MPG Showdown: 2011 Camry V-6 Nudges Accord, Trails Sonata

September 10, 2010
If there's one prominent trend we're noticing already with 2011 model-year changes—even for models that don't change significantly in other ways—it's that automakers are making a real effort to boost fuel-efficiency in incremental ways.

With the help of new low-rolling-resistance tires, Toyota has increased highway fuel economy for the 2011 Toyota Camry by one mile per gallon, to a new rating of 20 mpg city, 29 highway. Just like last year, the 2011 Camry, in V-6 form, comes with a 268-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 and six-speed automatic transmission.

As with this entire generation of Camry that's carried through since 2007 (a new-generation model should arrive next year), we've found the powertrain to be responsive, smooth, and refined. The interior, as we report in a full review of the 2010 Camry, is well-hushed; the suspension is cushy, but not floaty; and handling is good enough for most comfort-minded sedan shoppers. Build quality and interior materials, however, have been a step behind other models like the Chevrolet Malibu, Nissan Altima, and Ford Fusion—and especially the new 2011 Hyundai Sonata.

Base Camry, LE, SE, and XLE models remain available for most of the lineup, and the sporty SE model is now offered with either the four or the V-6; in SE trim the four-cylinder produces an extra 10 hp, for a total of 179. Both the Camry four-cylinder and Camry Hybrid models carry over essentially unchanged. EPA ratings for the four remain 22/32 mpg city/highway (22/33 with the limited-availability six-speed manual), and 31/35 for the Camry Hybrid.

Honda is also boosting fuel-efficiency by one mile per gallon on the highway this year in the 2011 Honda Accord. The V-6 models now get 19/30 mpg, thanks to improved aerodynamics, engine improvements, and new transmission ratios.

Though one is higher in city driving and one is better on the highway, both four-cylinder models will carry an EPA Combined 24 mpg.

The 2011 Sonata both of them though; it comes with a standard 198-hp direct-injected four-cylinder engine and returns 22 mpg city, 35 highway (24/35 with the standard six-speed manual).

[Toyota Motor Sales]

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