7th Generation Toyota Camry Facelift
The 7th-gen Toyota Camry received a substantial upgrade near the end of 2014 as a 2015 model. Camry sales were starting to slip, so the facelift needed to be special. The exterior of the facelifted model is more Lexus-like. The engines were also carried over, and the V6 was made available on lower trim levels as it proved to be the most popular engine available.
2015 - 2017 Camry 7th Gen Facelift Front Changes
At the front, it has a much bolder, Lexus-like pyramidal grille taking up the full height of the bumper, which makes it much easier to find in a parking lot filled with mundane sedans1. The style of the grille changes according to the model; for example, it's black mesh on the SE and XSE and contains a series of dark-gray slats on the XLE. In either case, it is topped by a horizontal chrome bar with the Toyota badge in its center. Toyota also incorporated bold slashes in the bumper underneath the headlights containing the turn signals and DRLs2. The headlights are brand-new and more curvaceous3. Thanks to the larger grille, the Toyota badge is more prominent4.
2015 - 2017 Camry 7th Gen Facelift Rear Changes
The rear end is completely restyled and gone are the previous boomerang-shaped taillights1 with the straight chrome strip between them. They are replaced by lozenge-shaped taillights spilling uninterrupted onto the trunk lid, with white-lensed turn signals and backup lights in a strip in their upper halves and an arch-shaped chrome trim piece connecting the clusters and serving as a brow for the numberplate holder2. The bumper is completely restyled with single a horizontal crease and a raised dark lower valance, leaving a narrower piece of body-color bumper above it and visually lightening the heavy-handed treatment of the old car3.
2015 - 2017 Camry 7th Gen Facelift Side Changes
For once, a facelift's changes are clearly visible from the side. The facelifted Camry's totally revised head1- and taillights2 can clearly be seen in profile, along with new wheel designs3. Notably, the glasshouse has been visually lengthened by adding a black trim piece in the C-pillar to make the windows look larger and slim down the heavy C-pillar treatment4. A stylish chrome slash somewhat resembling BMW's "Hoffmeister Kink" finishes off this trim piece. The sheet metal is also a lot less slab-sided, with a pronounced crease running through the door handles5.
2015 - 2017 Camry 7th Gen Facelift Interior Changes
Inside the cabin, Toyota improved the quality of the materials, giving it a more modern appearance. The center stack retains its layout but is restyled and receives a chromed frame and black HVAC controls in place of the previous black-and-gray setup1. The rather unattractive four-spoke steering wheel is exchanged for a more modern and sporty-looking three-spoke item2. The step-up in luxury is further enhanced by new windows and door seals that reduce road and wind noise and make the cabin a more pleasant place to spend time. The suspension was retuned to be more compliant, while a new XSE trim boasts a sportier suspension and sportier styling to match.
Engine, Transmission and Drivetrain
There are three engine options available for the seventh-generation Toyota Camry. These engine options are applicable to both pre-and post-facelift models. Toyota has all the bases covered with the Camry. If basic transport is the ultimate goal, the entry-level naturally-aspirated four-cylinder engine is adequate. If frugality is the ultimate goal, the Toyota Camry 7th-generation hybrid makes the most sense. To us, the V6 is the best option. The naturally aspirated V6 provides ample shove while remaining relatively frugal. All models send power to the front wheels exclusively. The traditional ICE engines use a six-speed automatic transmission, while the hybrid is only available with a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
2012-2017 7th Gen Toyota Camry Real MPG
All three engine options are surprisingly frugal, with the hybrid being the obvious champion. Even the high-output V6 comes with reasonable fuel consumption figures that you would not normally associate with a naturally aspirated V6. We have even better news for you. When a car gets replaced by a newer model, the EPA usually gathers data from owners to get a real-life consumption figure. The Camry can be even more frugal than the estimated figures suggested. Various owners claim the V6 is even more frugal than the four-cylinder, simply because it doesn't have to work as hard. All Camrys boast a decent gas-tank size, so you don't have to worry about refueling often.
* Real-world mpg and MPGe figures are provided by the EPA. Once a car has been on sale for a significant period of time, the EPA gets real-world figures directly from the customer base. These figures are then provided on the EPA website. Real-world figures are not available for certain models due to a lack of sales, or not enough people partaking in this after-sales survey.
model. When the XV50 first made its debut in 2012, driver-assistance features weren't as common as they are currently. For 2013, a rear cross-traffic alert function is added to the optional blind-spot monitoring system. All late-2014 Camrys get a standard backup camera and improved crash-test scores. For the 2015 facelift, Toyota added pre-collision, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure alert, and blind-spot monitoring as part of the optional Advanced Technology package, and Safety Connect - which comprises automatic collision notification, a stolen-car locator, and an emergency assist button - is optional on the XLE only.
