The Toyota Camry is America's best-selling car, despite the fact that it competes against strong competition like the Honda Accord, Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata, and Mazda Mazda6. With constantly evolving competition, Toyota saw fit to give the Camry a very extensive refresh last year, in only the third model year since its redesign. With so much change last year, this year sees only a new Special Edition model and the addition of smartphone navigation through the Entune Audio Plus system.
The Camry's look is modern, refined, and almost uncharacteristically bold. The front end is the most aggressive, with a wide maw, LED front running lamps, and available LED auto-leveling lamps for the low and high beams. The side sheet metal flows nicely and features a character line that slopes down to the front wheels. The taillights are connected by a chrome bar that runs across the trunk.
Inside, the Camry features more soft touch surfaces than in the past and they are thoughtfully accented by contrast stitching. The center stack has a high-tech look, and the area just ahead of the shift knob features an enclosed bin for personal electronics, with a USB port and an available wireless charging pad.
The 2015 update included more spot welds for a stiffer body, retuned shocks and springs, and additional sound insulation. On the road, those changes make the Camry a better-driving car. In the cushy Camry XLE especially, it all adds up to a sophisticated experience that retains its traditional smooth ride while adding more stability and control. The SE and XSE models—with their 18-inch wheels, unique shocks, firmer suspension bushings, and stiffer springs—are even more responsive, but they still ride quite well.
Powertrains were not changed last year. The base engine is a 178-horsepower 2.5-liter inline-4. It can feel lackluster among present-day rivals, as it lacks direct injection or turbocharging, as well as the more accessible low rpm torque of those newer, higher-tech powertrains. The 268-hp 3.5-liter V-6 and 200-hp Hybrid, however, are more engaging. The Hybrid model, which features a 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder engine and Hybrid Synergy Drive system, is covered in a separate report. The Camry V-6 and stands out as enjoyable, and delivers a 0-to-60-mph time of under six seconds.
The 2016 Camry performs well in crash tests and offers plenty of active safety features, including a lane departure alert, a pre-collision system with auto high beams, and blind-spot monitors with rear cross-traffic alert. Adaptive cruise control is also available.
Toyota offers the Camry in LE, SE, new for 2016 Special Edition, XLE, and XSE trim levels. These trims essentially consolidate the Camry’s equipment to a conventional lineup (LE and XLE) and a sporty lineup (SE, Special Edition, and XSE). With many of the latest infotainment features, the Camry's feature set is completely at pace with that of its rivals.
Infotainment systems are perhaps the heart of it. They work well, without the now almost expected lag and latency, and with intuitive menus. Even at the Camry LE level, you get an Entune touchscreen audio and infotainment system with a CD player, auxiliary audio input, USB port, voice recognition, Bluetooth hands-free calling and audio streaming, and six speakers. Mid-level models get the Entune Audio Plus system with the new Connected Navigation Scout GPS Link App, which uses the customer’s smartphone to provide navigation functionality through the head unit. Top models get an Entune Premium Audio system with audio playback capability, HD predictive traffic, Doppler map overlay, and the Entune App Suite, which lets you run Bing search, Pandora, Yelp, and others on the touchscreen through your smartphone's connection.
The base engine is efficient, but not as efficient as some rivals. It is EPA rated at 25 mpg city, 35 highway, 28 combined. The V-6 offers considerably more power at a minimal fuel-economy penalty. It is rated at 21/31/25 mpg.
The Hybrid remains the fuel economy leader of the Camry lineup with ratings as high as an astounding 43/39/41 mpg.
we found the design to be a little too safe. Why can't a Camry look as swoopy as a Mazda6?
the cabin's styling looks as though it was created by a human -- a stylist, even -- able to convince the bean counters to splurge a little
Catch the 2012 Toyota Camry from the corner of your eye and chances are good you'll have a hard time telling it from its predecessor.
less-than-revolutionary suit of new clothes
Edmunds' Inside Line
a vaguely Corolla-esque look, especially in the side surfacing
Toyota gave the Camry a whole new look for 2015, keeping only the roofline. It adds up to a graceful, handsome appearance.
