2010 Toyota Camry Review and Prices
- Not much driving excitement
- Fluctuating fuel prices mean the $27,000 Camry Hybrid looks sensible one day, a long return on investment the next
- Dashboard display screens for climate control and hybrid function sometimes hard to read
The 2010 Toyota Camry is the best car for you if you don’t depend on an automobile to inflate your ego.
Roomy and comfortable, reliable and economical, the Toyota Camry is a stronger value than ever in these trying times. You’ll find it a bit easier to wrangle a price discount on a new Camry than on a Honda Accord, this car’s main rival. And come trade-in time, few competitors match Camry’s resale value.
The Toyota Camry has been America’s best-selling car for seven consecutive years and 11 of the past 12 years. The 2010 Toyota Camry gets some styling tweaks and four-cylinder versions have a bit more a bit more power. The lineup again begins with the base CE trim level and ascends through the volume LE grades and sporty SE trim, to the top-line XLE model. Nicely equipped for under $23,000, the four-cylinder 2010 Toyota Camry LE is the best-seller, and there’s hardly a more-sensible choice in a midsize sedan. The gas-electric 2010 Toyota Camry Hybrid rates an impressive 34 mpg combined city/highway, though it starts at almost $27,000.
2010 Toyota Camry Changes back to top
Styling: The 2010 Toyota Camry gets its first appearance changes since this design generation debuted for 2007. The Hybrid’s front-end styling is slightly different from the other models’. For 2010, both get a new grille and front bumper with an enlarged lower air intake. Conventional-engine models also gain larger projector headlamps and restyled tail lamps; Hybrids get restyled fog lamps. Wheel designs are new, too, with XLE versions getting 16-inch, 10-spoke alloys and the SE gaining fresh 17-inch alloys. The 2010 styling changes will carry Camry through to its next full redesign, anticipated for the 2012 model year.
Mechanical: Camrys are available with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a 3.5-liter V-6. The four-cylinder, which produced 158 horsepower in 2009 Camrys, is revised for 2010 and generates 179 horsepower in the Camry SE model and 169 in other Camrys. All but the Camry CE are again available with the 268-horsepower V-6. The four-cylinder engine is available with manual or automatic transmission, both of which are more efficient for 2010 because they have six speeds instead of five. The automatic also gains sequential manual-shift capability. The V-6 again mates only with a six-speed automatic. The 2010 Toyota Camry Hybrid again features a four-cylinder gas engine in combination with an electric motor for a total of 187 horsepower. The Camry Hybrid can run at around-town speeds on electric power alone, and can automatically shut off its gas engine in low-demand idle conditions to save fuel. No plug-in charging is required. The Hybrid uses a continuously variable automatic transmission. All Camrys have front-wheel drive.
Features: The important safety advantage of Vehicle Stability Control, also known as an antiskid system, is now standard instead of a $650 option on all gas Camrys (it already was standard on the Hybrid). Antiskid is design to prevent sideways slides and is teamed with traction control, which enhances grip away from a stop. Also for 2010, base and LE models can be optionally upgraded with the same audio system available on other Camrys; it includes Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, integrated satellite radio, and a USB port for iPod and other MP3 devices. The 2010 Toyota Camry Hybrid gets revisions to the instrument-panel display that tracks the flow of gas-electric power. It also gains a new type of cloth upholstery called Fraichir, a combination of silk protein and synthetic fiber that Toyota says is gentle to the skin.
2010 Toyota Camry Test Drive back to top
From behind the wheel: Yes, the critics are correct: driving a Camry feels a little as if you’ve been anesthetized. But think of it like a calming film between your senses and the harshness of the outside world. That’s not a bad thing in a car like this, and it’s an affect some luxury-car makers wish they could deliver.
Camry Hybrids and models with the 169-horsepower four-cylinder engine have perfectly adequate acceleration; in fact, the Hybrid can actually be the faster of the two in expressway merging or passing. The 179-horsepower SE brings welcome extra oomph to the four-cylinder lineup. With a healthy 268 horsepower, Camrys with the V-6 furnish acceleration on par with some overtly sporting cars.
Take a corner aggressively and mainstream Camrys answer with tire squealing nose plow. And Camry’s steering is numb, slow to react, and communicates little of what’s taking place between the tires and the road. Moreover, steering effort is finger-tip light, which makes for easy maneuvering, but will annoy those who prefer a meatier feel. The Camry SE’s stiffer suspension tuning reduces body lean and increases road feel, but the antiskid system tends to activate prematurely for a car with sporty ambitions. It drains power and activates braking well before the SE approaches maximum cornering grip, frustrating the driver’s ability to exploit this model’s higher handling limits.
Like virtually all midsize cars, Camry has front-wheel drive. That puts the weight of the engine is over the drive wheels for good traction in snow. All-wheel drive for superior all-weather traction is available on the Ford Fusion and standard on the Subaru Legacy, among midsize sedans in Camry’s price range.
Dashboard and controls: Camry’s cabin is airy and easy to see out of. The dashboard has a contemporary shape, gauges that are bright lit and clearly marked, and controls that are simple to understand and pleasant to use. Two demerits: climate system settings are displayed on a dashboard monitor that washes out in bright sunlight, and the navigation system screen doubles as the venue for some audio controls, needlessly complicating their use.
