By Matt Degen
KBB Expert Rating: 9.0
The 2017 Toyota Camry remains among the most recommendable sedans for a wide range of buyers. Now celebrating its 35th year, there's no one single reason why the Camry midsize sedan is among the best-selling vehicles in the nation, but rather a combination of winning factors. Whether you desire reliability, efficiency, easy driving manners, great resale value, or some of the latest safety features like automatic emergency braking, the Camry checks all the boxes. Like the Honda Accord, the Camry is available with 4- and 6-cylinder engines, and as a hybrid. It's not quite the mpg champion, nor is this Toyota known for its grin-inducing driving dynamics. Rather, the Camry excels as a no-fuss commuting companion and comfortable conveyor of family and friends.
As known quantities go, it doesn't get much better than a Camry. This 5-passenger family sedan builds on its reputation for reliability, safety, efficiency and easy driving manners. The Camry also recently benefited from an exterior update that injected style and youthfulness.
The Camry is very good at a lot of things, but it's not necessarily the best at any one. Toyota's midsize sedan isn't as fun to drive as a Mazda Mazda6 or even an Accord, nor is it as fuel-efficient as either. If you want all-wheel drive for improved traction, look to the Subaru Legacy or Ford Fusion.
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Minor changes for the 2017 Camry include the addition of Toyota's Entune Audio Plus multimedia system with a navigation app and JBL Audio in XLE and XSE models, plus a standard Qi wireless phone charger for select smartphones.
Thanks to revised suspension tuning that came with the 2015 revamp, the latest Camry sedan delivers a slightly livelier driving experience. But don't confuse the Camry for a corner-carver: Its...
... emphasis remains quiet and comfortable road manners. The standard 178-horsepower 4-cylinder engine that most Camry buyers will choose is more than adequate for everyday acceleration and passing power. Linked exclusively to a 6-speed automatic transmission, it is a willing and faithful partner in the city, on country roads, or on interstate highways. Those who opt for the 268-horsepower V6 will be rewarded with surprisingly strong acceleration, a well of power reserves and only a slight reduction in fuel economy. The Camry XSE trim has a sportier flair, but its larger 18-inch wheels and stiffer shocks somewhat diminish ride quality. On the other end of the spectrum, the Camry Hybrid makes 40 mpg a reality with minimal loss of refinement.
WIRELESS PHONE CHARGING
Tired of stringing wires across your console to charge your mobile devices? The 2017 Camry sedan eliminates this problem with the Qi-compatible wireless charging pad, now standard in XLE and XSE trims. Although most phones require a special case to take advantage of the pad, some newer phones already incorporate the technology.
While other cars like the Honda Accord put an emphasis on touch-screen controls for audio and climate functions, the Camry sticks with knobs and buttons. They may look less digital, but in reality they are far easier to use, which we'll take any day.
The 5-passenger interior of the 2017 Camry isn't as stylistically forward as its exterior might suggest, but it's hardly bland. Moreover, it's supremely functional. Big cup holders and multiple storage nooks surround the sporty gear selector, and even the steering wheel has a familiar feel and looks more sophisticated now with its bevy of integrated controls. In the sportier SE and XSE models, paddle shifters bloom from the steering column for manually selecting gears. The Camry has good room for passengers up front and in back, and the trunk has a sizable 15.4 cubic feet of space. The trunk of Camry Hybrid models is a couple cubic feet smaller, but unlike the Honda Accord Hybrid, its rear seat folds. As mentioned above, the Camry uses traditional knobs and dials around its standard 6.1-inch or optional 7-inch display screen. The controls are big, easy to read and simple to use.
Have you ever seen a more stylish Camry? We haven’t. The significant revisions to the sheet metal that arrived a couple of years ago still look fresh for 2017. Bookended by an eye-catching front end and a nicely detailed rear, the stylish -- but not outlandish -- Camry is sure to attract new buyers without scaring away longtime devotees. For buyers who want extra edge, the Camry SE and XSE trims offer slightly more aggressive notes with piano-black lower front grille. Part of the beauty of the Camry Hybrid is that it looks similar to a standard model. You'll have to look pretty closely for that most fuel-efficient of Camrys, distinguished with subtle hybrid badges.
The 2017 Camry sedan is available in four main versions: LE, SE, and two top trims, the XLE and XSE. The least-expensive Camry, the LE, includes an automatic transmission, backup camera, and 8-way power-adjustable driver's seat. Standard audio/infotainment includes a 6.1-inch touch screen and AM/FM/CD player with USB and auxiliary inputs, and Bluetooth phone connectivity with Siri Eyes Free compatibility for Apple products. The Camry's safety features include traction and stability controls, 10 airbags, and a battery-saver function that automatically shuts off interior lights if left on. The 2017 Camry also includes Toyota Care -- two years or 25,000 miles of scheduled maintenance and roadside assistance.
Moving up to the SE model nets upgraded cloth seats, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, a sport-tuned suspension and 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels, which we think is well worth the $770 bump over the base model. The Camry XLE and XSE include a leather interior with heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, a larger display screen with navigation and JBL audio, and the option of a V6. The XSE is the sportier of the pair with an Ultrasuede leather interior, shift paddles, a sport suspension, and 18-inch wheels. All models can be had with a moonroof. The XLE and XSE trims can be equipped with blind-spot monitoring, radar-based cruise control, lane-departure warning, and pre-collision braking. Unlike the Honda Accord, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone compatibility are not available on the 2017 Camry.
The 2017 Camry has a choice of three powertrains. Most buyers will be more than satisfied with the standard 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that offers a good blend of performance and fuel economy. Those seeking oodles of smooth power can opt for Toyota's 3.5-liter V6 engine, but you'll have to step up to an XLE or XSE trim. The 2017 Camry Hybrid pairs a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine with an electric motor. That model earns up to 40 mpg combined -- a high number, but still several below that of the latest Accord Hybrid. All Camry models are front-wheel drive. Gasoline models are linked to a refined 6-speed automatic transmission, while the hybrid Camry uses an electronically controlled continuously variable automatic transmission, which has the tendency to drone under acceleration.
178 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
170 lb-ft of torque @ 4,100 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/33 mpg
268 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
248 lb-ft of torque @ 4,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/30 mpg
2.5-liter inline-4 gasoline-electric hybrid
200 net horsepower (gasoline + electric combined)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 42/38 mpg (Hybrid LE), 40/37 mpg (Hybrid SE and XLE)
With a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $23,905, the 2017 Toyota Camry holds its starting price from the previous year. At $24,675, the Camry SE model is also a solid value with more distinctive looks. XLE and the sportier XSE begin at the same price, $27,145. Adding a V6 engine raises the price to $33,415, while Hybrid Camry models start at $27,625. A loaded Camry can reach nearly $35,000. At these prices, the 2017 Camry is in step with other midsize sedans, including the Honda Accord, as well as the Ford Fusion and Nissan Altima. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their Toyota. In the long-run, the Camry is expected to have excellent resale value, with residuals just shy of the market-leading Subaru Legacy.