The Toyota Camry has fostered an enviable reputation for quality and reliability in the three and a half decades since its launch. A facelifted eighth-generation mid-size sedan is upon us now, and with seven models to choose from and an extensive list of options available, it's an almost guaranteed fit for any driver. There are two motors to choose from, starting with a 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder that produces 203 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, followed by a 3.5-liter V6 that pushes 301 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque. Competing against Camry are two strong contenders: Nissan's Altima and Hyundai's Sonata - can the Camry retain its class-leading status?
After a complete redesign in 2018, this year builds on that platform's success with the addition of Apple CarPlay and Amazon Alexa. These infotainment upgrades reflect Toyota's intuition that customers increasingly value digital features, due to most of their lives being planned via Smartphone.
Arguably the most exciting Camry design in more than a decade, the new design features bi-LED headlights, LED daytime running lights and LED combination taillights. You can opt for either a dark gray or bright metallic front grille, and a panoramic glass sunroof on higher trims. Rolling the Camry along is a selection of 16-, 17-, or 18-inch wheels. Sport bumpers and accents are also available on higher trims.
The Camry stands tall at 56.9 inches and is 72.4 inches wide, making it unmistakably broader than its narrow-bodied predecessors. Ground clearance is also reasonable at 5.7 inches, allowing it to traverse urban environments with substandard road surfaces. Its curb weight ranges between 3,241 and 3,572 lbs depending on the trim and configuration you opt for, which is a touch on the heavier side. The Camry is also a bit on the large side, with a 192.1-inch long body distributed over a 111.2-inch wheelbase. Parking is not an issue and that size and wheelbase ratio does give it ample cabin space.
The 2019 Toyota Camry has a rather extensive color palette to choose from, with ten color choices and three two-tone options available. The L trim has five color options available, Super White, Galactic Aqua Mica, Midnight Black Metallic, Celestial Silver Metallic, and Predawn Gray Mica. Up one trim, the LE trades dark blue for brown with the Brownstone color. The SE trim gets Supersonic Red ($395) and Blue Streak Metallic added to its palette, dropping Brownstone in favor of Galactic Aqua Mica again. At XLE trim, Brownstone returns, while Super White and Supersonic Red are replaced with Wind Chill Pearl ($395) and Ruby Flare Pearl ($395). The XSE introduces two-tone colors ($500), with Midnight Black Metallic accenting either Blue Streak Metallic, Celestial Silver Metallic, or Wind Chill Pearl while favoring Supersonic Red over Ruby Flare Pearl again. The XSE V6 shares a palette with its base XLE counterpart.
The base 203-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder is responsive, while Camry's larger 301-hp 3.5-liter V6 is powerful. Acceleration is impressive on both engines, with the V6 hitting 0-60 mph in 5.8 seconds, and the base engine is close on its heels at 7.6 seconds for the same performance benchmark. None of the seven models in the Camry lineup provide any all-wheel-drive options, with power exclusively sent to the front wheels, unlike the Nissan Altima with AWD available on nearly all its derivatives.
The 2019 Toyota Camry has two motors to choose from, both tailored to different requirements. Starting off with the base motor, a 2.5-liter four-cylinder sends 203 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox, with no manual option available. This motor being responsive and getting up to speed isn't an issue, with enough power in reserve to overtake slower traffic with relative ease.
The 3.5-liter V6 is quite potent at 301 hp and 267 lb-ft. Utilizing the same eight-speed automatic, it darts off the line and with strong roll-on acceleration making overtaking and lane merging feel effortless. It's the smoother of the two, and worth a stretch if within budget.
The latest iteration Camry is both confident and comfortable to drive. Its steering feels direct and responsive, with ample amounts of feedback. It's not particularly sporty, but compared to Camrys of old the steering is a lot more talkative. The brakes are also sharp and respond with a linear pedal feel, with repeated emergency stops yielding class-competitive stopping distances. On poor road surfaces, the suspension has enough travel and damping to absorb small to medium bumps, but not to an extent that you'd mistake it for a luxury car - that's the job of the larger Avalon. In the Camry, body roll is well controlled, and it turns keenly enough without being unsettled by mid-corner bumps. The Camry feels very agile for a vehicle of its size. It might not be a sporty drive, but it certainly is a confident and competent vehicle to pilot.
Toyota's powertrain efficiency is very impressive with the Camry. The base 2.5-liter motor achieves an EPA rated 28/39/32 mpg city/highway/combined. That equates to an impressive 512 miles with Camry's 16-gallon fuel tank capacity, just shy of the Nissan Altima's 518.4 miles with a less powerful engine. Despite its large engine capacity, the 3.5-liter V6 doesn't do too bad either. With an estimated 22/33/26 mpg economy rating, 416 miles is as far as you'll get between fill-ups.
