By on April 17, 2017

2017 Toyota Camry Hybrid and 2001 Suzuki Katana - Image: © Timothy Cain

2017 Toyota Camry Hybrid LE

2.5-liter inline-four, DOHC (156 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm; 156 lb-ft @ 4,500 rpm)

Permanent Magnet AC Synchronous Motor (140 horsepower @ 4,500 rpm; 199 lb-ft @ 0 rpm)

Combined system horsepower: 200

Continuously variable transmission, front-wheel drive

42 city / 38 highway / 40 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

5.6 city / 6.2 highway / 5.9 combined (NRCan Rating, L/100km)

40.6 mpg [5.8 L/100 km] (Observed)

Base Price: $27,745 (U.S) / $31,585 (Canada)

As Tested: $27,745 (U.S.) / $31,585 (Canada)

Prices include $955 delivery charge in the United States and $1,815 for destination and A/C tax in Canada.

Gil’s my next-door neighbor. We live in very similar homes, we share a fondness for canine companions, and we would both happily live on pizza alone.

But Gil and I couldn’t be more different. Gil is cool, you see.

Gil’s young; I’m not not as young as I used to be. Gil can change the alternator on an old Ford Explorer in mere minutes; I can change a lightbulb if given time. Gil goes out on Friday nights; I have little children to put to bed.

And while I spent the last week driving a basic version of the outgoing 2017 Toyota Camry Hybrid, Gil pulled his Suzuki Katana out of storage. Yes, Gil drives a motorcycle. I drive a silver Camry Hybrid LE.

But who does Gil call in the middle of a workday when his Suzuki breaks down?

Camry Man, naturally. Mr. Dependable.

It was a beautiful Tuesday afternoon, the first truly warm and sunny day in Nova Scotia this year. Unbeknownst to me, Gil was home from work because of a motorcycle-related “illness.” From my basement office, I heard the 2001 Katana 600 start up with a roar and ran outside to see who was stealing the Suzuki from Gil’s backyard. (What was I going to do if the bike was, in fact, being stolen? Hop the fence and assault the perpetrator with my keyboard and mouse?) Seeing that Gil was simply enjoying some leisure time, I went upstairs for lunch. Half an hour later, a text.

Gil, 1:23 PM: “I think I’m stuck on Caldwell rd bike won’t start.”

Tim, 1:25 PM: “I’ll come get you. Where at?”

After inhaling another chicken finger, Mr. Dependable shows up on Caldwell Road 15 minutes later in a silver Camry Hybrid LE — not the most popular Camry, but surely the most Camry-ish of all Camrys, and surely Mr. Dependable’s ideal car.

Channeling hundreds of thousands of pragmatic Toyota drivers, I wore on my face that pitiable look all Camry owners shower upon the disheartened owners of 16-year-old motorcycles. Aloud, I say, “What’s the plan?”, but my face smugly says, “Why don’t you just marry the fiancée, settle down with your Kia, and have a couple of kids already?”

Gil says nothing about this week’s hot new ride, preferring instead to discuss the least expensive ways to get the Suzuki home from Cole Harbour (home of Sidney Crosby) to Eastern Passage (home of, well, Gil and me). I won’t get a pickup truck off the east coast press fleet for another two weeks. Somehow, we know people who own pickup trucks but aren’t really good friends with pickup truck owners, and we’d still need ramps — or a trailer — if we did have truck-owning friends. A tow truck is going to cost a fortune. Hum haw hmm.

2017 Toyota Camry Hybrid LE – Image: © Timothy Cain

As Gil ponders, I step back to take a picture, chronicling this moment in the name of journalistic integrity. The story was obvious to me from the moment I received the first text. A 2017 Toyota Camry Hybrid LE parks behind a 2001 Suzuki Katana after rolling to a stop in such a silent EV mode that Gil didn’t even notice when we first arrived.

Stealth.

The road to Gil’s breakdown point is one of the best in the city. Freshly paved a few years ago, it’s no longer a joint test of ride quality and handling, but the corners are unique, there are plenty of mid-corner elevation changes, and traffic is rarely a problem. It’s twisty enough that you don’t need to risk jail time to have fun. Granted, I didn’t make it to Gil in record time in the Camry, but with the shifter slotted into B rather than D, the current-gen Camry continues to be a surprisingly willing companion.

