Practically since the day it went on sale as a replacement for the Corona in 1983, the Toyota Camry has been the Japanese automaker’s workhorse car. The Camry has been a perennial bestseller and has served duty as a coupe, wagon, and sedan. It has transformed in size over the generations from compact to big midsizer and earned a reputation for quality, reliability, and safety along the way (Toyota’s recent troubles not withstanding).
The sixth generation Camry, which debuted as a 2007 model, was recently refreshed for the 2010 model year. The Camry’s base four was replaced by a 165-horsepower, 2.5-liter unit — in SE grade trim the engine is further tuned to output 179 horses. Transmissions were upgraded to either six-speed manual or automatic. The optional 268-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 comes with a six-speed automatic. The Camry Hybrid combines a 2.4-liter engine with an electric motor to give the system a total of 187 horsepower. Other 2010 upgrades include a new grille, wheels, more interior options, and new gauge cluster in the Hybrid.
Body styles: Sedan
Engines: 2.4L I-4, 2.5L I-4, 3.5L V-6
Transmissions: 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic, continuously variable transmission
Models: Camry, LE, SE, XLE, Hybrid
There are minor changes throughout the line for 2011. On the Camry Hybrid, a revision in the testing procedure means fuel economy is now rated 31 mpg city and 35 mpg highway (it was rated 33 city/34 highway in 2010). Fuel economy improved in the V-6 to 20 city/29 highway thanks to new low-rolling-resistance tires. Also, the rearview compass display is now green and smart key fob is now black.
The 2011 Camry reflects the new styling that was introduced last year, including new grille, new front bumper, larger lower intake, restyled taillights, and new 10-spoke, 16-inch wheels for the XLE and 17-inch alloys for the SE.
Air-conditioning, power windows and door locks, and cruise control are standard. Eight-way power driver seat, leather interior, and dual-zone climate control are available; SE comes with sport fabric on the seats and doors, plus blue gauges.
The Camry’s ride is comfortable in straights, yet surprisingly capable in corners. The smooth-shifting six-speed, plus the relatively light weight of the four-cylinder Camry add to the experience. The 2.5-liter Camry we tested hit 60 mph in 8.4 seconds and the quarter mile in 16.4 seconds at 86.1 mph. The last time we tested a Camry with the 3.5-liter, it moved to 60 in 6.0 seconds and through the quarter mile in 14.5 seconds at 97.5 mph – pretty impressive stuff for a everyman sedan.
Dual front airbags, dual front seat-mounted side airbags, front and rear side curtain airbags, and a driver knee airbag are standard on the Camry. Also standard are stability control, traction control, and disc brakes, ABS, electronic brake-force distribution, and brake assist.
Camry: 22 mpg city/32-33 mpg highway
LE, SE, XLE: 20-22 mpg city/29-33 mpg highway
Hybrid: 31 mpg city/35 mpg highway
Plenty of standard features
Large back seat