Home » The 2025 Toyota Camry Is Barely More Expensive Than A 1983 Camry, How Much Better Is It?

The 2025 Toyota Camry Is Barely More Expensive Than A 1983 Camry, How Much Better Is It?

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The new-generation Toyota Camry has just landed for the 2025 model year. The Camry has long been the Default Car thanks to its value for price, willingness to serve, and unimpeachable reliability. Since the latest Camry has just hit the scene, it’s the perfect time to compare Toyota’s latest iteration of the long-running family sedan to the very first Camry that Americans saw in 1983.

Welcome to Then And Now, the recurring feature where we look at popular, influential, or otherwise important long-running models and how they’ve changed with market trends, consumer preferences, and the ever-changing automotive landscape. The Honda Civic, was our first Then And Now subject, and today we’re giving the treatment to perennial favorite of Uber drivers across the globe.

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We’ll dive into the raw figures, look at the differences between the 1983 model and the new wunderkind, and find out whether the new model is still the near-perfect everycar it has been for many buyers. Let’s get started!

Camrys Side Views Years2
Four decades will do a lot to a car’s profile. These side views are in scale with each other; the 1983 Camry had a 2,600mm (102.4 in.) wheelbase, while the latest model spans 2,825mm (111.2 in) between the axles.

PRICE: 2025 Camry vs. 1983 Camry

The Toyota Camry was given a mighty job from day one: taking the fight to cars like the Honda Accord and GM’s X-platform vehicles. It hit the US market in 1983 at a competitive price of just $8,623. That’s $27,040 in 2024 dollars, which would put the Camry a couple of levels above the cheapest cars on sale today. As a guide, the median family income in the US was $24,580, equal to $77,079 today.

1984 Toyota Camry
“It cost HOW much in 1983?!” Easy now, that’s $8,623 converted to 2024 dollars.

As an aside, the Camry actually shares something in common with the Supra. It started life as a sub-model of the Toyota Celica. Based on the Toyota Carina, the Celica Camry was a four-door sedan for the Japanese market only. We’re only interested in the fully-fledged standalone Camry, though, which is why our analysis begins with the 1983 “V10” Camry.

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Processed By Ebay With Imagemagick, Z1.1.0. ||b2
Before the Camry, there was the Carina. Images: Toyota

The 2024 Toyota Camry starts at $29,495 by comparison. That’s only around $2500 more expensive than the 1983 Camry, accounting for inflation. In the US, median family income was $74,580 in 2022, the closest year that we have data for. Adjusted to 2024 prices, it’s equal to $79,083 today.

Cam My25 0009 V001
The Camry has never abandoned its core market position.

Fundamentally, the Toyota Camry costs roughly the same today as it did back in 1983. You can come to that conclusion just by looking at the inflation-adjusted prices. It’s impressive on Toyota’s part when you consider that a lot of other nameplates have moved to higher price points over the years.

Camry Fadeaway Ad

Camry 83 3

Relative to median family incomes, the price tells the same story. In 1983, a new Camry was roughly 35% of the median family income, and the 2025 model comes in at just 36% by comparison. It’s probably worth examining why the median family income hasn’t meaningfully risen for the US in the last 40 years, but hey, we’re here to talk cars.

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POWER & WEIGHT: 2025 Camry v. 1983 Camry

Okay, let’s talk engines! The 1983 model featured a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, good for 92 horsepower and 113 pound-feet of torque. It was a perfectly healthy output for a commuter car of the era, when even Ferraris were barely putting out 250 horsepower. Available as a sedan or liftback, it was a featherweight compared to modern vehicles, weighing just 2,180 to 2,499 pounds. It was available as a five-speed manual as standard, with a four-speed auto as an extra-cost option. The do-everything sedan seated five, while the liftback offered additional storage space without going for a full-on wagon body style.

Camry
Handsome, no?
Processed By Ebay With Imagemagick, Z1.1.0. ||b2
Front-wheel-drive was the way forward, with the Toyota Camry taking over from the rear-wheel-drive Corona.

Toyota would eventually split the Camry lineup between narrow-body and wide-body versions. The US market got the latter “XV10” design. In 2025, Toyota is now building the XV80 Camry for its American customers. It’s available solely as a four-door sedan. The base model comes with a hybrid 2.5-liter inline four with two AC motors, which delivers a combined output of 225 horsepower through a continuously variable transmission. Alternatively, the higher-end all-wheel-drive models get the same 2.5-liter inline-four, but with three hybrid motors in total, for a total combined output of 232 horsepower. The new Camry weighs between 3,450 to 3550 pounds depending on specification.

As you’d expect, the new model is far more powerful than the 1983 Camry. Indeed, the 2025 model has over twice as much horsepower, or about the same as the 1983 Ferrari 308 Quattrovalvole. The extra power is offset by the kerb weight of the newer models, which weigh roughly 1.6 times as much.

Overall performance is far improved, though. The 1983 model could do zero to 60 mph in 12.4 seconds. Official figures aren’t available at this time, but Edmunds clocked the front-wheel-drive version at 7.8 seconds. Still, the model has fallen away from its glorious peak. In 2020, you could get a 300-horsepower V6 in the Toyota Camry TRD. It would nail the same sprint in just 5.8 seconds.

2025 Toyota Camry Xse 013
Toyota is one of the few automakers that regularly releases engine bay images these days. The new Camry sticks with the transverse front-wheel-drive layout, but it’s supported by two or three hybrid motors depending on trim.

Options: 2025 Camry v. 1983 Camry

The Camry didn’t have a whole lot of options back in 1983. Most notably, the LE was the more luxurious package, which added body-colored bumpers, tachometer, and a tilt steering wheel. You also got a better stereo, electric mirrors, and variable-speed intermittent wipers. Two-tone paint was a thing, too. You could also option the auto gearbox, air conditioning, and the Power Package, which gave you power locks, power windows, and cruise control. As for standard equipment, the Camry got disc brakes up front, while it rocked drums in the back. Notably, it had a wear sensor for the pads – back in 1983! It also got rack and pinion steering with MacPherson strut suspension front and rear. Nothing wild—it was just a modern design of its time.