Though boring to look at inside and largely uncommunicative and numb, the Camry is far from incompetent. The steering is nicely weighted, turn in is quick enough, and power from the 2.5-liter/hybrid combo embarrasses a Prius and allows the Camry to fulfill your demands. Clearly not a sports sedan, not with this much body roll on pillowy 205/65R16 Bridgestone Blizzaks, the Camry Hybrid’s dynamic repertoire is nevertheless sufficiently well rounded. Ride quality is exemplary.

Gil, still entirely unaware of the fact that there’s even a car parked behind his motorcycle, checks the Katana’s fuel tank. (The gauge is broken. Camry fuel gauges never fail, I mutter under my breath, eyes rolling.) You can see a modest amount of gasoline swishing around. Gil succumbs, and we’re waiting for a tow truck now, anticipating a charge of at least $80.

He knows the Suzuki has a choke issue; the idle has never been smooth. Even now, the Suzuki will start, but it won’t keep running.

“Roll down the slope to start it,” I tell him, “and if it keeps running, just gun’er for home.” He can call the tow company later.

Seconds later, we’re a couple of miles farther down Caldwell Road and Gil is pushing the pace, evidently thrilled that his bike is going to make it … wait a second.

I put the Camry’s four-way flashers on, depressing a chunky button surrounded by other massive buttons you would have no trouble operating while wearing multiple layers of Gore-Tex gloves. This interior is simple, in so very many senses of the word. There’s some heinous plastic, most obvious in a storage compartment flip panel just ahead of the shifter. The driver’s seat lumbar support wasn’t lined up for the spines of humans. There are no heated seats in this base Hybrid LE, none of the extra Toyota Safety Sense equipment, either. But the Camry does feel unbreakable, structurally sound, and thoroughly refined in every aspect aside from a gruff stop-start system.

2001 Suzuki Katana tow truck - Image: © Timothy Cain

I’m thinking of that legendary Camry invincibility as I slowly pull to the side of Caldwell Road behind a Suzuki that isn’t going to get Gil home. He calls the towing company to alert them to his new location. “The driver’s almost there,” the dispatcher says, an apparently mandatory response used by every towing company dispatcher in history. Half an hour later, a friendly gentleman instructs us on the method we are going to use to get the Suzuki onto the tilt deck in exchange for $115, and 10 minutes later Gil and I get in the Camry to make the short journey to our Eastern Passage homes.

“Oh, very spacious,” Gil says of the Camry interior, laden with child seats that seem a mile away in the vast rear seat. I explain the regenerative braking, we discuss the Corolla S, I tell him about the Camry Hybrid’s 40 mile per gallon observed fuel economy.

The Camry feels old to the touch, not just because 2017 is the outgoing Camry’s seventh and final model year, but because of the interior design (or lack thereof) and the wheel covers and the dearth of kit. But the Camry’s focus on outright comfort is missing in too many modern cars, and it’s the lofty comfort quotient that helps make the Camry America’s best-selling car.

2017 Toyota Camry Hybrid LE - Image: © Timothy Cain

The comfort and the dependability. Camrys aren’t cool. Camrys don’t go out on Friday nights. But Camrys aren’t known to break down on the side of Caldwell Road.

Come to think of it, neither do 2001 Suzuki Katanas. After spending a few days considering his options, Gil texted me late Friday night.

Gil, 8:16 PM: “How big is your jerry can?”

Is that some kind of euphemism Mr. Dependable won’t understand?

Gil, 8:18 PM: “I had an epiphany. It crossed my mind that maybe, just maybe I don’t have enough fuel.”

Oh.

I scrounged around in the darkness of my shed for my jerry can, poured the surplus fuel into my lawn mower, and Gil took two jerry cans down to Irving to fill up with supreme.

Gil’s Suzuki is running just fine now, thanks for asking. And yes, the origins of this story began steps away from a gas station on Caldwell Road.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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82 Comments on “2017 Toyota Camry Hybrid LE Review – That’s Me, Mr. Dependable...”


  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    The Camry Hybrid’s fuel gauge will still be working in 2033, when it’s 16 years old.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      I hope so. I’d be surprised if any car’s fuel gauge didn’t work for over 16 years.

      A motorcycle is rarely as reliable as a car anyway, not surprised it doesn’t work. It sits for long periods, perhaps that was a contributor.

      My Camry’s fuel gauge was extremely slow. I could fill up and drive home several blocks away and it still wouldn’t have reached F.

      The newest car I’ve had that had a failed fuel gauge was a 1989 Aerostar with a pile of miles in it. Not that it can’t happen, it just isn’t as likely with modern cars.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Ford trucks used to apparently have notoriously faulty gauges: the float on the sending unit fills up with gas and drops low, the gauge always reads empty. Such is the case on my ’97. My understanding is that it’s been this way for quite some time. That and the leaky filler neck. I’d be willing to get that the Aerostar was having a similar issue since they are Ranger based.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        My ’87 Taurus fuel gauge “worked,” but wandered over such a wide range that you needed to keep an eye on it for a few minutes to figure out where the fuel level actually was (and, particularly, whether it was significantly lower than the first reading you saw). I never actually ran out of fuel in that car, but I did once cruise into a gas station with the engine starting to miss, and the car taught me my lifelong habit of resetting the trip odometer to 0 at every fill-up for a reality check.

      • 0 avatar
        nickoo

        Don’t buy a GM…

        Badly soldered-on stepper motors behind the gage boards ensures that the fuel gage will first go into hummingbird needle mode (google it) and then eventually fail. Rather than pay the $350 and 12 hours labor DIY (I’m slow) to replace the entire gage cluster, I just fill up every 220-230 miles. At least my speedo still works in the cold, unlike my dad’s GM…

        I don’t understand how GM can’t get basics like this right. I mean, it’s a freaking gage, they worked fine for 50 years, and then all of a sudden some model years don’t work? Why aren’t you just using the same thing across the entire line-up for 50 years? What’s the point of switching something like this once you get it working?

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          Or you pay a litany of shops less than $100 to replace the stepper motors and call it good forever. (Google it).

          The stepper motor issue on the clusters in unacceptable, but you don’t have to get raped at the stealership to solve it. My grandmother could pull the cluster and there are countless vendors that make a good living repairing them.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Everything on my 1989 Camry V6 is still working, including the original NGK Platinum spark plugs.

    • 0 avatar
      Carlson Fan

      “The Camry Hybrid’s fuel gauge will still be working in 2033, when it’s 16 years old.”

      Trust me things break on them just like other vehicles. The motor in the 2001 Highlander I used to have parked in my garage $hit the bed with a little over 70K miles on it. Not anecdotal because they had a class action lawsuit filed against them for the problem. That was the 2nd Toyota I owned engineered with a defective engine but at least with my PU they stood behind that versus blaming me like they did with Craplander.

      There isn’t a car Toyota makes i’d trade even up for my Volt. I’ll put close to 60 miles on it today, guess how much gas I’ll burn?

    • 0 avatar
      frankev

      A fuel gauge–now that’s a luxury! Nothing that fancy on my 30-year-old bike: I reset the trip odometer at each fuel stop and find a place to fill up when I reach the 100-mile mark or so.

      I agree with you, John, about motorcycles that sit, especially over winter. It’s really easy to gum up the carb if you don’t ride your bike during cold weather.

      Checks weather app on phone: 68 degrees in Chicago? See you guys later–time to hit the road!

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        The gauge on my ’98 Bandit 1200 was just about useless, I’ve always had a habit of resetting the trip meter since I started riding on my ’77 XS500. And another question: did Gil’s Suzuki not have a “Reserve” setting on the petcock? I thought even newer bikes still had those. Usually good for another 20-30 miles of range depending on the bike.

        • 0 avatar
          NormSV650

          Seldom see 16 year old Camry’s in the Great Lakes region. The road salt eats the Japanese cars very quickly right after Mazda’s succumb to the red cancer.

          I see 10-year Camry’s bleeding red out of the trunk lid and rear window lower corners.

          • 0 avatar
            jimmyy

            That is because people in that part of the country did not buy Camrys 16 years ago. They still don’t. I can’t blame them. If I lived in the midwest, I would drive a Detroit car. That is the culture.

