Evolution of the Toyota Camry: Which generation is the best Toyota Camry to buy?


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There have been eight Camry generations to date which have served Nigerians well. Read on to find out which is the best generation of the Toyota Camry!

The Toyota Camry automobile in Nigeria is a household name for a low-maintenance perfect all-rounder car. The Camry is a mid-size sedan that was made to carry 5 people maximum at a time. I shall discuss each generation of the Camry shortly, its strength and weaknesses then you decide which generation is the best Toyota Camry to own in Nigeria.

1. History of the Toyota Camry in Nigeria - The first Generation

The only relevant Camrys to date in Nigeria started from 1986 till the present 2020 Toyota Camry and I would only consider generations that fall into these year models. The Camry is the most common Toyota Sedan across all generations in Nigeria for premium reliability.

Currently, the Toyota Camry price in Nigeria varies from ₦800,000 - ₦11,000,000 depending on the year and the condition of its sale. This price range is the most affordable car price range for a mid-size sedan in Nigeria.

2. Second generation of the Toyota Camry: The 1986-1990 Camry (V20)

This was the Camry that first became very common in Nigeria. The V20 was the second generation of Camry and from my personal experience, its 1.8L engine was very fuel-efficient. The car's exterior, however, had no curves just like the classic Toyota Celica XX/Supra A40 sports car. So it doesn't even pass for a good looking car today based on the way car designs have evolved.


The most rugged-looking Camry in Nigeria

It is a very durable Camry but comes with limited interior space. This Camry's rear seaters make sure adult passengers could experience discomfort on long road trips. The car was either a 4-speed automatic or a 5-speed manual. Its station wagon variant later became very popular as well. And you will be glad to know that it is the only Camry that had a successful estate five-door liftback version selling in Nigeria.

3. Third generation of the Toyota Camry: The 1991-1996 Camry (XV10)

This car was popularly called "Orobo" in Nigeria which is a Yoruba word for being fat while it was called Toyota Scepter in Japan. There was also the exclusive Toyota Vista built based on this 3rd generation Camry and the Toyota Windom based on the 1991 Lexus ES. Many of these exclusive Camrys had a hardtop sedans design but I bet you never saw it in Nigeria. 


The Orobo Camry was an era

This Camry paved way for curvy exterior car designs in Nigeria when it was introduced. It's 2.2 liters 4 cylinder engine was also very fuel-efficient. This car has a very simple engine configuration and rarely developed faults. Most civil servants bought this car as Tokunbo between 2003-2012, and it was no longer in production then. Nigerian always has cars flooding the Tokunbo Market when they go out of production.

This generation also introduced a 4-speed automatic transmission, as well as a four-wheel steering system and an optional 3.0-liter V6 engine. This model also paved the way for the switch from a carbureted fuel system to multi-point fuel injection.

This Orobo Camry came with a friendly simple interior with both CD and tape player depending on the trim level. For increased comfort, the model also featured a better air conditioning system and was better insulated to eliminate road noise.

4. Fourth generation of the Toyota Camry: The 1996 - 2001 Camry (XV20)

Toyota stopped the production of station wagon variants after this generation as for the sales slump.

They gave this 1996 Toyota Camry a sleeker look so it can have more aerodynamic lines. It earned the title Toyota Camry pencil light from Nigerians just because the taillights were very slim.

There was a Japanese luxury version of this mid-size sedan named the Toyota Camry Gracia. Also, the first Solara 2-door sports Coupe was based on this Camry to serve as a bigger Toyota Celica.


Both the front and taillights are as thin as a pencil

The engine choices included the 133 horsepower, 2.2-liter, four-cylinder engine, or the 3.0-liter V6 that made 194 horsepower on the 1999 Toyota Camry. The transmission choices remained the same, with the 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual being the only choices. 

The 2001 Toyota Camry was nicknamed the "envelope" because of taillight looking like the lines on a small paper envelope. This Camry in Nigeria was for everyone, from old to young, and it had an averagely durable interior with a lot of plastic parts. The car was nicknamed "pencil light" in Nigeria because of the design of the sleek taillights. Most people bought the Automatic transmission versions between the years 2010 and 2015 as Tokunbo.

The strongest sales point of this car, apart from the looks, was the brownish interior that got people's attention whenever there is a review of the pencil light Camry. It is very durable and looks close to its new state after it is cleaned. The suspension, however, gets bad very quickly for Nigerian owners that have to drive the car through bad roads on a daily basis.

