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2016 Toyota Camry: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader August 2015

Fresh off a comprehensive update last year, the 2016 Toyota Camry seems to be at the top of its game. Exterior styling was significantly enhanced last year compared to the 2014 model, with more modern lines and a bolder look. The interior was new last year, too, with better materials and a nicer look. And Toyota even tweaked the Camry's suspension for additional driving enjoyment. The result has been strong sales that have helped the Camry retain its position as America's best-selling car.

For 2016, the Camry adds only one change: a new, limited-production Special Edition model revealed earlier this year at the Chicago Auto Show. Offered in just two colors (blue or white) with sporty interior accents and blue stitching, the new Special Edition model adds a little extra flair to the Camry's excellent lineup.

What's New for 2016?

After major changes last year, the Camry's only update for 2016 is a new Special Edition model with sporty styling revisions.

What We Like

Roomy interior; smooth and quiet ride; surprisingly capable handling; plentiful standard features; optional V6 is excellent

What We Don't

Polarizing styling; gas mileage increasingly trumped by rivals

How Much?

$23,900-$31,000

Fuel Economy

The front-wheel-drive Camry offers three engines: a 178-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, a 268-hp 3.5-liter V6, and a hybrid 4-cylinder that we've covered in a separate review. EPA fuel economy ratings for the regular 4-cylinder Camry are 25 miles per gallon in the city and 35 mpg on the highway, while the V6 checks in at a still-respectable 21 mpg city/30 mpg hwy.

Standard Features & Options

The Camry is offered in four basic trim levels: LE, SE, XSE and XLE. In 2016, those models are joined by a new Special Edition trim, which slots between the SE and XSE.

The base LE ($23,900) takes the place of last year's Camry L. Standard features include 16-inch steel wheels with hubcaps, a backup camera, keyless entry, automatic headlights, air conditioning, a USB music interface, a power driver's seat and a 6.1-in Entune infotainment system.

Next up is the SE ($24,800), which adds some sport to the lineup, boasting a leather-wrapped steering wheel, sporty gauges, firmer suspension for better handling and alloy wheels.

New for 2016 is the Special Edition ($26,700), which boasts cosmetic updates like 18-in alloy wheels, a unique interior with blue contrast stitching, smoked taillights and wireless cell phone charging.

Topping the range are the XLE and XSE (both $27,200) trims, which are offered in 4-cylinder or V6 guise. Standard features include alloy wheels, a power passenger seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, and satellite radio. The XSE model offers a sportier character, boasting 18-in alloy wheels and leather and suede upholstery, while the XLE touts more comfortable 17-in alloys and full leather upholstery.

As for options, the Camry offers a wide variety: extras include a keyless ignition, a power sunroof, a navigation system, a larger 7-in Entune interface, and a wide range of modern safety gadgets like adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, rear cross-traffic alert, blind spot monitoring and a precollision braking system.

Safety

The Camry offers the usual array of standard safety equipment, including 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, side-curtain airbags, a backup camera and front and rear side airbags. High-tech safety options include rear cross-traffic alert, blind spot monitoring, a forward-collision alert system and adaptive high beam headlights.

In crash testing carried out by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Camry earned a perfect 5-star overall rating. It also earned the IIHS's "Top Safety Pick+" score, which is the highest possible safety rating given out by the firm.

Behind the Wheel

In terms of driveability, the 2016 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.

Additional upgrades last year enhance the sedan even more. The latest Camry now offers a smoother ride than it did before, and its interior boasts better materials for a more luxurious look and feel. We also think the latest Camry is a little quieter than the 2014 model.

Other updates relate to performance: SE and XSE models boast a sportier ride -- and while the latest Camry can't quite go toe-to-toe with performance-oriented rivals like the Mazda6, we think Toyota's midsizer is now one of the more spry models in the segment. That's big news for a car frequently criticized for its notoriously bland driving experience.

Other Cars to Consider

2016 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.

2015 Honda Accord -- The Camry's perennial rival boasts a hybrid version, a plug-in model, a wide range of features and improved interior materials compared to previous generations. It's hard to say which is better.

2016 Mazda6 -- The Mazda6 was recently redesigned to offer a more attractive exterior and a better driving experience -- just like the Camry. 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.

2016 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.

Autotrader's Advice

It's hard to find a bad apple in this barrel. The 4-cylinder LE is certainly the value leader, but if you want extra fuel economy or performance, you can't go wrong with the Hybrid or V6, respectively. The Camry lineup is exceptionally well-rounded -- and last year's changes only improve things.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2016 Toyota Camry: New Car Review - Autotrader