            In the northeast, where the roads are full of salt, 16 year old Camrys are common without rust problems.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Norm trots out his usual and incredibly tired stories. Yes I too have seen a few 02-06 gen camries with rust stains near door handles and trunk lids, but they are generally far and few in between. But as a whole, you’re barking up the wrong tree if you’re implying Camries are more rust prone than ANYTHING mainstream and domestic made in the same timeframe. Camry subframes in particular are stupendously rust resistant, but the bodies themselves do incredibly well too. You’ll see W-bodies and cloud cars with shot rocker panels and Tauri with chewed through dog legs (and broken rear springs and rotted subframes) long before you see a Camry with the same.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    ” power from the 2.5-liter/hybrid combo embarrasses a Prius ”

    I own and love a Prius and I still laughed out loud.

  • avatar
    thelastdriver

    Still rolling a rusty 1989 V6 LE Wagon that has served many friends back-and-forth to broken vehicles, dealer runs, parts runs, etc.

    Even fit an engine for a Chrysler Town & Country in the back once!

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Pfffftttt, you must be lying, I just read from the B&B that the Camry doesn’t rust.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        ?

        I’ve read a number of comments here about Camries rusting, particularly that generation.

        • 0 avatar
          Maksym

          Just traded in a 2007 Camry Hybrid on a GLA250. Put over 200,000mi on it in Chicago. It was never garaged, though washed weekly. The only rust issues we had were the rims that started bubbling up below the paint pretty badly. Body was perfect, though. The interior plastics felt a bit cheap because the color layer rubbed off of the switches due to use. The leather was decent and held up well. Never had any other issues over it’s mild lifespan. Averaged 28.1mpg without ever resetting the MPG counter over it’s lifetime, as far as I know. Then again it had like 5 family drivers ranging from 16-80.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        He’s referring to my rebuttal of Norm. No the ’87-’91 cars are horrible rusters, total lack of galvanization maybe? They get totally eaten up around the front and rear fenders and doors from the inside out. Basically all over. But the ’92-’96 cars are incredibly well rust proofed, as well as models going forward. You’ll notice the same pattern with 4Runners. The 90-95 2nd gen gets terrible body rust, the 96-02 trucks got galvanization on most (all?) body panels and the only thing that really rusts bad are the easy/cheap to replace chrome bumpers if you don’t keep them washed out inside. Certainly given enough salt exposure and poor care anything will start to rot, 96-02 4Runners ultimately start to have the bottom corners of the rear quarter panels start to go, the rockers, and around the tailgate. Likewise 92-96 Camries will start to get rear quarter panel rot. My ’96 ES had a silver dollar sized patch of rot on each rear fender, it was kept in a heated garage at the PO’s house as well as work(!) the worst possible thing for a salt/snow encrusted vehicle in the winter as far as rusting goes. However aside from that the underside of the car looked spectacular. The subframes and most suspension components (control arms and such) barely had surface rust, the unibody underneath was very well coated/treated so there was absolutely no rust, the only really crusty looking thing was the filler neck. Quite impressive for a Japanese car IMO, it was almost German-tier.

  • avatar
    DearS

    Camry may not be the most exciting vehicle but it helps make sure you don’t miss exciting moments in life.

    I just hope to get the same kind of reliability for the FT86, Lexus models, and the Next Supra.

  • avatar
    ajla

    In the US, it is $1,200 more for the SE hybrid. That seems like a worthwhile upgrade.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Clearly the Camry is the winner and should be the transportation of choice for the working poor, non-auto enthusiast, high mileage driver, or college kid. I am certain their are more ‘groups’ who would be better off financially if they would just choose to buy and drive a Camry, the same one, for the next 15-20 years as well.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I’m glad that I switched to being an all-Toyota-all-the-time person.

      I drove the rest. Now I drive the Best.

      Good stuff, Toyota.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        I respect the quality, and I respect the reliability, but Toyota’s going to have to work on making their cars involving to drive if it wants my business.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          That’s never been Toyota’s forte, nor has it ever been a design criteria, since their focus is to produce a reliable, competent vehicle.

          For “involving to drive” there’s always a Mazda product. Zoom-Zoom!

          And Mazda is fun to drive. A little twitchy for the uninitiated, but very responsive in steering, handling and braking.

