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The Toyota Camry is one of the most popular sedans in America, and it has earned that success thanks to its consistency and quality. The Camry hasn’t been perfect throughout the years, though, and that’s why car shoppers should still research before committing to buying a used Camry. Here’s a look at the three used Toyota Camry model years that, although they appear safe, actually failed a crucial safety test.

These 3 Toyota Camry model years seem great but have a big problem

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, or IIHS, is a company that puts cars to the test by crashing them in various scenarios. After its tests, the organization awards the top performers with a Top Safety Pick award, and the best ones get the Top Safety Pick+ award. The 2012, 2013, and 2014 Toyota Camry models all received a Top Safety Pick award after the IIHS conducted its tests

However, those three model years all had the same severe issue. The IIHS gives grades for crash test results, and the worst grade possible is a “poor” rating. Those Camry model years all received a “poor” rating for the small overlap frontal crash test. The main reason for that was because of what happened to the driver’s side of the car. 

The issue was the structure and safety cage, which didn’t provide adequate protection for the driver. The IIHS went into detail about why the Camry failed. The small overlap frontal crash ultimately resulted in the crash test dummy not being protected by the airbags and hitting its head on the instrument panel. Overall, the report summarized the test by saying, “The driver’s survival space was not maintained well.”

The IIHS still had a positive impression of those Toyota Camry model years

Besides that significant issue, these three Toyota Camry model years did well in almost every other test. For example, in the moderate overlap frontal crash test, the Camry received a “good” rating in all categories. That’s the highest safety grade that the site gives. It was the same story for the side crash test, as the Toyota sedan got a “good” rating in all areas of that test.

The IIHS also tests other parts of the car that aren’t crash tests. Once again, these Camry model years got the best rating on those tests. For example, the safety agency tested the Camry’s roof strength, and it had a strength-to-weight ratio of 4.78, which means that the roof could support almost five times its weight. This earned it another “good” rating. The car’s head and seat restraints also received a “good” rating in all areas.

Thanks to those great scores, it’s not surprising that the site gave the Toyota sedan a Top Safety Pick award. The good news is that Toyota was aware of this issue and fixed it shortly after. It’s why the IIHS wrote that its crash test rating for the small overlap front test was only valid for “2012-14 models built before January 2014.”

Toyota has been constantly improving and fixing its cars

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The fix for this issue happened in the middle of the Toyota Camry’s 2014 model year, and that’s why the site said that the rating was only valid for models built before January 2014. As such, car shoppers interested in a 2014 Camry should find out when the car was built.

Sometimes, those models were labeled as 2014.5 to indicate that they got patched. The IIHS tested the car after this fix was applied, and it gave the Camry an “acceptable” grade. That’s the second-highest grade possible.