By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 12/18/2012
Whether it was years of criticism regarding the Camry's lackluster styling, or a gentle wakeup call from Korean competitors like the Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima, Toyota finally took the plunge last year and gave its hot-selling family sedan the red-carpet treatment. With a stronger appeal to younger buyers, Toyota hopes to keep the 2013 Camry's impressive sales figures running high, and with models ranging from the base L to the sporty SE, to the fuel-efficient Hybrid or the luxurious XLE, it seems there is no shortage of variations to appeal to just about every taste. Still, the Camry is facing some tough competition this year from the new Chevy Malibu and Ford Fusion, as well as more visually alluring models from Nissan, Kia and Mazda.
If you like the idea of Toyota quality and resale value, but years of Camry mass-appeal styling has made you look elsewhere, the 2013 Toyota Camry will bring a smile to your face. Fuel economy on the hybrid model is actually better than some compact sedans.You May Not Like This Car If...
While its styling has improved, the 2013 Toyota Camry still looks the wallflower when placed beside the new Fusion, Optima or Mazda6. And, Toyota still doesn't offer an all-wheel-drive option, an important attribute for those who live in snowy climes.
The 2013 Toyota Camry sedan sees some improvement in interior materials and color matching. Cross Traffic Alert is added to the Blind Spot Monitoring System, which is now optional on the SE trim. Camry L and Camry Hybrid LE gain the new Display Audio radio as standard equipment, and all models now feature a new turn-signal stalk requiring only one tap to initiate a 3-blink sequence.
Last year's makeover saw Toyota engineers diligently work to improve the Camry sedan's structure and suspension. More high-strength steel was used, increasing rigidity of the body while trimming weight – significantly on gasoline models and by over 230 whopping pounds on the hybrid models. Revised chassis components and new geometry give all Camrys a more confident feel with better ride compliance and body control, changes that are particularly noticeable when the going gets twisty. Numerous new noise-abatement technologies also make the 2013 Toyota Camry nearly silent over most roads. Without a doubt, the biggest beneficiary of Camry's recent remake is the Hybrid. With major mass reduction, handling dynamics on par with its conventional kin, and a redone Hybrid Synergy Drive system that finally has the engine/motor/transmission triumvirate speaking far more directly to each other, the most fuel-efficient Camry variant has far greater consumer appeal regardless of the price of gasoline.Favorite Features
UPGRADED HYBRID SYNERGY DRIVE (HSD)
Taking a much-needed next step in the greener arena, the 2013 Toyota Camry Hybrid features Toyota's most technologically advanced HSD system to date. Light, tight and impressively integrated, the new system yields spirited performance under all conditions and an eye-popping set of fuel economy numbers.
TOYOTA ENTUNE INFOTAINMENT
Still a work in progress, Toyota's new Entune multimedia/telematics system already shows solid introductory capabilities and offers both a user-friendly interface and the promise of an ever-expanding group of downloadable apps that should make it a worthy state-of-the-art rival to in-car alternatives of its competitors.
The Toyota Camry cabin for 2013 is generous in both space and contemporary sophistication, highlighted by a leather-covered "layered" dash set off by trim-specific instrumentation and a center cluster inspired by portable music players. Headroom is generous in all positions, while aft passengers are treated to ample hiproom and legroom. Other key pluses include a set of supportive front bucket seats, and revised lower cushions on the 60/40 folding rear bench seat that adds stretch space for the middle rider. Trunk space is also generous, but sees a 2.1 cubic-foot reduction on hybrid models.
The 2013 Camry sedan sports a bold front and rear look with highly expressive contours and character lines that impart a wide, low look and a pronounced wedge-like profile. Helping the cause are a host of subtle touches like mini-strakes on the mirrors and taillights that channel air to improve stability, and new underbody work that further reduces drag. Unique front/rear/side-sill styling adds more cosmetic swagger to the Camry SE while blue-trimmed "Hybrid" and "HSD" (Hybrid Synergy Drive) badges visually define the most fuel-efficient 2013 Camry.
The base Camry L sedan offers numerous power assists, air conditioning, cruise control, Display Audio with USB/iPod inputs, Bluetooth, Toyota's STAR safety system and 10 airbags. The LE adds keyless remote entry, a multifunction steering wheel, and an upgraded Display Audio sound system. Moving up to the Camry SE nets you a dedicated sport suspension/wheel/tire package with unique trim, Softex covered sport seats and paddle shifters. The top-line Camry XLE sedan features dual power seats, dual-zone climate control, a power moonroof and premium fabric or leather (V6-only) upholstery. Both the SE/XLE V6s add Navigation and Entune multimedia telematics, HD radio and SiriusXM Satellite Radio. The Camry Hybrid sedan offers LE and XLE trim-level appointments.Notable Optional Equipment
The 2013 Toyota Camry sedan's extras roster is confined to color choices on the L trim and a power driver's seat and moonroof on the LE. SE/XLE buyers can opt for upgraded Display Audio packages with Navigation and Entune – including a 10-speaker premium JBL system – as well as dedicated Convenience Packages and Leather-trimmed Ultrasuede Sport Seats, while SEs can also be had with a power moonroof. Camry Hybrids offer a Leather Package, Moonroof Package and two tiers of JBL-enhanced Upgrade Packages, one with Navigation and one without.
Last year's drivetrain revamps yielded impressive gains in both performance and fuel economy that carry over for all 2013 Toyota Camry sedans. Modest internal enhancements to the 178-horsepower 2.5-liter four, 268-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 and their standard 6-speed automatic transmissions, plus lower-rolling-resistance tires, help improve EPA city/highway numbers. Improvements to the Camry Hybrid include lighter, more compact and better-managed electrical components – including a newly redesigned battery pack and a CVT (continuously variable transmission) automatic with new ECO and EV modes. While the total hybrid-system output is set at 200 horsepower, preliminary EPA figures – 43/39 mpg for the LE and 41/38 mpg for the XLE – reflect superb fuel economy for a mid-size sedan.
178 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
(PZEV 173 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm)
170 lb-ft of torque @ 4,100 rpm
(PZEV 165 lb-ft @ 4,100 rpm)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/35 mpg (6-speed automatic)
268 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
248 lb-ft of torque @ 4,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/30 mpg (6-speed automatic)
2.5-liter inline-4 plus a 105-kilowatt battery pack
Engine: 156 horsepower @ 5,750 rpm
Battery: 141 horsepower @ 4,500 rpm
Total hybrid system (engine and battery): 200 horsepower
Engine: 156 lb-ft of torque @ 4,500 rpm
Battery: 199 lb-ft of torque @ 0-1,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 43/39 mph (LE with CVT automatic), 41/38 mpg (XLE with CVT automatic)
Toyota has placed more emphasis on total value for the 2013 Camry while encouraging more buyers to consider moving beyond entry-level trims. The 2013 Toyota Camry L sedan opens just under $23,000, while the XLE V6 slips in just under $31,000. On the Camry Hybrid front, the LE starts around $27,000 the premium XLE version opens below $28,500. To make your best deal check our Fair Purchase Price. It provides a reliable indicator of what other in your area are paying for their Camrys. Historically, the Toyota Camry has shown above-average reliability with similarly robust long-term resale stats. Intense competitive pressures notwithstanding, that tradition seems likely to continue on with this new Class of 2013.