Best & Worst Toyota Camry Years [Models]

This article examines every Toyota Camry from 1990 until the latest model in a more detailed manner, and categorizes the most desirable years based on their performance and reliability.

Despite being an iconic car, not every Toyota Camry year is the same.

In this article, we have evaluated each Toyota Camry model year using expert analysis and real-life user data, comparing the best, neutral, and worst years in its history.

Best & Worst Toyota Camry Years [Models]

To provide you with a complete understanding of the Camry lineage, we will discuss each generation’s strengths and weaknesses.

Introducing the Toyota Camry in 1982, it became one of the world’s best-selling vehicles.

The Toyota Camry has long been a trusted midsize car for families and individuals seeking reliability, safety, and efficiency.

We will start by showing you the various generations of the Toyota Camry.

Toyota Camry Generations [Wide Body]

In 1992, Toyota Camry’s wide-body version became available, adding a broader and more robust appeal to this popular sedan. The midsize sedan set the standard for midsize sedans in its class with its new design and build.

The following table summarizes the six generations of the wide-body Camry:

1st generation (XV10)1992-1996
2nd generation (XV20)1997-2001
3rd generation (XV30)2002-2006
4th generation (XV40)2007-2011
5th generation (XV50)2012-2017
6th generation (XV70)2018-Present

We have organized these generations to provide a clear understanding of how the Camry has evolved. It is often the technological, safety, and overall build changes between generations that determine the decision to purchase a vehicle.

Toyota Camry Best, Neutral and Worst Years

The best and worst years were determined by taking into account a number of factors.

To provide an overall score for each model year, we’ve compiled all the ratings from all the sources mentioned above.

Below you will find a table representing each Camry generation’s Best, Neutral, and Worst years:

GenerationBest YearsNeutral YearsWorst Years
1st generation19951993 1994 19961992
2nd generation1998 20001997 19992001
3rd generation2004 200520062002 2003
4th generation2010 2011N/A2007 2008 2009
5th generation2014 201720132012 2015 2016
6th generation20222018 2019 2020 20232021

An award-neutral year is a year in which neither exceptional performance nor poor performance in all categories was achieved. In general, these models had relatively low recall rates and few complaints, exhibiting a balanced performance.

Several factors impact the reliability score of a car, including NHTSA recalls and complaints. The more recalls and complaints a car receives, the lower its reliability score, and vice versa.

Let’s take a closer look at each generation and their respective years to gain a better understanding of the data.

Best & Worst Years for Toyota Camry 1st Generation (1992-1996)

With its wide body design, the first generation Toyota Camry marked a shift in the mid-sized sedan landscape. It was Toyota’s second ” world car ” after the Corolla.

Best & Worst Years for Toyota Camry 1st Generation (1992-1996)

The Best Years: 1995, 1996

One of the highlights of the first generation was the 1995 and 1996 model years. There was a durable, reliable engine in their vehicle. These models were equipped with advanced transmission systems and electronic fuel injection systems, which were cutting-edge systems in their time.

A number of security features, including anti lock brakes and twin front airbags, were also included. In 1995 and 1996, consumers were attracted to these models because of the combination of reliability, technology, and security.

The Neutral Years: 1993, 1994

In spite of inconsistent performance levels and continuous improvements in technology, safety, and design, 1993 and 1994 models maintained a consistent performance level.

The model years of this generation carried the Camry’s reputation for reliability and comfort forward.

The Worst Years: 1992

A significant number of structural problems were encountered with the 1992 model year, even though it launched the first-generation Camry. The reliability and performance of the system were affected by these issues, resulting in numerous complaints from customers.

In this model year, there have been reports of transmission problems and engine failures, placing it in the bottom tier of model years.

Best & Worst Years for Toyota Camry 2nd Generation (1997-2001)

A reputation for reliability and high performance was earned by Toyota Camry during its second generation (1997-2001).

Best & Worst Years for Toyota Camry 2nd Generation (1997-2001)

During this period, the Camry was the most popular passenger car in the United States, except for 2001.

The Best Years: 1998, 2000

There are a few years in this generation that stand out as the best, such as 1998 and 2000. They provided a seamless driving experience due to their improved interior quality, improved powertrain performance, and better fuel efficiency.

This period was also a time when Toyota introduced optional side airbags, improving the safety of passengers in collisions.

The 2000 model offered excellent performance without sacrificing fuel economy, thanks to its 3.0-liter V6 engine.

The Neutral Years: 1997, 1999

While the 1997 and 1999 Camrys did not accomplish any major breakthroughs, they were reliable and efficient.

A solid performance, better fuel efficiency, and enhanced safety features characterized the 1997 Camry as the first model of the second generation. Technology and design improvements were incorporated into the 1999 model to continue the steady performance.

It was the neutral year because the models offered reliability and comfort that defined the Camry brand without introducing anything that set them apart.

The Worst Years: 2001

Even though the 2001 Camry was a significant success, it also faced some challenges. In addition to engine problems, the transmission system also suffered from problems.

A surge in NHTSA complaints was caused by numerous reports of oil leakage, engine failures, and transmission hesitation. Toyota Camry’s reliability and consumer satisfaction suffered due to the combination of these challenges, marking the model’s worst year.

Best & Worst Years for Toyota Camry 3rd Generation (2002-2006)

In terms of design and performance, the third-generation Camry (2002-2006) represented a significant shift in the manufacturer’s focus. In spite of its popularity, it was not without its challenges and triumphs, resulting in a mix of positive, neutral, and negative results.

Best & Worst Years for Toyota Camry 3rd Generation (2002-2006)

The Best Years: 2004, 2005

As far as the third generation is concerned, 2004 and 2005 stand out as the best years to buy a car. A number of improvements were made in the areas of safety, comfort, and performance during these years.

Airbags installed along the side curtains and Vehicle Stability Control were two of the major improvements in the Camry’s safety profile.

These models provide more power and security due to the upgraded 3.3L V6 engine available in SE trim levels.

The Neutral Years: 2006

In 2006, the Camry was designated a neutral year. However, it didn’t quite match the success of 2004 and 2005 models despite showcasing advanced safety technology, including an advanced airbag system.

A large number of complaints weren’t generated for the 2006 Camry, maintaining Toyota’s reputation for performance and reliability.

The Worst Years: 2002, 2003

It may be argued that the 2002 and 2003 models were the poorest years of the third generation, despite their overall success. NHTSA received 1037 complaints concerning the 2002 model, mostly concerning the vehicle speed control system, the hydraulic system, and the engine.

There have been reports of unintended acceleration and brake failure, as well as oil leakage from the engine. The same issues were present in the 2003 model year as well. Several recalls and a decline in reliability scores resulted from problems with the brakes and engine.

In spite of the third-generation Camry’s overall reliability, these significant challenges shadowed the model’s otherwise reliable performance in 2002 and 2003.

Best & Worst Years for Toyota Camry 4th Generation (2007-2011)

There were several safety features and better engines available with the fourth-generation Camry, which was produced from 2007 to 2011.

Best & Worst Years for Toyota Camry 4th Generation (2007-2011)

The Best Years: 2010, 2011

There was no doubt that the 2010 and 2011 models were the best of the fourth generation. As a result of these improvements in engine efficiency, Toyota’s performance and fuel economy improved significantly during these years.

As a result of safety advances such as stability control, traction control, and antilock brakes, the ride was safer.

In particular, the 2011 model was highly praised due to its resale value, fuel economy, and powerful, available V6 engine. Owner satisfaction ratings were also high.

See NHTSA 2002, 2003 Toyota Camry recalls.

The Worst Years: 2007, 2008, 2009

Although this generation has made significant improvements, a number of serious issues have plagued the early years – 2007, 2008, and 2009.

An alarming 3572 complaints were filed with the NHTSA about the 2007 model, as well as 11 recalls, mainly related to the engine, the speed control system, the service brakes, the structural issues, and the visibility. As a result of a widespread dashboard defect, drivers faced serious visibility problems.