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1984 Toyota Camry
AM/FM radio and a T-bar auto. Because it’s the 80s.
2025 Camry Xse Cockpitred 306
The new Camry has everything and the kitchen sink. The key upgrade to get is the larger infotainment touchscreen, as seen here.

The first Camry was pretty well equipped, but the new model takes things to a higher level. Air conditioning is standard, as is the 8-inch infotainment screen with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto built-in. Modern safety equipment includes a backup camera, blind spot monitoring, and various braking and lane-change assists to try and keep you out of trouble.  Oh, and tire pressure monitors are standard as is typical these days.

Beyond the standard gear, there are plenty of upgrade options on the new Camry, too. Toyota will install its Traffic Jam Assist driver aid if you decide to spec the right package on the higher-tier models. You can also get a JBL premium sound system, along with a bigger 12.3-inch infotainment screen that’s standard on the all-wheel-drive models. Other options include heated and ventilated seats, a power moonroof or a panoramic glass roof, and a heated steering wheel.

2025 Camry Xse Cockpitred 315
The panoramic glass roof is another nice touch if you care to option it on the 2025 model.

True To Self

Comparing it over the years, the Camry has stayed very true to its original ethos. It’s always been an affordable family car with a great level of equipment—with even better gear if you’ve got the money to spend. It’s never been an outright budget option, nor a luxury car. It’s a proud middle-of-the-road sedan that doesn’t skimp and doesn’t splurge.

2025 Camry Xse Awd Heavymetalblackroof 003 1500x1000
The Camry’s aesthetic continues to get more badass with each generation, though the new lineup doesn’t feature any rad V6 performance models.

The Camry stands as one of the last sedans on sale in the US. It’s a market increasingly short on actual cars these days. Toyota has resisted the urge to push the Camry upmarket in price and position, nor has it stripped the Camry to compete on price. It sits almost beyond its rivals, having created its own special place in the market.

Indeed, that’s something that Toyota is uniquely able to do. Down in Australia, there’s a certain type of customer for whom only a Land Cruiser will do. The world over, the same is true of the Camry. Toyota has earned a great deal of trust, both in the Camry name and its own. For some buyers, shopping around is pointless. They know they’ll get a great car at a fair price every time they head to the Toyota dealership to pick up a new Camry.

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The Camry has seen many rivals come and go over the years. The sands of time will shift and change, buffeting the Camry as they will. And yet, it remains, flowing with the times but never changing its core self. The Camry name stands for quality, affordable transportation that you can trust. Toyota’s been delivering that year in, year out, since 1983. May it go on ever thus.

Image credits: Toyota

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Knowonelse
Knowonelse
1 month ago

My FIL bought a first year Camry and one in black was desired. After the dealer told my FIL that they were unavailable, my FIL wrote a paper letter to the head of Toyota. My FIL got a black one! When time came for our kids to start driving they had moved on to a newer Toyota, so we got the Camry. First trip to the DMV for the driving test we didn’t even get out of the parking lot. No brake lights. Ugh. I dug in to find that the brake light circuit board in the trunk had a break in the trace or something like that. Soldered it up and success! Kids (twins) took their driving test and passed. Sold the Camry a few years later with about 350k miles on it. Great car.

Shinynugget
Shinynugget
1 month ago

I got a 2014 Camry as rental after a minor crash. I was so pleased with it I bought a 2015 XSE 4-cyl shortly after. I drove it for a couple years and never had a single issue with it. Highly Competent would best describe it. By all rights I should have kept that car but replaced it purely for emotional reasons. They may not be exciting in most regards but they’ll almost never let you down.

ZeGerman
ZeGerman
1 month ago

“It’s probably worth examining why the median family income hasn’t meaningfully risen for the US in the last 40 years, but hey, we’re here to talk cars.

Yep, this is the important part of this discussion.”

Last edited 1 month ago by ZeGerman
Mike B
Mike B
1 month ago
Reply to  ZeGerman

There’s a very telling chart that shows the sharp rise in productivity as compared to worker wages starting around 1980.

I alluded to this yesterday in conversation with one of the VPs from the head office the other day at a corporate event. After I suggested that flexible or reduced workweeks would be a big perk to help with recruitment/retention, he mentioned that he never seems to have the time as it is for his ever-increasing workload. My response was that work life balance is important, and 50 years ago we had no email, computerized system, automation in our plants, or AI and digitization (which was part of his presentation), yet somehow, we still managed 40 hours and that all the gains in efficiency has just made for more work.

MikeInTheWoods
MikeInTheWoods
1 month ago

Great article. “The new Camry has everything and the kitchen sink. The key upgrade to get is the larger infotainment distractotainment touchscreen, as seen here”. I would totally drive a new Camry if it had slider levers for the HVAC and no screen. I don’t use or look at screens when I drive. I look out the windshield and in the mirrors.
Also, according to the 35% calculations, I can’t afford any new modern cars based on my household income.

D.B. Platypus
D.B. Platypus
1 month ago

Where did you get your numbers for real median family income? I’m looking at this site:

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/MEFAINUSA672N

Completely different numbers.

Andrew Martin
Andrew Martin
1 month ago

I’d argue that like-for-like (or as close as you can get), the Camry is *cheaper* today. The LE trim in 1983 had power mirrors, an automatic transmission, and intermittent wipers. Still nowhere close to CarPlay, adaptive cruise, and everything else on the base trim in 2024, but closer. The LE trim was $9,888 in 1983, which is the equivalent of $31,545 in 2024 dollars (vs. $28,400 for the 2025 base model).

