New Car Review
2017 Toyota Camry: New Car Review
If you're in the market for a midsize family sedan, chances are the 2017 Toyota Camry is already on your test-drive list. It makes sense, as it's America's best-selling sedan. However, the Camry also boasts excellent interior space, simple controls, ample feature content and a well-earned reputation for superior reliability. It also, uniquely, offers sport- and comfort-oriented trim lines that provide buyers with a choice of styling and driving experiences.
As such, we'll definitely confirm that the Camry should be on your consideration list. However, there are some things to keep in mind. First, an all-new Camry will arrive in showrooms by the end of the year. We've already seen it, and it's a safe bet that it'll easily better the current version. Second, the Camry's competition has never been stronger, with the Honda Accord, Ford Fusion, Mazda6, Chevrolet Malibu, Subaru Legacy and Hyundai Sonata all deserving a look. Each offer distinct talents that might serve you better than the 2017 Camry, so make sure to keep an open mind.
What's New for 2017?
The Camry will be all-new next year, but until then, 2017 sees the addition of wireless smartphone charging and an improved touchscreen interface on top trim levels.
What We Like
Roomy interior; smooth and quiet ride; surprisingly capable handling; plentiful standard features; unique comfort and sport trim levels
What We Don't
Polarizing styling; gas mileage increasingly trumped by rivals
The Camry comes standard with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that produces 178 horsepower and 170 lb-ft. of torque. A 6-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel-drive are standard on every Camry. Fuel economy with this powertrain is 24 miles per gallon in the city, 33 mpg on the highway and 27 mpg in combined driving.
Optional with the XSE and XLE trim levels is a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 268 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque. It returns 21 mpg city/30 mpg hwy/24 mpg combined.
The Toyota Camry Hybrid is covered in a separate review.
Standard Features & Options
The Camry essentially offers two groups of trim levels: LE and XLE, and SE and XSE. These groupings differ in styling, suspension and steering tuning, and wheel size.
The base LE ($23,100) comes standard with 16-inch steel wheels, a backup camera, keyless entry, automatic headlights, air conditioning, a power driver's seat, a USB port, a 6-speaker sound system and a 6.1-in Entune touchscreen infotainment system.
Besides the point of difference indicated above, the SE ($23,800) adds 17-in alloy wheels, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, upgraded upholstery consisting of cloth and simulated leather, and transmission paddle shifters.
Topping the range are the XLE and XSE (both $26,300), which are offered in 4-cylinder or V6 guise. Standard features include a power passenger seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, a smartphone-based navigation system, wireless smartphone charging, a 7-in Entune touchscreen, HD Radio, satellite radio, and a 10-speaker sound system. The XSE adds 18-in alloy wheels and an upholstery mix of genuine leather and simulated suede, while the XLE touts more comfortable 17-in alloys and full leather upholstery. V6-equipped cars gain LED headlights, a sunroof, hands-free power trunk opening and a noise-reducing windshield.
Available on the XLE and XSE is the Technology package, which adds adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning and automatic braking, lane-departure warning, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and automatic high beams.
The Camry comes standard with 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, side-curtain airbags, front and rear side airbags, front knee airbags and a backup camera. The XLE and XSE's optional Technology package adds forward-collision warning and automatic braking, lane-departure warning, blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.
In crash testing carried out by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Camry earned a top 5-star overall rating along with a 4-star frontal rating and a 5-star side rating. The nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also gave the Camry the best possible Top Safety Pick+ score.
Behind the Wheel
In terms of driveability, the 2017 Toyota Camry retains much of what has always made it so popular: It's comfortable, it's smooth and it's roomy enough for four adults -- and all their belongings. It also boasts a simple control layout, predictable handling and a wide range of features, from simple to high-tech. In other words, this car hits home for the wide majority of drivers.
Uniquely, however, the Camry's driving experience comes in two flavors. The LE and XLE would be for the more traditional Camry buyer, featuring a comfy suspension tuning and lower-effort steering. The SE and XSE feature a more buttoned-down suspension and more responsive steering. We wouldn't call this setup sporty, per se, but it is more in keeping with that of other midsize sedans. It provides a comfort-handling balance that we think should appeal to many buyers.
As for engine choice, the silky-smooth V6 is without question the more appealing engine, but the base 4-cylinder should be just fine for most people. It's not an acceleration champ, but it certainly gets the job done.
Other Cars to Consider
2017 Honda Accord -- The Camry's perennial rival boasts similar space, feature content and reliability. We think it might be a bit better overall, but both of these sales powerhouses are worth a look.
2017 Ford Fusion -- The Fusion is one of our favorite midsize sedans, offering excellent fuel economy, a roomy interior, a long list of technology and handsome styling.
2017 Mazda6 -- We're impressed with the midsize Mazda and we think it's worth a look for just about any sedan shopper who wants to stand out from the "traditional" pack. It's handsome, roomy, well-equipped and drives better than just about everything in the segment.
Used Lexus ES -- If it's luxury you're after, consider a pre-owned version of Lexus's popular ES sedan, which was based on the Camry until the 2012 model year. New versions are more expensive than the Camry, but a well-maintained used ES should offer high-end luxury and excellent reliability.
We would opt for the SE and XSE trims. Don't be fooled: these are not sport models. But their suspension and steering tuning are more in keeping with the segment norm, meaning they provide sharper handling without overtly sullying the ride. They also give up nothing in terms of feature content or space, and we think they also look a bit better, too.