2009 Toyota Camry XLE – Click above for high-res image gallery A recent night of excitement: driving the Camry XLE to the Super Wal-Mart. So lame, but that's not the car's fault. Like Wal-Mart, the Camry has been excoriated as a work of Satan, antithetical to all that is American, never mind where it's built. Despite the gleeful way everyone always lobs shots at Toyota's midsizer, there's a lot of virtue here. After all, there has to be some kind of hook to this car attaining such vaunted status, besides the bounce-lending automotive cult of personality. Since nobody actually reviews the Camry – we just complain about it as it outsells everything else – we rustled up an XLE powered by Toyota's 2.4-liter four cylinder and tried it out. %Gallery-31976% Photos Copyright ©2008 Dan Roth / Weblogs, Inc. So why does the Camry sell so well? Because it's a solid car that offers good value. The trunk is big, the four is thrifty, it comes well equipped. We thought there might be some personality hiding in there that would win us over during the Camry's stay. Nope. The best thing about the Camry's half-pretty styling is the anonymity afforded by the glut of them on the road, and the car itself tries very hard to avoid offending anyone. It's exterior styling is more expressive than previous Camrys; one could even get away with saying the styling was a motivating factor in the purchase of a Camry. The front end has a suggestion of feline to its face, and the hood has some well developed surface detailing that plays light nicely. Out back, the trunklid rises up out of the rear quarter panels, giving the Camry a high poop deck. The Camry is not unattractive, and while it blends in due to the surfeit of Camrys on the road, this iteration has far more flair to the sheetmetal than its forebears. Inside, the XLE is equipped with everything you'd ever want. For entertainment, a JBL audio system with multi-disc capacity, .wma and .mp3 capability and satellite readiness occupies a place of prominence on the center stack and provides plenty of NPR and angry-guy talk radio. When tuned to music, the sound of the system is annoying, despite the speakers' JBL pedigree. A severe high-frequency resonance from the tweeters that sounds like metal-on-metal made us feel like we'd been listening to a dog whistle. The HVAC panel is lower down in the "Plasmacenter," and offers up dual-zone climate control. Every time we started the Camry, the HVAC would come on in recirculate mode. If you neglect to manually select fresh cabin air, the windows have a tendency to get foggy, especially if it's humid. The recirc default may be less of an issue if you rely on the automatic functions of the climate control, but for anyone who likes to be master of his or her machine, it's an annoyance that quickly gets old. The power adjustable, leather trimmed seats are …
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|MPG||21 City / 31 Hwy|
|Transmission||5-spd man w/OD|
|Power||158 @ 6000 rpm|
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