Also, fuel economy is better: the 1983 scored in at a 31/43 city/highway EPA. The 2025 hasn’t been announced, but the 2024 hybrid scored 51/53. Not bad!

Eslader
Eslader
1 month ago

Where you are making a mistake is in tying income to inflation. For decades, income has lagged far behind inflation, so assuming the median income from 2022 will rise at the same rate as inflation is a bad assumption, especially since we had much higher inflation in those years than we usually have.

A better way to consider it is as a percentage of median family income. In 1983, the Camry cost 35% of the median income, which meant paying it off in a few years would be easy for a financially responsible person around the median.

Now, those numbers work out pretty close for today’s median income vs car price too, but that’s not taking into account all factors.

The median house price in 1985 was $75,300. The median house price today is $417,000.

The median mortgage payment in 1983 was around $10,000 per year whereas it’s $20,064 today, and the 1983 numbers include a lot of mortgages that hadn’t been refinanced yet from the 17-19% interest rates they’d been taken out under. In other words, those payments dropped sharply not long after 1983.

In short, the cost of living means effective incomes are lower than they were in the 1980s which is why people aren’t buying houses 2 years out of college anymore. And that means the Camry is significantly more expensive as a component of household budgets than it used to be.

Jim Stock
Jim Stock
1 month ago

Does anyone know if the passenger side mirror was standard, optional or not available in the 1983 model? I do not remember when passenger-side mirrors became standard for all cars and trucks.

First Last
First Last
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim Stock

My ‘83 had no passenger side mirror, but I’m pretty sure the higher-end model did.

Carbon Fiber Sasquatch
Carbon Fiber Sasquatch
1 month ago

These are my kind of articles! I love seeing how far we’ve come in technology and design! I’d love to see more of these done, especially for the common bread and butter cars that come out.

First Last
First Last
1 month ago

My family bought one of the first Camrys off the boat in 1983 (a real stripper 5 speed with no tach, an 85-mph speedo, rubber bumpers and only one outside mirror). They liked it so much they bought the second gen when it came out in 1989 and I inherited the ‘83 as my first car.

Being young and naive I convinced them to let me trade it for a gorgeous red ‘84 Audi 4000cs Quattro that I spotted on the roadside one day with a for sale sign on it. And that’s how I came to learn – at the ripe old age of 17 – why you don’t buy the [sexy european car] just because somehow it’s the same price as the [boring japanese appliance]!

It genuinely entertains me that with all the changes in the industry, Toyota Camrys are still here teaching this exact same lesson 40 years later.

Emmy McConnell
Emmy McConnell
1 month ago

I am absolutely loving all this Camry content. I am a car enthusiast, and a Camry fan for life. Thanks for not just toeing the “ew Camrys are boring” auto blog line. They are spectacular at what they’re made for.

Last edited 1 month ago by Emmy McConnell
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
1 month ago
Reply to  Emmy McConnell

It’s weird how Camrys and Accords and the like seem to elicit yawns at best from enthusiasts. Enthusiasts should be excited or at least admiring of the supreme command of auto engineering on display in the Camry.

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
1 month ago
Reply to  Emmy McConnell

At a minimum enthusiasts should be excited that it’s not a crossover.

Drive a Camry and a Rav4 (or any Rav4 competitor) back to back and let me know which is more boring.

Thatmiataguy
Thatmiataguy
1 month ago
Reply to  Emmy McConnell

A modern Camry is never going to drive like a sports car, but with sticky tires and an aggressive alignment it’s not half bad at all.

As someone who used to own a 2004 Camry and now owns a 2022 Camry Hybrid, I think the stereotype that all Camrys are horrible soul-sucking appliances comes from the older models. My 04 was like that, but the newer ones drive like completely different cars.

Especially with how numb most commuter cars are these days, I think the modern Camry deserves more credit than it usually gets.

Vic Vinegar
Vic Vinegar
1 month ago
Reply to  Emmy McConnell

Yeah 0-60 in 2 seconds is fun. But plenty of impressive engineering goes into the car that is affordable, starts everyday, gets 50 mpg, and doesn’t require a loan to perform the 60k mile service.

MDMK
MDMK
1 month ago

“It sits almost beyond its rivals, having created its own special place in the market.”

Indeed, and with Subaru’s announcement to disco the Legacy and tap out of the mid-sized sedan market, the mid-sized sedan market will follow the minivan market and complete its transformation to (maybe) four healthy ICE/HEV models by the late 2020’s led by the Camry.

Ariel E Jones
Ariel E Jones
1 month ago
Reply to  MDMK

Indeed. The minivan market has been almost entirely abandoned by the domestics. Toyota and Honda however, continue to embrace the market and make really solid offerings. It looks like Chrysler might bow out of the market that they themselves created, leaving the Kia as the only other one. That sorta sounds like what happening with mid size/level sedans, huh?

Goof
Goof
1 month ago
Reply to  Ariel E Jones

It’ll be a shame if Chrysler exits the minivan space, because after a quick initial experience with one, the current Pacifica is not a pile. It’s… pretty solid! I would be far less likely to opt for a hybrid (I’d go to a Sienna) but it seems to do its job well at a reasonable price relative to its peers. Would I say it’s a class leader? No. Yet at least for one with few miles, I couldn’t actually complain about anything.

Sir-Barks-A-lot
Sir-Barks-A-lot
1 month ago
Reply to  Ariel E Jones

Chrysler as recently as two months ago went on record about a heavy refresh for the Pacifica in 2025 and an all new Pacifica in 2028. I don’t know how that’s bowing out of the market.

Jeep Liberty, MY LEG!
Jeep Liberty, MY LEG!
1 month ago
Reply to  MDMK

Can I take a moment to say I really like the wordplay of “disco”? Feels very cockney and cyberpunk.

