Ah, the good ol’ Toyota Camry. The mid-sized sedan that’s known for balancing conservative looks and reliability quite nicely through its 30+ years of existence. Each generation has become better looking and the current 2016 iteration sports a modern look. Toyota’s website makes the claim of “The Boldly Designed Camry” and yes, it does have elements of being good looking but to me, the true allure of the Camry is its reliability and functionality. When you’re up against the Accord, Altima, Optima, Sonata and all the other players out there, it’s wise to pick your battles.
I must say, however, that the Lexus-inspired grille and LED lights definitely give a sporty look and the overall design of the current generation is leaps and bounds ahead of the previous one. With that, let’s see how the Camry shapes up over a week of real world driving done by yours truly.
There are two engines powering the Camry, both via six-speed , front wheel drive, automatic transmissions. The first is a 2.5 litre, four-cylinder with 178 horsepower and 170 lb-ft. of torque and is available in the LE, SE, XLE and XSE. Fuel ratings come in at 8.2L/100 km combined
The bigger option is the 3.5 litre, six-cylinder engine producing a very respectable 268 horsepower and 248 lb-ft. of torque and is only available on the XLE and XSE models.
Surprisingly, fuel ratings for the larger engine don't suffer much, and come in at 9.5L/100 km combined.
My tester for the week was the XLE V6 and while the popular seller is the four-cylinder engine, there’s added power available for those who want it. A week of mixed use driving saw good road feel, solid handling and drive quality and a fairly quiet cabin as far as road noise goes.
There’s that comfortable, consistent feeling when driving a Camry. It’s not quite the sports-car feel that comes in big-brother Lexus but there’s a spirited drive feel, mainly due to the V6 engine.
I’m sure the go-to, popular four-cylinder option performs quite well for its audience. And seeing as the Camry excels in being a reliably made car, it’s more of a home body than an all-night partier.
Once inside the 2016 Camry, the first thing that stood out were the oversized buttons on the centre console, three on each side. Full marks to you, Toyota, for not being like the Buick Encore with their 40 button (seriously, who allowed that to happen?) layout.
I absolutely love that the Camry has taken the minimalist route here with a balance between buttons, dials and a seven-inch touch screen display anchoring it (six-inch on the lower models).
The touch screen is responsive and easy to navigate and a backup camera comes standard across the board. Even the climate controls are so simple to operate!
There’s a big storage bin at the bottom of the console with a closeable door for privacy.
To maximize space, they’ve put two cup holders beside the gear shifter opposed to behind, another great move. The dashboard sees two large dials with a centre screen showing your vitals.
With so many different trim levels, very few things come standard throughout. For example, heated seats, leather steering wheel and leather shift knob are on every trim except the LE. Paddle shifters are on the lower end SE and V6 trims and in order to jump from six speakers to 10, you’ve gotta move to a V6 model. I’m not complaining about this structure, merely pointing it out. Seeing as there are six different trim models, Toyota rewards you for each additional rung you climb on the checklist option ladder.
Seating is very comfortable and there’s plenty of room in the rear seats to fit two comfortably with a third person getting the “fine, I’ll go in the middle” comfort level. A 60/40 split rear seat gives you flexibility at Ikea and there’s a standard suite of safety features that can be had for a price, including blind spot monitoring, lane departure alert and rear cross traffic alerts.
The 2016 Camry does everything a mid-sized sedan is supposed to functionality wise. It drives well, is comfortable, has a wide range of options for drivers to choose from, it’s got the reliability and strong build quality that Toyota is known for and won’t break the bank getting into one.
The base model LE starts at $24,505 and runs all the way up to $35,920 for the range topping XLE V6, along with four trim levels in between.
Whether people buy the Camry due to brand loyalty, longevity on the road or it’s simple-yet-effective interior, taking the proverbial familiar, well-travelled and conservative route is what gets Camry drivers to where they’re going.
Enjoy the full gallery below: