2013 Toyota Camry overview: Still a great buy

Toyota Camry over the years has increasingly looked more upmarket and Lexus- like and still remain excellent family cars. For 2013, the seventh-generation Camry, introduced last year as a 2012 model, is a very good car, with new interior and exterior styling carried over with more horsepower and improved fuel economy. High lights are still the roomy cabin, choice of three engines including a hybrid unit, reliability and the fantastic resale value.

The Camry is available with a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine in the LE, SE and XLE models, and a 3.5-litre V6 in the SE V6 and XLE V6. Both engines use a six-speed automatic transmission. The Camry Hybrid uses a 2.5-litre four-cylinder with Hybrid Synergy Drive system and continuously variable transmission (CVT), and comes in LE and XLE trim lines. It is a full hybrid, capable of running on its battery alone.

Our tester was a smart looking 2.5 liter engined Champagne Mica LE model with the six speed automatic transmission Options on our tester included the value package priced at $1,095 which added 17 inch aluminum alloy wheels and tires, lock package, power moonroof, electrochromic rear view mirror and Toyota roadside assistance. The price of our LE tester rang in at $23,700 plus options $1,095 for a total price of $24,795 plus taxes, fees and freight and PDI for a grand total of $24,495.

And its money well spent wisely as interior wise the LE offers: manually adjustable fabric covered seats, a 4- spoke tilt and telescopic steering wheel, steering wheel mounted audio controls, air conditioning, AM/FM CD player with MP3 playback, six speakers, 6.1 inch display, Bluetooth, aux jack, USB input, electric windows, power door and mirrors. Also nice to see and much appreciated is the rear reversing camera that uses the display screen as a monitor. The dash is impressive with a very good leather look feel with a stitched edge to the top panel. Large, legible gauges and decent sized buttons and controls on the console are thoughtful touches. The large display for the audio information that also doubles as the screen for the backup camera is nicely done.

A roomy cabin with decent enough legroom and head room also allows for plenty of storage with oddment bins, and a well-sized center console. The light beige seat and trim in our LE model seemed durable, pleasing to the touch with a good contrast of materials and textures. The rear seat is large with enough room for two normal-sized adults or three tall teenagers. The remote opening trunk is also of a decent size and the standard 60/40 split rear seat allows for longer items to be stowed.

On the road the Camry performs well, offering a smooth, comfortable ride and good driving dynamics courtesy of the independent rear suspension. The handling is drama free bordering on benign with low effort linear steering and a soft, well- sprung ride.

The DOHC 2.5L inline-four cylinder engine is a smooth, robust unit that produces 178 hp and 170 lb-ft of torque quietly and with offer enough power for all situations. Transmission is via a Super Electronically controlled Transmission (Super ECT) with sequential shift mode and provides smooth seamless shifts.

In fact the Camry excels in everyday driving with unfussy highway and urban cruising.

The Camry LE is rated at 7.0 L/100 km combined, and is one of the most fuel efficient mid-sized sedans in its class.

Safety is a high point in the Camry with four wheel disc brakes, electronic brake force distribution, brake assist, Vehicle stability control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC) and
Toyota star safety system. Also added is a comprehensive suite of airbags including front, side and rear side curtain airbags, dual stage passenger knee bags and anchor points for child restraint seats.

To sum up the Camry is an extremely well-made, easy to drive and own mid-sized sedan offering superb reliability, fuel economy and the fantastic resale value. Should be at the top of everybody’s list. Auto review by Veeno Dewan

2013 Toyota Camry LE Priced from $23,700 – $28,990