The best-selling car in America continues to impress with racy styling, new features and the same old reputation for value and quality. The Toyota Camry sedan for 2016 continues to give Americans what they want, that being an affordable 5-passenger family sedan that doesn’t look like a generic rental clone.
2016 Toyota Camry XLE
Parisian Night Pearl with Ash Gray Leather Interior
My Driving Impressions
Thanks to last year’s revised suspension tuning, the 2016 Camry sedan delivers a lively driving experience, yet still remains one of the quietest and most comfortable sedans available. The standard 178-horsepower 4-cylinder engine is more than adequate when it comes to acceleration and passing power. My first drive on the highway, a 150 mile round trip, exceeded all of my expectations for both acceleration and fuel economy. I consistently got 37-38 mpg cruising at 65-70 mph. Acceleration was not in any way disappointing, and I am used to driving a Camry or Lexus with the 3.3 or 3.5 Liter V6. Leaving the highway for a back road where my average speed was around 35 mph gas mileage was pretty consistent at 27-28 mph. These figures are not only very good, they are nearly as good as the Camry Hybrid. As for comfort, the leather seating is comparable to my Lexus ES330, i.e., very comfortable and firm. As for the techie-ness, there is plenty, and how quickly we get used to conveniences—like Bluetooth and Toyota’s Entune audio system with voice recognition, a 6.1-inch touch screen, six speakers, USB and auxiliary inputs and Siri Eyes Free, which enables iPhone users like me to use voice commands to control a number of my phone’s functions through the Camry’s infotainment system. No moonroof, I can live without it, but I really love the keyless entry and push-button start, the dual-zone automatic climate control, wireless smartphone charging, and a much better GPS navigation system compared to my 2012 Hybrid Camry. The noise level at speed or in stop and go traffic is quite acceptable, especially with the sound system playing even softly in the background. Honestly, overall, a sweeter ride cannot be had for under $50K.
The inside of the 2016 Toyota Camry isn’t as new as the outside, but the change is apparent as soon as you settle in. With upgraded materials, designs and technologies, the 2016 Camry simply feels fresher and more contemporary than previous generations. With a decidedly Lexus-like interior, Toyota moves the Camry into a more upscale realm without sacrificing head- or legroom in the process. Even a base Camry LE is well-equipped, with features often optional on other sedans, such as the modern 6.1-inch touch-screen radio.
Have you ever seen a more stylish Camry? We haven’t. Bookended by a bold, eye-catching front end and a nicely detailed rear, the stylish – but not outlandish – Camry is sure to attract new buyers without scaring away longtime devotees. The latest Camry design language also promises to stand the test of time better than some of the segment’s more novel styles, which tend to age faster. For buyers who want a little extra edge, the Camry SE, Special Edition and XSE trims offer slightly more aggressive notes.
Notable Standard Equipment
At its starting sticker price of just under $24,000 including destination charges, the 2016 Toyota Camry sedan features Toyota’s Entune infotainment system with a touch-screen display, USB device connectivity, voice recognition and a rearview camera, plus Bluetooth wireless phone and audio connectivity. The Toyota Camry also includes a 60/40-split-folding rear seat, notable only because its chief competitor, the Honda Accord, offers just a one-piece folding rear seat. The Camry also comes with 2-year/25,000-mile no-cost maintenance and two years of roadside assistance regardless of mileage, plus a long list of standard safety equipment, including 10 airbags.
Notable Optional Equipment
A fully loaded 2016 Toyota Camry XLE tops out just under $35,000 with a V6 engine, moonroof, leather, keyless entry and start, wireless phone charging, and the range-topping Entune infotainment system. It will also apply the brakes if it senses an impending collision, and alert the driver if the vehicle drifts out of its lane, if there’s a vehicle in a blind spot, or if there’s a vehicle approaching while you’re backing out of a parking space. Other highlights include adaptive cruise control, auto high beams, and a Safety Connect system that includes automatic collision notification and a stolen-vehicle locator.