“He’s disco(ntinued). Shredder Steve shot him up when he took over the gang.”

PajeroPilot
PajeroPilot
1 month ago

My first car was a gen 1 Camry. A 1984 liftback with a 5 speed stick. A rather fetching metallic brown paint job and a beige and tan interior with acres of plush velour. It was as 80’s as a car got!

Being the 16 year old P-plater I was, that little car copped a shitload of abuse. A selector fork broke in the gearbox on the way to my year 12 exams because I was in a hurry and borked a gear change. I went paddock bashing at a party and broke the tailpipe, wrapping it around the right rear control arm and badly bending it. One night I ended up hitchhiking home when the clutch eventually got sick of my shit and gave up the will to live.

I installed a Pioneer stereo that at the time cost at least half the value of the car. My mates joked that my car had more speakers than cylinders. The lights would dim in time to the beat of the music as the alternator struggled to keep up.

What has improved out of sight from 80’s built cars to now is rust resistance. Rust isn’t a huge problem in Australia as we don’t have snow and don’t have to salt our roads. However, that car was 16 years old when I bought it and was riddled with car cancer and that was par for the course. A 16 year old Camry bought as a first car now in Australia would likely be rust free. And while heavier it would be quicker and immeasurably safer, with ABS, traction control and a suite of airbags. Having said that, those angular, kind of ungainly SV11 Camry liftbacks have a special place in my heart the more contemporary ones just don’t.

Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
1 month ago

I had a first-gen Camry, and the fuel gauge is really cool! Below 1/4 it was magnified

PajeroPilot
PajeroPilot
1 month ago
Reply to  Dogisbadob

Yes! In a seperate little gauge. They were also “non-return” gauges so you could see the fuel level with the ignition off.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
1 month ago

“It’s probably worth examining why the median family income hasn’t meaningfully risen for the US in the last 40 years, but hey, we’re here to talk cars.”

As far as cars go that same percentage of income buys you a Camry with more performance than the performance cars of 1983, waaay more technology than the techiest cars of 1983, more luxury features than the luxury cars of 1983, better fuel economy than the economy cars of 1983, waay better safety than the safest cars of 1983, more reliability than the most reliable cars of 1983 and if taken care of will likely last longer than most any car from 1983 including a Camry.

Andiamo345
Andiamo345
1 month ago

My first ride was a 1989 Camry LE in Rose Grey (looked slightly pink) with a Maroon interior. It was slow and had a lot of body roll, but also had the coolest double din Toyota AM/FM Casette player with silver buttons. The maroon interior was also great, more cars need maroon interiors. The worst part of the interior was the two spoke steering wheel which managed to be ugly and uncomfortable. My second car was a Honda civic, which was nearly as big and dynamically superior, but I’ll always have a soft spot for a Camry.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
1 month ago

Sorry I don’t trust the math. Please post what site gave you PDV of money. I doubt it is actually straightforward. The current government tells us the economy is great and despite the fact we are paying more than ever for food we are paying less for food because our dollars are worthless because inflation is so high and we aren’t getting as many of them for work as we used to.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

Paying more than ever for food? Food and clothing are cheap AF. Sometimes they’re literally given away. If you think those are expensive you’re shopping at the wrong places.

If you’re going to bitch about the cost of anything it’s housing that deserves ire. Your adjusted dollar gets you a lot less there.

The Dude
The Dude
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

By the numbers our economy is doing great! Doesn’t mean we have a good or sustainable economy though and I don’t think we will until we abandon the fallacy of trickle down economics.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic
Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

Yes there is inflation, and it can be traced directly to the cost of property insurance, which is skyrocketing in the three most populous states in the US. If this wasn’t happening, inflation would be a blip on the radar.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
1 month ago

I just got my insurance renewal and boy 25% jack. But contacted an independent insurance agent who got me back to no raise with a different company same coverage. Remember a renewal bill is just the markets way of telling you to shop around.

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
1 month ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

True, but in California, Texas, and Florida, underwriters are simply choosing not to do business any longer. It’s the risk.

OttosPhotos
OttosPhotos
1 month ago

Back in 1987, my aunt had an XLE hatchback Camry. It was slow, and didn’t handle well. I much preferred the Accord of the same generation.

I’ve driven several Camrys over the years, and have yet to find one that I would consider owning.

Ariel E Jones
Ariel E Jones
1 month ago
Reply to  Lewin Day

There’s a reason why the Accord has been on Car and Drivers 10 best lost almost every year (I think more than any other car) and the Camry hasn’t.

The Clutch Rider
The Clutch Rider
1 month ago
Reply to  Ariel E Jones

yes, but Car and Driver were jokingly called Honda and BMW at some point. Honda definitely makes cars that are more engaging to drive than Toyota. Also, they have the best feeling shifters, period. I really loved my 92 accord, even though it was an automatic.

When it came time to buy a minivan in ’18, we went to look at a 16 Sienna, yet we left with a 15 Odyssey. My wife doesn’t really care about cars that much and was undecided on the toyota after the test drive; we barely made it to the end of the driveway in the odyssey before she said that this is the minivan she wants. It feels a lot smaller than it actually is, and the weight is hidden really well. It feels more like you are driving an Accord, not a minivan

Later that year my parents bought a brand new Sienna and that thing feels like nothing, no road feel, no feedback. I would not call it a forgettable car, because it’s not, there is something i just loathe about the Sienna, but i can’t just put my finger on it. I felt the same way about any Toyota I drove in my past “career” doing valet parking. No other maker made me feel like that.

Ariel E Jones
Ariel E Jones
1 month ago

You are preaching to the choir my friend. I have an Odyssey in my fleet. It our second one in a row. So we’ve had one for more than 10 years now. The wife says she hopes hers never dies and she is not a car person either. A tall Accord wagon is how I like to think of it.
Sometimes I get all goofy and tell myself I’d like to make a sleeper out of it. Maybe some 19″ OE from a newer Honda/Acura (it’s an 06), maybe a newer higher potency version of the 3.5. Then I calm down, tell myself I’m an idiot and let it go.

