In LE and XLE models, the motor makes 169 horsepower and 167 lb-ft of torque, while the SE model gets an uprated version that makes 179 hp/171 lb-ft (this version of the 2.5-litre also serves as the new base engine for the 2009 RAV4). The old 2.4-litre made 158 horses and 161 lb-ft regardless of trim.

The 2.5-litre engine is an aluminum block design, with the usual dual overhead camshafts, Toyota’s VVT-i variable valve timing system and ECTS-i electronic, drive-by-wire throttle control.

First Drive: 2010 Toyota Camry and Highlander four cylinder models toyota green scene1 first drives
First Drive: 2010 Toyota Camry and Highlander four cylinder models toyota green scene1 first drives
First Drive: 2010 Toyota Camry and Highlander four cylinder models toyota green scene1 first drives
2010 Toyota Camry LE. Click image to enlarge

Regardless of trim or transmission choice, fuel consumption with the new four-cylinder engine is reduced. With the automatic, the 2.5-litre Camry is rated at 9.0/6.1 L/100 km (city/highway), down from 9.5/6.2. With the SE’s manual transmission, ratings are 9.5/6.1, compared to 9.6/6.4 in the 2009 SE model.

I drove an LE-trimmed Camry with the new engine and six-speed automatic. Not unexpectedly, it was a very impressive powertrain: the transmission shifts beautifully, and the engine is very smooth, and revs willingly when spirited acceleration is called for. It feels stronger than its power rating, which suggests a healthy amount of mid-range torque.

Six-cylinder Camrys carry on using last year’s 3.5-litre engine, good for 268 hp/248 lb-ft and returning a combined fuel consumption rating of 9.0 L/100 km. As well, the Camry Hybrid continues with the same powertrain as 2009′s model, with up to 187 hp and a combined fuel consumption rating of 5.7 L/100 km.

Also new for the 2010 Camry is the addition of VSC and TRAC – Toyota’s abbreviations for stability control and traction control – as standard equipment on the entry-level LE model. LED taillamps are also standard across the Camry line for 2010. As before, power windows are standard, but 2010 models get auto up/down functions for all windows. Toyota has also redesigned the Camry’s front fascia, headlamps and wheels. Also, the SE model gets a dual exhaust.

Plenty of desirable features are still optional, though. A power-adjustable driver’s seat is part of the Convenience Package. And in order to get a USB audio input and Bluetooth capability, you have to upgrade to the Touring Package (LE), or Leather and Moonroof Package (SE), both of which will likely be pricey additions to get simple options that could easily (and inexpensively, for Toyota) be made standard on all models.

2010 Camry MSRPs begin at $24,900 for the base LE; with the Touring Package, the LE goes for $27,220. The SE with manual transmission sells for $26,205, while the XLE four-cylinder goes for $30,925, or $32,735 with the Navigation Package. V6 Camry prices range from $28,345 (LE V6) to $36,040 (XLE V6), excluding any options.

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