SUVs are more popular than sedans nowadays, but that doesn’t mean they still aren’t good cars. Due to their small stature, sedans are often easier to drive and more athletic. Models like the Toyota Camry are both fun to drive and use much less fuel compared to bulkier SUVs.
The Toyota Camry is also one of the most reliable vehicles you can buy, according to Consumer Reports. Each Camry model from the past two decades comes with a Recommended label from the review site. In a world of both competing sedans and SUVs, what makes the Toyota Camry so special?
The Toyota Camry through the years
While the Camry first reached America in 1983, Consumer Reports testing data only goes back to 2000. This Camry has two available engines, but Consumer Reports says that the pricier V6 delivers better performance. The testers were also impressed with this sedan’s quick handling, spacious backseat, and balanced ride.
The redesigned 2002 Toyota Camry looks mostly unchanged, but it got a better base engine that’s both efficient and powerful. Handling remained as good as ever, and this model was the first sedan to have optional stability control. However, models from this generation received low safety scores without the available headliner airbags.
The Toyota Camry’s next redesign was in 2007, which is also when the Camry Hybrid was introduced. Upon its release, it got an impressive estimated 34 mpg combined city/highway. The regular Camry’s engines were also more efficient for this generation, thanks in part to a new six-speed automatic transmission.
The 2012 Toyota Camry looks more aggressive with its new grille, but it still retained its smooth handling and great interior. The Camry got its first standard touchscreen one year later, followed by a rearview camera in 2014. Many optional safety features were added for 2015, as well as a revised suspension.
The current generation of Camry models, released in 2018, are far more agile than previous models. They’re built on a new platform with a lower gravity center and the engines are paired with a new eight-speed automatic transmission. The majority of its safety features were also made standard for this generation, plus smartphone integration for Apple and Android devices.
Consumer Reports is still impressed with the Camry
The 2021 Toyota Camry occupies the #1 spot in Consumer Reports’s midsize sedan ratings, mostly due to its outstanding ride quality. The standard 202-hp four-cylinder engine definitely has enough power for most drivers, but the 301-hp four-cylinder is undeniably quicker. Every Camry is easy to drive, responsive around turns, and has a great set of brakes.
Testers also loved the efficiency of the Toyota Camry Hybrid, which gets an estimated 47 mpg combined city/highway. The hybrid version has a CVT, which delivers smoother shifts compared to the eight-speed automatic in the gas-operated Camry. Cargo space is also surprisingly uncompromised in the Toyota Camry Hybrid.
Although smaller than previous generations, both rows of seating inside the Camry provide adequate room for adults. Drivers also have excellent visibility from all angles thanks to the thin, unobtrusive roof pillars. Each physical knob and touchscreen function is easy to reach and works as intended.
The Toyota Camry wins another award
The Toyota Camry has also been a winner of CR’s Green Choice award since 2018. This designation is given to vehicles in the bottom 20-percent for emissions of greenhouse gases. The latest-gen Camry joins the ranks of other popular EVs and hybrids, such as the Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model S.
However, the Toyota Camry has a higher overall rating than any other Green Choice car. A Toyota Camry isn’t just good for the environment: it also delivers an engaging drive inside a comfortable interior.