Toyota is among the most respectable car brands in the US. It’s known for the Toyota Camry, which sees itself just six from the top for best-selling cars in 2018. Some people may not be aware that the Lexus belongs to Toyota’s luxury line of cars and is also rated as the most reliable brand, according to J.D. Power’s 2018 Vehicle Dependability Study.

The quality people see from Toyota didn’t start out of thin air. It comes from a family of inventors that begins with a man named Sakichi Toyoda, who started a Loom business. Then his son, Kiichiro Toyoda, started his own car branch at his father’s company and released the first-ever Toyota prototype in 1935. Apparently, this was a direct copy of the Chevrolet Sedan.

Toyota grew over the years and in 1966 they released the Toyota Corolla, which became the world’s best-selling car. This put Toyota on the ‘map’. However, it wasn’t all easy times. In the 1950’s, the company almost went bankrupt, since there was little demand for their cars. Japan also had to overcome a bad reputation for ripping off American car models. Their earliest models were straight copies of those seen in Detroit, like the Chevrolet. It wasn’t until Toyota moved to the US and opened up a California branch in 1957 that they saw any success.

Toyota’s success could also be attributed to the fact that they took the best aspects of existing car models and addressed any weakness. This made, arguably, some of the most reliable cars. However, these Japanese manufacturers lacked passion for driving and innovative design. They also made fewer model options in a limited color range. This was a smart move that lowered their production costs. Thus, they provided quality cars at affordable prices.

Toyota became the top car import to the US and surpassed superior German cars. Keep in mind, that German’s mechanical design was used as the foundation of Toyotas. Toyota’s Camry model came out in this time of prosperity in 1983. It was immediately well-liked, since it was affordable, comfortable, and relatively powerful. In fact, the name Camry comes from the Japanese word for crown. This is what the car might as well have been wearing, since it went onto become a king in the car game. Apparently, it held the top spot for sales in the states for 15 years. Here’s the evolution of the Camry…

1.    Toyota Camry 1983-1986

The origin of the name Camry comes from the Japanese word for crown, which is what the car might as well have been wearing, since it went onto become a king in the car game. Apparently, it held the top spot for sales in the states for 15 years.

The Camry came in competing against the Accord from day one. However, the Camry was well-liked for being longer and more powerful than the Accord. It had a 92-horse power, which would have been about average at the time. Like, the mustang V8 had a 119 hp. The Camry also included a 1.8L 4-cylinder engine.

A brand new Camry was just under ten grand and one could have owned the car for $9, 698. These early years of the Camry were fairly quiet however the car was well-accepted and 53, 501 cars were sold. By 1986, the horse power had been increased to 95, since there was a large push for more power.

2.    Toyota Camry 1987-1991

The 1987 Camry had a couple notable improvements. One being the horse power was again increased, this time to 115. It was made to be more aerodynamic and apparently it was offering higher quality parts than the American manufacturers at the time. The price of the 1987 Camry jumped to $11, 758, which was well-suited to the growing demand. In the same year, Toyota also opened up a manufacturing plant in Kentucky, and sold 189, 626 cars. Another leap in power came in 1988, when Toyotas began running at 153 hp on V6 2.5L engines.

3.    Toyota Camry 1992-1996

Apparently, the early 90’s is when the Camry officially became a mid-size sedan. The Camry came with two options that included a 130 hp on a 2.2L 4-cylinder engine and a 188 hp on a 3L V6. There were also other upgrades, like suspension and handling that would have attracted more American buyers, 286, 602 to be exact. The cost of a 1992 Camry was $17, 653.  

4.    Toyota Camry 1997-2001

This is the year the Camry became the top selling car in the US and sold 397, 156 cars. The car somehow managed to become more affordable since it was stripped of some ‘luxury’ features like power windows and AC. The base price was $16, 818. Very small improvements to the two engines were included. The 2.2L 4-cyliner bumped to 133 hp and the 3L V6 became 194 hp. What was outstanding about these latest Camry’s, was the constant improvements that had gone into them over the years. The standardized airbags and anti-lock brakes to prevent skidding were a couple notable improvements.

5.    Toyota Camry 2002-2006

Apparently, it was in these years that Toyota began to focus more on quantity than quality and a greater number of problems with the car arose. However, the Camry still remained a popular vehicle and the engines had become totally revamped.  There was a brand new 2.4L 4-cylinder engine that could get up to 157 hp and a 3.3L V6 that could go 210 hp. The stripped down model had been dropped and so the cost of a Camry jumped to $19, 455. The number of Camrys sold was 434, 145 in 2002.

6.    Toyota Camry 2007-2011

What’s exciting about 2007 is that it was the year the first-ever hybrid Camry was introduced to the market. Apparently the 4-cylinder engine hadn’t changed but there was a big boost in power in the V6, which became a 3.5L with 268 hp. The Camry also became roomier on the inside and taller. Camrys were increasingly sold with automatic transmission that came in five and six speeds. The price of the Camry was only $18, 470 and sales increased slightly to 473, 108 Camrys sold in 2007.

7.    Toyota Camry 2012-2017

Nothing overly remarkable happened in this time period. Some say that the car took on a sportier look. The V6 engine carried over and the 4-cylinder 2.5L engine was boosted to 178 hp. Apparently, the manual transmission had become fully discontinued at this time and Toyota went on to sell 404, 886 Camrys in 2012. The base price was $22, 055.

8.   Toyota Camry 2018

Today, you can get a Toyota Camry for $24, 390. The 4-cylinder engine is 2.5L with 203 hp and includes an 8-speed automatic transmission. The V6 engine also has a better horse power and now delivers 301 hp on the same 3.5L engine. Since, this year’s still not yet up, it’ll be interesting to see how the Camry fares. However, it’ll most likely be like every other year, that is, popular and boring.


Toyota has proven itself to be a great car manufacturing company that was started by a family with great vision. It’s made its name in many American households and is most well-liked for being affordable and reliable. Certainly, it could be a good purchase for you.