Now one of the best selling sedans in America, the Toyota Camry originally debuted in 1980. Camry means “crown” in Japanese, so is the 2011 edition worthy of that moniker? Let’s find out.
In terms of styling you can’t really call the Camry innovative, but it does look fresh and you can clearly see the family resemblance with other 2011 Toyota models. My LE test car featured the Blue Ribbon Metallic paint which I thought was very nice.
Part of the $410 LE package the 16″ 7 spoke alloy wheels help to set the exterior appearance off. The chrome trim around the grill is also a nice touch.
Inside the interior is spacious and sensible. Everything is ergonomically correct and falls easily to hand. As I noted when I tested the Corolla, I’m not a big fan of the suede / velvet entry level cloth seats, but this is just a personal preference.
Toyota has made sure that safety is top notch in the Camry. It comes with front knee airbags for the driver, front air bags for the front passengers, side seat as well as front and rear side curtain airbags.
The back seats feature a relatively flat floor so that three people can fit comfortably. You also get a fold down arm rest / cup holder.
The large trunk is made even larger by the 60 / 40 folding rear seats. They are collapsed via a pull handle conveniently located in the trunk.
The economical entry level engine is the the 2.5 liter 16 valve 4 cylinder engine making 169 horsepower and 167 lb. ft. of torque. It will get you to 60 mph in a respectable 8.3 seconds. Not bad for such a large car.
The 4 cylinder is geared for quick starts off the line so it actually feels pretty peppy taking off from a traffic light. The optional 6 cylinder will get you to 60 mph about 2 seconds faster.
The 24 valve 3.5 liter V6 makes 268 horsepower and 248 lb. ft. of torque. In terms of fuel economy you should average about 26 mpg overall in the 4 cylinder while it is rated at 22 mpg in the city and 32 on the highway.
Starting at under $20,000 and maxing out at $26,500 for the hybrid the Camry can be equipped anyway you like it. Luxury items such as heated leather seats, sunroof and navigation are available.
Out on the road, the Camry feels well put together, reliable and comfortable. Traction control helps to keep the front wheel drive Camry on the road during inclimate weather.
At night the Camry’s gages take on a life of their own with a light blue glow. They are actually pretty cool!
The Camry is very good at providing everything you want in a car without too much fanfare. While it might not be the most exciting car in its class, it very well could be the best contender overall depending on your driving style.
As someone who views driving a car as something more than just getting from point to point, you may be surprised that I have a Toyota Prius in my car collection. I chose the Prius because I wanted a hybrid, but I think the Camry hybrid is also an excellent choice if you want to save the world like me one gallon of gas at a time.
No matter if you want the entry level, hybrid or V6 equipped Camry, Toyota has you covered. Offering lots of value and utility, plenty of safety, and lots of versatility across the line, I think the 2011 Toyota Camry is still worthy of its crown.