2017 Toyota Camry XLE Review

A known quantity with good qualities


Wade Thiel, Staff Writer



Positives: Very smooth ride, quiet cabin with plenty of space, comfortable seats, high-quality interior materials.
Negatives: Dull as toast to look at and drive, fuel economy can't keep up with the competition, numb and vague steering, dated infotainment system, makes you look like you've given up and moved to the 'burbs.
Bottom Line: There's a reason why the Camry sells so well. It's a car that provides comfort, reliability, ease of use and practicality wrapped in a package that won't offend anyone. It does everything it was designed to do, but no one will buy it to extract speed, high performance or cutting edge design. The car offers a smooth driving experience and comfortable seating in a package that has been proven to work for hundreds of thousands of people each year. If you want a good all-around car, the Camry fits the bill.
 View Our 2017 Toyota Camry Overview
The Camry is, plain and simple, a comfortable family sedan. It outsells every other family sedan out there, and the combination of comfort, reliability, and ease of use make it appealing to the everyman. It’s hard to go wrong with a consumer vehicle that does all these things without excelling in any one particular area. The Camry stands out as a value for consumers who want a car they can depend on and drive every day without worry or drama. That being said, Toyota recognizes that it needs to inject a bit more excitement into its bread-and-butter car without losing its base, which explains the racier redesign next year. We drove this generation’s final model for a week. Read ahead for our full review.
 

Driving Experience

5.5

 

For most folks, the Camry is the right car for everyday driving. Toyota saw its target market and made the right decision to keep its ride comfortable for all occupants first and foremost. That equates to floatier handling and less road feel, but the positive result is good shock absorption and comfortable cruising, as well as urban driving. The limits of the Camry exhibit themselves when the car is pushed harder in turns, but that’s not what most consumers in this segment are concerned about.

Ride Quality: The Camry is smooth and comfy over bumps and cracks. We wouldn’t say its ride is pillowy, but it does a good job of soaking up rough city streets so you don’t feel them much.

Acceleration: This is no race car, but it does a decent job off the line and passing on the highway. Reported 0-60 mph times are about 8 and a half seconds.

Braking: The Camry’s brakes feel progressive and strong. Reported braking distances are on par with most of the competition.

Steering: Its steering is light and somewhat vague. This car would benefit from a little more steering heft and feedback to the driver.

Handling: There is a fair amount of body roll and understeer, but it is easy to manage. It isn’t much of a canyon carver but performs adequately in the turns.

Technology

7.1

 

If you want the Entune infotainment system, you have to get the top trim XLE, but the system isn’t our favorite. Overall, the technology works just fine without any glitches, but competitors like Mazda, Hyundai, and Ford are better. That’s not to say that the Camry is lacking features, it’s just that its interface isn’t as good.

Infotainment System: The Entune 7-inch touchscreen system feels a little dated at this point. The graphics could be better and the system smoother and faster.

Controls: There’s a nice mix of buttons, knobs and touchscreen controls in the Camry. Everything is close at hand, but angling the screen and system towards the driver slightly would make things even easier to reach.

Bluetooth Pairing: Connecting a phone was easy and reconnecting upon re-entry seamless.

Voice Call Quality: For the most part, calls were clear. We experienced some minor issues with calls cutting in and out. However, it was unclear if those issues were network-related or a problem with the infotainment system itself.

Styling

6

 

The Camry is a car designed to appeal to a wide variety of buyers. Toyota actually restyled the interior and exterior in the middle of this car’s cycle to make it a little more exciting, and it was definitely an improvement with more style. But carmakers are taking more styling risks these days, even with family sedans, and Toyota’s next Camry promises to follow suit. That being said, the Camry is generally a decent-looking automobile but won’t turn any heads.

Front: The Toyota logo and a chrome bar that stretches the length between the headlights stretches across the top portion of the grille adding some variation on the front end of the car. It’s a reasonably attractive nose but the large, lower grille mouth reminds us somewhat of a fish.

Rear: The wraparound taillights are connected by a prominent upside-down "U" chrome bar that unifies the back. The integrated deck spoiler adds a bit of drama, and overall it's a decent looking back end. Oh, there's that faux diffuser that's pretty much everywhere these days.

