I know. Although it’s not really as fast or interesting as some of the other cars I’ve discussed recently, the Toyota Camry plays an important role in many people’s daily lives, with millions upon millions being sold in its lifetime.
Today I’ll be ranking my top 20 favorite models of Camry. I was initially going to rank all of the generations, but upon realizing how many there were in total, (including facelifts, special editions, and the Thailandese models to name a few), I had to settle for top 20. So grab the wheel (and paddle shifters apparently when it comes to the more recent models) and drive through my selection.
Feel free to look up these generation numbers and see how your ranking compares.
Eh. That pretty much sums up what I think when I see this generation. It looked kind of awkward in my opinion, like it didn’t really know what it wanted to be. Some might say “At least there’s still the reliability that comes with the Camry name!”, but in this case, they might be wrong. Certain model years had an engine problem where the car would rapidly accelerate for no apparent reason, which, you know, could be a hazard for traffic and your life. Luckily, there was a recall for this. So if you own an XV40, get your hands on one of the replacement brake systems!
While a V10 engine Camry has never come out of the factory, we still have the V10 generation Camry which was the first generation of them all. With a need to globally compete against the Accord, an army of sedan and liftback models spread outwards from Japan. The life of the Camry had begun. In terms of sheetmetal, it followed that 80s boxy look, which was quite unremarkable.
With the V20 the Camry took a step forward in minor improvements. Still being pretty bland looking, I think that the late 80s Accord wins the points for design this time around. Also it was rebadged as a Holden, so I guess that counts for something.
While the rest of the world got to sit with the V20, Japan exclusively got the V30 models, which completely reworked the outer designing. It had that long back light which sort of fizzled out in the 90s but has been greatly reemerging in recent years.
Have you ever wanted a widebody Camry without messing around the parts market, straight out of the factory? Well, here you go. Except replace widebody with “slightly wider V30 body”, and you get the XV10, a V30 for the rest of the world. It’s not anything too special, but the term “widebody Camry” definitely helps bring it to 16th.
If you didn’t know, most of the above models could also be purchased under the name of “Toyota Vista”, a simpler version of the Camry which cost a little less. Despite the V50 being a Camry generation, it was only sold as a Vista. It came in your standard sedan body, and also came in the Ardeo form, which was a wagon. It looks great, but it builds off of the…
…which saw significant design changes from the V30 and XV10, placing it higher. It became more blocky, but not in the bland 80s styling. It’s too bad that the Accord looked really close to it at the time, making it less distinct in the midsize sedan segment.
There’s a pretty visible difference between this and the XV40, so I guess that’s nice. It just doesn’t really look too good to me. It was the first Camry to feature paddle shifters on the SE models and above, which seems a little unnecessary on a Camry, but it’s a cheap way to practice your shifts when you’re off the track for those trackdayers out there (not really). Overall it still looks better than the XV40, but I won’t mention the facelift, as there’s a higher place on the list for that…
12. XV40 Prestige
Congratulations Toyota, you made the XV40 look good, even if that meant making it resemble nothing like an American XV40. Prestige model Camrys are completely redesigned to fit a luxury market, because in Asia, the Camry is a luxury fullsize sedan! Talk about changes. Gone are the days of compact Celica-Camry! Anyways, it looks good, and it’s too bad that it isn’t offered in America.
Where I live, this thing is everywhere. It looks nice enough, runs reliably for a very long time, and had a complete redesign from the XV20. The new platform it was on is the K Platform, which was used on the Highlander and Sienna as well. It may have placed higher on my list, but you’ll see.
10. Celica Camry
Here it is: the car that started it all. In 1979, the Celica gained a four door model on its lineup, with the Camry name attached. While it doesn’t look like much, I appreciate it for starting the popular Camry lineup, even if that comes in the form of a car 1/3 longer (Prestige). And with that, I put the list to a close until the next part, happy driving everyone!
All Images: Toyota, Mad4Wheels