Sunday, May 22, 2016

A Best Seller for a reason

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      The balancing act continues for the 2016 Toyota Camry. With nimble, aggressively styled rivals nipping at its rear bumper, Toyota debuted an all new Camry for the 2015 model year. At the same time, the Camry faithful demand things like an easy to use control layout, and a quiet, smooth ride. Serving up these 2 traits will likely keep the Toyota Camry at the front of the pack.

      The 2016 Toyota Camry is a 5 passenger midsize sedan available in LE, SE, Special Edition, XSE, and XLE trim levels. The Camry Hybrid may be reviewed at a later date.

      Standard equipment on the base LE trim includes 16-inch steel wheels, automatic headlamps, heated mirrors, a/c, keyless entry, a rear view camera, cruise control, 8-way power driver seat, 60/40 split folding rear seats, cloth upholstery, a 6.1 inch touchscreen with Entune, voice controls, Bluetooth, Siri Eyes Free, and a 6-speaker sound system.

      The SE builds on the LE by adding 17-inch alloy wheels, a sport tuned suspension, sporty exterior styling, cloth and synthetic leather upholstery, a leather trimmed steering wheel with paddle shifters, and a 4.2 inch driver information screen.

      Optional on the LE and SE is an Entune Audio package which includes a 7-inch touchscreen, satellite and HD radio. A sunroof is also an option.

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      The SE based Special Edition gets the Entune Audio package and a sunroof as standard, as well as 18-inch wheels, smoked tail lights, keyless entry and ignition, blue interior trim, unqiue gauges, and Qi wireless charging for your smart phone.

      The XSE doesn't come standard with the sunroof, keyless entry and ignition, or the wireless phone charger, but it does retain the sport tuned suspension, and adds different 18-inch wheels, LED running lights, leather and synthetic suede upholstery, heated front seats, a 4-way power passenger seat, and dual zone a/c.

      A Convenience package is offered on the SE and 4-cylinder XSE trims that includes keyless entry and ignition, and an auto dimming rear view mirror.

      The XLE is similarly equipped to the XSE, but switches to the LE's comfort tuned suspension and forgo's the sporty styling elements. it has 17-inch alloy wheels and leather upholstery.

      The sunroof is optional on the SE, 4-cylinder XSE and XLE, while the wireless phone charging is optional on the latter 2 trims.

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  Of note is that the V6 powered versions of the XSE and XLE get a few extra goodies, like LED headlamps, a noise reducing windshield, the sunroof, Convenience package, the wireless smartphone charger, and an upgraded Entune system. The latter is optional on all but the LE, as is a navigation system.

      Optional on the XSE and XLE is a blind spot monitoring system with cross traffic alert, a Technology package, and a 10-speaker JBL audio system.

      Every 2016 Toyota Camry trim comes standard with front wheel drive and a 6-speed automatic, and a 2.5 liter 4-cylinder engine that produces 178 horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque.

      In testing, a 4-cylinder Camry LE did the run to 60 mph in 8.5 seconds, which is average for the class.

      The XSE and XLE trims also offer a 3.5 liter V6 engine that produces 268 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque. An XSE that I tested last year did the sprint to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds, which is quick for the class in a car with the upgraded engine.

      EPA estimated fuel economy numbers for the 4-banger are 28 mpg combined, while the V6 comes in at 25 mpg combined.

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      Every 2016 Camry comes standard with anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control, front and rear side airbags, front knee airbags, full length side curtain airbags, and a rear view camera.

      The XSE and XLE can be equipped with a blind spot monitoring system with cross traffic alert. The Technology package adds a lane departure warning system, and a collision mitigation system. Optional on the XLE only is Safety Connect.

      In brake testing, my tester was able to stop from 60 mph in about 123 feet, which is on the longer side for this class. In government crash test ratings, the 2016 Toyota Camry was able to earn 5 out of 5 stars for overall crash protection.

      The 2016 Toyota Camry provides one of the largest and most comfortable in the midsize sedan class. There is plenty of headroom and legroom up front, and hardly much less in the rear. Moreover, a rear facing child seat can fit in the back with no problems at all, unless you are child seat deficient like me. Of note on this subject, the fixed rear headrests can make installing a forward facing seat a bit of a chore. With the trunk rated at an average 15.4 cubic feet, you shouldn't have much of a problem fitting luggage for the family in there.

      From the driver's seat, most of the physical buttons that you touch are surely large enough, easy to understand at a quick glance, and are even glove friendly. The smartly designed climate controls should get praise for their simple, logical operation.

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      Thanks to a host of improvements last year, the 2016 Toyota Camry is more responsive to inputs from the steering wheel, and more composed when going around the twisty bits. This is especially true of the SE, Special Edition, and XSE trims which dial up the driver engagement level with their sport tuned suspensions.

Of course, the Camry has been long known for its comfort and quietness, and thankfully, those traits still make an appearance. Even the sport tuned suspensions have a plush ride, but the LE and XLE certainly have the most. Under the hood, the base 4-cylinder engine delivers enough power for everyday driving, but for those of us that like more power and seemingly endless thrust, the V6 is the engine of choice for the 2016 Toyota Camry.

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