The new 2015 Camry has arrived on dealer lots. This new car has a completely new look, and externally only shares its roof with the outgoing car. The interior is all-new, and there have been mechanical changes to improve the car that test drivers have reported as successful. However, the Camry that was the current model year, which Toyota calls the 2014.5, can still be found new. Here are the reasons for and against buying a leftover model Camry.
Buy a 2014.5 Camry Based on Price
First, we should qualify the entire argument by saying that unless you actually do a little leg room and get multiple price quotes, you shouldn’t even consider a leftover 2014.5 Camry. Be sure that the trim level you choose is what you want and that you know by comparison what you would pay for a 2015 Camry similarly equipped. Unless you are saving 10% or more, say $2500, compare to the new Camry, don’t do it. The resale value of the new 2015 is likely to be a bit stronger in three to five years, and even more after that. Therefore, the argument is predicated on you getting a real knock-your-socks-off deal.
2014.5 Camry Is As Safe As It Gets
The 2014.5 Camry was slightly modified compared to the original 2014 Camry. This change occurred about six months ago. It is safe to assume the ones on dealer lots now have the changes, but it is worth asking your dealer (and to have him/her show you the manufacturing date). The Camry with optional forward collision mitigation is as safe as any car can practically be. It earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus rating, and that is the toughest rating in US safety to earn. The new Camry will not be measurably safer.
2014.5 Camry Recommended by Consumer Reports
Let’s face it you are not buying a Camry to impress dates and go racing. The Camry is a family car, and in fact, it is the top-selling family car. Period. This means it is an excellent value. It will prove more reliable than competitive models, be durable and will have quality on par with the best cars in the US at any price point. Don’t take our word for it, Consumer Reports rates it "Recommended."
These three reasons, excellent price, top safety scores, and overall tremendously good value may lead to you buy a new, but leftover 2014.5 Camry. Now, let’s look at a couple reasons not to make this move, and instead to buy an all-new 2015 Camry.
New Trim Levels on 2015 Camry
A top seller in the Camry line was the SE trim. This is the slightly more sporty and aggressive looking Camry. It does not look have the sexy looks a Camaro or Dodge Charger that you might find in the same price range, but compared to Camry LE and XLEs it was better looking. Then there was the top of the line Camry XLE. That car could come in 2014.5 with enough luxury to make you think your friend that bought a Lexus was crazy since yours is just as good. Both were good trims, but you could not get both the looks and luxury together. In 2015 you can. The all-new trim is called XSE (rearrange the letters if you please). This new Camry is a special car in its $30K to $36 price range, depending upon engine choice and options. If you want the best Camry available, the 2015 is definitely the one.
Fresh Looks, Future Resale
Every new car design has its unique look. There are about a million Camrys on the road with the 2014 looks, but almost none right now with the fresh new 2015 look. This has some appeal if you prefer to have some (short-term) uniqueness.
Also, when you go to sell a car people generally are aware of the generational changes and the newer generations have a higher value than the prior even if they are only a month or two apart in age. Consider a used car advertisement “Pre-owned 2014 Camry” vs. “Pre-owned 2015 Camry.” All other things being equal; the 2015 will return a greater price.
So this is not rocket science, but worth the time to think through. If you have already decided to buy a new family sedan and are favoring the Camry, which will you take home?