Model tested: Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE
Engine: 3.5-liter 4-cylinder with Hybrid Synergy Drive system
Transmission: Electronic continuously variable transmission (CVT)
Torque: 184 lb.-ft.
EPA ratings: 44/city, 47/highway, 46/combined
Base price: $32,550
As tested: $39,766
Overview: The venerable Toyota Camry is one of the most popular choices for buyers looking for reliable, comfortable, safe and reasonably priced transportation. Refreshed two years ago, it offers serious style, more features and better handling, while retaining all the outstanding qualities that built its reputation. Competitors include the Honda Accord, Nissan Altima and Hyundai Sonata, but it’s the only mainstream midsize sedan to offer a V6 in addition to the standard four-cylinder. A hybrid model — our test driver this review will focus on — is also available, as is all-wheel drive (AWD).
Walkaround: Toyota has upped its game with the 2020 Camry’s exterior styling. It shows off its authoritative attitude with a large, hard-to-miss front grille and a sleek, low-aluminum hood boasting interesting lines. Featuring bi-LED headlights and 18-inch alloy wheels, its muscular styling is a pleasing blend of sweeping curves and chiseled surfaces.
Interior: The interior is an admirable blend of style, comfort and technology, with no unnecessary frills. Instrumentation is captured in a symmetrically designed, curved dash featuring controls that are straightforward and simple to use. The 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system — which is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible — is easy to use, with redundant buttons on the steering wheel. There are two USB ports. The Camry also features a traditional transmission selector, eschewing the confusing buttons of the Honda Accord and Ford Fusion. The front bucket seats are comfortable and nicely bolstered, and the rear seat is spacious. Rear-seat air vents are standard on XLE and above models.
Behind the Wheel: The Camry has always been comfortable, but pretty vanilla and not exactly exhilarating to drive. That changed a couple of years ago when the Camry’s eighth generation debuted. A double-wishbone rear suspension, lower center of gravity and stiffer body structure created a more dynamic and fun-to-drive Camry. It feels stiff, without compromising its traditional comfortable manners. While not quite as nimble as the Accord, it’s close. Steering feels smooth and precise, and the standard four-cylinder powerplant delivers a satisfying blend of performance and efficiency.
Bottom Line: The 2020 Camry is a much improved, much more fun-to-drive version of this traditional bestseller.