Of all the cars on the market, Toyota quite easily comes in as the most heavily scrutinized brand – with good reason. Toyota sells over 10 million vehicles per year, spread out over their entire line – Scion, Toyota and Lexus. That makes Toyota the world’s No. 1 selling automaker in the world – yes, exceeding that of Detroit-based General Motors (and former challenger, VW).
One of their top selling cars which sell around 400,000 units per year in the United States alone is the Toyota Camry. Toyota sets the standard for the rest the market. When people want to see the industry standard, they look to Toyota. Toyota, at least on the consumer level, is synonymous with automaker quality. That means one thing – Toyota has a reputation to uphold.
Every year the Toyota makes the Camry, we never cease to be impressed – especially since Toyota has risen the bar for other automakers to follow. It’s not just price that makes Toyota so enticing. It’s the value – what people can get for that price. Toyota has set the standard for reliability, safety and value – and they usually use the Camry to get there. Here’s what we found with the 2016 Toyota Camry XSE.
What We Think: the Pros
This Camry doesn’t have a turbocharged powertrain. In fact, it’s one of Toyota gas-saving secrets. What many people don’t realize is that you don’t really need a turbocharged powertrain. Toyota proves with this 2016 Camry that can play with the big boys that come equipped with the turbocharged powertrain engines. With 178 horsepower and 170-pound feet of torque, the Camry enjoys smooth acceleration and excellent highway driving. The clearly capable traditional setup of this Camry gets 35 miles per gallon highway and 28 miles per gallon city. These aren’t top stats either – these are stats that real drivers will get in real conditions in the real world.
It doesn’t stop there. Even if you elect to purchase this Camry with the optional 18-inch wheels, Toyota delivers an experience that is smooth, quiet and painless. When you’re parking the car, the Toyota has an excellent turning radius, almost as if it was designed for the parking lot.
One might expect the Toyota Camry to start losing some of its grace at some of the higher highway speeds. However, at 70 mph, the cabin was smooth enough that liquid in a cup was at a standstill – truly a stellar and smooth performance.
The depreciating car value on the Toyota Camry remains excellent – even three to five years down the road. That’s something to think about for people who value their purchase enough to keep it that long before selling.
Our Thoughts: the Cons
Believe it or not, the Camry offered few things we didn’t like. With some of these things, we thought Toyota could do better. The first one had to do with its reputation directly. Driving the Toyota Camry 2016 feels so much like a midlevel, run-of-the-mill, settling-for-less-than-the-best kind of feeling. There were other cars in the same price range like Mazda’s A6 or Chevy’s Malibu that feels more luxurious and more fun to drive. Perhaps Toyota is worried about stealing sales from Lexus?
Even the aesthetics feel average – and that’s saying a lot for a car that sets this industry standard. Other cars provide better technology and more of a high-end look and feel. Mazda’s A6 and even the Ford Fusion look and feel better than the Camry. The only vehicles that this year’s Camry distinguishes itself from are, well, older Camrys. Honestly, Toyota has done such a good job setting the bar the other companies are beginning to do it better. Almost every car across the board knows how to give the car a high-end, luxurious feel.
If you’re loyal to Toyota, you’ll be pleased to know that Toyota certainly isn’t lacking. There’s plenty to enjoy and Toyota has and does live up to its standard. However, if you’re a cross-shopper who doesn’t care about the brand of car you drive, there’s probably not enough in the Toyota to tip the scales in the Camry’s favor.
As stable as the Toyota Camry resale value remains, the Subaru Legacy does even better. That’s something to keep in mind if you like to sell your car down the road.