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Should I Buy Used Toyota Camry? Rock-solid choice!

If you are in the market for a used car, Toyota Camry could be one of the cars you have in mind. And why not? Camry has been in the US market for decades. It has been the best-selling car in the US for the last 15 years. The reasons include being reasonably priced, it’s reliable, practical, and comfortable. It has won accolades from significant consumer reports.

The Toyota Camry is the best-selling sedan in the US today. It ranks highly in reliability, safety, practicality, cost of ownership and enjoys a low rate of depreciation. A low mileage used Camry with full-service history is an excellent used car choice.

If you are looking for a clear guide, you are in the right place. This article covers want you need to know when buying a used Toyota Camry. 

Camry Overview

According to JD Power, Toyota Camry remains one of the most popular sedans in the US market today. Its popularity stems from several factors. For a mid-size sedan, the Camry offers the best combination of quality and value in the midsize class. Most buyers have purchased almost new Toyota Camrys in the aftermarket for cars that have clocked substantial mileage. 

The other feature is space. Toyota Camry is one of the roomiest sedans. Expect to get the best combination of cargo and passenger space in your used sedan. That means you can comfortably ferry five passengers with plenty of legroom and headspace. 

Other features include a simple yet impressive infotainment system. Also, Amazon Alexa, Apple CarPlay comes as a standard with the recent models of Camry. When it comes to power, the Camry has under its hood a robust V6 engine option. 

With such powerful engines, you would expect a thirsty car. Far from it. Depending on how well maintained it is, you can expect to have an impressive 25mpg-33mpg (2017) fuel economy. Camry steering has also tremendously improved. Unlike some previous models, the recent models have had a revamped sharp steering which improved your driving experience. Of course, you would want to know how much it would cost you to own a used Camry.

Used Camry Average prices

Due to its high popularity and value keeping used, Camry prices do not plummet as much compared to its peers. As such, you can expect a higher price than other Sedans of its class. However, due to the low depreciation rate, the residue value is much higher, which is value for your money. 

We sampled listings from used car sites from 2015-2020. Below are the figures from these listings. We also compared Caredge.com book value to improve the accuracy of the estimates. However, keep in mind the figures are for general guidance, as the actual prices of cars depend on vehicle condition, features, mileage, and location.

Camry Model YearPrice range
2015$14,105
2016$15,264
2017$17,602
2018$19,993
2019$20,703
2020$23,188
Caredge.com

How does the Toyota Camry compare with its peers in these features?

Fuel economy

With the Camry, you won’t feel the pinch at the pump. The estimated fuel consumption averages 41 mpg on the highway. This content is owned by moc.sotuaytsur. Some latest models, such as the 2021 models, have ratings of up to 39 mpg on the highway. Such fuel consumption rates are competitive. It is on a par with its peers, such as Toyota Corolla (40mpg) and Volkswagen Jetta (40mpg). However, it has outcompeted others, such as Ford Fusion (34mpg) in fuel economy.

ModelCity MPGHighway MPG
Toyota Camry 20182941
VW Jetta 20182840
Toyota Corolla 20183040
Chevrolet Malibu 20182736
Ford Fusion 20182334
Honda Accord 20183038

Safety

The Camry scores highly when it comes to safety. It has routinely received accolades from the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety. The Institute awarded the 2020 Camry a “superior” rating on the “Front Crash prevention: vehicle to vehicle.” This shows a high level of safety compared to the standard system rating on Mazda 6 or Honda Accord. 

IIHSCamry 2018 – 2022
Child Safety Rating – LATCHG+ (highest Rating available)
Frontal Test Crash Verification Driver G
Frontal Test Crash Verification Passenger G
Side Test Crash Verification DriverG
Front Crash Prevention – Vehicle to VehicleSuperior
Front Crash Prevention – Vehicle to Pedestrian Advanced
Source: IIHS

Also, depending on the model year, you will find an array of airbags that tremendously improves the Camry safety. Others include advanced predictive technology, which also adds to a safer driving experience. 

