Tested: 2016 Toyota Camry XSE
The Toyota Camry comes in for an awful lot of criticism for a car that sells more than 400,000 units most years. Typically fighting for the #1 car (re: not truck) spot, at least in America, the Camry is the definition of automotive ubiquity.
That’s a complicated question. There’s a whole lot of Toyota’s world-class reputation for reliability, safety, and value wrapped up in the answer. But even on it’s own merits, a kind of mid-level Camry like the XSE model you see here – XSE being the closest thing the model has to a “sport” variant – presents very solidly after a week of testing.
- So many of the top-selling cars have gone to turbocharged powertrains, that its easy to forget how capable a traditional setup can be. In Camry’s case, the naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four, hooked up to a six-speed automatic, still pulls its own weight. Some 178 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque give the car smooth acceleration and good highway manners. The Toyota delivers a respectable 35 miles per gallon highway, 28 in the city, and those numbers are achievable in the real world.
- Even on the optional 18-inch wheels, the Camry nails the trifecta of daily drive-ability: quiet, smooth, and painless. Steering effort is low at parking lot speeds; suspension offers a placid experience even on bad Michigan paving; and at 70 miles per hour the cabin is awfully calm.
- Residual values for Camry are still excellent. Those that buy and own for three to five years should take note.
- There’s nothing exciting or original about Camry ownership. In the same segment, for roughly the same price, Mazda will sell you a Mazda6 that’s a lot more fun to drive, Chevy’s new Malibu is more luxurious with better tech, and Subaru’s Legacy has billygoat-approved all-wheel-drive.
- Design, inside and out, is pretty run of the mill. There are some terrific looking cars in this segment today – Mazda6 and Ford Fusion probably leading the pack – and the Camry really only distinguishes itself from, well, older Camrys. Interior fit and finish has gotten so good across the board that typical Toyota excellence here is less of a trump card.
- If you’re a long-time Camry owner, there’s just enough in the current package to, probably, keep you in the Toyota fold. But compulsive cross-shoppers will find that the car feels middle-of-the-road in most areas of “feel.”
- One more note about resale value: good as the Camry is, for the last few years the Subaru Legacy has been better.
- Chevrolet Malibu
- Chrysler 200
- Ford Fusion
- Honda Accord
- Hyundai Sonata
- Kia Optima
- Nissan Altima
- Subaru Legacy
- Volkswagen Passat
|Output||178 Horsepower / 170 Pound-Feet|
|EPA Fuel Economy||25 City / 35 Highway / 28 Combined|
|Cargo Volume||15.4 Cubic Feet|
|Estimated Lease Price (As-Tested)||$550/Month|