The Toyota Camry has been labeled as boring and monotonous. But boy, does it sell so well. It has emerged as the best-selling passenger car in the U.S. for 20 consecutive years from 2002 to 2021, selling over 313,000 vehicles in 2021. Before that, it topped the sales charts between 1997 and 2000. These figures place the Camry well ahead of the Corolla (under 240,000) and the Avalon (under 20,000).
But what could be the secret to the Camry’s success in the United States? There are a couple of them. Let’s dive right in.
1. Trusted Reliability and Longevity
Some consider the Toyota Camry boring, while others label it an average-performing car. But the mid-size sedan is well respected for its reliability and longevity. Most Camrys will last between 200,000 and 300,000 with good maintenance. But you don’t have to take our word for it. Using data from years of analysis, road-test scores, and other ratings, Consumer Reports notes that the Toyota Camry can last well beyond 200,000 miles with proper care.
You just have to change your engine oil and air filter as required, perform regular checks, drive the car, rinse, and repeat. It’s that simple. There’s little doubt that this has contributed immensely to the Camry’s popularity in the U.S.
2. Potent Powertrains Under the Hood
The Toyota Camry is not a hypercar, so you can’t expect unrealistically high power levels. But it’s no pushover either. A closer look at the Camry reveals decent ability despite the simple outward appearance. For starters, there’s a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 178 horsepower in the 2012 to 2017 models. But it has since been refined to produce upwards of 203 horses. Toyota also offers a 3.5L V6 engine with the Camry, making 301 horsepower in newer models.
But that’s not all. There’s also a hybrid powertrain that pairs the 2.5-liter four-cylinder with an electric motor to generate 208 horses from 2018 models.
Pair those power levels with a car of this size and price tag, and you can see why the Toyota Camry continues to soar in popularity.
3. Exceptional Fuel Efficiency
SUVs and trucks are taking over the auto market, and many brands are dropping smaller cars as a result. Reasons for the shift include practical size and height and a sense of comfort that comes with having more space without compromising style and status (unlike minivans, for example). However, SUVs remain more expensive and less fuel-efficient than cars.
On the other hand, cars are generally more fuel-efficient, and the Camry is a perfect example. The 2022 Toyota Camry 2.5-liter inline-four boasts 28/39 MPG city/highway, while the 3.5L V6 returns 22/33 MPG city/highway. If you want even more fuel economy, the hybrid models manage an impressive 51/53 MPG city/highway. These numbers contribute to the Toyota Camry’s undying popularity in America, and very few vehicles can compete with them.
4. Comfortable Interior and Infotainment System
The Toyota Camry’s interior offers many scintillating options, from the LE’s top-tier fabric to the SE’s Sport SofTex and the XLE’s genuine leather. Pair this with features like heated front seats, rear-seat vents, the Smart Key System, and push-button start, and you can see why the Camry’s a big favorite.
But that’s not even all. The Camry’s infotainment is to die for. Recent models boast a nine-speaker JBL sound system and reasonably-sized touch screens supporting Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa.
5. Award-Winning Safety and Technology Features
As far as vehicles go, there’s no such thing as being too safe. On the contrary, the more safety features a car has, the better. Toyota seems to think that too. Little wonder that the Toyota Camry always comes loaded with safety and tech features.
Some form of the Toyota Safety Sense — a suite of safety systems including dynamic radar cruise control and pre-collision system (with pedestrian detection) — has been standard on the Toyota Camry since 2015. Meanwhile, the Camry also boasts a host of other numerous safety features.
All that culminates in an overall five-star rating from NHTSA for the past decade (2012 to 2022). In addition, the Camry has also been awarded the IIHS’s top safety pick plus from 2015 to 2022 and the top safety pick from 2012 to 2014 for the mid-size class.
As with safety, the Camry is not lacking in technology features either. In 2018, the Japanese automobile manufacturer added the Entune 3.0 system, a more advanced system than the original Entune that debuted in the 2014 Camry — although it was already in other cars like the Prius.
With such features, you can see why the Camry has earned its reputation as one of the safest sedans.
6. Variety of Configurations To Choose From
The Toyota Camry has enough configurations and trims to ensure there’s something for everyone. Whether it’s the top-shelf gas mileage on a budget, high-end, luxurious features, or just raw engine power — you’d get it with the Camry.
There are five main trim levels (LE, SE, XLE, XSE, and TRD), but each has one or two sub-trims. When those sub-variants are taken individually, you have eight non-hybrid and five hybrid options with different prices and features.
Almost anyone can walk into a dealership and get a Toyota Camry that closely fits what they want out of a car. That’s one of the reasons for this car’s immense popularity.
The Camry Is More American Than You Think
It’s easy to think of the Toyota Camry as a vehicle that ships from some foreign country (Japan) thousands of miles from the U.S. across the Pacific Ocean. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Of course, Toyota is a Japanese country by origin, but it has since spread its tentacles globally. Its U.S. presence is very solid, and many of its vehicles are manufactured locally for Americans. The Camry, for example, is designed at Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Georgetown, Kentucky.
Without a doubt, the Toyota Camry’s Americanness has significantly contributed to its popularity in the country. Despite the SUV takeover, it still reaches six-figure sales numbers even now.