Test Drive: 2010 Toyota Camry LE toyota car test drives
2010 Toyota Camry LE. Click image to enlarge

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Toyota Canada

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Review and photos by Jeff Burry

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2010 Toyota Camry

Orleans, Ontario – Apart from some exterior appearance upgrades and additional standard equipment, the big news for the 2010 Camry is its new, standard 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine, that when combined with a new standard six-speed automatic transmission, offers more power and better fuel economy than its 2.4-litre predecessor.

Producing 169 horsepower and 167 lb. ft. of torque, the 2.5 engine generates 11 more horsepower and 10 more foot pounds of torque than last year’s 2.4-litre engine. In addition, Toyota was able to squeeze another 10 ponies out of the 2.5-litre engine installed in the sportier Camry SE model.

As before, the optional engine is a 268-hp 3.5-litre V6, except in the Hybrid which uses a four-cylinder engine, CVT, and electric motor.

Test Drive: 2010 Toyota Camry LE toyota car test drives
2010 Toyota Camry LE. Click image to enlarge

Transmissions have also been upgraded: both four and six-cylinder engines now come with six-speed automatic transmissions with Sequential Shift capability (replacing the base five-speed auto), except the SE which has a standard six-speed manual transmission (replacing the five-speed manual) and the Hybrid which has a continuously variable transmission.

An important safety upgrade for 2010 is the addition of standard electronic stability control and traction control on base LE sedans.

To enhance its appearance, the 2010 Camry features an updated front grille (providing for a more muscular looking stance), bumper, new wheel design, headlights and LED taillamps that provide enhanced visibility for vehicles approaching from the rear.

Inside, additional equipment added for this year includes Bluetooth capability, XM satellite ready antenna, backup camera, USB audio input and all-round (front and rear) automatic power windows.

Test Drive: 2010 Toyota Camry LE toyota car test drives
2010 Toyota Camry LE. Click image to enlarge

2010 MSRPs are: Camry LE ($24,900), SE ($26,205), XLE ($30,925), LE-V6 ($28,345), SE-V6 ($31,555), XLE-V6 ($36,040), and Camry Hybrid ($30,900).

My test vehicle was a base Camry LE model with the new 2.5-litre, engine and six-speed automatic and no options. With Freight and A/C tax, the as-tested price came to $26,420.

Interior impressions

One of the biggest selling points of the Camry remains unchanged: its well laid-out and spacious interior. The vehicle will seat five adults comfortably with room to spare in the rear cabin. Rear passengers, six-foot plus in height, will be pleased with the amount of leg and head room.

The gauges are laid out in typical Toyota style – non-busy with quality build materials and easy-to-read dials. Features of the base LE include an AM/FM/CD with MP3/WMA player, audio auxiliary jack, six speaker sound system, full wheel covers, and 60/40 split rear seats that can easily fold forward into the rear cabin area with the use of easy-access controls located high in the cargo bay. Note that folding rear seatbacks are not available on SE models but a centre pass-through is.

Test Drive: 2010 Toyota Camry LE toyota car test drives
Test Drive: 2010 Toyota Camry LE toyota car test drives
2010 Toyota Camry LE. Click image to enlarge

Visibility is decent all-around although the height of the rear deck lid may make for a little guess work in terms of where the rear bumper ends and the concrete wall or parked vehicle behind you starts. A back-up camera is available as part of the Navigation package and may prove useful when backing into unfamiliar parking spaces.

The Camry features multiple airbags – seven actually (driver, passenger, front seat side, front and rear curtain and driver knee), and for families with small children there are anchor points for child seats and child protector rear door locks. Stability and Traction control are now standard on all Camry models.

Should you wish to enhance your ride, Toyota has a bevy of additional “creature comforts” for the various Camry models. Consumers can choose from a Convenience, Touring, Leather, Moonroof or Navigation package (available only on Camry SE V6 and XLE models), to name just a few.

Driving impressions

While being a little more responsive when called upon, the Camry’s new 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine is also surprisingly quiet. The additional gear in the new six-speed automatic transmission is partly responsible for the Camry’s gains in fuel economy – compared to the 2009 four-cylinder model, fuel consumption improves by 0.5 litres per 100 kilometres in city driving and by 0.1 L/100 km on the highway, according to Energuide.

Test Drive: 2010 Toyota Camry LE toyota car test drives
2010 Toyota Camry LE; photo courtesy Toyota Canada. Click image to enlarge

The Camry is a pleasure to drive because of its smooth and comfortable ride but it’s admittedly soft. If it is a little more “oomph” you are looking for, consider the sportier SE model. Handling will feel a little tighter and you will have a better feel for the road passing under you. The stiffer suspension of the SE also translates into less body lean when cornering and will further increase road-feel.

All 2010 models feature anti-lock braking with electronic brakeforce distribution to even out braking forces and Brake assist to help add braking power in emergency stops. Disc brakes are located at each wheel with ventilated front discs.

The Camry LE (both four-cylinder and six-cylinder models) and Camry XLE are fitted with P215/60R16 all-season tires. The sportier Camry SE comes with larger 17 inch wheels and tires, adding a little to the more muscular look of the vehicle. All Camry models come with a full-size spare tire.

Competitors

The mid-size sedan market segment is a very competitive one and vehicle manufacturers are offering aggressive pricing across multiple brand lines. Consider the following base prices being offered – Honda Accord ($25,290), Nissan Altima ($23,198), Mazda6 ($23,195), Ford Fusion ($21,499) and the Chevrolet Malibu ($23,995).

Verdict

If it’s a comfortable, easy driving experience you’re looking for with more emphasis on comfort than performance – plus the practicality of a large cabin and trunk – then the Camry is a good choice.

Pricing: 2010 Toyota Camry LE
  • Base price: $24,900
  • Options: None
  • A/C tax: $100
  • Freight: $1,420
  • Price as tested: $26,420
    Click here for options, dealer invoice prices and factory incentives

    Specifications
  • Buyer’s Guide: 2010 Toyota Camry

    Competitors
  • Buyer’s Guide: 2010 Chevrolet Malibu
  • Buyer’s Guide: 2010 Ford Fusion
  • Buyer’s Guide: 2010 Honda Accord
  • Buyer’s Guide: 2010 Mazda6
  • 2010 Nissan Altima
  • Buyer’s Guide: 2010 Subaru Legacy
  • Buyer’s Guide: 2010 Volkswagen Passat

    Related articles on Autos
  • Toyota introduces high-level four-cylinder Camry
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  • 2010 Toyota Camry unveiled in Detroit

    Crash test results
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
  • Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)
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