Cerberus
Cerberus
1 month ago
Reply to  OttosPhotos

Those old Accords were nice driving cars. Camrys have always been solid, but terrible to drive—too terrible for me to want one, but I admire their consistency in being reliable. Even the ones that had some problems weren’t as bad as other manufacturers problem models.

John E
John E
1 month ago

Oh, it’s a paid fluff piece.

John E
John E
1 month ago
Reply to  Lewin Day

It’s unusual for someone in automotive journalism to unabashedly sing the praises of car like this. MT does these fluff pieces and has the courtesy of putting discreet little tags that it’s a paid endorsement. It just looks and reads like a paid endorsement.

Electronika
Electronika
1 month ago
Reply to  John E

Wow what an ignorant statement. Just because an auto journalist gives a positive review you jump in and assume its a paid piece. If this was a VinFast or a Fisker you might have an argument but for god’s sake, its a Camry, Toyota has been building good cars like this for 30 years.. you can’t give the Autopian the benefit of the doubt?

I am so sick and tired of all the negative bs these days. This site is one of the few places I go that give honest opinions and jerks like you come here and with no evidence at all people like you start baiting and trying to cause friction and discord.

Isn’t there enough BS on normal news sites?

LTDScott
LTDScott
1 month ago
Reply to  Electronika

Right, the Camry has never been all that remarkable but it has always been very good at its job and a reasonable value, hence why it has always been a decent seller. Pointing this out, especially in the context of comparing it to the first Camry, doesn’t come off as shilling to me at all.

Electronika
Electronika
1 month ago
Reply to  LTDScott

Exactly, The Camry doesn’t stir anyone’s soul but it is good at what it does. I agree with your earlier comment when you state that you are happy that at least there are some sedans at all. I don’t want a CUV and there are still people out there who don’t either. The problem is with the car companies, because nobody is crying for cars as opposed to CUV’s the middle of the road are being ignored because they will buy what’s out there and the silent minority is left behind. Same thing with politics. The middle of the road are always ignored.

Many people would prefer a car but they buy what is cheap, can get good financing on and is safe and reliable. i.e. Camry and I applaud Autopian for supporting companies that provide them and not doing with MT, C&D and the other big name companies do which is just shill for the big companies who want to push their high margin CUV and SUV’s

John E
John E
1 month ago
Reply to  Electronika

Tired of negative stuff, are you? It shows.

The Dude
The Dude
1 month ago
Reply to  John E

All I see is an article comparing two cars built ~40 years apart and expounding on how much more you get for the inflation adjusted dollar. Should be pretty clear that only positive things are going to be said since any way you slice it, the new Camry is just on a whole other level.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
1 month ago
Reply to  John E

Huh?

Carbon Fiber Sasquatch
Carbon Fiber Sasquatch
1 month ago
Reply to  John E

“The new Camry changed a lot since when it came out in the 80’s, crazy how far cars have come!”

tHiS iS A pAiD fLuFf pEiCe

My guy, this article is quintessentially what this website is about, enthusiasm for ALL cars.

LTDScott
LTDScott
1 month ago

At this point I’m just happy that there are still some sedans left after just reading that the Subaru Legacy is going away after 2025. Not all of us want a CUV.

Last edited 1 month ago by LTDScott
SNL-LOL Jr
SNL-LOL Jr
1 month ago
Reply to  LTDScott

I know, right. A few short years back we were still laughing at “grounded to the ground.”
I actually look forward to getting a Camry at rental places.

Boxing Pistons
Boxing Pistons
1 month ago

There is a bad cut and paste job in the article by the way: “POWER & WEIGHT: 2024 Civic v. 1973 Civic”

Greg
Greg
1 month ago
Reply to  Boxing Pistons

I wasn’t sure if we were just gonna do both cars or what!

V10omous
V10omous
1 month ago

A 50 mpg medium-large car for under $30k that will run for 300,000 miles.

It’s not clear to me why anyone would need to build an econobox ever again.

Goof
Goof
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

Let’s take a look at dimensions…

193.5″ (4915mm) long72.4″ (1839mm) wide56.9″ (1445mm) tall111.2″ (2824mm) wheelbase
That’s basically a W211 (2003-2009) Mercedes-Benz E-Class. A car most people would get into today and feel has absolutely adequate room, even for taller folks. Yet this is likely similar NVH, has similar levels of road and wind noise, and good enough ride and handling. I’d put just put better tires (grip, braking, comfort, road noise) on it.

Yet even if you beat on it, you’re likely to get 45+ mpg lifetime so long as you’re not as aggro as possible at every conceivable opportunity, to leverage it being a hybrid.

In 6+ years, when folks comes to me for a sedan recommendation, ’25 Camry it is.

Last edited 1 month ago by Goof
V10omous
V10omous
1 month ago
Reply to  Goof

My parents are likely buying one new later this year. They want an AWD hybrid sedan and there aren’t many. The fact that this is so cheap just makes it better.

Electronika
Electronika
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

I miss my AWD 4cyl Kia Stinger. it was rare AWD 5 door hatchback that wasn’t too expensive. its a dying breed. The Camry is in rare company. I just with they would start building more cars.. I bet people would buy them despite what the focus groups say

Cerberus
Cerberus
1 month ago
Reply to  Goof

I think part of the reason for Toyota’s reputation is that their cars rarely invite being driven aggressively, which reduces wear and tear.