Up front, the Camry features a thin upper grille with a wide lower maw that fans out toward the bottom, giving the car the look of a mechanical catfish. It's bold but not off-putting. This, plus a fairly wide track make the front end appear wide. The headlights have a swept back design with clear lenses and nice detailing, and upper trims get LED daytime running lamps. Along the sides, there’s a character line that slopes down from the rear toward the front wheels. The side sheet metal flows front to rear, ending with a lip spoiler on SE, Special Edition, and XSE models. At the rear, there’s a curved bar of brightwork that turns down to partially frame the taillights.
About the only thing on the exterior that we find a bit strange is the glossy black area just behind the rear doors. It appears as if designers were trying to visually extend the window line, but in a way that impresses as somewhat tacky up close.
Inside, Toyota offers cloth, a SofTex suede-like material, and leather and sport leather seat materials. Most models get a 6.1-inch touchscreen front and center, while V-6 models are upgraded to a 7.0-inch screen, and the center stack has large knobs and buttons. The dash is also accented by stitching to add both texture and eye appeal.
A refresh last year has given the Camry more visual interest. It's not a head-turner, but it is handsome.
No one's saying this is ever going to be a sport sedan, but the Camry SE is fairly confident without too much flop or push.
The Camry hasn't exactly morphed into a driver's car, but it's no longer a one-dimensional cream puff, either.
the Camry hybrid improves its straight-line acceleration, but through the turns its heft is still quite apparent
Road & Track
The V-6 is torquey, though not so much so that you'd want to give up the extra 5 mpg highway.
Body and suspension changes made last year have added a bit more control to the Camry's driving character while maintaining a smooth ride. The body was made stronger through the addition of numerous spot welds, and Toyota gave the car stiffer spring and shock settings. The result is tighter vehicle control and a more responsive feel at low speeds while helping filter out bumps and harshness at higher speeds and in cruising. On a smoothly surfaced but violently heaving country backroad in the softest-tuned XLE, we were especially impressed by the way this plush-riding sedan soaks up the worst of it yet rebounds in a controlled way, all while avoiding the wallowing and floating of soft-riding sedans of the past.
Toyota also reworked the brakes last year, adding a two-stage master cylinder that does away with the long pedal travel and mushy, sudden engagement at low speeds that has plagued the Camry in the past. It feels more confident, and we hope Toyota deploys this in all their vehicles.
The Camry was always fairly quiet, but Toyota also added more sound insulation last year. We find wind noise to be well controlled, but most of our exposure has been on smoothly surfaced roads so we can't say how well the car filters out road noise. We'll update that with more impressions as soon as we can.
The engines have not been updated for a few years, but, for the most part, that's just fine. The base 2.5-liter twin-cam inline-4 with variable valve timing makes 178 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of peak torque, while the available 3.5-liter V-6 makes 268 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque. Both of these engines are paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission.
Neither of these engines includes direct injection (or turbocharging, of course), but the V-6 especially has great drivability and more than enough power for any situation, even with a full load of passengers and luggage. As for the 4-cylinder, it should be just fine for most drivers, and it's quite smooth, but it's a little sluggish off the line and often feels strained to pull off a leisurely pass or climb a gradual grade until the transmission delivers a downshift or two. It exposes the advantage of the more recently re-engineered powertrains in many of the Camry's rivals, frankly. Luckily the transmission responds promptly and decisively, in a way that the CVTs in some rival models can't.
Camry V-6 models are quick and all versions offers confident handling with a smooth ride.
It feels several classes richer than the last Camry's cabin
Gone is last year's frozen wave of plastic. Gone is the uninspired center stack. Gone are the mouse-fur seats.
Edmunds' Inside Line
Remember your dentist's office waiting room? No? That's the Camry's interior.
The [seat] material feels fine to the touch, but incorporates some fairly strange-looking insert patterns.