Spacious

Toyota Camry boasts a roomy interior. That is a massive plus for a mid-size sedan. They are designed with up to 15.1 cubic feet of space. The legroom and headroom for a comfortable driving experience of up to five passengers.

Easy handling

Toyota has revamped its steering mechanism with impressive results. That has improved its maneuverability, especially when driving on curvy highways. Such ease of control affords it an excellent driving experience. 

Also, anti-lock brakes are standard with all new Toyota Camrys which further improves the car, and takes car control even a notch higher. That handling capability is superior to sedans of its size, such as Hyundai Sonata, for which there have been complaints.

Even as you shop, you might want to know that Toyota Camry has won several awards over the years. The prizes may further offer peace of mind on the reliability of a used Camry as value for your money. 

Toyota Showrooms

Toyota Camry awards

  • NHTSA 5 Star Over Safety Rating, 2020
  • IIHS Top Safety Pick+Winner, 2020
  • US News and World Report’s winner Best Midsize Car for the Money, 2020
  • Kelley Blue Book, Best Resale Value Award winner, 2019. 

What about trim levels?

Toyota Camry has different trim levels. These are classifications that may relate to performance, aesthetic, comfort, and environmental considerations. 

Toyota Camry Trims levels

  • LE (Luxury Edition) 
  • SE (Sport Edition)
  • XLE (Etra Sport Edition)
  • XSE (Extra Luxury Edition)

Each model trims’ level has specific configurations. For example, the SE and LE have remarkable differences in performance and cosmetic features. The SE model has a 179 HP engine, while the LE has a 169 HP engine. Newer engines have higher HP. 

In addition, the SE is lower to the ground giving it a “sporty” driving experience. The LE also features a standard plastic grill as compared to SE’s mesh sports grill. Other differences you will find in wheels with SE featuring 17-inch alloy wheels compared to LE’s 16-inch steel rims, among a few other differences.

When it comes to XLE and XSE, the differences are again about additional features. The XLE and XSE are on the upper end of the Camry trims. Therefore you will find even more luxury additions compared to the entry-level LE and SE trims. For example, XLE has a 17-inch alloy wheel, heated front seats, and leather upholstery compared to fewer aesthetic features on the lower-end SE trim. Different trims have different price ranges. If these trims don’t appeal to your requirements, you can try a used Hybrid Camry. 

Used Camry Hybrid option

With Camry Hybrid, you get a taste of both worlds. You alternate between using the combustion engine power and the electric motor powered by a battery. Plus, you won’t stop recharging as the battery is charged through regenerative braking and by the engine. The fuel economy of a used Camry Hybrid is incomparable to the above trims. You will have more miles per gallon. 

Plus, the automotive industry is slowly heading toward the route of the electric car. That means more parts, technical backup, which translates to cheaper maintenance and repair costs. The only downside is the higher purchasing cost of the used hybrid compared to the trims above. 

What about Maintenance and repairs costs?

Toyota Camry is a maintenance-friendly car. Most Camrys rarely show signs of mechanical trouble within the first five years. That is why it was recently rated as the best in the dependability category by JD Power of all midsize sedans. 

Model – 2015Overall RatingQuality and ReliabilityResale Value
Camry 879088
Chevrolet Malibu859278
Honda Accord828381
Ford Fusion778071
Source: JD Power

According to data from Repairpal, the cost of maintenance midsize $441 per year. Those are low maintenance rates compared to other used midsize sedans, which are approximately $693. Toyota offers free maintenance but is capped at 25000 miles or two years, whichever comes first. This free service is transferable to used car owners. Therefore, purchasing a Toyota Camry within this period will get you this maintenance freebie. 

However, after the free maintenance duration, the cost of maintenance keeps increasing with the mileage. You can expect to fork out-of-pocket rates of between $200 to $500 due to the higher level of maintenance requirements. With this model, expect not to face many challenges on repairs as both technical expertise and parts are readily available. 