          • 0 avatar
            hubcap

            HDC,

            Toyota had an established and strong fun to drive reputation.

            Starting with the 2000GT, that fun to drive lineage continued with the Supra, Celica, Corolla GT S and MR2 (I might’ve missed a few).

            Toyota used to offer something interesting in various price ranges. Now, it seems the FRS is the only game in town until the new Supra goes into production.

            I’d love for Toyota and Honda to again build rear wheel drive sports/performance cars. Both companies made engaging, fun to drive cars, that were generally more reliable than the competition.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Oh, I remember the Supra and the Celica. But that was then. This is now.

            A lot has changed in the US automarket. There weren’t enough sales of those “fun to drive” models for the OEMs to make money on. So those models were not sustainable.

            Imagine how much a Supra would have to cost new today, and how many they would have to sell in order for Toyota to be able to make money on them.

            Nice cars just don’t hack it in today’s real world. That’s why Tesla can charge a lot of money for each car and still lose billions of dollars every year.

            And then there is the staid Camry. The bread&butter moneymaker for Toyota.

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          Toyota will gladly sell you an FRS if you need something “involving”.

    • 0 avatar
      jimmyy

      Actually, wealthy people frequently buy Camry and Accord. That is a fact. Several years ago, TTAC had an article discussing that.

      • 0 avatar
        baggins

        This is true. I live in a fairly pricey neighborhood. We’ve got lots of Teslas, (a few X’s that are parked outside even) and MBZ, but a not insubstantial number of Accords and Camrys.

        Mom has Odyssey/Sienna or M Class/MDX. Dad commutes in Camry or Accord.

        THat’s what we do. I just bought a new 2017 Accord Hybrid. Real nice upgrade from my 2011 Accord. Wife has a 2014 Odyssey. Will replace in a year or two, to get the driver assistance features.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Having a gas and hybrid Camry in the family to compare, I honestly don’t think the hybrid is worth a) the cost and b) dealing with the shuddering stop/start. In largely highway and state road driving, the non-hybrid can nip at 37-38 mpg, the hybrid is barely better. I’m sure that city driving widens the gap, but even there my wife gets close to 30 in her largely urban commute in the non-hybrid 2.5.

    Both the ’12 SE and ’13 Hybrid XLE have worked out well so far, just dead-nuts reliable A-B roomy and comfortable transportation that deals well with the crappy roads around here. I’m glad I don’t have to do anything beyond oil/filters/wipers/tires/pads on my wife’s car, although truth be told I did need to put in a new rear hub after a curb hopping incident that she’d rather not discuss. The new OE Aisin (made in Indiana) part came in a Timken box and cost about $130 with the ABS hardware attached. Camries are the Impalas of today.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Some people buy them to make an eco-friendly gesture of being socially responsible stewards of the planet.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        I really think that aspect of Hybrid ownership trailed off by 2010 or so. And the Camry Hybrid is just a small badge denoting it as such, if you wanted to make obvious that you were in a hybrid than the Prius is the one you’d get.

        My father in law was the one the bought that XLE Hybrid, as well as an ES300h for himself, and he drove a 2009 Prius before that. Not a tree hugger at all, just an electrical engineer who likes tech and reliable cars with low running costs I guess. he put 90k on that Prius without any sort of hassle, same for their ’05 Highlander that was traded in with 170k with just a radiator replacement and I think a transmission or diff seal in front at some point in 8 years. That’s what motivated the double Camry purchase for his daughters I think. The ’04 Volvo S60 that was the kid-hand-me-down had many more issues in the 124k miles and 10 years they owned it (but still not terrible per se).

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          If you do a lot of really slow bumper to bumper stop and start, hybrids start running away mpg wise. Even in that scenario, the difference is less lopsided now that non-hybrids have start-stop as well, but hybrids can still be much more aggressive about avoiding idling. Plug in hybrids, with enough oomph and range to stay out of the ICE altogether in those scenarios, are better yet.

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            HDC has drinking Toyota Kool-aid for much too long.

            http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/the_green_lantern/2008/03/tank_vs_hybrid.html

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            NormSV650, it could seem that way from another person’s viewpoint.

            My transformation from GM and Ford supporter to Toyota activist was very gradual. Toyota isn’t paying me but I’m a believer of my own volition.

