There are fewer family sedans on the market than ever before; several major brands, including GM and Ford, no longer make them at all.
Toyota still makes one — and you can even get it with a keyed door (and ignition) lock. Not a fob or a button, though those are available if you’d like them.
There is also a V6 engine option, which is something even fewer family sedans still offer. And a transmission with gears rather than ranges . How about buttons you can press rather than a screen you swipe?
It’s the Camry sedan — and it’s not an exaggeration to say there’s no other family sedan left on the market that’s like it.
What It Is
The Camry has been the best-selling mid-sized family sedan for decades, and it is just about the only mid-sized family sedan still available with a V6.
And it’s one of the few you can get with all-wheel drive, too.
Prices start at $25,045 for the base LE trim, which comes with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
For a sportier-looking (and handling) Camry, there’s the SE trim, which comes with a more aggressive 18-inch wheel and tire package, suspension tuning and paddle shifters on the steering wheel to manually control the eight-speed automatic’s gear changing.
It stickers for $26,560 to start.
For a sportier-running and looking choice, there’s the top-of-the-line Camry Toyota Racing Development.
It comes standard with the 301 horsepower 3.5-liter V6 that’s optional in the XLE ($29,945 to start) and XSE trims ($30,495) and an even more aggressive 19-inch wheel and tire package. It also comes with a TRD performance-tuned exhaust and a full-boogie exterior body kit in addition to the rear spoiler and special bolstered sport buckets with red seat belts and TRD trim inside.
This ultimate Camry stickers for $32,260.
A larger (9 inch) LCD touch screen is available, and all trims get minor exterior and interior cosmetic tweaks.
The only sedan among its peers that doesn’t rely on turbocharging for horsepower — and that still offers V6 power.
It has outstanding visibility and comfort.
The LCD screen has actual buttons to touch.
What’s Not So Good
Optional AWD is only optional with the four-cylinder engine.
Optional V6 is not available with sporty SE trim.
Under The Hood
The Camry comes standard with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 203 horsepower without a turbocharger. This engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic and either four-wheel drive (standard) or all-wheel drive (optional).
A 3.5-liter V6 that makes 301 horsepower is optional — and it’s also paired with an eight-speed automatic.
But this combo is only offered with AWD.
On The Road
The Camry’s standard four isn’t ferocious, but it is stronger than all of its main rivals’ standard fours, and it even approaches the strength of several of its rivals’ optional turbocharged engines. And its transmission shifts , which some of its rival’s transmissions don’t. If you dislike CVT transmissions, you will like that the Camry doesn’t have one.
With its optional V6, the Camry is pretty ferocious.
Zero to 60 in about five seconds flat for the TRD version — and not just the TRD version, which has the most ferocious look. Other V6-equipped Camrys look less ferocious but are powered by the same V6 and are just as ferocious.
The TRD Camry merely sounds a bit more ferocious due to its more aggressive exhaust system.
At The Curb
The Camry may not have as much room for cargo as a crossover, but it does have a 15.1 cubic foot trunk that can be made larger by using the passthrough to the passenger area, which isn’t just a hole between the two rear seatbacks.
You can fold down the entire upper portion of the driver’s side rear seat.
This opening can be used to accommodate a bundle of eight-foot long 1x2s with the trunk fully closed.
Another manifestation of the Camry’s attention to practicality is its LCD display. It is like other displays except that in addition to a screen you can touch it. It also has actual (physical) buttons on either side that you can press to access and activate the various apps and functions.
The same goes for the stereo controls. You can adjust the volume — and change the station — by hand (using knobs), which is much easier to do than tapping and swiping without looking.
It is almost as hard to find a new car with a keyed exterior door lock (and a keyed ignition lock) as it is to find a new car without a catalytic converter.
Fobs and push buttons are the in-thing. But when you forget these in things in your pocket and run them through the wash, they may no longer open the door — or start the engine. A physical stick-it-in key is much harder to hurt and, if you lose it, much less expensive to replace.
The Camry is available with either one, so you can choose which you prefer.
The Bottom Line
That’s ultimately what the Camry is all about: choices , which accounts for why so many people have chosen this sedan.
(SET IMAGE) epe062921adAP.jpg (END IMAGE) (SET CAPTION) View the Toyota Camry this week. (END CAPTION)
Eric’s latest book, “Don’t Get Taken for a Ride!” is available now. To find out more about Eric and read his past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.
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Last Updated: Monday, Jun 28, 2021 11:33:35 -0700