The Hybrid has a dashboard screen that can illustrate in real time how energy is flowing between the battery pack, gas engine, electric motor, even the brakes (where friction is tapped to recharge the battery). It’s entertaining, but potentially distracting.
Room, comfort, and utility: Seats that capture the illusive blend of softness and support are a Camry highlight. All models come with broad front buckets separated by a floor console that holds the gearshift and houses handy storage space. The rear bench is plenty roomy for two, and three adults fit if don’t mind rubbing shoulders. A nearly flat rear floor aids comfort.
The marshmallow suspension of mainstream Camrys doesn’t delivery sporty handling, but it does soak up bumps with minimal disturbance to the car’s occupants. This sedan is a composed highway-speed cruiser, too, though only the SE model is taut enough to prevent mild porpoising motions when the road surface gets wavy.
The trunk swallows weekend a family of four’s luggage, but the lid’s intrusive hinges will crush bags placed in the corners.
2010 Toyota Camry Prices back to top
The 2010 Toyota Camry is competitively priced against other midsize cars and its entry level model in fact is less expensive than that of many rivals. That model, the 2010 Camry CE, has a base price of $20,115 with manual transmission and $21,165 with automatic. (All prices listed here include Toyota’s mandatory $720 destination fee; that fee may vary for Camrys purchased in Southeastern and Gulf states.)
The 2010 Camry LE with the four-cylinder engine has a base price of $21,570 with manual transmission and $22,620 with automatic. The 2010 Camry LE with the V-6 engine starts at $25,285. The 2010 Camry SE prices range from $22,885 for four-cylinder models equipped with the manual transmission to $26,560 for the V-6 model. The Camry XLE has a base price of $29,765. The 2010 Toyota Camry Hybrid starts at $26,870.
Every 2010 Camry comes standard with antilock four-wheel disc brakes, tilt and telescoping steering wheel with audio controls, split folding rear seatbacks, and power mirrors, windows and locks. LE models add such amenities as remote keyless entry, SE’s have a sport suspension, and XLE models have a power sunroof. Leather upholstery is standard on XLE V-6 models and optional on all other models except the CE and LE.
2010 Toyota Camry Fuel Economy back to top
The 2010 Toyota Camry with the 169-horsepower four-cylinder engine is more fuel efficient than comparable versions of the Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion, and Honda Accord. Among V-6-powered models of those key competitors, only the Accord gets higher mileage the V-6 Camry, and only the Ford Fusion Hybrid is has better fuel economy than the Camry Hybrid.
Fuel economy ratings for the 2010 Toyota Camry are 22 mpg city and 33 mpg highway with the 169-horsepower four-cylinder engine and manual transmission. That represents a gain of 1 mpg city and 2 mpg highway, thanks to the revised engine and six-speed transmission. Fuel economy estimates with automatic transmission were not available in time for this report, but increases commensurate with those of the manual transmission would boost that combination’s ratings to 22/33, as well. (Ratings also were unavailable for the 179-horsepower four-cylinder.) Fuel economy ratings are unchanged for the 2010 Camry with the V-6 engine, at 19/28, and for the 2010 Camry Hybrid, at 33/34. All Camrys use regular-grade 87-octane gas.
2010 Toyota Camry Safety and Reliability back to top
Government crash-test ratings award a maximum five stars for occupant protection. The Toyota Camry earns the maximum five stars for driver and passenger protection in a frontal impact, and five stars for front- and rear-passenger protection in side impacts.
Toyota is ranked among the top five brands in overall quality by J.D. Power and Associates, the leading automotive consumer survey firm. The Camry is rated among the best cars in initial quality and in predicted reliability.
2010 Toyota Camry Release Date back to top
The 2010 Toyota Camry and 2010 Toyota Camry Hybrid go on sale in March 2009.
2010 Toyota Camry Competition back to top
2010 Nissan Altima: A rowdy adolescent compared to the sober Camry. Its styling is slightly more aggressive, its handling and acceleration a bit more vivid. The downside is greater engine and road noise and a rougher edge to the ride and powertrain. The Altima comes as a coupe or sedan and offers a hybrid sedan in California and selected Northeastern states. The Nissan Altima’s next full redesign is expected for model-year 2013.
2010 Honda Accord: Sportier than the Camry but more refined than Altima or Chevy Malibu. Accord matches the Camry with four- and six-cylinder gas engines, but doesn’t offer a hybrid model. Accord comes as a roomy sedan and a less-spacious coupe. Both boast world-class engineering and are rewarding to drive. Honda Accord’s next full redesign is expected for model-year 2012.
2010 Chevrolet Malibu: The 2010 Ford Fusion gets some important upgrades that position it to unseat Malibu as the best American-brand midsize car. Meanwhile, Chevy’s cleanly styled sedan remains the domestic car most capable of denting the imports’ hold on this segment. Think of the Malibu as a compromise between Accord’s sportiness and Camry’s quiet. Chevrolet Malibu’s next full redesign is likely for model-year 2013.