Toyota seems eager to break the Camry out of its frugal shell. It’s been painted as an econobox most of its adult life. It can be tough to break out of an established identity after reaching maturity, just ask any adult. Regardless, the Camry is showing signs of imminent success. The transition phase is still in its infancy, but this is what some owners have to say about their Camrys.
The Toyota Camry is almost a spa treatment, from door to ignition
On the outside, the Camry is not imposing. It’s modest in stature, but upon closer inspection, it’s obvious that the car is hiding something mysterious. Sharp contours shape the doors and wheel wells. The hood isn’t flat but is paved with wide grooves, and the front bumper is one massive duct, with slight colored accents on both ends. Stepping inside, the size of the car immediately becomes clear. The interior is spacious and comfortable. Compared to its smaller sibling, the Corolla, it’s like swimming in an Olympic pool vs treading water in a truck bed.
A number of owners shared similar sentiments about the Camry’s interior according to Cars.com. It has great legroom for six-foot-tall drivers and ample trunk space. The soft upholstery material rivals that of a BMW but is not quite as plush as a Mercedes-Benz.
Accessible driver controls with an unruly touchscreen
Personal experience found driver controls to be readily accessible and intuitive. However, some owners raise torches and pitchforks against Entune, Toyota’s proprietary auto touchscreen software. Many owners complain about having to constantly resync their wireless devices. Some preferred to have waited until the system supported Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. They also said the touchscreen, when it works, is unintuitive and difficult to navigate and produced subpar BlueTooth audio quality.
Toyota Camry power and drivetrain: a toss up
Even the base model Camry is no slouch. The weakest Camry you can buy still has over 200 horsepower, which is staggering. Some owners complain of a transmission that downshifts like a sloth, but with eight gears it’s possible to forget that little idiosyncrasy while bouncing the car around from corner to corner.
The Camry’s handling is described as “razor-sharp”, and that’s accurate. The Camry’s steering is responsive, and the tires hold the tarmac with vise-like grip. There will be some tire squeal, but buying a better compound would fix that. Understeer is there but minimal, and with the all-wheel-drive Camry, it will fade even more. The road noise is surprisingly lacking, but it’s important to keep perspective and remember this is a $25,000 sedan and not a Rolls-Royce with hundreds of pounds worth of insulation.
Ride quality is exactly what you’d expect
Road noise aside, the Camry’s engine gets on without much fuss. The suspension is tight but not uncomfortable, and there isn’t much noticeable body roll through hard turns. It certainly feels smaller than it is, even with its spacious interior. The Camry never feels like a force to be reckoned with and retains its quiet dignity. Acceleration in the base model might not be enough to get out of a sticky traffic situation, like being cut off or avoiding an accident. If you often find yourself in such circumstances, opting for the bigger 300 horsepower 3.5-liter V6 might be worth considering.
The Toyota Camry seems to have entered into a stage of evolution where its versatility has reached a degree of malleability. It’s quick, decisive, efficient, practical, and does all of this with a modest price tag, especially for a borderline sports car. Hopefully, the Camry’s vault in status spurs other automakers to step up their game as well.