Pre-facelift models are still equipped with the basic active and passive safety features, including eight airbags (including knee airbags in front), ABS, traction and stability control, tire-pressure monitoring, daytime running lights, and powerful headlights. As a legacy of the massive recalls of Toyota vehicles for unintended acceleration in the first decade of the 2000s, the Camry is also fitted with Smart Stop Technology (SST) that overrides the accelerator if the brake pedal is pressed at the same time. The only model to avoid is the rental-spec pre-facelift L. It's as devoid of features as a hole in the ground. Fortunately, the Camry comes with a decent NHTSA safety rating, applicable throughout its production run.
7th Gen Toyota Camry Trims
Most Camry trim levels remained the same throughout its lifecycle, but two trims were dropped and one was added with the facelift. The trims are detailed and quite confusing, in typical Toyota fashion, with the same trim level not always having the same equipment if it's ordered with an optional engine like the V6. Not even the options and extras are standardized - their availability varies depending on where in the country the car was bought when it was new. It is therefore very important to carefully check what a used Camry has actually been fitted with.
Annual improvements were made to the entire lineup and the addition of a feature to a lower trim usually means it's also been added to the higher trims that didn't already have it, unless indicated otherwise. Trim-specific changes are shown below. Range-wide changes were also made, like upgraded door-panel trim and the standardization of the 6.1-inch infotainment touchscreen on all trims for 2013 incorporating HD Radio, satellite radio, and an iPod/USB interface. Late-2014 Camrys all have standard backup cameras and better safety scores and are worth looking out for over the earlier models. In-car infotainment is further upgraded with the 2015 addition of the Entune touchscreen system, while the exterior is completely restyled and the interior materials and styling upgraded.
Toyota Camry Sedan 7th Gen Interior Overview
Prior to the facelift, Toyota offered the Camry in five trims: the L, LE, SE, SE Sport, and XLE. After the facelift, Toyota continued on with the LE, SE, XSE, and XLE. There's an easy way to tell the models apart. Models with L in their name (LE and XLE) focus more on comfort and luxury, while those with an S in the name (SE and XSE) are slightly sportier, with more aggressive styling. The interior trims match this theme, with most luxury-biased models getting faux wood trim on the dashboard, while the sportier models get faux metal trim.
The Camry's main selling point has always been practicality and comfort. It's a full five-seater with copious amounts of leg and headroom. The 15.4 cubic foot trunk is large enough for the weekly grocery run, but packing for a longer trip will require some Tetris skills. It's worse on the hybrids, which offer only 13.1 cubes, although this is significantly better than the previous-generation Camry hybrids. As for the upholstery, the only model to avoid is the pre-facelift L. Toyota saved a lot of cost by removing higher-quality trim, most of the luxuries, and fitting cheap upholstery. Years later, this upholstery looks disgusting and ruins the entire interior.
2012-2017 Toyota Camry 7th Generation Maintenance and Cost
Toyota has a massive dealer network in the US, augmented by thousands of independent shops that also have access to the correct diagnostic equipment. Toyota's Warranty and Maintenance Guide for the Camry stipulates mandatory oil changes, along with the oil filter, every 12 months/10,000 miles, whichever comes first. However, if the vehicle is operated in extreme heat or freezing temperatures, is used on dirt roads regularly, or is used for towing, Toyota advises an oil change at intervals of six months/5,000 miles.
Every six months/5,000 miles, tires should be rotated, all fluid levels should be checked, and the wiper blades should be checked. Additionally, at every 10,000-mile inspection, the front differential oil and transmission fluid should be inspected. Older models are known to consume more oil, so oil levels should be checked every time you refuel.
The best news is that the Camry is well-known for being cheap to service, even if you go to a dealer. Because these engines are so widely used, parts availability is not a problem, and the car was designed to make servicing easy. There aren't any hard-to-reach places, and an engine-out service is unheard of.
Basic services cost between $100 to $200, depending on what needs to be done. A full service, which needs to be done every 30,000 miles, costs between $300 to $600. These are Toyota's prices, and independent service centers are bound to be even cheaper.