Emmy McConnell
Emmy McConnell
1 month ago
Reply to  Cerberus

Have you owned an old Toyota? I have long-term owned, and driven the crap out of, a 97 Previa, a 99 Camry, and a 2013 Sienna over the last 20 years. As well as a few short-term Cressidas subjected to me and my brother’s abuse in high school. Maybe the average use plays a little role, but I’ve yet to have one fail me in any way. They age incredibly well, mechanically and on the inside.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
1 month ago
Reply to  Emmy McConnell

> They age incredibly well, mechanically and on the inside.

TIL I’m the opposite of a Toyota

Cerberus
Cerberus
1 month ago
Reply to  Emmy McConnell

I had a 2008 Camry 5MT 2.4 that held up worse with under 200k miles than two Ford Focuses (one an ST) and my 270k mile ’90 Legacy that would have laughed at it. Admittedly, it was in great shape and one would never know to look at it that it leaked and burned oil, the mounts were all shot, the exhaust had a leak, and the suspension was either pretty worn out or was just awful by design. Either way, I wouldn’t hold it against all Toyotas, but for me, the trade off in driving experience isn’t worth the durability that can be matched or even exceeded by brands that aren’t terrible to drive and that have decent seats—I thought the damn thing would at least be comfortable! I’d even trade some durability if necessary to not have to drive something that miserable again. I’ve also known people who have owned Toyotas and they’re one of the better brands for reliability for sure, just not that they’re alone in the game.

They have traditionally been overbuilt for longevity over performance, discourage aggressive driving through a terrible driving experience, appeal to people who don’t care about driving at all or at least in their daily beater, all of which contribute to the reputation. I’m not arguing that they aren’t reliable in general or near the top or that’s it’s unearned—if anything its a brilliant plan to have so many complimentary elements working toward the one major goal and one part of that is having a large percentage of owners who don’t drive abusively singing their praises. With other makes, one usually has to choose model and options carefully (for example, my Focus SE was a manual. Were it DCT, forget it), but Toyota is a pretty safe bet on all of them with all options—they didn’t sell rubber band CVTs and jump into GDI or overly downsized turbo engines and, though they’ve had their issues as anyone, they are fewer and usually less disastrous. On top of that, they’ve done some crazy stuff like replacing whole frames for rust on trucks that were up to 15 years old while too many competitors try ducking out of stuff that’s well within warranty and egregiously poorly engineered. The cost of that must have been huge, but that’s also why people line up to pay more for aged-tech Tacomas and why the old ones hold their value and I’d bet most of those people who had their frames replaced will be buying Toyotas again, perhaps even exclusively.

Dumb Shadetree
Dumb Shadetree
1 month ago
Reply to  Cerberus

Ehh… I own a Scion hatchback with a 5-speed. I bought it new and have beat the piss out of it for over 200k miles. It has survived years of aggressive driving, periodically towing trailers, frequently hauling construction materials in the back, and even a couple runs on the tail of the dragon.

It’s required very little maintenance. Fluids, brake pads, one suspension overhaul, one rusted-out muffler. That’s honestly pretty good for all the miles and abuse. Even the clutch is original.

Toyota’s reputation is well deserved and survives a considerable amount of abuse.

Cerberus
Cerberus
1 month ago
Reply to  Dumb Shadetree

Most of my cars have been that way and they haven’t been Toyotas (my one real Toyota—the GR86 is really 95% Subaru—was actually a Camry and it held up a lot worse than Fords and old Subarus with the same mileage as well as being miserable to drive—so miserable that I was glad to lose $3k selling it than to even keep it as a back up car). Just because something can withstand abuse doesn’t mean the treatment has no effect on longevity, just that it had enough durability overhead to still meet lifespan expectations. Toyota’s typically boring driving experience appeals to buyers who drive accordingly, which means gentler conditions that contribute to greater durability. Whether or not it’s needed most of the time, it helps the reputation. I wouldn’t list it as a top reason as there are other bigger factors, like holding onto older technology longer and, at least traditionally, overbuilding components with a skew toward durability rather than performance that I think contribute more, but I don’t think it’s irrelevant, either.

Greg
Greg
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

If done right, I think they are fun and have a whole different vibe (go kart). Plus city parking is probably a lot easier, but I get your point! Maybe just make those all electric though, it would add to the golf cart feel.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

Because while this car is affordable to median buyers and above – There’s half a population who cannot afford these.

V10omous
V10omous
1 month ago
Reply to  Urban Runabout

That population has never been able to afford new cars.

PeriSoft
PeriSoft
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

Who’s been buying Fiestas and Sephias and Rios and Ecosports and Fits, then? People who aren’t part of the population?

V10omous
V10omous
1 month ago
Reply to  PeriSoft

No one did, which is why every one of them has been discontinued.

Cars like this Camry are a better value proposition in every way.

PeriSoft
PeriSoft
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

Agreed, but my point was that you don’t need to be at the median to buy new cars. Heck, car forums are rife with the “subprime Nissan / Mitsubishi buyer” meme; one presumes people aren’t referring to families with $75k household incomes.

Last edited 1 month ago by PeriSoft
Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

Wrong.
We bought Beetles, 323s, 210s, Fiestas, Tercels, Chevettes, LUVs, Corvairs, Falcons, Chevy IIs, Couriers, Champs, Colts…
The industry has walked away from the common man.

V10omous
V10omous
1 month ago
Reply to  Urban Runabout

Those cars are barely more expensive adjusted for inflation than this Camry is, and had/have higher running costs.

I’d wager a lot of money that a base Camry will end up costing less per mile to run than any other new car available for sale, besides maybe a Prius.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

More $ upfront and less $ in medium to long term expenses is an excellent deal if you can afford it. Millions can’t, and you can’t just handwave that away by implying they’re not good at math or irresponsible with money.

