The Camry is known as a perennial bastion of practicality and reliability, and traditionally has always cut the mustard as the smart, if not a bit drab, purchase. The latest generation of Camry has brought a fresh set of lines and a sense of newfound confidence. While the Camry still isn’t something that will overly excite the senses, it has become easier on the eyes and it is a very pleasing, competitive and competent car.
My review vehicle was the SE trim, but this was no ordinary SE, my friends. This was an SE Special Edition. For taking the SE plunge, you’re rewarded with an SE-specific bolder-than-expected front end (with its fairly dramatic “Sport Style” grille treatment) and a rear spoiler. The Special Edition adds a couple of new colour choices – mine came in the striking Blue Streak Metallic. And so you don’t get confused with the plebes scooting around in non-Special SEs, there is a “Special Edition” badge on the rear end.
The Special Edition’s 18-inch aluminum wheels are stunning in my opinion, and are wrapped with meaty 225/45-sized rubber. It all comes together to give this Camry a surprisingly confident stance. The one thing that threw me off a bit was the fake rear quarter window, but I got over it.
Camrys are known for comfort, and the 2016’s spacious cabin is no exception. Toyota’s materials are nice, with a mix of soft-touch and hard plastics and fit and finish is excellent. The interior styling is inoffensive and works pretty well.
The SE-specific “sport fabric” seats are augmented in the Special Edition and come in a cool two-tone black and blue scheme. They are comfortable and quite well bolstered. The driver’s seat is power-adjustable, but neither of them is heated. Aluminum scuff plates on the door sills are SE stuff, but the blue stitching on the dash and gear selector boot, two-tone blue stitching on the seats and the cool blue-on-white instruments are all Special Edition exclusives.
Front and centre in the dash is a 6.1-inch touchscreen handling the audio, phone and fuel economy displays. I was impressed with the base sound system and interacting with the touchscreen is mostly intuitive and straight-forward. Underneath is a manual climate control system, something you don’t expect in a nearly $29,000 car.
There are nice touches like keyless entry, push-start ignition and a power moonroof and a surprise or two – like the Qi wireless charging mat built into the bin at the front of the console – that last bit comes compliments of the Special Edition trim. While the SE is a relatively basic car, you can always step up a notch to the more kitted-out XSE if you need more “stuff”.
Hello from the other side: 2016 Honda Accord Sedan Touring
The Camry offers plenty of in-cabin storage options. Under the centre stack at the front of the console is a lidded bin, where you’ll find the aforementioned wireless charging zone, as well as USB, auxiliary and 12V plugs, and there is a huge carpeted bin under the armrest with another 12V plug as well as the expected change bin on left underside of dash.