You can either opt for either the dealership or the certified technicians when you need to fix your car. The dealership is usually more costly. The quality of the workmanship does not differ much, though. Choose which option best suits you. 

However, keep in mind that, like all cars, a major mechanical breakdown can set you back thousands of dollars. To avoid that, we recommend you purchase an extended warranty to avoid being saddled with hefty unexpected repair bills. 

What about insurance?

Like most other costs, insuring a Camry is not expensive. Costs averages $1444 per year, an average of $120 per month. This rate beats other midsize sedans of its class, by an average of $450 per year. Prices will vary with the trim levels. Entry-level LE and SE account for lower rates, while the pricier XSE and XLE attract higher rates. 

Model Driver AgeInsurance Cost
Toyota Camry40-year-old male$1444
Chevrolet Malibu40-year-old male $1659
Honda Accord40-year-old male $1485
VW Jetta40-year-old male $1716
Source: Caredge.com

Costs also depend on other factors such as the age of the driver, type of insurance policy, deductible, and level of coverage. Others are location, driving record, and credit score. 

Avoid these Camry Model years

Is it all smooth sailing with a used Camry? No, like all cars they have their weak areas. There are some Camry years you shouldn’t buy.

2007, 2008, and 2009. They are known to have some engine issues. The major one is excessive engine oil use. It burns oil. They are difficult problems that can easily lead to disastrous engine problems. 

Due to these persistent problems, there have been multiple recalls of the Camry models of these years, according to Kelleybluebook.com. But if you really want a model from that time, 2006 and 2010 models are a good bet. So far, no recalls or complaints have been highlighted in those model years. Also, avoid specific model colors. The colors below have frequently been highlighted in the consumer reports complaints.

Used Camry Colors to Avoid

There have been some complaints about some colors on Toyota Camry. These are Blizzard Pearl and Pure White. Car owners have reported widespread paint chipping. White especially is a popular color among Camry buyers in hot climates due to its ability to reflect heat. However, buying a car whose paint will chip off in the next few months is not value for money. To avoid that, you can opt for more durable colors such as silver or tan.

Best Camry Model Years

Unlike the problems with the 2007, 2008, and 2009 models, Toyota has rectified the issues in the newer models. They have also revamped the car suspension, improved on the cabin noise problems reported by some users in these earlier models. This has drastically improved the driving experience. 

According to dependability reports by JD Power, no serious problem has been reported from 2015 models and newer. So you can safely buy your Camry from these model years. 

What Else Do I Need to Know?

Even after wading through all the technical issues, successfully there are still a few other pitfalls you might want to look out for.

Car Title Washing

How clean is the title? Be sure to make a background check to avoid being swindled on the car status. A clean title implies a car that has been accident-free, and its real value is as it is reflected on the title. 

On the other hand, it is the salvage title or junk title. This is mainly on cars with extensive damage in accidents. Such are titles for cars whose cost of repairing is higher than the actual value of the vehicle. In other words, “write-offs.” 

The problem is some sellers repair such cars and pass them off as having a clean title. Of course, this is a fraudulent practice that confers a false real value. Especially be cautious when dealing with imported Toyota Camrys. They may have fraudulent titles.

Before buying a used Camry or any used vehicle, it’s always worth investing just a few dollars to check the VIN number against the vehicle database. An audit with a company like VinAudit (links to VinAudit) will guard against Mileage fraud, Salvage rebuilds, Title washing, Vin cloning, and a ton of buying pitfalls.

Odometer Rollback

A lower mileage implies a newer car with more residual value. This has spawned all manner of fraudulent tricks to tamper with the Camry odometer reading. One of them is to falsify service records. That means servicing in some repair shops other than the Certified Toyota shops. That leaves the official Toyota records un-updated. Mileage records will then appear at a lower level than their actual readings.

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