My first car cost me $950 upfront. I had $1k to my name and needed wheels. $2k would have bought an old Toyota I’d probably still own. But I didn’t have $2k. I ended up spending well over $2k in repairs on that piece of shit Horizon and I only could because I was able to save $60/mo because I knew the car would need it. Then it blew a head gasket at 7 years and 80k miles and I could mostly only drive at night when there was no traffic so the engine didn’t overheat. I still had places to go to for work so I took longer routes to avoid traffic (which would have killed the engine) and drove with the heat on high, in the summer in southern California.

When that wasn’t workable anymore, I had to buy another car, because public transit still wasn’t an option. I had $1300 to my name (the $60/mo I had been saving for the Horizon had grown because I’d given up trying to fix that heap). So I got another piece of shit for $1250, and spent another boatload over time to keep it on the road, because I didn’t have the $2k to buy a more reliable car. And guess what, it blew a head gasket too and forced me to drive only at night with the heater on, too.

It’s absolutely true that a $30k Camry is a better option than a $20k Kia over the medium to long term. Maybe even a $10k Kia. But many people need transportation now, not during the next sale, not tomorrow, because they have to go to work this evening or they’ll get fired, or they can’t afford not to earn the $50 for a half shift if they can’t get to work. So they buy a piece of shit Daewoo Lanos with a mismatched front fender and peeling clear coat and hope it will run for a few weeks before needing a repair because they only have $100 left after buying the Lanos.

It’s expensive being poor. Saying econoboxes don’t need to exist when a $30k Camry does everything well ignores the reality that millions won’t ever be able to buy one, even an old one with 200k and a mismatched front fender and peeling clear coat.

You’re an urbane, welk-spoken, and well-adjusted commenter, but it feels like you may not have a full grasp of many people’s lived experiences.

V10omous
V10omous
1 month ago

My first car cost me $950 upfront.

So I got another piece of shit for $1250

So they buy a piece of shit Daewoo Lanos with a mismatched front fender and peeling clear coat 

How is any of this remotely relevant to the question of new $20K cars vs new $28K cars?

Of course there are people that don’t or can’t buy new $28K cars. Nothing I’ve said here implies otherwise. What I take issue with is the idea that a new Chevy Spark or Nissan Versa is any more attainable to the people in your examples than a new Camry is. I further believe that as these cars become older and cheaper, they will be better options used than most of the Versas of the world as well, because their running costs are lower and their reliability higher.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

> I further believe that as these cars become older and cheaper, they will be better options used than most of the Versas of the world as well, because their running costs are lower and their reliability higher.

I’ll refer you back to my comment.

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
1 month ago

Been there, done this. And my Omni was also a huge piece of shit.
Hope things got better.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
1 month ago
Reply to  Col Lingus

They did, thanks. Omni hater gang!

Cerberus
Cerberus
1 month ago
Reply to  Urban Runabout

It’s not cars, it’s the massive increases in housing, medical insurance, education (which is also more required), as well as stagnant wage growth that have made them less affordable. As much as I rail about new cars, they’re also not tin cans that you can watch rot without even needing to set up a time lapse camera. While there were cheaper cars back in the day, they were priced at about where the sub compacts that have recently departed went for and those have departed because people weren’t buying enough of them. With the greater emphasis on safety today (bunch of wusses, but that’s where we are), general entitlement and insecurity making people feel they need something better than the bottom end, good used cars that last a lot longer in better shape than they used to for around the same price, so many people feeling like they need a school bus to have enough room for one kid or ornamental dog, and the reduced profit on the low end from a number of factors, there just wasn’t enough volume being sold for the car companies to bother. For quite a while, for not much more money, the compact car was the better value and the better car all around with minimal penalty in terms of fuel use in return for a better platform (because it was shared with vehicles much higher up the ladder) with more room, power, and usually better reliability and resale. They didn’t have to discontinue the bottom end to push people into more expensive cars, people chose that on their own. As a small car lover, I find it annoying, but even I didn’t really consider anything below compact (such that it is nowadays with everything having gotten so damn large).

AlterId
AlterId
1 month ago
Reply to  Cerberus

Income distribution has also changed as middle-income jobs available to people with lower skill levels have either disappeared or require credentials that weren’t necessary before. Compared to the 1970s, professional jobs requiring a college degree have increased, as have their salaries relative to averages, and low-wage service employment also increased, but for the most part (the 1ate 1990s and the past couple of years have seen real wage growth on the lower end) their wages have stagnated at best and declined in real terms at worst. And since married couples with children are rather more likely to have two earners than they did in 1980 (and far more likely than in 1970), social sorting also comes into play as better-educated people tend to marry each other, concentrating incomes and creating a divide in consumer demand as better and relatively more expensive goods capture demand from the enlarged upper end while cheap and more frequently imported goods capture the market’s also expanded lower end. And that doesn’t even bring into play the fact that the costs of items such as housing, medical care and college tuition with more or less inelastic demand have shot up while “luxuries” such as new cars, TVs, and air travel have either dramatically improved in quality (cars), seen dramatic cost decreased (air travel, although we know what’s happened to the quality there) or both (TVs and other consumer electronics.)

PeriSoft
PeriSoft
1 month ago
Reply to  AlterId

These are great points. I think lots of people are ‘fighting the last war’ in terms of their thinking about cost of living, generally. The dichotomy between changes in inelastic and ‘luxury’ goods/services is an excellent example; it’s why you get people who think cars are expensive and people who still get mad at the poors for having a “big screen TV”.

I will take one unpopular position: Air travel quality hasn’t really gotten worse; it’s just changed from being a luxury to being a commodity. In 1970, every class was first class, in price and amenities. Now, as with auto journalism, we pay nearly zero for the same nominal product but get mad when there’s no caviar.

Cerberus
Cerberus
1 month ago
Reply to  AlterId

I touched upon some of that in a different comment somewhere, so I agree completely.

