2017 Camry New Car Test Drive
The Toyota Camry midsize sedan has been America's best-selling car for as long as we can remember, in a competitive category that includes such strong entrants as the Honda Accord, Ford Fusion, and Hyundai Sonata. Last restyled for 2015, the Camry has changed little for the 2017 model year.
Upper trim levels of 2017 Camry models gain standard equipment over previous models, including premium audio and navigation capability.
Often deemed ordinary in appearance, the Camry is actually a handsome car, with a few bold flourishes. Most controversial is the current grille.
Camry shines brightest from within its spacious, thoughtfully developed interior, fitted with abundant storage possibilities and sound-deadening materials. Seating appears geared for grownups, even if that choice limits versatility and cargo space.
Of the four trim levels, Camry LE and Camry XLE occupy the plainer end of the spectrum, while Camry SE and Camry XSE get a sportier look. Editions with the letter X get extra luxury, but even base model are well-equipped, with a 6.1-inch touchscreen.
Most Camry buyers choose the (less expensive) mild-mannered 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, which produces 178 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. A 6-speed automatic transmission helps extract acceptable performance, making the hard-working four-cylinder suitable for most families and commuters.
An optional 3.5-liter V6 available on Camry XLE and Camry XSE models develops 268 horsepower. And with 248 pound-feet of torque, the V6 delivers confident response in any driving situation, and more smoothness.
A Hybrid (battery/gasoline) powertrain is also available, issuing a combined 200 horsepower and earning a startling 40-mpg EPA estimate in combined driving. A 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine works with an electric motor and nickel-metal-hydride battery pack. Rather than a regular automatic, Hybrids use a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Toyota is a leader in hybrid technology.
Although the Camry has scored well in crash-testing, it trails some rivals. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave it a 5-star overall rating, despite 4-star ratings in side-impact and rollover testing. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2016 Camry Good scores on all tests, plus its most prestigious Top Safety Pick+ award. Optional forward-collision mitigation technology was rated as Advanced.
Safety options include blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, and lane-departure alert.
2017 Toyota Camry comes in four trim levels; Hybrids in three. Each has 10 airbags.
Camry LE ($23,070) comes with the four-cylinder engine, cloth seats, 16-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, heated power mirrors, power front seats, air conditioning, keyless entry, and a rearview camera. An Entune 6.1-inch touchscreen audio and infotainment system includes a CD player, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, and six speakers. Camry SE ($23,840) features suede-like imitation leather upholstery, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, 17-inch graphite-finish alloy wheels, a sport suspension, rear spoiler, and a sport mesh grille.
Camry XLE ($26,310) comes with leather upholstery, along with power lumbar support, keyless ignition, and 17-inch Super Chrome alloy wheels. Entune Audio Plus brings satellite radio, HD radio, smartphone navigation integration, and newly standard Qi wireless charging.
Camry XLE V6 ($31,370) substitutes the V6 engine for the four-cylinder.
Camry XSE ($26,310) gets sport leather Ultrasuede upholstery, dual-zone climate control, LED headlights and running lamps, and 18-inch machined alloy wheels. Camry XSE V6 ($31,370) has the V6 engine, adding a universal garage-door opener, auto-dimming mirror, sunroof, acoustic windshield, and dual exhaust outlets.
Camry LE Hybrid ($26,790), Camry SE Hybrid ($27,995), Camry XLE Hybrid ($30,140) are equipped as above.