Time spent inside the Camry is certainly pleasant, whether as a driver or passenger. The swept dashboard design, with an integrated infotainment system at the center, is a welcoming sight to look at, keeping controls well within reach of the driver - without removing them too far from the front passenger. We're also glad to see that Toyota didn't completely abandon buttons and dials for the sake of touch-screen technology. Windows in all directions are large and flood the cabin with natural light, even more so with the option of a moonroof. The interior feels both sophisticated and refined.
The 2019 Toyota Camry seats a driver and four passengers quite comfortably, as one would expect from a design which has matured as Toyota's family car of choice for eight generations. Driver and front passenger are greeted with 38.3 inches of headroom, of which only 0.8 inches is lost with the addition of a moonroof. Rear headroom remains unaffected, however, with 38 inches accommodating full-size adults without issue. Legroom at the rear is also rather generous, with a matching 38 inches. Shoulder and hip room at the rear sit at 55.7- and 54.7 inches respectively, providing additional comfort for the whole family.
The biggest flaw with the Toyota Camry's interior is the monumental divide in material quality between the base and top of the range models. At its pinnacle, Camry is nothing short of luxuriously finished, with Black, Ash, Macadamia, or Cockpit Red leather wrapping the seats, dashboard/console inlays, and inner door cards. Satin trim inlays and layered wood surround the infotainment and climate controls, separating leather and plastics in a tasteful fashion. At the base and lower trims, however, that image changes drastically. Inexpensive plastics and unrefined trim pieces comprising most of the cabin, made worse by dull cloth.
A low liftover height and wide aperture afford the trunk ease of use, with 15.1 cubic feet of cargo space that opens up even more generously when folding the 60/40 split rear seats down. That should prove sufficient for most weekend family trips or even a monthly grocery shopping expedition.
Small-item storage is on the plus side as well, with front and rear door pockets large enough to accommodate water bottles and a few loose items you just need out of the way. For the driver and passenger, a console bin offers good storage space for miscellaneous items you need in reach, while Camry's forward center console bin does a good enough job to keep the odd goodies out of sight.
The 2019 Toyota Camry has an array of features available, with some of the more desirable options reserved for higher trims, or only available as part of an options package. The entire range benefits from Hill Start Assist Control, an integrated backup camera, 4.2-inch multi-information display with varying functionality depending on trim, cruise control, power windows and door locks, day/night rearview mirror and 12V power outlet. Higher trim levels add dual-zone climate control, wireless charging, a bird's eye view camera, push-button start, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and an electronic parking brake. A moonroof is also optional if you enjoy an abundance of natural lighting in the cabin. Driver assistance features are equipped by means of the standard Toyota Safety Sense system.
Camry's infotainment comes in the form of either a seven-inch or optional eight-inch touchscreen display, called Entune. Sound is handled by a six-speaker audio system, with a single USB port, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Siri Eyes Free, and a WiFi hotspot taking care of connectivity. Opting for the eight-inch touchscreen infotainment sees audio upgraded to a much crisper nine-speaker JBL system, adding two additional USB ports and satellite radio. Navigation is a notable oversight, however, with workarounds requiring you to pair your phone with the Entune app and using third-party navigation software. To Toyota's credit, the touchscreen user interface is neat and intuitive, responding to inputs without notable delay.
Toyota has had more time than most to refine its vehicles, with the Camry stretching a 35-year lifespan. That said, new technologies open up possibilities for issues and some owners report sluggish transmission function with delayed shifting as the main concern. A majority of buyers haven't reported any major issues. There has only been a single recall on Camry models, with the load capacity label's text fading prematurely. Luckily, the Camry boasts a five-year/60,000 mile and three-year/36,000 mile powertrain and basic warranty to take care of the rest.
The 2019 Toyota Camry received a full five stars from the NHTSA, and a 2019 Top Safety Pick Plus rating from the IIHS, making it one of the safest mid-size sedans on the road today.
Toyota calls its safety matrix the Star Safety System, which includes vehicle stability control, traction control, ABS, EBD, brake assist, and smart stop technology. All models come equipped with ten airbags - including driver and front passenger knee airbags and rear seat-mounted airbags - and features such as front seats designed to reduce whiplash. Toyota Safety adds a pre-collision system, lane departure alert, automatic high beams, and dynamic radar cruise control. A blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert is available as an optional extra, too.
