampening.
A V6 motor became available as an option. All motors discontinued the use of a carburetor in favor of reliable and fuel efficient fuel injection. American-manufactured Camrys became available in 1988 from Toyota’s manufacturing plant in Kentucky. Three trim levels were available including the base trim, DX, and LE.
Third Generation Toyota Camry
The third generation Toyota Camry launched in 1990 in Japan and was then released to North America the following year in 1991. A new, rounder body style brought the car into the modern era. The car also grew in length and width. The North American version actually was larger than the Japanese version, satisfying the American markets needs and setting it apart further from the smaller Toyota Corolla.
Fourth Generation Toyota Camry
The fourth generation Toyota Camry was released at the end of 1996 with styling updates that gave it a larger, most pronounced, front fascia and rear end. Power increased for both the four-cylinder and V6 motors. Automatic transmissions became standard on all but the base model trim level.
Fifth Generation Toyota Camry
In 2001, the fifth generation Toyota Camry hit the market. For the first time since near its inception, the sedan became the only option as the wagon version was dropped from the Camry’s lineup. Minivans and SUVs had taken over the market and wagons were no longer popular. However, the sedan gained size as well as engine updates. There were also body updates which gave the Camry a more aerodynamic front end and body contouring.
Sixth Generation Toyota Camry
The sixth generation Camry began selling in 2006 and, for the first time, could be ordered as a gas/electric hybrid vehicle. This bumped up fuel efficiency by nearly 10 miles per gallon on average. Power door locks, stability control, and traction control were now all standard features, even on base models.
Seventh Generation Toyota Camry
The seventh generation Toyota Camry landed in 2011 with major restyling- both inside and out. A new front fascia gave the car, for the first time, a sporty look. Power increased due, in part, to a switch to electric-powered hydraulic steering which put less load on the motor. Many trim levels were available including the L, LE, SE, XLE, SE V6, XLE V6, Hybrid LE, Hybrid XLE, and Hybrid SE. Due to a shifting market (no pun intended) manual transmissions were no longer offered, in favor of the six-speed automatic transmission. Hybrids were equipped with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and the Sport Edition (SE) came with paddle shifters. Fuel efficiency was increased across the board due to improved aerodynamics and lighter curb weight.
Eight Generation Toyota Camry
The eighth and current generation of the Toyota Camry came to market in 2017 when it was relaunched on a totally new platform called Toyota New Global Architecture that it also shares with the Toyota Prius and C-HR. This fresh platform meant that no parts of the car, sans the logo, were shared with previous generations.
Many trim levels were offered and each featured its own unique front fascia. Motor options were refreshed four-cylinder and V6 motors, as well as a hybrid option. An eight-speed transmission also became available. Toyota Safety Sense became a standard feature which includes Autonomous Driver Assistance Features (ADAS) such as pre-collision detection, lane departure warning with steering assist, and adaptive cruise control.