            I was loathe to buy my very first new Toyota, ever, in 2008, but that Japan-built Highlander sure made a convert out of me!

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          ” the Prius is the one you’d get.”

          Yeah, I know several people who chose a Prius though not necessarily as their one and only car. Often as a third or fourth vehicle.

          And kid-hand-me-downs are a way of life in many American families. It sure was in mine.

          My grand daughter’s husband drove his dad’s yellow 1980 Wrangler all through High School, through four years of the Air Force Academy, and right up to his wedding day in June 2015, at which time my son gave him his SRT8 as a wedding present.

          So, the way I see it, the vast majority of the people in America don’t buy Hybrids, opting instead for conventional ICE vehicles that trickle down to offspring.

          But that could change. I just don’t see that happening while gas prices remain so low.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        “Some people buy them to make an eco-friendly gesture of being socially responsible stewards of the planet.”

        Or they just like hyper-miling.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          or, they just want to *look* like they care. ‘cos heaven forbid they move closer to where they work and just drive fewer miles. Nope, got to get a hybrid for my 150 miles of driving every day.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          I never understood the concept of “hyper-miling.”

          In my part of the country even Hybrids need a lot of help getting up the mountain, while all cars get incredible fuel mileage when they are coasting down hill.

          You should hear what a Volt sounds like going up US82 in my area! Screaming banshee.

          And gas being as cheap as it is these days, and cheaper yet in the future if they keep fracking, convinces the majority of buyers to buy the less-expensive ICE vehicles.

          Then again, the Prius is pretty much the standard to measure against, and been that way since day one.

          But will the new Hyundai entry peel some buyers, especially with their ad-jingle. “I’d like to drive a Hybrid but…..?

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The fuel cost delta is only one reason to like hybrids. The ability to drive in stop-and-go traffic mostly in EV mode if you’re gentle with the pedal, the ability to sit in the car with the climate control on but the engine off most of the time, and the transmission smoothness (in Toyota- or Ford-style hybrids) are all pluses too. I’d buy the hybrid over the regular four every time, although the V6 is obviously in a different league.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        “the transmission smoothness”

        It is, until it isn’t. That shudder when the engine kicks back in from a stop is just unnerving to me. That same 2.5+electric powertrain combo is even more out of place in the ES300h. Take off from a light in smooth silence, then all of a sudden the gas motor kicks on and starts droning. In that case especially the 3.5L V6 is the only way to go IMO, fuel economy be damned. The regular Camry 6A+2.5 is already about as smooth shifting as it gets, the Hybrid is a step backwards in terms of refinement in a way IMO.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          I barely even notice the engine on/off transitions in planetary-gear hybrids — at highway speed in my C-Max, I literally have to look at the gauges to see if the engine is running or not. Shifts from a conventional automatic, on the other hand, bug me even in a very smooth car like my LS460.

          The start-stop systems that use a conventional starter are horrible. I don’t understand how the Germans get away with fitting them to luxury cars.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            I guess it largely depends on the individual implementation. the auto S/S in the 1.5T Fusion and Escape is practically seamless. the 2.7TT F-150, less so. BMW’s is still excrement.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            I think it is specifically if the car is charging the battery or it’s cold out, and the car starts up the gas engine as soon as you release the brake pedal and give it some gas. I think it might be a combination of the electric motor torque coming on, together with the rotating mass of the gas engine starting up that causes an unpleasant pulse/jolt.

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            The stop/start is very smooth that I have to point out to passengers in the 2016 Buick Envision 2.0T. We were getting 23-24 mpg just looking at houses for 2 hours. ..with AWD. And 36+ mpg on the highway in a cuv is the cherry on the cake!

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            I’m not surprised that a Chinese CUV like the Envision would have a good start/stop system. In its home country, it’s probably a good feature to have given the traffic.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            “And 36+ mpg on the highway in a cuv is the cherry on the cake”

            Now tell us the truth Norm, was a Trifecta tuned Encore nudging it along from behind? Or perhaps a mythical Saab was towing it?

