The Toyota Camry is the best-selling midsize sedan in America, and by a large margin. The truth is that you likely know several people who drive a Camry right now. It’s just so consistent, reliable, comfortable, and easy to handle. It has tons of modern and convenient features that make it a joy to drive. And all of this is packed into an always budget-friendly price point. It’s no wonder there are so many searches for online Toyota Camry sales each year.
Toyota hasn’t even made many changes to the car for the last few years because it really didn’t need to. People love the car the way it is. However, those who opt for a 2020 or newer Camry will get some infotainment features many drivers have come to expect today, like standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
Buying a new Camry is already a great deal, which means choosing a used Camry can mean even more savings. Because Camrys are so popular, if you snag a newer model with moderate mileage, you can likely resell it when you’re ready to move on to another car in a few years. It’s not surprisingly a popular used car. But it even gained a fan base before people knew about some of the cool hidden features that we’re about to discuss.
#1 – Valet Mode
Most drivers know the experience of ending a nice evening––like a date night or special event––and getting their car back from the valet, only to learn that the valet messed with their settings. From climate preferences to preset radio stations, everything is a mess. So the best way to fix this issue is to prevent it. And that’s what the clever valet mode is for in the Camry.
In your infotainment system, press the “Menu” button and go to “Setup.” On the left side, a menu will pop up. Scroll down and select “Vehicle.” Then select “Valet Mode.” It will ask you to punch in a code. This is your valet code. When you punch it in, the vehicle will disable the infotainment screen controls, such as audio and phone functions. This makes it so guest drivers cannot mess with those controls. When you want to re-activate them for your personal use, simply type in your code again.
#2 – Smartphone Compatibility
While many drivers might associate smartphone compatibility with only newer models, you’ll actually start to see these starting in the 2019 Toyota Camry. In the 2019 model, Apple CarPlay comes standard across all trims, so iPhone users can easily see their favorite apps load up on the car’s touchscreen system and use them from there. Starting in 2020, both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto became standard in the Camry, so smartphone users from both tech families can stream music, use their preferred navigation systems, and more. This addition of smartphone compatibility makes 2019 and newer models particularly good for resale value. As we move into the future, more buyers––even of used cars––will become accustomed to having these features.
#3 – Automatic High Beams
One feature is hidden in plain sight just to the left of the steering wheel. If you look there, you’ll notice an “A” button. This turns on the automatic high beams. This smart feature, when on, detects low light situations and automatically turns the high beams on and off as needed. This is very useful for anyone who does a lot of driving on country roads or other areas where visibility is a problem. Most drivers choose to keep it activated at all times.
Some drivers mistake automatic high beams for automatic headlights. While both are essential to safe driving in low-light settings, they serve very different purposes. Automatic high beams adjust between the high beams and low beams, switching on the high beams in low light settings and switching back to low beams when oncoming vehicles are detected. These are activated via the button on the dashboard next to the steering wheel. Automatic headlights, however, are your low beams only. These are activated using the lever to the left of the steering wheel.
#4 – Remote Automatic Windows
Many recent Camry models have auto up/down windows that will roll all the way up or down with a tap of the button. However, there is another automatic window feature that few know about––the windows can be activated from your key fob. Not every Camry has this feature activated, so ask your dealer if yours does, and if not, have them activate it for you. With a simple tap and hold of the unlock button on your key fob, you can roll down all of the windows automatically. This is useful for cooling your car down before you climb inside or when you forget something in the car but don’t want to unlock and open the doors.
#5 – Brake Hold Function
Here’s another function that’s right there if you look for it. Just above the electronic parking brake switch, you’ll see a button marked “Hold.” If you press it, you’ll notice the word “hold” light up in your instrument cluster. When this is activated, press on the brake pedal, and you’ll see the word “hold” show up again in larger letters until you press the gas pedal. This function automatically holds the car in place without needing to keep your foot on the brakes or put it in park. It’s really great for stop-and-go situations like bumper-to-bumper traffic or when you’re sitting in a drive-thru. However, you might want to turn it off when you leave those situations, as it can make driving under other circumstances feel cumbersome.
#6 – Key Fob Remote Start
Now back to the key fob. This tiny instrument can actually do a lot. If you hit the lock button three times and hold it on the third time, your car engine will start. You should see the lights flash first, which is how you know the engine is about to turn on. This is a super helpful feature for people who live in extreme climates. In hot weather, this feature will let you pre-cool the car before you get in. If you know the feeling of getting on a blistering hot seat and trying to grab an equally hot steering wheel, you know how useful this feature is. It can do the same thing for those in cold climates, pre-heating the car before you get in. It’s a major quality-of-life booster. In theory, it can even save you a few moments if you’re running late since the car will already be running once you hop in.
Cool Features At A Great Price
The Camry might look like a regular old sedan, but Toyota has made some impressive efforts to make drivers of this modest vehicle feel like rock stars. It is loaded with convenient, intuitive, and modern features often only seen on luxury cars, and you can still enjoy that low Camry price. It’s no wonder it’s been one of the top-selling vehicles in America for so many years, and it’s no wonder you see so many of them when you’re out on the road. Drivers who desire comfort and are good with finances know that a Camry is the way to go. Whether you need a professional vehicle to take to work, you need a fuel-efficient car that will keep passengers happy when you drive for Uber or Lyft, or you just want a really fun car for your social life, the Toyota Camry is a great pick.