The 2019 Toyota Camry is without a doubt an exceptional car, living up to the reputation of its heritage. It successfully caters to a broad audience with its extensive model lineup and engine options. Market approval for Camry is high, as it ranks as one of the most popular cars in America. If you can forego Apple CarPlay, the better deal is to search for last year's model.
Pricing for the 2019 Toyota Camry starts at an MSRP of $24,095, excluding tax, license, registration, and a $930 destination charge. At a negligible price difference, the LE trim only costs $505 more at $24,600. The SE model follows with a $25,800 price tag, while the XLE sees a big leap in cost to $29,175. Similar to the L and LE trims, the XSE and XLE only differ by $550, though opting for either trims V6 variant sees the price jump sharply to $34,300 and $34,850 respectively.
The 2019 Toyota Camry range comprises seven variants: L, LE, SE, XLE, XSE, XLE V6, and XSE V6.
At the entry-level, L trim is a barebones version of the Camry, offering very little in terms of features and finishes, but all of the standard safety features. It comes equipped with Bi-LED automatic headlights, LED daytime running lights, 16-inch steel wheels, an integrated backup camera, seven-inch touch-screen Entune infotainment system, 4.2-inch Multi-Information display, and hill start assist control.
The LE replaces steel wheels with 17-inch alloys, adds a power-adjustable driver's seat and center console armrest.
The SE takes the wheels up to 18-inch machined-finish alloy wheels and adds a color-keyed rear spoiler, dual chrome tips at the rear, single-zone climate control, sport SofTex-trimmed front seats, and a tire pressure monitoring system.
XLE upgrades to the Camry include LED headlights with integrated daytime running lights, LED taillights, and a metallic front grille. The 4.2-inch multi-information display grows to seven inches, and a host of features such as wireless charging, leather-trimmed seats, selectable driving modes, an electronic parking brake, push-button start, and dual-zone climate control make their way into the mix.
The XSE tints the Camry's headlights and taillights, adds gloss black to its front grille, sets the Camry rolling on 19-inch machined alloy wheels and equips a dual chrome-tipped exhaust.
Both V6 models carry over the technology and features of their base engine counterparts, with the addition of a ten-inch color head-up display, a panoramic sunroof, and an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system.
The LE trim gets a blind-spot monitor with Convenience Package ($1,200), which includes the Smart Key System, HomeLink, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The power tilt/slide moonroof/Convenience Package ($2,100) is also available. The SE trim sees additional packages added to the list, such as the moonroof as a standalone option ($900), the Audio/Convenience Package ($3,165), and the Nightshade Edition Package ($700), which nets you black 18-inch wheels, mirror caps, door handles, shark-fin antenna, rear spoiler, window trim, rear badges, and the rear Toyota emblem.
Moving onto the XLE, the panoramic glass roof with front power tilt/slide moonroof ($1,045), Navigation Package that includes the panoramic roof ($2,805), and Driver Assist Package ($4,980) that includes both former packages, as well as a ten-inch head-up display, bird's eye view camera, and rear cross-traffic alert, are available. The XSE trim separates the Navigation Package ($1,760), while the XSE V6 offers the Driver Assist Package ($1,550) as a standalone as well.
We recommend the Toyota Camry XLE as the best buy, offering a great balance of features for the price. The L, LE and SE models vary only slightly in terms of standard equipment, yet lack the comforts we consider essential to a family car. The XLE features LED lights all around, 18-inch alloy wheels, color-keyed exterior trims, an integrated backup camera, wireless phone charging, selectable drive modes, steering-wheel-mounted controls, and a blind spot monitoring system. If you need more from your Camry, adding the Driver Assist Package ($4,980) delivers a significantly specced car.
The Nissan Altima offers a more imaginative interior. The Camry is the more powerful contender in terms of raw performance (301- vs 248 hp), but the Altima offers better practically, with slightly larger cargo figures than that of the Camry (15.4 vs 15 cubic feet). The Altima's rear doors open to a near 90-degrees, allowing much easier access for passengers. The Camry's notable superiority in engine output (53hp) is of greater value than Altima's slightly larger luggage capacity, making it the recommended pick.
Both offer great practicality and styling. The Hyundai Sonata has a less powerful motor as standard, its 2.4-liter four-cylinder producing 185 hp and 178 lb-ft of torque, compared to the Camry's 2.5-liter with 203 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. Gas mileage also falls short on the Hyundai, with an EPA rated 26/35/29 mpg compared to Toyota's 28/39/32 mpg, although the Sonata does have an 18.5-gallon fuel tank, 2.5-gallons more than Camry. The Sonata also offers 1.3 cubic feet greater cargo volume compared to the 15 cubic feet available in Camry, but you'd hardly notice the difference between these two cars, with both offering great ease of use.