Lots of people view driving as a chore and car ownership as a necessary evil. When they shop for a new set of wheels, they care only about price, reliability, and fuel economy. No wonder the affordable, dependable, and efficient 2016 Toyota Camry is one of the most popular cars in America.
However, Toyota is trying to change consumer perspectives and is no longer willing to be perceived as just the purveyor of everyone’s favorite four-wheeled appliances. Thus, the Camry received new styling, new technology, and a new attitude for the 2015 model year. Though few changes accompany Toyota's midsize sedan into 2016, be sure to take the following 10 aspects of the car into consideration if you’re thinking about buying a new Camry.
Weren’t expecting that, were you? Yes, the 2016 Camry is fun, but only when you purchase the XSE V6 model.
First, this version of the Camry is armed with a 268-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 that feels stronger than its power rating might suggest, perhaps because it must motivate less than 3,500 pounds of car. Second, the XSE is equipped with a 6-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, a sport-tuned suspension, a strut tower brace, and trunk-mounted structural braces.
The result, and I speak from experience, is a remarkably capable and engaging sport sedan. (And no, I don’t need a pharmacy to review my prescriptions.)
Photo by Toyota
For 30 years, the Toyota Camry has proven itself to deliver impressive long-term dependability. Buy this car, care for it properly, and it ought to last a long time.
Want proof? Consult Consumer Reports, and you’ll see reliability charts loaded with red dots. The red dots are good. Or review the results of J.D. Power quality and dependability surveys. Both organizations deem the Camry an excellent bet when it comes to reliability.
Toyota offers three different powertrains for the 2016 Camry. A 178-horsepower, 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine is standard, rated to get 25 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. If you don’t mind more frequent stops at gas stations, the 3.5-liter V6 is the way to go, offered only for the Camry XLE and XSE and good for 21 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.
Pay a premium of $3,720 up front, and you can get the Camry Hybrid in LE, SE and XLE trim levels. This model uses a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, an electric motor, a nickel-metal hydride battery, a regenerative braking system to recharge the battery, and a continuously variable transmission. Combined, these components produce 200 horsepower, and the Camry Hybrid will return between 40 mpg and 43 mpg in the city and between 38 mpg and 39 mpg on the highway, according to the EPA.
The downside to choosing the Camry Hybrid is a smaller trunk, shrinking 2.3 cubic feet to 13.1 cu. ft., about the size of the trunk in many compact sedans.
Every 2016 Camry is equipped with ten standard airbags and a reversing camera. If you want access to the full roster of driver assistance and crash avoidance technologies that are available for this car, you’ll need to upgrade to the XLE or XSE trim level.
These two models can be fitted with automatic high-beam headlights, a blind spot warning system with rear cross-traffic alert, a lane departure warning system, and a forward collision warning system with automatic emergency braking. Toyota also offers Safety Connect technology for the Camry, which can automatically dial 9-1-1 following a collision, but this is reserved for XLE models only.
In crash tests conducted by the federal government, the Camry earns a 5-star overall rating. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) says the 2016 Camry is a “Top Safety Pick” and, when properly equipped, earns an “Advanced” front crash prevention rating.
Choose a Camry LE or SE, the most popular versions of the car, and you get an infotainment system with a 6.1-inch touchscreen display, advanced voice recognition technology, a quick-charge USB port, and Siri Eyes Free compatibility.
Upgrade to the Camry XLE or XSE, and the system features a larger 7-inch screen with a high-resolution display, HD Radio, HD traffic and weather, and a new connected navigation app that operates through the owner’s smartphone.
As an option for SE, XLE, and XSE models, the Camry can be fitted with an integrated navigation system and Toyota’s App Suite technology. App Suite works with a paired smartphone to bring popular applications right to the car’s touchscreen display, providing access to Internet radio, local business search and review sites, and more.
Every version of the 2016 Camry is equipped with an eight-way power driver’s seat with adjustable lumbar support. No version of the 2016 Camry offers a front passenger’s seat height adjuster, either as standard or optional equipment. Therefore, if your significant other is unhappy with the front passenger seat’s position, the Camry probably isn’t a good choice.
The rear seat is large and accommodating, a 60/40 split-folding design with a center armrest that contains cup holders. By folding it down, Camry owners can expand the 15.4 cu.-ft. trunk for greater cargo-carrying capability. Trunk size is average for the midsize sedan segment.
Camry LE models are equipped with fabric seats, while the Camry SE combines a sporty fabric with SofTex leatherette inserts for a unique look and feel. Leather seats are standard in the Camry XLE, while the Camry XSE features synthetic suede seats with leather bolsters. Heated front seats are standard for the XLE and XSE models, but no version of the Camry offers a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, or ventilated front seats.
With standard Siri Eyes Free capability, a quick-charge USB port, and available connected navigation and subscription-free App Suite technologies, the Camry is internet sophisticated. The XLE and XSE models can be upgraded with a JBL Green Edge premium sound system including ten speakers in eight locations, as well as Qi wireless device charging.
Oddly, Toyota reserves its Safety Connect system solely for the Camry XLE model. Though it is subscription based, Safety Connect provides important access to services such as automatic collision notification and a stolen vehicle locator, as well as quick and easy access to roadside and emergency assistance. It should be available on all Camry models, not just the XLE.
As a basic daily driver, the Camry LE makes sense at $23,905 (including an $835 destination charge). Plus, a free Toyota Care program includes free scheduled service for the first two years or 25,000 miles of ownership, as well as free 24-hour roadside assistance for the first two years with no limit on mileage.
Better yet, deals are almost always available for the Camry, which means you’ll pay less than invoice price after applying rebates and incentives to the deal. Cheap lease payments are regularly available, too.
Our favorite model, the XSE V6, starts at $32,205 and runs as high as $34,260 before installing any of the accessories offered by the dealership.
For 2016, Toyota introduces the Camry Special Edition. Equipped with Blizzard Pearl or exclusive Blue Crush paint, smoked taillights, and unique machined-face 18-inch aluminum wheels, the Special Edition model is based on the Camry SE. The price is an appealing $26,550.
Inside, the Camry Special Edition features blue contrast stitching, unique instrumentation and floor mats, and a power sunroof. Standard equipment includes keyless access with push-button engine starting, the upgraded infotainment system from the XSE model that includes a larger screen and a connected navigation app, and a wireless smartphone charging pad. As an option, the Special Edition is available with an integrated navigation system and App Suite technology.
Since 1992, Toyota has completely redesigned its bread-and-butter midsize family sedan every five years. Last redesigned for the 2012 model year, the current Camry is likely headed for retirement after 2016. Therefore, if you can wait until later in the year, you can get an undeniably spectacular deal on one of the most popular vehicles in America.
Photo by Toyota