And, damn have TVs gotten cheap! My BiL bought an 84″ Samsung and it was, like $2k or something. I’ve seen no-names somewhere under 50″ advertised at under $200! In today’s money, our early ’80s VCR cost about that much. The TV my father bought around then was considered decent at 26″ and it was a huge step up from the maybe 20″ one it replaced that sat in an enormous, ugly console that was about 6′ wide. And, of course, the picture and capabilities were unimaginable back then. Sure, they won’t last decades, either, but what does anymore?—being green, huh?

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
1 month ago
Reply to  V10omous

Because $30k is unattainable for a huge number of families.

PaysOutAllNight
PaysOutAllNight
1 month ago

I never thought I’d appreciate such a hagiographical article, and certainly not here. But after 42 years of consistent delivery of what was promised, this is well-deserved.

LOL at your photo caption “badass”, though. Toyota is obviously leaning into their try-hard styling, but can’t quite put aggressive together convincingly.

Goof
Goof
1 month ago

Having done a few hybrid battery pack swap/rebuilds — 2nd gen Priuses, and Lexus RX hybrids — during the pandemic purely for the purposes of turning a profit… these are going to be staggeringly good “forever” used cars down the road.

Just imagine when these are 12+ years old, were taken care of, but 100-150K miles and owned by someone who’s 75+, and still has that awful mindset that all “old” cars are bad, because they grew up dealing with actual badness that fell apart.

Lordy. Those Camrys are going to be steals, since they’ll be a bit cheaper by not being a crossover. Buy it from the nice old couple, they think you’re doing them a favor, run it until the battery pack needs a swap and do it — I did it in a weekend the first time, solo (and I’m not a big guy), and they’re just a long day now — and then drive it another 15 years for relative peanuts. Yeah, struts, bushes, fuel filters, etc. with age, though all cars need those in time.

They won’t be the cheapest thing you can buy. Usual used Toyota premium, but boy if you take care of it (and prevent rust) is this a car that’ll take care of you! This is the cheap conveyance that’ll save you money so you have money for the actual toy. Having seen how well 2nd gen Priuses hold up (and they were cheap inside), I can’t see a well taken care of one of these not going 30+ years for relative peanuts.

Kleinlowe
Kleinlowe
1 month ago
Reply to  Goof

I love seeing posts like this because just a few years ago the common wisdom was (and there are still people who will still swear up and down) that hybrid/bevs are going to be the death of the home mechanic because rebuilding a pack would require an electrical engineering degree, an industrial forklift, and a certified hazmat facility.

Last edited 1 month ago by Kleinlowe
Goof
Goof
1 month ago
Reply to  Kleinlowe

Man, if there’s an article or series idea, it really should be David, Mercedes or someone else doing a 2nd gen Prius or Lexus RX flip. The main obstacle is even when their batteries are worn down, they’re not cheap, but they’re cheap for what you get and they pay for themselves in resale. The article series could absolutely pay for itself, though whether it’s the best ROI for the time is murkier.

I was a bit hesitant on the first one, but I did my homework and was confident. My main impediment is I’m probably more petite than David is, but even then, I got a cheap cart to put the pack on (weighed 95ish pounds?) for disassembly. Outside of unplugging/plugging things in, cleaning out vent tubes, replacing a vent fan (cheap enough, just do it), and a lot of screws to open the pack housing to remove all the “slices of battery cake” — in which the replacement modules were already matched and numbered — it really wasn’t bad. It was the definition of making a checklist, doing it in theory, triple checking myself, and sticking to the checklist. If that replacement pack goes 15 years? It might amortize to under $10/mo.

Though I also do other, “pain in the butt” things that took time, but weren’t expensive. I replace the fuel filter. I replaced the front wheel bearings (New England). I did full brake service. I flush the transaxle and all the coolant. I thoroughly cleaned the interior and did basic paint correction. Granted, it’s because my target buyer was similar to the people I bought it from — I bought from older empty-nesters who thought cars fall apart like a British comedy when they hit X miles, but SOLD them to similarly aged couples who were ruthlessly frugal and knew a great buy when they saw one, and would instantly bite on a fair price.

And for 3 of the 5 I’ve sold, I still run into the buyers. One is now nearly 5 years on, and they’re adamant it’s the best car they’ve ever bought.

Last edited 1 month ago by Goof
Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
1 month ago
Reply to  Goof

Glad I didn’t see the word “chainsaw” once in your entire response.

PeriSoft
PeriSoft
1 month ago
Reply to  Kleinlowe

“the death of the home mechanic”

People also predicted that over fuel injection, electronic ignition, and pretty much every other improvement to cars in living memory. And yet!

Something something vent windows.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
1 month ago
Reply to  PeriSoft

Those Cassandras simply underestimate US and Euro manufacturers’ infinite ability to design and build shitboxes that fail in other places than the engine bay.

Kleinlowe
Kleinlowe
1 month ago
Reply to  PeriSoft

Yeah, I was also thinking about this after that article about the guy repairing early electronic dashboards. When modern screen-based cars start really getting common in the ‘old enough to be broken, but interesting enough to spend money on’ zone, I’m willing to bet there will be some Android-based aftermarket solutions that enthusiasts will spend time obsessively reskinning to match the correct model year and software revision for their vintage Tesla or whatever.

Last edited 1 month ago by Kleinlowe
PeriSoft
PeriSoft
1 month ago
Reply to  Kleinlowe

I know a guy who actually did some time for cracking some chunk of the ECM on early WRXs, allowing tunes. Say what you will, it shows that people who say, “Oh, nobody will be able to work on these” are wrong – the people who work on them will just have different skill sets.

Kleinlowe
Kleinlowe
1 month ago
Reply to  PeriSoft

The only thing that will hold back garage mechanics is corpo law, which is why right to repair is so important.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
1 month ago
Reply to  Kleinlowe

Eh, who needs a hazmat facility when you can do like Cletus with the 47 domestics on his farm and let the fluids and metals ooze into the aquifer?

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