The Toyota Camry is the best-selling car in the US. The popular sedan was redesigned for the 2014 model year and received a thorough freshening in 2015. The latter included such changes as more sound insulation for a quieter interior and body stiffening for a sportier ride and driving experience.
The Camry is offered in gas-powered and hybrid models. The latter is not a part of this review. Sedan shoppers have a choice of two gas engines and four main trim levels: the base LE, the mid-level SE, the premium XSE and the top-level XLE. These trims essentially split into a conventional lineup (LE and XLE) aimed primarily for day-to-day transportation, and the sporty sedans (SE and XSE). For 2016, the entire Camry line expands with the addition of the Special Edition. Revealed at the Chicago Auto Show, the Special Edition is based off the regular SE but comes with such exclusive bits as blue contrast stitching to the interior upholstery, sporty accents throughout the cabin, 18-inch alloy wheels and smoked taillights. A wireless cell phone charging pad is also standard.
Two powertrains are offered to motivate the 2016 Toyota Camry. Most come with a 178-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. The second is a 3.5-liter V6 which pumps out 268 horsepower. It's optional on the XSE and XLE trims.
Four-cylinder models have been estimated by the EPA to get 25 mpg in city driving and 35 mpg cruising along the highway.* Those with the V-6 underneath their shapely hood get an estimated 21 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. Both are matched to a six-speed automatic transmission connected to the front wheels.
With its leading role in the hotly contested mid-size family-sedan segment, the Camry comes well-equipped in terms of features. The base LE, for example, comes with automated headlamps, heated side rearview mirrors and Bluetooth connectivity to both the audio system and smartphones. And in safety, all models have standard anti-lock disc brakes, stability and traction control systems, front and front-side airbags, knee airbags for the front passengers, side-curtain airbags and a backup camera.
Speaking of safety, advance safety features like lane departure warning, a pre-collision system with automated high beams, and blind-spot detection with rear cross-traffic alert are available at higher trim levels. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave a five-star rating to the Camry in overall safety while the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named it a Top Safety Pick+ recipient.
"If when car shopping in the past you've had a hard time choosing between reason and emotion," notes KBB on the appeal of the Camry, "the 2016 Toyota Camry sedan is the compromise you've been hoping for."
*All vehicle mileage based on 2016 EPA mileage estimates. Use for comparison purposes only. Do not compare to models before 2008. Your actual mileage will vary, depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.