Seventh Gen Toyota Camry Tires
There are only three wheel and tire sizes, depending on the model. Entry-level models are equipped with 16-inch wheels, while the XSE has 18s. A set of 17-inch wheels was also an option. Toyota doesn't recommend a specific tire brand, but the hybrid works better with low-rolling-resistance tires. Take note of the recommended tire pressure to get the best results.
Check Before You Buy
Technical Service Bulletins according to the NHTSA. Check service book for:
There are not many 2012 to 2017 Toyota Camry recalls to be concerned about. Usually, the first model year gets recalled several times, but in the case of the Camry, it was only recalled twice.
2013 to 2013 models were subjected to an airbag recall due to a clogged A/C drain that could short circuit. It was technically also an electric power steering recall, as the same short circuit had the potential to fry that specific system as well.
2013 and 2014 models were recalled for a wiper switch that might fail. Other 2014 model recalls include a fuel delivery pipe that may leak, and a ball joint that may detach from the lower-left lower suspension arm. The 2015 model had to go back to the dealership for a power steering ECU recall. 2016 hybrid models were recalled for a front driveshaft that may separate, an incorrect load carrying capacity label, and a faulty occupant classification system that may shut down the wrong airbags. Final year models were recalled for incorrect tire pressure in the spare tire, and airbag fasteners that may loosen and affect the deployment.
These are the error codes you'll most likely encounter when shopping for a 2012 to 2017 Toyota Camry:
Less Common Problems
Throughout its lifecycle, a small percentage of owners complained about back and front bumper problems. Apparently, the bumper colors don't match the body color. Various people complained about the quality of the paint too and said it tends to bubble, flake, and peel, so check the condition of the paintwork, especially in rust-belt states, because repairs and repainting can add up to thousands of dollars. If the model you're considering has a sunroof, be sure to check potentially problematic sunroof switches. Numerous owners have reported early model Camry sunroofs getting stuck in the open position due to faulty switches.
A few owners also complained about Bluetooth problems. Early Bluetooth systems were notoriously finicky across the board, and it's not just a Toyota problem. A few owners complained about radio touchscreen problems, including the system being buggy, the navigation not working properly, and the screen going blank, not to mention the small percentage of automatic door lock problems. The latter is usually rectified by fitting the keyfob with a new battery, which means it's just the usual wear-and-tear key fob problems. There are no common electrical problems, but a few owners complained about different electrical components on the car. These include headlight, power seat, sunroof, blind-spot monitor, ABS, automatic window, USB charging system, instrument cluster, and dash display problems.
A few people noted suspension problems, but these were subjective issues. The Camry was built for comfort, and the cushy ride quality is likely just concerning to some people. Other than the recalls, there are no known suspension issues. Excessive oil consumption does not seem to be a major concern but it does pop up and often points to a blocked positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) valve that should be serviced.
Which One To Avoid
Avoid all of the pre-facelift models, especially the more problematic 2012 model year, if only because of the increase in safety features after the facelift. The L trim was poorly received and feels low-rent. The gearbox problems were also limited to earlier models. The pre-facelift models also have a slower infotainment system with fewer features. As a whole, we'd skip the SE and XSE trims. These models try to be sporty, but they fail. The bigger wheels and stiffer suspension ruin one of the Camry's most important features, which is the ride quality. We'd also avoid hybrids, if only because of the potential risk of having to replace the battery pack.
Which One To Buy
The facelifted V6 XLE is the way to go. It has all of the luxuries, and you get the silky-smooth V6 and six-speed automatic transmission combination. The difference in fuel consumption between it and the four-cylinder is less than you might expect. These are not engaging cars. A Camry is a car designed to cruise along effortlessly, and the XLE V6 does this the best. The V6 models also get additional equipment. They're cheaper too, but in the long run, they don't hold resale value quite as well. If you're limited by budget, we'd recommend an earlier V6 XLE. Just make sure the gearbox has been sorted and well-maintained. Other than that, the XV50 7th-generation Camry is pretty much bulletproof.
7th Gen Toyota Camry (XV50) Verdict
While the sixth-generation Camry isn't the most exciting to drive, it is extremely reliable, affordable to buy and run, and a very comfortable and well-equipped vehicle. From 2012 to 2014 before the facelift, there were some issues, but on the whole, this generation has proven to be extremely reliable. It isn't an engaging car, but it will serve your basic needs well and you'll likely not find much to complain about in the long run.