- Comfortable and spacious interior with above-average rear seat space
- Easy to see out of
- Luxury and sport trim levels cater to different driving preferences
- User-friendly interior controls
- Smooth and powerful V6 engine
- Four-cylinder engine returns middling fuel economy for this class of car
Popularity of a particular consumer item in America and the quality of said consumer item don't always correlate very well. Whether you're talking about hamburgers or watches, cheap often wins the day, but that's not the case with the 2017 Toyota Camry. This is a best-selling sedan and and it's also one of best.
This largely comes down to how well the Camry goes about its business. It's comfortable to drive every day and has a big backseat that will carry some friends to lunch or haul your family across the country. The Camry is also easy to see out of, can be fitted with a helpful array of technology features and boasts excellent safety scores. Toyota even offers two distinct versions of the Camry, the regular LE and XLE and the sport-themed SE and XSE, to better satisfy a range of driving preferences.
We're partial to the Camry SE or XSE because of their sportier styling and more taut suspension tuning
Even if you go with the SE or XSE, the Camry isn't the sportiest sedan in the segment. The Camry's arch-rival, the Honda Accord, is a bit livelier, as are the Ford Fusion and Mazda 6. Nor does the Camry have the lock on value as the Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima are impressively well-rounded for the price. But overall we think the Camry deserves a look thanks to its overall level of refinement, features and comfort.
WHAT'S NEW FOR 2017
For 2017, the Camry XLE and XSE trim levels now have a premium sound system as standard equipment. Last year, it was optional. Toyota has discontinued the Special Edition trim level from last year, though. Otherwise, the Camry is unchanged.
TRIMS & EQUIPMENT
The 2017 Toyota Camry is a midsize sedan available in LE, SE, XSE and XLE trim levels. The Toyota Camry Hybrid is reviewed separately.
Standard equipment on the base Camry LE includes 16-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, heated mirrors, air-conditioning, keyless entry, a rearview camera, cruise control, an eight-way power driver seat (with two-way power lumbar adjustment), 60/40 split-folding rear seatbacks, cloth upholstery, a 6.1-inch Entune touchscreen electronics interface, voice controls, Bluetooth connectivity, Siri Eyes Free and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB/iPod interface.
The Camry SE builds on that with 17-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, sport-themed exterior styling and interior trim elements, cloth and synthetic leather upholstery and a leather-trimmed steering wheel with paddle shifters.
Optional on the LE and SE is an Entune Audio Plus package that includes an upgraded 7-inch touchscreen, satellite radio and HD radio. A sunroof is also optional.
Next is the Camry XSE, which starts with the SE's equipment and adds 18-inch wheels, LED running lights, leather and synthetic suede upholstery, heated front seats, a four-way power passenger seat, dual-zone automatic climate control (with rear seat vents), the Entune Audio Plus package, a 10-speaker JBL premium sound system andQi wireless smartphone charging.
The Camry XLE is equipped similarly to the XSE, but switches to the LE's comfort-oriented suspension tuning and goes without the sporty styling elements. It has 17-inch alloy wheels and full leather upholstery.
The bigger 7-inch touchscreen comes standard on the XSE and XLE trim levels.
A Convenience package is offered on the SE, XSE and XLE trims that includes keyless ignition and entry (with hands-free trunk opening) and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
Note that the V6-powered versions of the XSE and XLE get a few additional standard features, including LED headlights, a noise-reducing windshield, a sunroof and the Convenience package.
Optional on the XSE and the XLE is a blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert system and an Advanced Technology package that bundles lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, a pre-collision warning and braking system and automatic high-beam headlight control. A navigation system with additional smartphone app integration (the Entune Premium Audio with Navigation package) is optional for SE, XSE and XLE.
The XLE can additionally be equipped with Safety Connect emergency telematics (see Safety section).
