April 29, 2010
Review and photos by Michael Clark
2011 Toyota Camry
Sometimes, being dependable and non-descript can be a good thing, like if you’re a washing machine, or a hired assassin. When it comes to the mid-sized sedan wars, even Toyota reliability is sometimes in need of bright and shiny things. Oh right; Toyota reliability, which is still being bounced around by dirty laundry merchants as the story of the week. It’s hard to imagine a Camry doing anything approaching careening, especially this week’s example, a 2011 LE I-4 with Convenience Package, and an MSRP of $26,700. (Prices shown do not include freight, taxes, regional or promotional incentives.) Remember the Oldsmobile tag-line of years past? Ladies and gentlemen, this is your father’s Toyota.
The Convenience Pack adds in Bluetooth phone access keys to the four-spoke tilt/telescoping wheel, along with audio controls, and the cruise control stalk at the 4PM position. The Bluetooth voice quality was deemed as positive by a variety of callers, with easy-to-understand prompts for set-up and calling features. Bluetooth-enabled audio player connectivity also exists. Headlamps are equipped with an auto detent. Speaking of auto, check out the Lexus-esque all auto window lifts for each pane, in the driver’s door pod. To the left of the driver is the Vehicle Stability Control switch, and the power exterior mirror toggle. The exterior mirrors are fixed, otherwise known as the ‘break-off’ feature. The six-speed automatic floor shift includes the manu-gate, though it does not possess the capability for second-gear start, which can be downright practical for winter traction assist. Manual HVAC controls sit below a revamped audio head unit screen, with single CD, and XM radio pre-wire. The gauge pod uses a vacuum fluorescent display for crisp brightness. There’s an exterior temperature read-out, engine coolant temperature sweep, and a gear selection indicator for the manu-gate mode of the automatic transmission. Unfortunately, a multi-information display doesn’t occur until the XLE trim level.
2011 Toyota Camry LE. Click image to enlarge
The locking glovebox is generous, even with the owner’s lit, smoker’s ashtray insert, and a stack of press information stowed. Below the HVAC controls is a flip-top storage garage, with 12-volt DC powerpoint, and an auxiliary audio input, joined by a USB input at the Convenience Pack level. Aft of the shifter is a flip-top door , revealing a 12-volt DC powerpoint, and an area that could easily hold most smartphones, or over-sized convenience store beverage containers. A dual cupholder with flip-top door is placed to the right of the shifter, with a removable cincher biscuit. Door pockets are thin for the front panels, with no bottle holders, and zero panel storage for the rear door panels. The front seatbacks provide rear pocket storage, with expandable webbing. The rear flip-down centre armrest holds a dual cupholder, with no cinchers, but good depth. An open cubby is found on the rear of the centre console. Slight pockets occur on the lower driver and passenger sides of the centre stack. To the left of the driver is a flock-lined pull-out storage drawer, best sized for coin stowage. The armrest lid reveals ample storage, with a removable upper tray, though no additional powerpoints.
A self-dimming interior rear-view mirror with compass is part of the Convenience Pack upgrade on the Camry LE. All models include the overhead sunglasses holder. Vanity mirrors are not backlit, until the XLE trim level is specified. Sunvisors do not slide, or possess integrated sunblocker panels.