2014 Camry New Car Test Drive
The Toyota Camry is not only America's best-selling midsize sedan, it's been the best-selling passenger car of any size for the past 11 years straight, and for 15 of the last 16 years. Camry sales topped 10 million in 2013, coincidentally the nameplate's 30th anniversary. One in five Toyotas sold in the U.S. is a Camry.
Clearly, the Camry appeals to a large and broad audience. Toyota claims the Camry is the safest, quietest, most fuel-efficient car in its class, and we have no reason to doubt those claims.
Camry is an attractive car, with clean sides and nice edges. Benefitting from the latest impact energy management engineering, it's built on a rigid chassis using a lot of high-strength steel and ultra high-strength steel.
The interior is nice, the dashboard neat and stylish, the instrument panel pretty and functional. Storage spaces are well thought-out, and a 60/40 split rear seat is standard.
New for 2014 is the four-cylinder Camry SE Sport, which features the same 18-inch wheels as the V6 model, plus a power-adjustable driver's seat and power moonroof. That expands the 2014 Toyota Camry lineup to seven models, from the stripped-down Camry L to the sport-tuned SE to two versions of the environmentally friendly Camry Hybrid. Camry was completely redesigned for 2012.
The 2014 Camry offers a choice of four-cylinder, V6 or hybrid power. The standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder makes 178 horsepower. The 3.5-liter V6 produces 268 horsepower. Fuel economy is an EPA-estimated City/Highway 25/35 mpg with the four-cylinder, 21/30 mpg with the V6, 43/39 mpg for the hybrid.
We were impressed with the smooth and responsive acceleration from the four-cylinder as well as the fuel economy. Toyota boasts a range of almost 600 miles. The V6 delivers stronger torque, so it's more powerful and more responsive around town in addition to being smoother.
The tuned suspension in the sporty Camry SE might be too firm for some. We did not find the Camry SE uncomfortable, but we did find the softer Camry XLE more relaxing around town. We preferred Camry SE's tighter steering in all circumstances.
Camry Hybrid uses a 2.5-liter Atkinson Cycle engine rated 156 horsepower, in tandem with a 105 kW permanent magnet AC electric motor, which by itself can produce 199 pounds-feet of torque at up to 1500 rpm. Combined net output is 200 horsepower. The Hybrid feels like a totally different car than other models, as it slows everything down and makes the vehicle feel bigger. Toyota has been a leader in hybrid technology but the Honda Accord Hybrid seems to have the edge here. The Environmental Protection Agency rates the 2014 Camry Hybrid LE at 43/39 mpg City/Highway, and the Camry Hybrid XLE at 40/38 mpg.
The choices among midsize sedans are bigger and broader than ever and car buyers are the winners. Midsize sedans that compete with Toyota Camry include Honda Accord, Ford Fusion, Chevrolet Malibu, Nissan Altima, Mazda6, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Volkswagen Passat.
The 2014 Toyota Camry comes in seven models. The 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and 6-speed automatic transmission are standard; V6 and hybrid powertrains are available.
Camry L ($22,235) comes standard with air conditioning with filter, fabric-trimmed front seats with seatback pockets, six-way manually adjustable driver's seat; four-way manually adjustable front-passenger seat, Bluetooth phone connectivity, 6.1-inch Display Audio screen, power windows and door locks, AM/FM/CD/MP3/WMA audio with USB port and iPod adapter, cruise control, 60/40 rear folding seats, overhead console, projector beam headlamps, 12-volt power outlet, and 16-inch steel wheels with wheel covers.
Camry LE ($22,680) upgrades with remote keyless entry, an additional 12-volt power point, auto on/off headlights, and variable-intermittent wipers. Rocker panels get a chrome insert. Camry Hybrid LE ($26,140) is equipped similarly.
Camry XLE ($24,855) upgrades further with steering wheel audio and Bluetooth controls, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, power front seats, wood-style interior trim, lighted vanity mirrors, rear reading lamps, rear air outlets, power moonroof, foglamps, heated outside mirrors, more chrome trim, and 17-inch alloy wheels. Camry Hybrid XLE ($27,670) is equipped similarly.
Camry XLE V6 ($30,465) comes with the 3.5-liter V6 engine, and adds leather seats with heated front seats, auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass and HomeLink, a rearview camera, and dual chrome exhaust tips; plus touch-screen navigation; SiriusXM and HD radio; and Toyota Entune, which encompasses a range of mobile applications and data services.
Camry SE ($23,400) and Camry SE V6 ($27,260) start with LE features but add a sport-tuned suspension, sport mesh body-colored front grille, halogen headlamps with black bezels, rocker panel extensions, rear and underbody spoilers, SofTex-trimmed sport seats, paddle shifters, leather-wrapped steering wheel with integrated Bluetooth controls, leather-wrapped shift knob, silver-grain interior trim; 18-inch alloy wheels on the V6, 17-inch on the I4. Camry SE Sport ($25,090) features the same 18-inch wheels as the V6 model, plus a power-adjustable driver's seat and power moonroof. Camry SE V6 upgrades further with touch-screen navigation, SiriusXM, HD radio, and Toyota Entune.
An optional power moonroof ($915) is available for Camry LE, SE, and Hybrid XLE.
Safety equipment standard on all models includes 10 airbags, electronic stability control with traction control, ABS with Brake Assist and Brake Force Distribution, and a tire pressure monitoring system. A rearview camera is optional as part of several option packages. Blind Spot Monitor System with Rear Cross Traffic Alert is available for XLE ($500).