In case you hadn’t heard, there’s a new Toyota Camry out and it’s way less boring than it used to be. So I wouldn’t be covering any new ground by saying that this new Camry actually looks really good, has a pretty impressive interior, and is pretty decent to drive. So I’ll start with a history lesson instead.
The Early Days
Did you know that, much like the Supra, the Camry name first started adjacent to the “Celica” nameplate? Dubbed the A40/A50 series, the Celica Camry first arrived in showrooms way back in January of 1980. And by showrooms, I mean they arrived at the “Toyota Corolla Store” which were retail dealerships in Japan. So the Toyota Camry wore a Celica nameplate and was sold at the Corolla store. While technically not part of the Camry lineage, the Celica Camry was really based on the Toyota Carina of the time. There was even a Celica Camry XT Super Edition, complete with fender mounted mirrors. Check it out.
The V Series
Next, we have what is widely considered the first real set of Toyota Camry generations. No, they don’t have supercharged LS engines, sadly, but starting with the V10 (1982–1986) these are part of what I refer to as the “V series”. Also referred to the “narrow body” generation, well here they are.
V10 (1982–1986), V20 (1986–1992), V30 (1990–1994), V40 (1994–1998), V50 (1998–2003)
The XV Series
So in 1990 Toyota replaced the V20 with the V30 in Japan, but in our market (and others) Toyota realized that us fat Americans needed something wider. So we got a widened version of the V30, referred to as the XV10 series Camry. For many domestic readers, this will be the first Camry they remember.
XV10 (1991–1996), XV20 (1996–2001), XV30 (2002–2006), XV40 (2006–2011), XV50 (2011–2017)
So the set of ten cars above is what most largely consider the boring years. That brings us to the present day, and the XV70 that was parked in my driveway for a week, courtesy Toyota. Their website still focuses squarely on safety – 2019 Toyota Camry Mid-size Car | Peace of Mind Standard. The the XV70 was introduced at the January 2017 North American International Auto Show, I was there. Our man Andrew Fails was quoted as saying:
“Camry is tired of your shit. The memes stop now”. And he was right, the Camry is no longer the bastion of boring.
Oh and at the Camry debut, I even ran into occasional Toyota spokesperson Rutledge Wood. He’s on the left.
The Camry XSE starts at $29,475, and as tested our car rang in at $38,335 with options. Since I promised not to say how good it looks inside and out, and how good it drives, here’s a quick rundown of the features options for our Camry tester instead. Would I recommend this car to friends and family, for the first time, I think I would.
• 2.5-Liter Dynamic Force 4-Cylinder Engine with 206 hp @ 6600 rpm
• 28 city/39 hwy/32 combined est. mpg
• Direct Shift-8AT (8-Speed Electronically Controlled automatic Transmission)
• LED headlights with smoke tint and fully integrated LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL) with auto on/off feature
• LED taillights with smoke tint • Gloss-black front grille with sport mesh insert
• Color-keyed heated power outside mirrors with turn signal and blind spot warning indicators
• Color-keyed outside door handles with touch-sensor lock/unlock feature
• 19-in. black machined-finish alloy wheels with P235/40R19 tires
• Dual exhaust with quad chrome tips
Interior and Safety Features
• Blind Spot Monitor (BSM)3 with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA)
• Dual zone automatic climate control with air filter and rear-seat vents
• Integrated backup camera30 with dynamic gridlines
• Entune™ 3.04 Audio Plus with App Suite
• 7-in. TFT Multi-Information Display (MID) with customizable settings
• Qi-compatible wireless smartphone charging
• Leather-trimmed multi-stage heated front seats with seatback pockets; 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with power lumbar support; 8-way power-adjustable front passenger seat
• Rear adjustable headrests
• 3-mode switch (ECO, Normal, Sport)
• Textured metal interior trim
• Smart Key System on front doors and trunk with Push Button Start
• Auto-dimming rearview mirror
• HomeLink® universal transceiver
• Three USB ports (one 1.5V and two 2.1V)
• Ambient interior lighting
• Electric Parking Brake (EPB)42 with Brake Hold function
Options and Packages
• Two-tone Midnight Black Metallic roof and rear spoiler ($500)
• Navigation Package ($940) – Entune™ 3.04 Premium Audio with App Suite, Dynamic Navigation and JBL® w/Clari-Fi™
• Driver Assist Package ($1050) – 10-in. color Head-Up Display (HUD) – Bird’s Eye View Camera with Perimeter Scan – Intelligent Clearance Sonar (ICS) with Rear Cross-Traffic Braking (RCTB)