5. Fifth generation of the Toyota Camry: The 2001 - 2006 Camry (XV30)

This car was immediately nicknamed Toyota Camry Big Daddy/ Big for nothing when it started being sold in Nigeria as Tokunbo from 2014. The fifth-generation Camry had all the interior space in the world and it had a newer styling that made it a desirable mid-size sedan to have as a Nigerian.


The real big daddy of Nigeria

This big daddy has very bad handling and stability at high speeds because the car suffers a lot of aerodynamic flaws from the big body design. The interior came with a standard cd player and also had that plastic interior with a very durable dashboard material as you would observe in any 2005 Toyota Camry big daddy review

This Big daddy Camry was the first Camry to have a dedicated sports edition with spoilers and body kits that came with a 3.3-liter V6 engine while other trims had two engine options. A 2.4 liter 4 cylinder and a 3.0-liter V6 engine. The 2003 Toyota Camry price in Nigeria was never influenced by upgrading because the upgrading culture was not yet in vogue in Nigeria when this car was in circulation.

The 2006 Toyota Camry was the last Camry model to be sold before people learned how to upgrade Toyota Camry from an older model to a newer one easily in Nigeria.

6. Sixth generation of the Toyota Camry: The 2007 - 2011 Camry (XV40)

This car was the first muscular design Camry that made the 2007 Toyota Camry earn the nickname "Toyota Camry muscle" from Nigerians. This Camry was a full redesign from the big daddy and after the 2008 Toyota Camry, it got facelifted then the 2009/2010 Toyota Camry came along and was nicknamed "Toyota Camry spider" by Nigerians because it has a wider grille like a spider's tentacles.


The almighty popular Toyota Camry Muscle 

It sold in 4 different trim levels, CE, LE, SE, and XLE, all with a standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and an optional 3.5-liter V6 engine. You would never find a manual Camry muscle in Nigeria even though it had a manual option. 

The sport edition of this Camry happens to be the most sold sport edition of any Camry in Nigeria to date. It looked very sporty and easily modifiable by lovers of sports looking cars.

However, the interior of this car is of very poor quality. The Nigerian sun sometimes melts the car's dashboard materials. Overall, this Camry degrades very fast because of the poor quality of materials used to build its interior and exterior. This is one of 8 common mistakes when buying used cars in Nigeria.

The 6th generation Camry also introduced Hybrid car technology to Nigeria as you would observe in any 2010 Camry review. It had a Hybrid version that some Nigerians bought to reduce fuel consumption in traffic. 


Notice the slight difference in the grille of the 2009/2010 Camry

This Camry had more space than the previous generation on the inside and had a better tire to body ratio than the big daddy, and it is the most common generation of Camry in Nigeria. 

A major reason why this car got popular was the ease with which you could upgrade a 2007 Camry to look like the 2010 and 2011 Toyota Camry. The upgradeability also made it the Toyota Camry with the most price variation because owners add the money spent on upgrades to the selling price.

7. Seventh generation of the Toyota Camry: The 2012 - 2017 Camry (XV50)

This 2012 Toyota Camry generation didn't really do well in terms of sales in Nigeria. The muscle Camry overshadowed it so much and Nigerians would rather buy a Lexus ES/GS rather than this Camry because it looks very luxurious. Toyota took customer feedback from the Toyota Camry muscle era and developed a better quality interior from this seventh generation.

It has a lot of standard features that were strange to the Camry line-up. This car came with a cruise control feature, power windows, USB ports, and Bluetooth for music. Depending on the trim, there were optional keyless entry and aluminum wheels but by the 2014 Toyota Camry, the company knew that this design wasn't cutting it for Toyota lovers. At that time the 2015 model was released with a bang.


The scarce executive looking Camry

The 2015 Toyota Camry was a facelift on this 7th-generation Camry that gave us an idea of what the present generation Camry looks like. The standard engine was a 2.5 liter 4 cylinder engine and an optional 3.5-liter V6 engine coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission except for the hybrids that use a CVT transmission.

It was also the first Camry to have a paddle shifter in the sports edition trim which makes it a very sporty car to drive on the V6 engine platform. You can upgrade this Camry generation to look like a rebadged Lexus ES250 2013 model.


One of the best Camry interiors ever made

8. Eighth generation of the Toyota Camry: 2018 - present Camry (XV70)

This is one Camry that came with the looks fully inspired by traditional Lexus designs for its exterior. This design blew everybody away because of the aerodynamic lines and sporty styling. The SE and XSE trim aimed at wringing out more fun from the sedan as you will see in my review of the 2018 Toyota Camry. The standard trims are L, LE, and XLE.


The sexiest Camry ever built here!

