2019 Camry New Car Test Drive
The Toyota Camry was redesigned last year, making it more stylish on the outside while still sedate in the seat of the pants. For 2019 there are no changes except for the addition of standard Apple CarPlay compatibility.
The base engine is a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder making a bit over 200 horsepower, with an available 3.5-liter V-6 making a bulging 301 horsepower; both use a nice 8-speed automatic transmission. The popular 52-mpg Hybrid takes a 176-hp 2.5-liter inline-4 and pairs it with two motors to make 208 hp, while using an electronic continuously variable transmission.
The Hybrid comes in three of the Camry's five models, with the Hybrid LE using lithium-ion batteries that deliver slightly better fuel economy than the fancier Hybrid XSE and XLE, which use heavier and nickel-metal-hydride batteries.
The 2019 Camry corners with surprising verve, even while its ride is on the soft side. Two models, the SE and XSE, offer suspension tuning that's firmer but not hard-edged at all. The latest Camry has a spacious interior, and it's well-finished.
The 4-cylinder is still quite fuel efficient, with the base L model rated by the EPA at 29/41/34 mpg, using smaller tires designed for low rolling resistance and high fuel economy. The other models use tires for comfort and grip, and deliver 28 mpg city, 39 highway, 32 combined.
The Hybrid LE uses those same trick tires to get its 51/53/52 mpg.
The big V-6 is EPA-rated at 22/33/26 mpg.
The 2019 Camry's safety ratings are as good as the gas mileage. Not many cars can match its crash-test scores of five stars in each of the NHTSA categories. And the IIHS gives it a Top Safety Pick+ rating, tempered only by 'Acceptable'? standard headlights, while the curve-adaptive headlamps on the XLE trim are rated 'Good.'?
Standard safety equipment on every Camry includes adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and active lane control. Blind-spot monitors are optional on some trim levels. The available Driver Assistance package on higher Camry trims includes a surround-view camera system and rear cross-traffic alerts. .
The 2019 Camry comes in L, LE, SE, XSE, and XLE models, although that might be doubled if you consider the specific trim levels.
The Camry L costs about $24,800 and includes nice cloth upholstery, a 7.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment with Apple CarPlay compatibility (but no Android Auto), active safety tech, adaptive cruise control, power features, LED headlights, and Bluetooth.
For about $500 more, the LE is a good value, adding a power driver's seat, 17-inch alloy wheels, an overhead console, an alarm system, and a split-folding rear seat. The wheels alone are worth the $500, as the L model uses 16-inch steel wheels and plastic hubcaps. A $1,200 option package includes keyless ignition, a garage door opener, blind-spot monitors, and rear cross-traffic alerts.
The 2019 Camry SE adds a firmer suspension with sharper steering tuning, synthetic leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a 4.2-inch TFT display in the instrument cluster.
The XSE adopts that same suspension and steering but adds leather seats that are heated and power-adjustable up front, an 8.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment, keyless ignition, a head-up display, and dual-zone automatic climate control. The V-6 engine is optional.
The XLE goes back to the softer suspension setup as the most Lexus-like model with the highest price of about $35,000 with the V-6.
The Hybrid LE drops the MSRP back down to about $28,000, a price that's quite compelling. A $2,700 package adds blind-spot monitors, rear cross-traffic alerts, a power moonroof, an 8.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment, and a wireless charging pad.
As with all hybrids, you'd have to crunch your own numbers (miles driven per year) to see how long its lower fuel costs would take to pay off its $3,000 price premium over the standard LE. .