Toyota Camry: An Old Favorite with New Tricks
The Toyota Camry is to the family car market what turkey is to Thanksgiving. It's a perennial favorite. It's tradition. And until recently, it was as interesting as a glass of water...hold the ice & lemon wedge.
Old Toyota Camry's were isolation chambers that whisked you to your district sales meeting on a wave of Novocaine. They were safe and reliable, so pizazz wasn't part of the equation. But increased competition has forced Toyota to up the ante on their top money maker. Think lemon wedge & fizzy bubbles, with a huge touchscreen.
Camry's New Features
The Toyota Camry gets all sorts of impressive new stuff, starting with tastefully designed sheetmetal. It's clean, crisp, and instantly recognizable as a Camry.
Inside, the Toyota Camry ditches the bland dash, and the 1980's Hi-Fi silver plastic trim in favor of a contoured dash with multi-shade materials, and tasteful stitch detailing. Of course the build quality is fantastic, which leads one to wonder if Lexus had a hand in the new Toyota Camry 's interior design?
Big news on the equipment front is Toyota's new Entune infotainment option. It pairs with your smartphone to access apps from the "cloud". This allows the 6.1-inch touchscreen to serve you Pandora, Bing search, along with the ability to buy movie tickets, and make dinner reservations (plus a whole lot of other geeky functions)...from your car's dash.
I'm going to assume that a Sony tape-deck is no longer on the options list.
Geekery aside, the Toyota Camry does offer a lot of other useful equipment broken down into the familiar L, LE, SE & XLE trim levels. The base Camry L gets power everything and a 6-disk CD player (thank the car gods!). The Toyota Camry LE adds:
- automatic headlights
- Bluetooth audio
- 6.1-inch touchscreen
- sport suspension
- 17-inch wheels
- sport seats
- special interior & exterior styling details
- Display Audio
- 18-inch wheels
Top level XLE models get all that (minus the sport suspension), plus power seats, and a sunroof. The V6 equipped Camry XLE also gets heated leather, and a backup camera. In top trim, these are very nice cars.
Under the Hood
Power in the Toyota Camry can come from two sources, a 178-hp 2.5 liter 4 cyl, or a 268-hp 3.5 liter V6. The only transmission choice is a 6-speed automatic, but all models get a manual shifting gate, and the SE gets paddles.
Gas mileage figures for the 4-cyl are 25 city / 35 hwy / 28 combined. V6 models ring the pump with 21 city / 30 hwy / 25 combined.
On the Road with the Camry
All Camry's now have electric power steering (see: steering wheel connected to a sensor), and the new suspension does a much better job of hustling the car through curves. Where you'll appreciate the new suspension is in day to day driving.
That's a refreshing glass of water.