2011 Camry Hybrid New Car Test Drive
The Toyota Camry is not only the most popular midsize car in America, it's been the best-selling passenger car in this country for the last eight years and 12 of the last 13. It does everything very well and is known for its quality, reliability and resale value. It's comfortable, easy to operate and an easy car to live with in a hectic world. It's pleasant to drive in all circumstances.
The Camry seats five in comfort yet it's relatively compact and easy to park. It's smooth and quiet, but it can accelerate with vigor. Its cabin is attractive, functional and refined, while its styling is aerodynamic and shows vitality.
A wide range of models runs from the well-equipped base Camry to the near-luxury Camry XLE. In between are the popular Camry LE, a modest step up from the base and available with the V6, and the SE, decked out with suspension, tires and trim to please the sporty crowd. All Camry models offer good EPA mileage ratings and low emissions in their respective categories.
The Camry Hybrid offers the best fuel economy, featuring a hybrid gasoline/electric powertrain with an efficient continuously variable transmission. The Hybrid is a good performer and one of the most fuel-efficient mid-size vehicles anywhere.
The Camry comes standard with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. Equipped with Variable Valve Timing with Intelligence (VVT-i), it's rated at 169 horsepower for the Camry, LE and XLE trim levels and 179 horsepower for the sporty SE. The four-cylinder can be matched with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission, and it offers ease of driving away from stoplights, running with freeway traffic and climbing hills. Camry V6 models get a 268-horspower 3.5-liter engine and a six-speed automatic with manual shift feature, and it delivers plenty of response and performance, along with silky smoothness.
Standard Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) with traction control regulates engine output and brake application to help maintain control on slippery surfaces. The Hybrid is equipped with the Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system that helps manage traction and stability through throttle control and brake application, and can even deliver minor steering correction if circumstances require.
For 2011, lower-rolling-resistance tires for the V6 models increase EPA fuel economy ratings from the previous 19 mpg City/28 mpg Highway to 20 mpg City/29 mpg Highway for the 2011 Camry.
Since its debut in the United States well over two decades ago, the Camry has earned a reputation for smart design, pleasing function, great build quality and long-term durability. It's not all hype. The Toyota Camry remains the benchmark by which its competitors are judged.
The 2011 Toyota Camry comes in base, LE, sporty SE, luxury-equipped XLE, and the Camry Hybrid. The base Camry ($19,595) comes with cloth upholstery, air conditioning and pollen filter, cruise control, power windows and mirrors, manual tilt-and-telescope steering wheel, a multi-function information display with outside temperature, a 160-watt stereo with six speakers, single CD player and auxiliary jack for MP3 devices, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat and 16-inch steel wheels. The Camry LE ($21,050) and LE V6 ($24,765) add an eight-way power driver's seat and remote keyless entry.
The Camry SE ($22,365) and SE V6 ($26,040) add a firmer, lowered suspension, flashy styling cues, unique interior trim, fog lights and P215/55R17 tires on 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels.
The Camry XLE ($26,125) features glossy wood-grain interior trim and comes standard with the automatic. XLE models add dual-zone auto climate control with an electronic ion filter, a JBL audio upgrade with 440 watts, 6CD changer, Bluetooth wireless telephone interface, power passenger seat, power sunroof, split 40/20/40 reclining rear seat, rear reading lamps, manual rear-window sunshade, and 16-inch alloy wheels. Leather comes standard on the XLE V6 ($29,245).
The Camry Hybrid ($26,400) has a 147-horsepower four-cylinder engine coupled with an electric motor and continuously variable transmission. The electric motor augments the gas engine's performance and captures energy that would otherwise be wasted as the car slows and brakes, so it can reduce fuel consumption substantially. The Hybrid is equipped comparably to the XLE four-cylinder, but adds Toyota's Smart Key pushbutton-start feature.
Options include premium JBL audio ($1,010) for the LE and SE. Stand-alone options include power tilt/slide sunroof ($890), Leather Package for SE V6 ($1,210) and Hybrid ($1,295), heated front seats ($440), auto-dimming rearview mirror ($150), heated outside mirrors ($30), and 16-inch alloy wheels ($410). Not all options are available for all trim levels.
Safety features on all Camrys include a full complement of airbags: dual-stage front airbags, a driver's-knee airbag, upper body-protecting side-impact airbags for front passengers, and head-protecting side air curtains for the front and rear seats. All models come with anti-lock brakes (ABS), which aid steering control during a panic stop. The ABS features Brake Assist, which applies the brakes more forcefully and consistently when it senses the onset of a panic stop, and electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), which balances brake application front and rear for optimal stopping distance. A tire-pressure monitor is standard, and Vehicle Stability Control with Traction Control is standard on all Camrys except the Hybrid.