      • 0 avatar
        tmport

        “The ability to drive in stop-and-go traffic mostly in EV mode if you’re gentle with the pedal, the ability to sit in the car with the climate control on but the engine off most of the time, and the transmission smoothness (in Toyota- or Ford-style hybrids) are all pluses too.”

        This is what makes me tempted to buy a hybrid, even though I know it doesn’t make sense financially given that I drive less than 7000 miles a year. Just about ALL of my miles are in soul-sucking urban DC traffic, and I can only assume that driving a car that gets better mileage in city driving and shuts off whenever I am sitting through a 3-minute light cycle would be immensely soothing. But rationally, it’s hard to justify paying an extra $5000 or more just so that, over time, I might eventually (best case scenario) come close to breaking even on total cost of ownership. [Just one example of similarly-equipped cars, using estimated current sale prices in the DC area: an $18,000 Corolla iM vs. a $26,000 Prius III (!) or a $23,000 Kia Niro EX.]

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    The driver’s seat lumbar support wasn’t lined up for the spines of humans.

    I’m in my office sitting on a less than $100 office chair that I bought myself on Amazon and it has better lumbar support than my Highlander.

    That’s my biggest complaint about my Highlander. Inflatable lumbar support? GOOD. Where it’s located in the seat? BAD.

    Toyota, did you expect the primary drivers would be 5 ft nothing 98 lb. ex-members of the US Gymnastics team?

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      “Toyota, did you expect the primary drivers would be 5 ft nothing 98 lb. ex-members of the US Gymnastics team?”

      Judging from the still-too-short seat cushions and insufficient telescopic steering wheel adjustments one some of their cheaper models, yes, I’d say they still haven’t purged this from their ergonomics culture. I wouldn’t buy a current Corolla or iM because of the driving position alone.

      They’re doing a much better job in the 4Runner and Camry at least, though I never had to monkey with the lumbar in the Camry so I wasn’t bothered by it.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Everyone says, “buy the Corolla – it’ll last for 17 years.” Yeah, well, so did my first marriage.

        Some things that suck aren’t meant to last.

        • 0 avatar
          badhobz

          hahah well said. I had a couple of rollas and by far the older the rolla the better they were made. 99 was the most bullet proof, the 2013 was getting already a bit cheap on the inside, and now my 2016 is absolutely garbage build quality. Everything squeaks and rattles (only has 8000kms on it so far) and it already got itself a warped rear drum due to “overheating”?!? luckily there is warranty.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    When I met her, my ex-wife had a Camry. 1990, I think. It had neither air conditioning nor automatic transmission.

    I’m fairly certain that you can’t buy *any* Toyota in the US without a/c any more.

    As for buying a Toyota sedan with a stick shift? Maybe if you’re lucky, your dealer will find a Corolla for you, but there aren’t any on the lot, that’s for sure.

    You can get a Yaris iA with a stick, but we all know that’s a Mazda, not a Toyota.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      And thank God the iA is a Mazda, because it’s a small Toyota that doesn’t drive like crap.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Even the Tacoma with a manual, only exists in one example nationwide. In an imaginary showroom on the opposite side of the country (regardless of where you happen to live.)

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Same with the Corolla.

        But there’s a fair number of Corolla (ex-Scion) iM’s out there with sticks. And it does improve the car a fair bit.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        “Even the Tacoma with a manual, only exists in one example nationwide. In an imaginary showroom on the opposite side of the country (regardless of where you happen to live.)”

        Huh? Tacomas with stick shifts, while definitely in the minority, are still quite widely available across the US. There’s one at each one of the dealerships here in town (all 4wd v6 TRD variants, for better or for worse).

    • 0 avatar
      dividebytube

      I recently saw a 2011? 2013? Camry 4-banger with a 6-speed manual. I thought about buying it just because.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        The last generation made until 2011 had a very rare 6spd manual option, restricted to base CE and maybe SE trims? It was a wholly unremarkable notchy shifter with annoying rev hang, nothing to get excited about unfortunately.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        There is a 2008ish Lexus IS250 RWD with stick shift near me. That is sorta tempting, especially because the dealer ad now says “price reduced!” I’ll bet it is. The venn overlap for Lexus and Manual Transmission is probably too small to see without microscopic aid.

        Toyota hasn’t been known for enjoyable stick shifts for a long time, and I’m guessing the one in the Lexus is disappointing as gtem describes.

