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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10
The new six-speed auto sets a fine example for shifting
In our tests a XLE V6 did 0-60 mph in 6.2 seconds
Languid response time in quick maneuvers
Car and Driver
The autobox is recalcitrant, if efficient
The 2009 Toyota Camry may not be a sport sedan, but it's certainly not slow. Three engines are offered, and the 3.5-liter V-6 is a potent source of motivation.
The 2009 Toyota Camry can be had with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 158 horsepower, a 3.5-liter V-6 that makes 268 hp, or Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive system, which also powers the Prius. The V-6 "is available on all trims except the base model," Edmunds reports. The Hybrid model is covered in a separate review.
Motor Trend calls the V-6 "burly" and estimates that the 2009 Toyota Camry SE with the V-6 "should be capable of reaching 60 mph in about 6.5 seconds." ConsumerGuide goes one better, saying, "In our tests a XLE V6 did 0-60 mph in 6.2 seconds." Automedia reports that the "upgraded four-cylinder provides adequate power with good fuel economy." But Edmunds sums it up by advising, "A more appealing choice for those who can spend more is the smooth and vigorous V6, which transforms the Camry into one of the fastest mid-priced sedans on the road, with barely any penalty in fuel efficiency."
The four-cylinder Toyota 2009 Camry offers "a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic, while the V6 sends its power through a standard six-speed automatic," Edmunds reports. The automatic is a favorite at Motor Trend: "The new six-speed auto sets a fine example for shifting with speed and seamlessness," they proclaim. The five-speed automatic, Autoblog says, "aims for fifth gear and takes a search warrant to find a downshift," adding that "the autobox is recalcitrant, if efficient."
However, the gearing of the five-speed automatic helps provide fuel mileage with the four-cylinder equal to that of the five-speed manual. Cars.com reports gas mileage is strong in the Toyota; 2009's Camry has estimated fuel economy ratings of "21/31 mpg city/highway for the four-cylinder with manual or automatic, [and] 19/28 for the V-6." That's not much of a price to pay for more than 100 extra horses.
A more sport-oriented SE version "truly delivers on its sporty promise," Motor Trend says. Other versions get lower marks. ConsumerGuide notes that "most models—SE excepted—are spoiled by marked cornering lean from their comfort-biased suspensions." Cars.com thinks the "SE still rides more comfortably than the Honda Accord," while other versions are even more "compliant." Automobile Magazine observes that the 2009 Toyota Camry SE "doesn't have the sort of body control that begs you to throw it into the sweeping curves on the winding roads above Santa Barbara, but if you do so anyway, the chassis digs in and hangs on without too much protest, and the car loses grip predictably and controllably." Car and Driver is a bit harsher, stating that "the Camry's chassis engineers prioritized creamy ride quality above all, and as a consequence it's hard for us to perceive anything sporty about this car." And of the SE, Car and Driver advises, "We'd avoid this trim level, because expecting the Camry to be a sports sedan is only going to end in disappointment." However, the brakes "provide smooth and ample stopping power," according to ConsumerGuide.
While the 3.5-liter V-6 is roundly praised, TheCarConnection.com finds that the 2009 Toyota Camry is still a bit sport-challenged in all versions aside from the SE.