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Toyota Camry XV50 (2011-2017): review, specs, problems

Toyota Camry has been an all-time favorite sedan for the American customer, with the better part of 11 million units finding an owner since the model debuted in 1983.

US sales for the XV50 (the seventh-gen Camry) began in September 2011, while 2014 saw the Camry receive an update that dealt mostly with the exterior styling. It's also the most American-made model on sale in the States, as 75 percent of its components are built on US soil.

In January 2017, it was replaced by the eighth-generation Toyota Camry, introduced at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.


Pros & Cons
Strong Points

Pros


Strong Points
  • spacious interior
  • comfortable
  • well-designed trim levels
  • value for money
  • top-shelf reliability

Recommended Versions
Strong Points

Cons


Weak Points
  • thirsty four-cylinder engines
  • sloppy ride
  • less fun to drive than its competitors
  • numb steering

Stay Away From
  • although the V6 is punchy, those models are more expensive, so it's all down to your budget
Strong Points

Attention


Known Problems & Recalls
  • the six-speed auto is known for glitches - it sometimes selects neutral while the car is stopped and there have been reports of it holding the second gear
  • suspension issues have also been reported to the NHTSA
  • there have been complaints about a sticky dashboard and the sun visor that won't say up, but these are rare and minor issues
  • almost 42,000 2016 Toyota Camrys were recalled due to a poorly-calibrated Occupant Classification System (it activates or deactivates the airbag depending on the weight on the seat, and a malfunction could prevent the airbags from going off in the event of a crash)

Car Details
Powertrain

Two engine choices split the range: a 2.5-liter four-cylinder petrol unit with 178 hp and a 3.5-liter V6 good for 268 hp. The Camry Hybrid relies on an ICE-electric powertrain with 200 hp on tap.

There are no manuals, only a six-speed auto gearbox, followed by the CVT, which is solely available on the hybrid version.

Naturally, the hybrid is the most frugal choice, followed by the four-cylinder engine and (not far away) the V6. Therefore, if you're looking at low maintenance costs, go for the hybrid or the four-cyl unit, but if you can provide the extra cash required by the V6 and are willing to make a compromise for more grunt, you should go for it.


Handling

Although it's not a sporty-wannabe sedan, the Toyota Camry compensates the choppy ride and pronounced body roll with bucketloads of comfort and bump-absorbing potential that make it a worthy cruiser.

Overall handling could have been better, and there's only the option of FWD. Nonetheless, the Toyota Camry is for a level-headed audience that puts comfort and practicality in front of agile road behavior.


Safety

The Toyota Camry received a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS with Good-rated crashworthiness all around, including for small front overlap and side impacts.

Besides the driver and passenger front airbags, the Camry packs front and rear head curtain airbags plus a knee airbag for both the driver and the front passenger.

The safety systems fitted on every Camry include ESC (electronic stability control) and ABS (anti-lock brakes). Optionally, customers can specify features like a pre-collision system and blind spot monitoring, just to name a few.

Comfort

Up front, the Toyota Camry features highly adjustable seats with good lateral and lumbar support - essential aspects on longer trips.

Those sitting in the back have sufficient legroom and headroom, but also shoulder room. Therefore, three adults will ride decently in the back, while three children or two adults and one child are in for above-average comfort levels.

Visibility is top-shelf on all the car's four corners, while entry and exit are a breeze. Noise isolation is excellent whether we're talking about the wind, engine or tires as potential sources, which makes the Camry one of the most silent cars in its segment.


Quality

Not quite Lexus, but not bad either, as Toyota went for a no-nonsense approach. Expect the quality of materials to improve as you go up the trim ladder, but so does the price tag.

Ergonomics are on point as well, but if you want flashy styling and a well-designed cabin, then higher trim levels are what you should look for. Overall build quality is better than average, and used models are squeakiness-free.


Practicality

With average cargo capacity (15.4 cu-ft) compared to rivals (the sleek Mazda6 offers 15 cu-ft of load space, for example) and a well-thought interior placement for the cubby holes and storing areas, the Toyota Camry can easily fulfill the needs of a family.

Also, there's the 60/40-split folding rear seat which can prove useful on road trips and holidays.

Phones, wallets, and whatnot will always find a place around the cabin, while the trunk will carry three large baggage pieces and some extra bags and backpacks, if necessary.


Infotainment

Seventh-gen Camrys feature Toyota's Entune Infotainment system which looks old but does the job if you're not looking for complex functions and meets most expectations despite the oldish appearance.

Every Camry offers a 6.1-inch infotainment display, but the XSE and XLE V6 versions offer 7.0-inch screens. The graphics could have been sharper for the navigation system, for example, but the menus are clear and intuitive.

Efficiency

The Camry Hybrid returns an EPA-estimated rating of 33 mpg city/34 mpg highway and 34 mpg combined. For the four-cylinder unit, fuel economy ratings stand at 25 miles per gallon city, 35 mpg highway, while the V6 follows closely with 21 mpg city and 31 mpg highway.


Equipment

Over time, the trim levels given to the Toyota Camry XV50 included L, LE, SE, XLE, SE V6, and XLE V6. In the hybrid territory, you'd have Hybrid LE, Hybrid XLE, and Hybrid SE, with the latter introduced in 2014.

Among the standard features, there are the 16-inch wheels, heated mirrors, automatic headlights, power front seats and a rearview camera together with a six-speaker sound setup and Bluetooth.

As you go higher up the trim pyramid, the equipment options expand to amenities like the 17- or 18-inch wheels, paddle shifters, LED daytime running lights, 7.0-inch infotainment display, a sunroof and even leather upholstery plus heated front seats on the XSE and XLE trim levels.


Acquisition

All in all, the seventh-generation Toyota Camry (XV50) provides a well-balanced package made of comfort, laid back driving and loads of space and practical features.

Naturally, going for a well-equipped model will apply some pressure on your wallet, but due to the various trim levels offered throughout the model's career, a successful compromise is easy to find, so there's no wonder that the Camry managed to outclass rivals from Honda, Ford, and Mazda.

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Tudor Rus
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