The Camry hybrid blows the old one away when it comes to refinement.
From the front seats, the Camry feels more spacious than many of its competitors and their cockpit-influenced interiors. The dash is pushed forward and the corners outward, making the cabin feel more open and less cramped. Perception and reality sync in this case, where the interior's useful space is plentiful, thanks to the contouring of the dash and doors.
You get somewhat more aggressively contoured sport seats in the SE, Special Edition, and XSE models. While they don't offer much additional lateral support, we felt more snug in them thanks to more thigh support and more contouring. They'll likely prove less fatiguing on long trips.
All trims of the 2016 Toyota Camry include split-folding rear seat backs, though they don't fold completely flat; Toyota favored adult-size contouring and plenty of padding instead—a decision we actually applaud. And due to the less adventurous roofline, you actually get good head room for adults in back. Our 6-foot-6 editor can sit comfortably in the outboard positions of the back seat. Three adults may feel a little cramped back there, but that stems mostly from the lack of shoulder space that you would get in any rival.
With 15.4 cubic feet, the trunk has plenty of space for large suitcases or a big family's grocery run. The Camry Hybrid doesn't sacrifice rear seating comfort or much cargo room, but it does give up a little trunk space. However, unless you compare it against the non-hybrid models, you might hardly know the difference.
Our only complaint is a relative lack of small cubbies. The center console is hinged, but while most mid-size sedans offer a partition or a smaller upper tray, this is just one large bin.
In addition to interior comfort, the interior materials help make the Camry a pleasant place in which to spend long stretches of time. You can't underestimate the psychological lift lent from the trim and materials upgrades added for 2015. Having more soft-touch surfaces up close makes the cabin feel like a more welcoming place.
The dashboard also features a somewhat utilitarian design, with chunky multi-function controllers on either side of the steering wheel, positioned right where your thumbs can be. Intuitive virtual buttons on the touchscreen make it easy to choose the various controls, as do large buttons that surround the touchscreen.
The 2016 Toyota Camry is spacious, comfortable, quiet, with a straightforward interior layout.
Top Safety Pick+
Five stars overall; four stars frontal impact; five stars side impact
Why limit BLIS and rear camera availability?
All Camry models include 10 airbags, with front passenger knee bags and rear side airbags for outboard occupants, as well as electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution, and a Smart Stop Technology brake-override system.
Safety options include a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, a forward-collision warning system, lane departure alert, and automatic high beams.
The 2016 Toyota Camry has earned very good crash-test safety ratings.
In tests conducted by the IIHS, the Camry gets the top "Good" scores in all categories, plus an "Advanced" rating for front crash protection, earning it Top Safety Pick+ honors. That reflects constant structural improvement because the 2013 Camry received a "Poor" rating for the small frontal overlap test and the 2014 model got an "Acceptable" rating in that test.
Despite the excellent IIHS ratings, the 2016 Camry misses out on top federal ratings. While it gets a five-star overall rating, its four-star frontal results (as well as four-star side pole results, which aren't factored into its five-star side score) add up to a vehicle that's not quite in the same echelon as the Honda Accord or Subaru Legacy.
The 2016 Toyota Camry offers strong safety ratings and a healthy list of active-safety features.
The 2012 Camry's ultimate fully loaded price will doubtless range higher than today owing to newly offered extras
Edmunds' Inside Line
we found the screen tilted at such an angle as to be in near constant glare
Entune doesn't give you as much voice control as Sync does.
The 2016 Toyota Camry comes in four main trim levels, plus a new model. The core trim levels are LE, SE, XLE, and XSE, and for 2016 Toyota adds a sport-oriented Special Edition model that fits between the SE and XSE. These trims essentially consolidate the Camry’s equipment to a conventional lineup (LE and XLE) and a sporty lineup (SE, Special Edition, and XSE). The XE, SE, and Special Edition are offered only with the 2.5-liter inline-4, while the XSE and XLE come with the 2.5 or the 3.5-liter V-6.