However, the interior wasn't improved as much as what has been done on the outside. This was very disappointing. There is enough space though but it just looks very unfitting for a car with so much exterior beauty. 

The suspension of this car is the best I have ever seen from a Camry. The damping effect it had on me while I was reviewing it was awesome. The car comes with a 2.5L four-cylinder engine and an optional 3.5L V6 for the XSE and higher trims. This generation Camry is available as a hybrid car and this hybrid is presently being badge-engineered by a Japanese company that makes the Daihatsu Altis. The 8th generation Camry has a lot of differences from trim to trim. It would be the first Toyota sedan to get a TRD performance trim in the 2020 Toyota Camry line-up. 


The first-ever Toyota Camry performance sedan car

Table of results

Below is a table to show the best Camry generations under different categories:

Which Generation is the best Toyota Camry
Category  Generation Remark  
Best-looking  XV70 8th gen (2018 - present) This car looks very sporty and executive depending on the trim level you want
Strongest V20 2nd gen (1986-1990) This was an era when stronger materials were used to build car exterior body
Fastest XV70 8th gen (2020) The 2020 TRD Camry does 0 to 60 in 5.8 seconds
Most reliable XV20 4th gen (1996-2002) The 2.2 L I4 5S-FE engine was very reliable 
Interior quality XV50 7th gen (2012 - 2017)  The interior looks better than the latest Camry and has better quality materials than previous models
Ride quality XV70 8th gen (2018 - present) The present generation has a superb suspension/damping system 
Ground clearance  XV40 6th gen (2007 - 2011) This Camry has the highest ground clearance amongst all the other generations
Economy XV50 7th gen (2012 - 2017) This Camry uses 8.7 liters of fuel for every 100km averagely which is the best gas mileage you can get from any Camry generation
Technology XV70 8th gen (2018 - present) Android Auto is standard on this Camry and it has a lot of new technologies for both safety and entertainment

From this table, we can say every Camry generation has its strength and weaknesses. Now, it's left to you to decide which generation of the Toyota Camry you want, based on the purpose you want the Camry to serve. It's great that this article details Toyota Camry with price information.

Toyota Camry price in Nigeria

You can see the prices of Toyota Camry in Nigeria in the tables below:

Locally used prices for Toyota Camry
Camry generation Price 
 V20 (1986-1990) ₦300,000 - ₦500,000
 XV10 (1991 - 1996) Orobo ₦400,000 - ₦600,000
 XV20 (1996 - 2001) Pencil light/Envelope ₦400,000 - ₦600,000
 XV30 (2001 -2006) Big daddy ₦600,000 - ₦1,000,000
 XV40 (2007 - 2011) Muscle/Spider ₦1,000,000 - ₦2,000,000
 XV50 (2012 - 2017) ₦3,000,000 - ₦5,000,000
 XV70 (2018 - present) ₦7,000,000 - ₦12,000,000
Foreign used prices for Toyota Camry
Camry generation Price 
 V20 (1986-1990) ₦600,000 - ₦900,000
 XV10 (1991 - 1996) Orobo ₦600,000 - ₦1,200,000
 XV20 (1996 - 2001) Pencil light/Envelope ₦800,000 - ₦1,500,000
 XV30 (2001 -2006) Big daddy   ₦900,000 - ₦2,500,000
 XV40 (2007 - 2011) Muscle/Spider ₦1,500,000 - ₦3,500,000
 XV50 (2012 - 2017) ₦3,500,000 - ₦6,700,000
 XV70 (2018 - present)  ₦8,500,000 - ₦20,500,000

The affordability of the Toyota Camry price in Nigeria allows most to buy a model. Follow the tips for buying used Toyota Camry in Nigeria and your mind will be at rest on your Camry purchase. The local prices for Toyota Camry make this brand a great choice. 

And, if you are interested in Toyota cars for sale, check out our latest Toyota car listings!


So there you have it, you can now choose the best Toyota Camry for sale in Nigeria that suits your needs and your pocket the most. I have a funny question for you, if you had a Toyota Corona, would you still drive it around with the way this pandemic has dealt with the automotive industry?

This video explains all the Toyota Camry generations in quick slides:

Video: Toyota Camry evolution in pictures

>>> Get brand new, foreign used, and locally used cars on our Car for sale section. Do check them out.

>>> Stay tuned to Naijauto.com for more interesting reviews and car price articles like this brought to you by our auto experts.




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Crank - the head of content for 234DRIVE is a mechanic/car enthusiast/car vlogger that writes and creates relatable motoring experiences. Whenever he lays his hands on any car, he reviews them in depth. He calls himself the 'Educative Car Guy'.

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