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What’s the Best Toyota Camry You Can Get for $25,000?

One of the longest-running, highest-volume selling vehicles in the United States, the Toyota Camry is perhaps the market’s favorite midsize sedan. Below, we outline what buyers with a budget of $25,000 should look for in a Camry.

Years

The Camry was fully redesigned for the 2018 model year. With prices starting at $23,645, we think that buyers should consider a brand new 2018 model, as it offers huge improvements over the outgoing model in terms of driving dynamics, style and refinement.

Still, buyers looking for more features could look to a used, previous-generation model that was on sale from 2012 to 2017. While shoppers wanting a new Camry for $25,000 are limited to lower-end models, buying used means you can afford a top trim-level example from the previous generation. Right now on Autotrader, there are close to 1,000 2012-2017 Camry vehicles listed for around $25,000.

Powertrain

Both the current- and previous-generation Camry models were offered with three different powertrains: an economical 4-cylinder, a potent V6 and a fuel-efficient hybrid, although the engines in the new 2018 models are a huge improvement compared to those in the outgoing generation.

Buyers looking to take the new route and opt for a 2018 Toyota Camry fresh off the showroom floor will be limited to the 4-cylinder, which makes 203 horsepower, 184 lb-ft of torque and earns around 33 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving.

Opting for a used model means that buyers can likely afford either the V6 or hybrid powertrain. While the 4-cylinder will be plenty for most buyers, the V6 offers 268 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque, allowing for faster acceleration and an overall more engaging driving experience. This comes at the expense of fuel economy, though, as the 2012-2017 Camry V6 earns 24 mpg combined.

Buyers expecting to put significant mileage on their Camry might want to consider a hybrid model. The 2012-2017 Camry’s hybrid powerplant earns a respectable 38 to 40 mpg overall and is available in a number of different trim levels.

Trim Level/Mileage

At the $25,000 mark, buyers looking to get into a brand new 2018 Camry will be able to afford an L or LE model. While this doesn’t leave much room for features and options, keep in mind that every new Camry will come with a full 3-year/36,000-mile basic and 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty, not to mention the fact that it will be, well, brand new.

Buyers taking the used route should expect to find a 2012-2017 Camry SE, XSE or XLE model for between $20,000 and $25,000. These trim levels introduce nicer features like heated leather seats, larger wheels, a larger infotainment screen and other nice additions. While the Camry is about as reliable as they come, we still recommend that buyers look for examples with the lowest mileage possible; we feel that 45,000 is probably a good number to stay under. Right now, there are over 700 2012-2017 Camry SE, XSE and XLE models with fewer than 45,000 miles for sale on Autotrader for around $25,000.

Conclusions

For buyers looking for a Toyota Camry for $25,000, the main question they should ask themselves is which is more important to them: having a brand new, recently-redesigned vehicle with a full factory warranty, or having a car with higher feature content that is slightly older and has a few miles on the odometer. Either route is a sound choice, and will land buyers a safe and reliable vehicle.

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Chris O'Neill
Chris O'Neill is an author specializing in competitive analysis, consumer recommendations, and adventure-driven enthusiast content. A lifelong car enthusiast, he worked in the auto industry for a bit, helping Germans design cars for Americans, and now lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. He runs an Instagram account, @MountainWestCarSpotter, which in his own words is "actually pretty good", and has a... Read More about Chris O'Neill

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