The Camry's feature set is in step with that of its rivals.
Standard equipment in the 2016 Camry LE includes 16-inch steel wheels, power heated side mirrors, intermittent wipers, a power driver's seat, air conditioning, cruise control, a tilt/telescopic steering wheel, power windows and locks, keyless entry, and a rearview camera. Buyers also get the Entune 6.1-inch touchscreen audio and infotainment system with a CD player, auxiliary audio input, USB port, voice recognition, Bluetooth hands-free calling and audio streaming, and six speakers.
SE models add to the LE equipment with 17-inch graphite-finish alloys, a sport suspension, projector-beam headlamps, black trim bezels, a color-keyed rear spoiler, chrome-tipped exhaust, smoked-chrome upper-grille and rear garnish trim, and a sport mesh front grille. Inside, they get SofTex faux leather upholstery, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, and brighter Optitron gauges.
The Special Edition adds to the SE equipment a sunroof, keyless ignition, Qi wireless cellphone charging, Entune Audio Plus with Connected Navigation Scout GPS Link app, and blue interior accents including contrast stitching, gauge cluster and trim, and exclusive floor mats.
The XSE model adds luxury equipment to the SE with sport Ultrasuede seats, dual-zone climate control, LED low and high-beam headlights, LED running lamps, and 18-inch machined alloy wheels. When equipped with the V-6, the XSE also gets a universal garage-door opener, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, vanity mirrors, reading lights, a sunroof, an acoustic windshield, and dual chrome-tipped exhaust outlets.
Top XLE models retain a feature list that some might say belongs to a luxury car, as they add keyless ignition, leather seats with power lumbar support, a power front passenger seat, and 17-inch Super Chrome alloys. XSE and XLE models with the 4-cylinder engine get the Entune Audio Plus system that brings Sirius satellite radio, HD radio, HD traffic and weather services, and the new smartphone navigation integration.
XSE V-6 and XLE models also add Qi wireless charging. XSE and XLE models with the V-6 get an Entune Premium Audio system with audio playback capability, HD predictive traffic, doppler map overlay, and the Entune App Suite, which lets you run Bing search, Pandora, Yelp, and others on the touchscreen using your smartphone's connection.
Equipment for 2016 Toyota Camry Hybrid models roughly parallels that of 4-cylinder Camrys of the same trim level, though the Hybrid is only offered in LE, SE, and XLE trim levels.
The 2016 Toyota Camry offers a competitive feature set in standard or sport-oriented models.
25 mpg city, 35 highway (four-cylinder); 21/31 (V-6); 43/39 (LE Hybrid)
Mid-size sedans seem to be edging upward into the fuel-efficiency territory that was the domain of compact cars just a few years ago. And while the Camry Hybrid should continue to beat the EPA combined figures of nearly every other mileage-minded sedan, the rest of the Camry lineup isn't particularly class-leading.
The base engine is efficient, but not as efficient as some rivals. It is EPA rated at 25 mpg city, 35 highway, 28 combined. The V-6 offers considerably more power at what could be viewed as not too much of a fuel economy penalty. It is rated at 21/31/25 mpg.
The Hybrid remains the fuel economy leader of the Camry lineup with ratings as high as an astounding 43/39/41 mpg.
Buyers can choose from 4-cylinder, V-6, or hybrid models. The hybrids sip fuel, while the V-6 isn't as thirsty in real-world driving as you might expect.
The Toyota Camry's competition is some of the stiffest on the market. The Honda Accord remains one of the most refined, upscale vehicles in the bunch, with the choice of either a four-cylinder or a fuel-efficient V-6 (the hybrid is on hiatus). The Hyundai Sonata has good mileage ratings, performs well, and offers a lot of features for the money. The Kia Optima is built on the same platform, but feels a little sportier and looks a little more European. The Nissan Altima is now more about comfort and value than its sportier prior models. Out of them all, it's the Ford Fusion that feels like a legitimate premium sedan, though, especially with either of the two EcoBoost engines.
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