Profile: The side of the Camry is conservatively styled with no polarizing elements. The character lines are subtle, and there isn’t much to complain about or praise.

Cabin: The interior styling of the Camry is on the busier side. The dash and center stack looks chunky and layered and there are a lot of hard plastics. It’s not the worst-looking dash out there, but Toyota could certainly do better.

Comfort

8.7

 

From a comfort standpoint, the Camry is one of the better cars out there for the money. It features a spacious cabin and high-quality interior materials. There is room for improvements, and some parts of the cabin feel cheap and hard. In general, the car is an excellent place to spend an extended period of time.

Front Seats: The front heated power seats were leather trimmed and supportive, though a bit flat, meaning we slid around a little in the curves. However, most of the time, the flat seat and tons of space allows you to stretch out and get comfortable.

Rear Seats: The large, leather-wrapped rear seats proved comfortable and spacious, with plenty of support and padding. They offered a lot of space to stretch out and relax.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The quiet cabin of the car isolates you from the road and makes cruising around very enjoyable. We noticed no odd vibrations or sounds while driving. It felt solid and quiet even at highway speeds.

Visibility: You can easily see the road from the driver’s seat. Front and side visibility are good and rear isn’t too bad either. The backup camera came in handy in some tight parking situations.

Climate: The dual-zone climate control and heated front seats make heating up or cooling off the cabin easy.

Safety

8.7

 

Family sedans have to be safe. The Toyota Camry in many ways exemplifies all of the safety attributes you want from a midsize sedan. The NHTSA awarded it an overall crash-test rating of five stars, and if that isn’t enough of an indication that the car will keep you and your family safe, it also received top honors from the IIHS.

IIHS Rating: The Camry is a top Safety Pick+ for 2017. The IIHS awarded the Camry good ratings in all crash tests and an advanced rating in crash avoidance and mitigation technology. The headlights and ease of use for the child seat anchors received acceptable ratings.

Standard Tech: The Camry XLE comes with a fair amount of standard safety equipment, including enhanced vehicle stability control, traction control, ABS with electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist and smart stop technology, a backup camera and tire-pressure monitoring.

Optional Tech: Our test vehicle did come with some optional safety equipment, including automatic high-beam headlights, radar cruise control, lane departure alert, anti-theft system, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.

Storage/Cargo

7

 

Because the Camry is the go-to family sedan for many families, it's packed with storage space, right? Not necessarily. It has a spacious cabin but we feel that the company could have used that cabin space a little better to accommodate more storage areas. However, what is there is well-places and easy to use.

Storage Space: Between the small compartment in front of the shifter, the space beneath the armrest and the door pockets, you should have enough places to stow your everyday carry items. These spaces are easy to access and use, but not extremely large. If you need a lot of interior storage, you may want to shop around a little more.

Cargo Room: There’s 15.4 cubic feet of cargo space available in the trunk of the Camry. That’s a fair amount for the segment, but slightly less than some of the Camry’s tough competition. Both the Chevrolet Malibu and the Hyundai Sonata have more.

Fuel Economy

6.6

 

The Camry is the kind of car that does it all. Its midsize family-sedan status means that it has to be at least reasonably efficient, and it is. The EPA rates this car at 24 mpg city and 33 mpg highway. While you can find cars out there with better gas mileage, those are respectable numbers.

Observed: We saw an average of 24 mpg during our week with the vehicle.

Driving Factors: We drove a mixture of city and highway driving, covering more city miles than highway ones. As a result, we ended up in a lot of stop and go traffic.

Audio

7.3

 

The 8-speaker JBL audio system provides loud and clear sound to all areas of the cabin. We noticed no sound distortion even at high volume.



Final Thoughts

The Camry XLE provides an excellent midsize sedan package to families at a good price. The car isn’t exciting but it’s genuinely good all around, which makes it a pretty enticing buy for the average car buyer. If you’re looking to stand out or would like to get something you can feel cool in, look elsewhere, otherwise, this car is likely an excellent choice.
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