The Toyota Camry is a vehicle that has received worldwide acclaim since production began in 1982. It has won numerous awards, on the basis of reliability and practicality. In the class of middle size sedans, it is ranked as one of the highest on the list.
But how did that “Muscle”, “Big Daddy”, “Pencil”, “Envelope” or “Orobo” come to take that place it now has in the automobile market?
This is all you need to know to Get-On-Track with “Toyota Camry”
Toyota started out manufacture of the Camry under the name “Celica Camry” in the year 1979 as a 4 door sedan.
The Celica Camry has a resemblance with Toyota Carina but the Carina has a longer front end and bore some resemblance with the Toyota Supra (a performance oriented car in Toyota line-up) in styling.
The Celica Camry had the front engine-rear wheel drive layout and the engines were inline 4-cylinder, 1.6L, 1.8L and 2.0 litres in displacement.
The 1st Generation Toyota Camry V10 (1983-1986)
The production of the V10 Toyota Camry started in 1982, though the development started in 1977 in response to the 1973 oil crisis and it was further encouraged by the 1979 oil crisis.
The car was produced because most cars were moving to more fuel efficient, downsized and lighter cars which were more aerodynamic.
The focus of the Camry’s development was mainly for export to compete with Fords, GMs, Hondas and Nissan in the United States where they were just starting to gain ground. For more information about that click here.
Sales started in 1983 and the Camry was launched to the world.
The first generation Camry had two petrol engine options
- a 1.8 litre inline 4-cylinder petrol engine producing 100 horsepower
- A 2.0 inline 4-cylinder engine producing 120 horsepower
It also had diesel engine variants.
2nd Generation V20 (1986 – 1992)
The second generation Camry was first placed on sale in August 1986 in Japan. A hardtop was made specifically for the Japanese market.
However, in other parts of the world, Toyota decided to launch the “Lexus ES250” as their sales version of the Toyota Camry hardtop which was sold in Japan. This was because Toyota was just launching the “Lexus” brand, they wanted to publicize the name and they figured they couldn’t launch the “Lexus LS 400” alone.
Fuel injection was introduced in this era and the use of carburetors was beginning to go extinct.
There were two engine options ;
- the 1.8 litre from the previous generation and
- the 2.0 inline 4-cylinder
- However in 1988, a 2.5 litre v6 engine with 24 valves and dual overhead camshaft was added. The engine produced 157 horsepower
3rd Generation (XV10) Widebody Series (1992-1998)
This was a very common car while I was growing up and is still very much in use today. It is popularly known as “ÒRÒBÒ”, meaning fat, which was in conjunction with the “Widebody” classification.
It was bigger than its predecessors and more curvaceous as a style appeal.
It’s production started in 1990, and it was designed to look like a scaled-down Lexus LS400 though it shared no power-train similarities, that is, engine and gear layout and design, with the LS.
All the engines were fuel injected at this point as Toyota launched a new set of engines.
- 2.0 litre inline 4-cylinder (5S-FE) producing 130 horsepower
- 3.0 litre v6 producing 185 horsepower
Fourth Generation XV20 (1996 – 2001)
This is one car that is still very much sought after despite its age. It has been given names like the pencil, envelope, fish, and all sorts. The 1996 model was called the “Pencil”.
This Camry is very much loved by Nigerians, a friend of mine uses one (and it still is in good shape).
It was designed in 1996 for the 1997 model year.
It was offered in a number of trim levels like the CE (Classic Edition), LE (Luxury Edition) , XLE (Extra Luxury Edition).
The engine options were carried forward from the previous generation.
In 1999, it was given a facelift. Toyota changed the front grille and the tail lights. The facelift version was called the “ENVELOPE OR FISH”.
Fifth Generation (XV30) (2002-2007)
This car was another completely redesigned Camry, it shared no parts with the previous generation. It received worldwide acclaim and is popularly known in Nigeria as “Big Daddy”.
It had a more beautiful exterior, was a little boxy, and its large size was emphasized.
This model came with three engine options
- A 2.4 inline 4 cylinder producing 157 horsepower
- A 3.0 litre v6 producing 190 horsepower
- For the sport edition, a 3.3 litre v6 producing 240 horsepower was introduced.
It also received a facelift in 2004 but the name “Big Daddy” stuck.
Sixth Generation Toyota Camry XV40 (2006-2011)
This car is the evidence of “Blowing” in Nigeria (after Benz). It is popularly known as “Muscle” and is still a hot cake in Nigeria.
The engine options as at launch were the 2.4 litre inline 4-cylinder and a 3.5 litre V6.
It was however given a facial refresh and engine upgrades in 2009. They are;
- 2.5 litre inline 4 cylinder engine producing 169 horsepower for the base model CE, LE, and XLE, and the 179 horsepower version for the sport edition
7th generation Toyota Camry XV50 (2012-2017)
This generation was produced from 21st August, 2011, for the 2012 model year.
It was a totally restyled vehicle but had three engine options from the previous model;
- The 2.5 inline 4 cylinder 178 horsepower
- The 2.5 inline 4 cylinder for the hybrid
- the 3.5 litre v6 producing 268 horsepower
It didn’t receive as much accolades as the previous generation, but still won many awards.
8th generation XV70 (2017-present)
Well, rather than give you just a few short lines, I will give you an indepth review of the 2019 Toyota Camry. Watch out for next week’s edition of “What’s Revving?”
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Know your Car, Know your Motor!