The Camry’s plain-vanilla performance characteristics are a perfect match for its largely forgettable styling elements. 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. For Toyota, 2010 marks the introduction of a new-and-improved four-cylinder engine to the Camry lineup.
The 2010 Toyota Camry is available with three different engine options, two of which are new for this model year. Edmunds reviewers report that “a new 2.5-liter four-cylinder base engine…replaces the previous 2.4-liter unit and comes in two versions (the SE gets the more powerful version).” The top-end powerplant remains a 3.5-liter V-6, an engine that ConsumerGuide calls “impressively strong in all situations.” The V-6 is capable of propelling the Camry from 0 to 60 mph in just 6.2 seconds, which is rather quick for a mid-size economy sedan, thanks largely to its respectable 268-horsepower rating. Among the lower-displacement four-cylinders, “base, LE and XLE trim levels [get] a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that generates 169 hp, 11 more than the previous 2.4-liter four,” says Edmunds, while the Toyota Camry SE enjoys a 10-hp boost. Left Lane News provides the most succinct review of the four-cylinder, claiming that it “provides decent pickup above about 2,000 rpm, though it’s pretty lazy up until that point.”
Last year’s Toyota Camry offered a six-speed automatic for only the V-6, but for 2010 Toyota introduces the six-speed to every model in the Camry lineup. This includes both the manual and automatic transmissions, and for most four-cylinder Camrys, Edmunds says that “a six-speed manual transmission is standard.” The only exception is the Camry XLE, “which comes only with a six-speed automatic,” according to Edmunds. The auto is also the exclusive transmission option for the V-6. Few competitors offer six-speed transmissions on their base models, and Left Lane News asserts that the “six-speed automatic puts it in fairly elite company.” TheCarConnection.com’s research shows that the six-speed is rather smooth, and Left Lane News appreciates that it is “quick to kick down into fifth for highway passing.” The auto also features a manual-shift mode, but reviewers recommend leaving the transmission in drive.
One of the benefits of a six-speed transmission, aside from the obvious increase in usable power band at varying speeds, is increased fuel economy compared to a transmission with fewer gears. The 2010 Toyota Camry makes the most of the newfound sixth gear, returning an EPA-estimated 22 mpg city and 33 mpg on the highway with the manual/four-cylinder combination. The automatic suffers a 1-mpg penalty on the highway, while the V-6 gets a 19/28 mpg rating. Though these numbers are all largely impressive, Left Lane News cautions that the automatic’s “highway fuel economy rating of 32 mpg trails the 34 mpg rating of a similarly equipped Fusion.”
The 2010 Toyota Camry doesn’t deliver much in the way of driving excitement, even in the supposedly sporty SE trim. Edmunds laments that the Camry has “all the character of a washing machine from behind the wheel,” while Cars.com reports that even the SE “leans and understeers, not feeling like a confident performer.” Where the Toyota Camry does excel, however, is in terms of ride quality; ConsumerGuide says “all models are comfortable absorbent,” and Car and Driver notes that “Camry’s chassis engineers prioritized creamy ride quality above all” other considerations. As a consequence of this comfort-first design mentality, ConsumerGuide says the Camry is “spoiled by marked cornering lean from [its] comfort-biased suspensions.” On the positive side, ConsumerGuide also remarks that the brakes “provide smooth and ample stopping power.”