The only real disparity between looks and performance comes in the SE model, which gets sporty trim pieces but fails to deliver on the road. Last year, a new base four-cylinder engine brought slightly improved fuel economy and performance to the affordable end of the Camry lineup.
A 268-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 remains available. Otherwise, the 2.5-liter four-cylinder makes 169 hp in most models but 179 in the Camry SE. Four-cylinder Camry models come with either a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission, while the V-6 comes only with the automatic. The four-cylinder engine has plenty of power for most types of driving, but the V-6 is the choice for those who often travel with a full load or need strong high-speed passing ability. With either engine, the six-speed automatic is quick to react yet smooth-shifting. The auto also features a manual-shift mode, but with the Camry's relaxed driving feel you might as well leave it in Drive.
A Camry Hybrid model is also offered; it combines a 147-hp, 2.4-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine with an electronically controlled planetary-gear transmission setup and Hybrid Synergy Drive (with an electric motor system) to altogether make 187 hp. Considering the extra weight of the Camry, it delivers performance that's about on par with the four-cylinder Camry models, but with even better fuel economy.
Throughout the lineup (except the SE), don't expect sporty handling. Most Camry models have a rather soft ride, though the SE grade gets stiffer suspension settings and other performance improvements.