INTERIOR & SAFETY
The 2017 Toyota Camry provides one of the most comfortable and spacious cabins of any midsize family sedan. There's plenty of headroom and legroom up front and nearly as much in back, where even taller adults will be content to ride for extended periods. Moreover, a rear-facing child seat will fit in back with ease. The fixed rear headrests make it difficult to properly secure a front-facing child seat, though. Space in the trunk, at 15.4 cubic feet, is average for a midsize sedan but plenty big for most situations.
The Camry's interior isn't very stylish or flashy, but it's well-built and ergonomically sound.
From the driver's vantage point, most of the controls are easy to operate at a glance and glove-friendly. The sensibly designed climate controls deserve special praise for their simple, intuitive operation. On the technology front, the Camry gets a standard 6.1-inch version of Toyota's Entune touchscreen infotainment system, with an upgraded 7-inch touchscreen specified on multiple trim levels. The graphics aren't as crisp as the segment's best, and Toyota doesn't offer full smartphone integration (via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto) like the Accord does, but like the Camry's other control interfaces, these screens are relatively straightforward and easy to use.
Every 2017 Toyota Camry comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front and rear side airbags, front knee airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and a rearview camera.
The XSE and XLE can optionally be equipped with a blind-spot warning system that's paired with a rear cross-traffic alert system. The Technology package adds a lane departure warning system and a forward collision mitigation system that warns the driver of an imminent collision and automatically applies the brakes if necessary.
Optional only on the XLE is Safety Connect, which adds automatic collision notification, an emergency assist button and a stolen-vehicle locator.
In Edmunds brake testing, a Camry LE stopped from 60 mph in an impressively short 116 feet. However, a pair of XLE V6 test cars stopped from 60 mph in 127 and 129 feet, which is on the long side for this class.
In government crash testing, the Camry received five out of five stars for overall crash protection, with four stars for frontal-impact protection and five stars for side-impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Camry its best possible rating of "Good" in its moderate-overlap and small-overlap frontal-offset impact tests. The Camry also earned a "Good" score in the side-impact, roof-strength and head restraint/seatbelts (whiplash protection) tests.
PERFORMANCE & HANDLING
Every 2017 Toyota Camry trim comes standard with front-wheel drive, a six-speed automatic transmission and a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 178 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque.
In Edmunds testing, a Camry LE with the standard engine went from zero to 60 mph in 8.3 seconds, which is a bit slower than average for a four-cylinder midsize sedan.
The XSE and XLE trims also offer a 3.5-liter V6 rated at 268 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque. An XLE V6 sprinted to 60 mph in just 6.2 seconds in our testing, a quick result for this class of vehicle.
EPA-estimated fuel economy for the four-cylinder engine wasn't available as of this writing but last year's Camry was rated at 28 mpg combined (25 mpg city/35 mpg highway), a few mpg behind rivals like the Honda Accord or Kia Optima.
The V6's EPA-estimated fuel economy of 24 mpg combined (21 mpg city/30 mpg highway) is about average compared to rival V6 engines.
The Camry has traditionally been known for its comfort and quietness, and fortunately those traits are still abundantly present with the 2017 model. Even the sport-tuned SE and XSE have a supple ride, but if you want the most forgiving suspension possible, the LE and XLE certainly deliver. When it comes time for highway on-ramps and the like, the base four-cylinder accelerates well enough, but the optional V6 is the star of the show with its effortless and seemingly endless thrust. Either way, the six-speed transmission is quite refined and notably quick to downshift when you need it to.
The 2017 Camry isn't as bland to drive as some older Camrys once were. For most people, the XSE will strike the right balance between performance and comfort.
If there's a weakness to the driving experience, it's that the Camry does little to stoke your driving spirit. It's composed and secure when going around turns, no question, but the Camry doesn't feel as lively (through the way it steers and/or grips the road) as some other top sedans. Comfort, convenience and efficiency are what the Camry is about.
Whether you're looking for a cushy A-to-B driving experience or a more engaging one that's in-line with main midsize sedan competitors, the 2017 Toyota Camry should have you covered.