You'll Like The 2011 Toyota Camry Hybrid If...
If you're you looking for a midsize sedan that offers outstanding quality, excellent resale value and a proven record of reliability – and you don't mind driving the same car as millions of other Americans – the 2011 Toyota Camry is for you.
You May Not Like The 2011 Toyota Camry Hybrid If...
If you're looking to stand out in a crowd, the Camry is not the car for you. You can find similar features and a more stylish package in such cars as the Hyundai Sonata, Ford Fusion and even the equally abundant Honda Accord. Enthusiasts won't like that the Camry V6 cannot be teamed with a manual transmission.
The addition of lower-rolling-resistance tires to the V6 model helps boost EPA estimates to 20 mpg city and 29 mpg highway.
Like the exterior, the Camry's interior is more modern and stylish than in past versions. The windshield base is far forward, allowing for a low two-tier instrument panel. The seatbacks feature a slimmed-down design and front-seat adjustment travel is generous. The Camry's interior measurements equal or in some cases better those of the Honda Accord, offering more rear shoulder room and legroom, and on XLE trims, a reclining rear seatback. Instruments are large and legible, with differing illumination depending on the trim level. The controls are easy to read and operate, storage cubbies are plentiful and there are two 12-volt outlets in the console.
The 2011 Toyota Camry's appearance is a departure from the upright styles of previous generations. Sharing Toyota's swoopier new sedan look with its larger and more upscale cousin Lexus ES, the Camry's length is unchanged, but its stance is more stable with its wheels pushed farther toward the corners. Its hood, flanks and decklid surfaces have a complexity and character not seen in previous Camrys, and its headlights are the high-tech projector-beam style. Toyota calls the Camry "athletic and modern," and we don't disagree, although the sporty SE, with its lower ride height on bigger wheels and tires, black honeycomb grille, smoked headlamps and aero appendages, looks much more athletic than the other models.
The 2011 Toyota Camry drives much like most family sedans, not too sporty and not too soft. The base car tends toward the soft side, but the LE and XLE are crisper and more athletic. Most fun to drive, at least on smooth roads, is the lower and stiffer SE sport model, which has added structural bracing, firmer springs, shock absorbers, bushings and anti-roll bars, better steering feel and even an underbody aerodynamic treatment for enhanced high-speed stability. The latest Toyota four-cylinder engine provides adequate power with good fuel economy, while the muscular V6 is a powerhouse, good for a zero to 60-miles-per-hour burst in less than seven seconds.
The 2011 Toyota Camry has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting around $20,500, which includes destination, a four-cylinder engine and a six-speed manual transmission. The sporty SE starts just over $23,000, while the XLE V6 stickers for close to $30,000. The Hybrid starts just over $27,000. Toyota believes its strong reputation and resale values justify aggressive pricing, so be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price on kbb.com to see what consumers are actually paying. We project that the Camry will retain a strong resale value over time, beating by a wide margin the values of both the Chrysler 300 and Chevrolet Malibu, remaining on par with the new Hyundai Sonata and Ford Fusion, but lagging behind the venerable Honda Accord.
The base Camry offers power mirrors/locks/windows, air conditioning with a pollen filter, cruise control, tilt/telescopic wheel, auto on/off halogen headlamps, daytime running lights, 60/40-split fold-down rear seat, 16-inch wheels and six-speaker 160-watt digital audio with CD-MP3 and auxiliary input jack. Standard safety features include Toyota's Whiplash Injury Lessening (WIL) seats, four-wheel disc brakes with Antilock Braking System (ABS), Brake Assist, stability and traction control and seven air bags. The uplevel LE adds an eight-way power driver's seat, remote keyless entry and the option of a V6 engine. The top-level XLE adds alloy wheels, 440-watt eight-speaker premium audio with six-disc CD and Bluetooth, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather interior (V6 only), wood-grain trim, a power moonroof, four-way power passenger's seat and a 40/20/40 reclining rear seat (with fixed center pass-through).
Additional major options for most models include a JBL premium audio system with Bluetooth and USB port, power moonroof, leather interior, heated seats, navigation system and the "Smart Key System" with push-button start (on the XLE with V6).
Plasmacluster Ionizer HVAC
According to Toyota, the dual-zone automatic climate system standard on the XLE and Hybrid reduces airborne odors, mold spores, microbes, fungi, germs and bacteria inside the cabin by creating positive and negative ions that seek out and surround them.
Star Safety System
The standard integrated braking system includes ABS, Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA). Seven airbags are also standard as is Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) with traction control.
Under the Hood
The 2011 Toyota Camry features a standard DOHC 16-valve 2.5-liter Variable Valve Timing "with intelligence" (VVT-i) four-cylinder engine and an optional DOHC 24-valve VVT-i V6. A six-speed manual is available, but only on the base, LE and SE four-cylinder trims; all others employ a six-speed automatic.
2.5-liter in-line 4
169 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
167 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4100 rpm
179 horsepower @ 6000 rpm (SE)
171 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4100 rpm (SE)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/33 (manual), 22/32 (automatic)
268 horsepower @ 6200 rpm
248 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/29
Largely due to its solid reputation for quality and reliability, Toyota's midsize Camry has been the best-selling car in America for twelve of the last thirteen years. Although the Honda Accord continues as the Camry's main rival, a host of new sedans, including the Hyundai Sonata, Ford Fusion and Chevrolet Malibu, threaten to chip away at the champion's throne. Still, the Camry's varied configurations – such as the sporty SE, which offers 10 additional horsepower over the base Camry four-cylinder plus suspension tuning biased toward delivering crisper handling response – promise to keep the competition on its toes. Engine choices include a 169-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder (179 horsepower on SE) or a 268-horsepower 3.5-liter V6. There's also a hybrid model which is reviewed separately.