        I drove a manual 3rd gen Toyota Rav4 in Costa Rica and that setup suuuuucked.

  • avatar
    dingram01

    My one complaint about the Camrys I’ve ridden in/driven is a biggie, and a deal breaker for me. The seat cushion is just a little too low to the floor, leaving my back and legs fatigued. I believe the last time I rode in one was a couple generations back. Anybody know if this issue has been improved?

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      If you buy a version with the electric driver’s seat, you get infinite adjustments in three dimensions.

      The old guys I know who choose to buy a Camry for their ladies, consider the seat-adjustment the highest priority, after the vehicle color the lady chooses.

    • 0 avatar
      ShoogyBee

      I feel the same way about my 2010 Camry LE, which has a power driver’s seat. I raise the seat (and the front part of the seat cushion) relatively high to increase thigh support, but that also means my head comes in closer contact with the roof and A-pillar, so I have to twist and duck whenever I get in/out of the vehicle, which isn’t too kind on my back or knees either.

      I bought this car CPO in 2013 with the intention of holding on to it for at least several years, but I’m now thinking of going with a smaller CUV. If there’s another similarly sized sedan with a larger door aperture and more comfortable seating, I’d like to hear about it.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        RAV4, CRV, Mazda 5.

        Can’t think of any sedans that fit your criteria.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          Did you mean CX-5?

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            IIRC, the CX-5 is the only one available in the US since the Mazda5 was discontinued.

            So, yes, the CX-5, a direct competitor of the RAV4 and CR-V.

          • 0 avatar
            ShoogyBee

            I was thinking of VW Passat but that seems to be a better bet for a 3-year lease than a long-term ownership proposition.

            Incidentally I remember sitting in a Mazda 5 at the auto show a few years ago – not enough leg room for a six footer. The CX-5 is much better in that regard.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Yeah, sorry ’bout that. I screwed up. I should have written CX-5.

            The Mazda5 mini-minivan was discontinued in the US.

            My friend in Colo Sprgs told me that 3-yo off-lease CPO Jeep Grand Cherokees are available at very reasonable pricing.

            The JGC is a mid-sizer but has large portals.

            I’ve had good luck with the two 2012 JGCs in my family, but the ’14, ’15, and ’16 JGCs had some issues, according to my wife’s three sisters.

            Usually, though, a used JGC is spoken for before take-in and it never hits the lot. Often a member of the sales-staff gets first crack at it.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    So your cool neighbor “can change the alternator on an old Ford Explorer in mere minutes,” but he can’t tell that his bike is out of gas? Pretty funny.

    You could have rolled up in your Camry Hybrid with a gas can in the trunk, dumped it into his Katana, and he could have been on his way, but with your combined automotive/ICE engine expertise, it ended up on a flatbed. Good grief.

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      Your comment made me read the article. Holy crap.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      I can sort of understand the neighbor’s situation. When you’re flustered, even fairly mechanically inclined people can totally miss the most obvious culprits. I was on a cross country ride in 2008 with my brother and friends on ratty old Japanese bikes, my brother almost got us kicked out of a seedy cash only motel in Oregon because he kept messing with his bike trying to figure out why the carbs were running so rich all of a sudden. Revving the motor in the parking lot, etc. He was halfway into tearing the bank of carbs apart (4 of them in a row) when he realized he had flipped the choke lever on at some point. D’oh!

      • 0 avatar
        Fordson

        In the piece, he even MENTIONS that the bike’s gas gauge is broken. Of course, this gets played for laughs and confirmation bias about how Camry gas gauges never break, rather than as a data point that Frick and Frack here could use to determine what’s really the problem.

        Isn’t the small amount of gas swishing around in the bottom of the tank (also mentioned in the article), combined with a starts-but-won’t-stay-running condition (also mentioned in the article) a dead giveaway? Thought so…

  • avatar
    Caboose

    Alas for the Suzuki Can-a-Tuna. A sheep in wolf’s clothing back when it was brand new in all it’s air-cooled mediocrity.

  • avatar
    legacygt

    The blacked out sections on the c-pillars behind the rear windows are really awful. I was just at the NYIAS though and the upcoming Camry is actually great looking…and no phony windows either.


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