New car season is upon us, and you can now find the 2023 Toyota Camry for sale. A new model year doesn’t necessarily mean an all-new vehicle, but—even within a single generation—automakers will make yearly tweaks to keep their vehicles fresh. This is exactly the case with the 2023 Toyota Camry. While there’s been no major redesign since this generation debuted for the 2018 model year, the newest Camry does ring in a few changes, like the addition of new driver assistance technology and an improved Nightshade Edition.
The Nightshade Edition is exactly what it sounds like: a blacked-out version of the Camry. This trend has been adopted by virtually every automaker in some shape or form, though not all black appearance packages (or trims) were created equal. Since this look has been so widely adopted, some of the best dark appearance packages offer a unique take on the theme, whereas some of the worst feel like half-hearted efforts in the form of a few plastic black accents here and there. If you are looking for a cooler ride for the new year, then here are some of the best and worst options to look for.
Best: 2023 Toyota Camry Nightshade Edition
The 2023 Camry ushers in a new-and-improved version of the Nightshade Edition with changes that make this one of the coolest dark appearance packages on the market. It has some of the things you would expect from this type of appearance package. Black accents in the form of mirror caps, trim, and a sporty grille darken up the exterior, while a black synthetic leather interior carries the theme indoors. The accent that’s new for 2023 and gives the Nightshade Edition a slight edge is the 19-inch bronze wheels. They are not black, to be sure, but the dark metal complements the obsidian theme well. The Nightshade Camry can be had in Midnight Black Metallic, Ice Cap, or Reservoir Blue, the latter creating a color scheme of blue and gold-ish that feels reminiscent of a certain beloved Subaru.
Best: 2023 Ram 1500 Limited RAM(RED) Edition
The name is a mouthful, but there’s a lot of meaning behind it. Despite this name featuring a very different color, the Ram 1500 Limited RAM(RED) Edition does have a black appearance theme. It includes the (RED) package, which has unique badging and plenty of dark found in the wheels, headlamp bezels, and grille surround. An upgraded sound system is part of the package, too. The Limited RAM(RED) Edition is much more than just an appearance package with some premium options tacked on; it’s a partnership in philanthropy. (RED) is an organization that partners with brands to raise funding for lifesaving programs designed to combat global health crises like HIV/AIDS and COVID-19. The Ram, FIAT, and Jeep brands will have contributed $4 million to the cause by the end of 2023.
Best: 2023 Honda Ridgeline Black Edition
The 2023 Honda Ridgeline Black Edition gets in on the automotive trend with standard black body paint, 18-inch black wheels, and a black leather interior. It also has black accents, giving it a look that’s more matte than shiny, more light-absorbing than light-reflecting. Inside, red ambient lighting fills various recesses in the vehicle, like the door handles and footwells, which helps to add some intrigue and mystery to the Honda Ridgeline’s otherwise humdrum aesthetic. What’s more, the Black Edition is the topper for the 2023 Ridgeline’s trim line and has oodles of premium add-ons, like acoustic glass for a quieter cabin and a one-touch power moonroof. Heated seats are part of the deal, as well as tri-zone climate control.
Best: 2023 Mustang Nite Pony
Brownie points to Ford for coming up with a name that isn’t cliché and instead shows off the horse theme Mustang owners love so dearly. The Nite Pony has more to offer than refreshing verbiage, though. Full details have yet to be released, but photos published by Ford show a very handsome pair of Mustangs—including the electrified Mach-E––outfitted in a brooding look fit for a modern cowboy. These cars appear to be all darkness and gloss, shining like a stallion’s freshly brushed mane. Despite sharing a name, these two Mustangs are very different vehicles, and despite being very different vehicles, the Nite Pony package suits both of them extraordinarily well.
Best: 2023 Chevy Blazer Midnight Edition
The 2023 Chevy Blazer Midnight Edition is helped a lot by how good the standard Blazer looks. Its body carves in and bends out at all the right places, reflecting the light just so. This effect is amplified by an all-black backdrop, which allows the beholder to see the contrast between light and the lack thereof. There’s little chrome, and the headlights are characteristically narrow, adding hard edges and little noise to the sharp exterior. From roof rails to wheels, the Blazer Midnight Edition is almost entirely black. That name could use some reworking to something more imaginative, but other than that, it’s a perfect example of the dark appearance package.
Worst: 2023 Volkswagen Tiguan R-Line Black
Opting for a 2023 Tiguan R-Line Black is like throwing your cash in a black pit. The money has to be somewhere, but you can’t see it. Come to think of it, why did you throw your money in a black pit anyways? The R-Line Black may not be quite that bad, but it certainly falls short of expectations. The R-Line is supposed to signify a racing spirit, but the only remotely track-ready feature is bigger 19-inch wheels. Those wheels are black, as are some exterior trim, the front bumper, and the grille. That’s about it, though, and three of the four paint options are white or silver. The coolest features have nothing to do with racing or dark styling; in fact, they’re almost the antithesis of it. Multi-color ambient lighting can give you a pop of color, and the panoramic roof lets in plenty of sunshine.
Worst: 2023 Nissan Rogue Midnight Edition
There’s nothing particularly offensive about the Nissan Rogue Midnight Edition. It shares a lot of features with some of the vehicles on this list. It has black wheels, for example, and its grille, bumpers, roof rails, and badging are black, too. The interior also gets the midnight treatment with charcoal leatherette seats. There are plenty of dark features to go around; they just don’t look that good on a Nissan Rogue. The Nissan Rogue isn’t unattractive per se, but its broad, galumphing proportions just don’t suit the style, so, despite a Batman-approved palette, the Midnight Edition Rogue clumsily misses the mark.
Come to the Dark Side
The dark car look is picking up steam, charging full speed ahead into 2023 with a whole pack of cars (some of which do the trend more justice than others). With its current trajectory, we can expect to see everything from blacked-out Hummers to FIATs all over our roads before too long. There’s a reason why so many automakers have started providing customers with the option to black out their car’s style straight from the lot: it looks good. Having a badass car can make you feel good on the road, too. Sometimes, it feels good to be bad. If brooding your way through 2023 sounds good, grab several pairs of sunglasses and a black leather jacket and get yourself behind the wheel of one of these baddies. Got it? Good. I mean bad.