Under the Hood
The Camry’s proven powertrain lineup remains competitive in power and fuel economy. The 4-cylinder engine is by far the most popular choice, but the more powerful V6 is rated to return just three fewer miles per gallon in city/highway-combined driving. We also like the gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain, which delivers an instant-electric kick off the line. With that said, the Accord Hybrid is the current gas-electric midsize sedan to beat. All Camrys are front-wheel drive, and the 4- and 6-cylinder engines are matched with a 6-speed automatic transmission.
178 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
170 lb-ft of torque @ 4,100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/35 mpg
The 2016 Toyota Camry has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) just under $24,000 and tops out closer to $35,000 for a fully loaded XLE model. The Camry’s reputation for reliability has helped support strong resale values for years, and we suspect the 2016 model will hold its value measurably better than almost all rivals.
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The Toyota Camry is America’s best-selling car, despite the fact that it competes against strong competition like the Honda Accord, Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata, and Mazda Mazda6. With constantly evolving competition, Toyota saw fit to give the Camry a very extensive refresh last year, in only the third model year since its redesign. With so much change last year, this year sees only a new Special Edition model and the addition of smartphone navigation through the Entune Audio Plus system.
The Camry’s look is modern, refined, and almost uncharacteristically bold. The front end is the most aggressive, with a wide maw, LED front running lamps, and available LED auto-leveling lamps for the low and high beams. The side sheet metal flows nicely and features a character line that slopes down to the front wheels. The taillights are connected by a chrome bar that runs across the trunk.
Inside, the Camry features more soft touch surfaces than in the past and they are thoughtfully accented by contrast stitching. The center stack has a high-tech look, and the area just ahead of the shift knob features an enclosed bin for personal electronics, with a USB port and an available wireless charging pad.
The 2015 update included more spot welds for a stiffer body, retuned shocks and springs, and additional sound insulation. On the road, those changes make the Camry a better-driving car. In the cushy Camry XLE especially, it all adds up to a sophisticated experience that retains its traditional smooth ride while adding more stability and control. The SE and XSE models—with their 18-inch wheels, unique shocks, firmer suspension bushings, and stiffer springs—are even more responsive, but they still ride quite well.
Powertrains were not changed last year. The base engine is a 178-horsepower 2.5-liter inline-4. It can feel lackluster among present-day rivals, as it lacks direct injection or turbocharging, as well as the more accessible low rpm torque of those newer, higher-tech powertrains. The 268-hp 3.5-liter V-6 and 200-hp Hybrid, however, are more engaging. The Hybrid model, which features a 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle 4-cylinder engine and Hybrid Synergy Drive system, is covered in a separate report. The Camry V-6 and stands out as enjoyable, and delivers a 0-to-60-mph time of under six seconds.
The 2016 Camry performs well in crash tests and offers plenty of active safety features, including a lane departure alert, a pre-collision system with auto high beams, and blind-spot monitors with rear cross-traffic alert. Adaptive cruise control is also available.
Toyota offers the Camry in LE, SE, XLE, and XSE trim levels. These trims essentially consolidate the Camry’s equipment to a conventional lineup (LE and XLE) and a sporty lineup (SE, Special Edition, and XSE). With many of the latest infotainment features, the Camry’s feature set is completely at pace with that of its rivals.
Infotainment systems are perhaps the heart of it. They work well, without the now almost expected lag and latency, and with intuitive menus. Even at the Camry LE level, you get an Entune touchscreen audio and infotainment system with a CD player, auxiliary audio input, USB port, voice recognition, Bluetooth hands-free calling and audio streaming, and six speakers. Mid-level models get the Entune Audio Plus system with the new Connected Navigation Scout GPS Link App, which uses the customer’s smartphone to provide navigation functionality through the head unit. Top models get an Entune Premium Audio system with audio playback capability, HD predictive traffic, Doppler map overlay, and the Entune App Suite, which lets you run Bing search, Pandora, Yelp, and others on the touchscreen through your smartphone’s connection.
The base engine is efficient, but not as efficient as some rivals. It is EPA rated at 25 mpg city, 35 highway, 28 combined. The V-6 offers considerably more power at a minimal fuel-economy penalty. It is rated at 21/31/25 mpg.