Oil consumption was high during these years, resulting in premature engine wear, and failures. Due to speed control problems, the vehicle unintentionally accelerated, posing serious safety risks.

It is clear that this generation of Toyota Camry was plagued by significant problems, which negatively impacted reliability scores.

Best & Worst Years for Toyota Camry 5th Generation (2012-2017)

A revival in Camry sales occurred in Japan over the course of the fifth-generation Camry (2012-2017). This was due in large part to Toyota’s introduction of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system. In its home market, especially, the Camry turned a corner.

Best & Worst Years for Toyota Camry 5th Generation (2012-2017)

The Best Years: 2014, 2017

This generation’s best models were produced in 2014 and 2017. Particularly for the 2017 model year, the engine, technology, and safety were hailed for their robust performance.

A major contributor to their high owner satisfaction ratings was the enhancements made to the fuel efficiency and ride comfort of these models.

The Neutral Years: 2013

A neutral year for this generation is the 2013 model year. Even though it wasn’t as good as the 2014 and 2017 models, it didn’t suffer from significant problems.

A comfortable, reliable midsize sedan continued to be offered by the 2013 Camry, which featured incremental improvements in interior quality, ride comfort, and safety features.

The Worst Years: 2012, 2015, 2016

Despite numerous problems, the 2012, 2015, and 2016 models were considered the worst of the fifth generation due to their numerous issues.

In 2012, the vehicle’s brakes and powertrain were particularly problematic, resulting in numerous complaints.

A lower reliability score was attributed to brake failure and excessive oil consumption under normal conditions.

Best & Worst Years for Toyota Camry 6th Generation (2018-2023)

As an example of the evolution of the auto industry, the sixth generation of the Toyota Camry (2018-present) incorporates advanced technology, improved safety features, and superior performance. Despite its highs and lows, it has had its fair share of success.

Best & Worst Years for Toyota Camry 6th Generation (2018-2023)

The Best Years: 2022

A number of key improvements distinguish the 2020 Camry model year from its predecessors, making it the most successful so far in this generation.

This vehicle shows off the best features of the sixth-generation Camry, including improvements in performance and reliability.

This year’s model is equipped with enhanced safety features such as the Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+ (TSS 2.5+) package, ensuring passenger safety. Moreover, the 2022 model boasts an engine with increased efficiency and strength.

The Neutral Years: 2018, 2019, 2020, 2023

As part of the sixth generation, the Camry models for 2018-2023 represent the neutral years.

Their neutral status is due to the fact that they didn’t introduce any groundbreaking improvements or present significant shortcomings.

The Worst Years: 2021

In contrast, the Camry faced substantial challenges for the 2021 model year. A low reliability rating and owner satisfaction rating were the hallmarks of this generation’s consumer reports.

The fuel system, airbags, and brakes were reported to be defective by owners. An airbag system issue included faulty sensors for seat occupants and warning lights that did not function.

The 2021 Camry has also been recalled because some drivers experienced problems with the braking system, including unexpected activations of the brake assist and stability control systems.

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Which year of Camry is most reliable?

The 2009-2011 Toyota Camry won 4/5 or 5/5 reliability ratings in every category across the board. At this point, these used cars are over a decade old, which makes them well priced.

What years did Toyota Camry have problems?

Several recurring issues have been reported for model years 2004 to 2010, including oil leaks, sludge buildup, transmission failures, brake failures, and excessive oil consumption. If you plan to purchase a car between the model years 2004 and 2010, make sure to check the details.

Can Camry last 20 years?

When it comes to my Camry, how long can I expect it to last? With proper maintenance, the lifespan of a Toyota Camry can easily exceed 200,000 miles. Buying an off-lease vehicle will allow you to drive it for 20 years assuming that you drive 10,000 miles a year. There have also been reports of the Camry reaching 300,000 miles.


Now that you know more about the Toyota Camry, you can make an informed purchase decision. Don’t let the worst years of the Toyota Camry ruin your experience!

As a car enthusiast or owner, what do you think of the Camry’s evolution, and is there one model year that stands out?

Let us know what you think of the Camry or if you have any personal experience with it. Comment below if you have any to share.

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