The Toyota Camry and the Toyota Corolla are two of the most popular cars in the United States, with each accounting for a large share of sales in its own market segment. The Camry is Toyota’s midsize sedan, while the Corolla is the firm’s player in the compact sedan space. Both enjoy a hard-earned reputation for value and dependability.
Is it better to go small and cheap with the Corolla, or to spend more money on more space with the Camry? Here’s how these two Toyota sedans stack up.
The Camry offers a wider range of available tech features than the Corolla, which is to be expected for a higher-end model. Toyota also used a recent redesign of the Camry to introduce new features, including an updated version of the Entune infotainment system, an onboard Wi-Fi hot spot, and a feature called Remote Connect, which allows the driver to remotely lock or unlock the doors, keep track of maintenance, and set parameters for guest drivers. These features trickled down to the Corolla as it entered its 12th generation, though note they’re not all available on the base model.
Both sedans come standard with a 7.0-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system, and navigation. Toyota rewards buyers who step up in the trim level hierarchy with an 8.0-inch touchscreen regardless of which nameplate they choose. While the Camry is available with Apple CarPlay, the Corolla hasn’t received the feature yet. It might in the coming years. Neither model offers Android Auto, but Toyota is starting to offer it on some of its models.
Performance and fuel economy
The Corolla’s entry-level engine is a 1.8-liter four-cylinder tuned to deliver 139 and 126 pound-feet of torque. SE and XSE trim levels benefit from a 2.0-liter four that makes 169 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive comes standard across the board, but transmission options vary depending on displacement. The smaller engine shifts through a six-speed manual transmission, though a continuously variable transmission (CVT) is standard. The bigger unit is CVT-only.
With the 1.8-liter, the Corolla returns up to 31 mpg in the city, 40 mpg on the highway, and 34 mpg in a combined cycle. With the 2.0-liter, those figures drop slightly to 30, 38, and 33, respectively.
If that’s not enough, the Corolla is available with a 121-horsepower gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain that consists of a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor. Fuel economy skyrockets to 53, 52, and 52.
Base models of the Corolla and Camry get a 1.8-liter and 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, respectively.
The larger, pricier Camry comes standard with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 203 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, though those figures go up to 206 and 184, respectively, in the XSE model. Buyers seeking more power can select a 3.5-liter V6 with 301 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque on tap. Front-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission come standard regardless of how many cylinders are under the hood.
Fuel economy checks in at 21 mpg in the city, 41 mpg on the highway, and 34 mpg in a combined cycle for the four-cylinder engine. Select the six, and those figures drop to 22, 33, and 26, respectively.
The Camry has a hybrid option, too. Its drivetrain is made up of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor. The two power sources come together to deliver 208 horsepower, while boosting city, highway, and combined fuel economy figures to 51, 52, and 53, respectively.
Interior and exterior design
Both nameplates had a reputation for extraordinary blandness, so designers worked hard to make the current-generation models more exciting than ever before. They may have gone a bit too far; we find the exterior design is a bit overwrought, but the final call is yours to make. The Camry’s interior is just as extroverted as its exterior; its dashboard is characterized by an S-shaped line that divides the center console in two sections. Stylists took the Corolla in a tamer direction.
Both cars seat five, but the difference in exterior dimensions is reflected on the inside.
A size comparison highlights the difference between the compact and midsize segments. The compact Corolla measures 182.3 inches long, 70.1 inches wide, 56.5 inches tall, with a 106.3-inch wheelbase. The midsize Camry stretches to 192.7 inches in SE and XSE trims (192.1 inches in other trims), is 72.4 inches wide, and 56.9 inches tall, with a 111.2-inch wheelbase.
The difference in exterior dimensions is reflected on the inside. Both cars seat five, but the Corolla has 88.6 cubic feet of interior volume, while the Camry has 100.4 cubic feet (99.3 cubic feet with a moon roof). The Camry also has 15.1 cubic feet of trunk space, compared to the Corolla’s 13.1 cubic feet. Oddly, both are considered midsize cars by the EPA.
In addition to basic safety features like anti-lock brakes and traction control, both cars come standard with Toyota Safety Sense P, which bundles a pre-collision system, lane departure warning, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control. The Corolla sports eight standard airbags, while the Camry has 10.
The entry-level Corolla L starts at $19,500. At the other end of the spectrum, the range-topping XSE is priced at $22,450. That’s right below the $24,095 starting price of the base Camry L. The fully-loaded Camry XSE V6 rings in at $34,850.
If it’s the hybrid you’re after, plan on spending $22,950 for the Corolla and $28,400 for the Camry. Whether better fuel economy is worth a few thousand extra dollars depends on the type of driving you regularly do, and how much you’re currently paying for fuel.
Both the Toyota Camry and Toyota Corolla have many rivals in their respective segments.
Detroit’s big three abandoned the segment, so the Corolla’s rivals are all Asian or European. The list includes the Honda Civic, the Subaru Impreza, the Volkswagen Jetta, the Mazda3, the Nissan Sentra, the Hyundai Elantra, and the Kia Forte. The midsize Camry’s rivals include the Honda Accord, the Ford Fusion, the Chevrolet Malibu, the Subaru Legacy, the Volkswagen Passat, the Mazda 6, the Nissan Altima, the Hyundai Sonata, and the Kia Optima.