2013 Toyota Camry Review and Prices
The 2013 Toyota Camry is the best car for you if you appreciate the many virtues that make this comfortable sedan America’s best selling automobile.
The 2013 Toyota Camry gets a few minor updates but is otherwise a repeat of the 2012 Camry, which was the first all-new version of this car since model-year 2007. The redesign brought fresh styling, enhanced telematics, and better fuel economy. It kept intact the core appeal that makes Camry such a popular midsize-car choice. And it’s served to lower the average age of the Camry buyer. All 2013 Camry trim levels have Toyota’s touchscreen Display Audio system, plus upgraded interior materials. Base prices increase between $80-$350, depending on model, as Toyota sends the 2013 Camry against a formidable array of redesigned rivals: the 2013 Honda Accord, 2013 Chevrolet Malibu, 2013 Nissan Altima, and 2013 Ford Fusion.
Should you buy a 2013 Toyota Camry or wait for the 2014 Toyota Camry? Little reason to wait: the 2013 Camry is a stellar example of the formula that’s made this roomy, front-wheel-drive midsize four-door sedan so successful. The 2014 Camry is highly unlikely to be more comfortable or refined than the 2013 model. It would have a hard time being more fuel-efficient. And it certainly won’t get more spacious. It won’t look noticeably different, either. But it will likely have higher prices.
2013 Toyota Camry Changes back to top
Styling: The 2013 Toyota Camry’s styling is a mirror image of the all-new look that came on line with the 2012 redesign. Contemporary but conservative is the best description. Creased bodywork, the suggestion of a wedge profile, and a trendy big-mouth lower grille return.
The 2013 Camry lineup begins again with the base L model and ascends through the volume-selling LE and sporty SE models to the top--line XLE. Hybrid versions come in LE and XLE trim.
Exterior distinctions are again limited mostly to the fine points of trim, though SE and XLE models are again identified by their alloy wheels. The 2013 Camry XLE also retains an exclusive horizontal chrome strip between the taillamps. And the SE again has aero-inspired touches and a body-colored instead of chrome grille surround.
The 2013 Camry remains a spacious midsize sedan with comfortable seating and a family-vacation-sized trunk. Four adults fit comfortably and, as with virtually every car in this class, three across in the rear seat means sitting shoulder-to-shoulder. Unlike some rivals, however, Camry’s back seat doesn’t provide “theater-style” elevation or a center armrest large enough to provide much support. And only the XLE has dedicated rear-seat ventilation outlets.
The dashboard is attractively and logically laid out and its central section incorporates a 6.1-inch screen for the Display Audio system. This feature had not previously been available on the L and Hybrid LE models. Now every Camry enjoys its expanded Bluetooth connectivity with phone-book access and enhanced music-streaming capability.
On the Hybrid model, this screen can also illustrate the flow of electric and gas power. The Hybrid’s main gauges can be adjusted to detail fuel-consumption data. But it does without the growing-leaves animation and other visual diversions used by some hybrids to coach efficient driving.
Toyota wisely avoids fitting the Camry with budget-grade cabin trim, using instead generally solid-feeling materials, strategically placed padded surfaces, and carefully chosen upscale cues, such as genuine cloth stitching on the dashboard. For 2013, the carmaker gives some of the plastic door trim a needed upgrade and improves the door stitching used on models with leather upholstery. But the XLE-grade’s fake wood still looks like a 1980s throwback.
Bins and cubbies around the interior provide plenty of small-items storage. Gas models have a class-competitive 15.4-cubic-foot trunk and 60/40 split/folding rear seatbacks. In the Hybrid, presence of the battery pack shrinks volume to 13.1-cubic-feet and allows only the right half of the rear seatback to fold.
Mechanical: The 2013 Toyota Camry remains mechanically unadventurous -- at least in terms of gaudy horsepower figures or cutting-edge suspension design. Indeed, Camry’s knack for over-delivering on ordinary specifications is a big reason for its wide appeal. Camry is honed to achieve an impressive level of refinement and given its realistic aspirations it provides good all-around performance, too. The Hybrid is particularly impressive.
The 2013 Camry reprises a front-wheel-drive configuration, which places the weight of the engine and transmission in the nose of the car. That promotes efficient packaging and aids traction in rain and snow by concentrating mass over the tires that also propel the car. Rear-wheel-drive cars have better-balanced road manners, but Toyota’s goal here is a predictable, driver-friendly character, and Camry delivers. Among direct rivals, all-wheel-drive is optional on the Fusion and standard on the Subaru Legacy.
As the 2013 Malibu and 2013 Fusion follow the example of the Hyundai Sonata and transition to an all-four-cylinder-engine lineup, the 2013 Camry returns with its traditional choice of four- and six-cylinder engines.
The four is again a 2.5-liter with 178 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. (Consider torque the muscle behind acceleration, horsepower the energy behind momentum.) The V-6 is a 3.5-liter with 268 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. It’s available in SE and XLE models in place of the four-cylinder.
Both these engines link exclusively to a six-speed automatic transmission. It allows manual-type gear control via its floor shift lever or, in SE models, through supplemental steering-wheel paddles.
Astute transmission calibrations help give both the four- and six-cylinder Camry the acceleration and, more important, the throttle response to deal capably with any everyday-driving situation. The smooth V-6 -- also used in the ES350 sedan from Toyota’s upscale Lexus brand -- packs unexpected punch.
Toyota improved Camry’s handling with the 2012 redesign, though only the SE really invites aggressive driving. With their modestly sized 16-inches wheels and tires, L and LE models are competent handlers but noseplow through fast turns. XLE models and the four-cylinder SE have 17s that provide a dash more cornering grip.
The SE’s sportier suspension and steering tuning work best when matched with the SE V-6’s 18-inch tires. This Camry variant has moves on par with mainstream editions of class handling leaders such as the Fusion and Accord. It’s also the lone Camry to resist bobbing over high-speed dips and swells. But it’s the only Camry that allows road noise and bumps to disturb the otherwise serene cabin.
The 2013 Camry Hybrid continues to team a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with electric-motor power for a net 200 horsepower. This is not a plug-in hybrid and uses nickel-metal hydride batteries rather than advanced lithium-ion battery technology adopted by some rivals.
The Camry Hybrid is capable of running on electricity or gasoline independently or in harness as sensors determine the best mix for acceleration and fuel economy. It features a dashboard button to lock in an EV (electric vehicle) mode to maximize electric propulsion at around-town speeds, battery charge permitting. The Camry Hybrid uses a continuous variable transmission (CVT) that performs the duties of a conventional automatic transmission but without individual gear ratios.
Overall, the Hybrid may be the best-balanced Camry. It’s slower off the line than the four-cylinder gas LE and XLE models, but feels faster in every other situation and is noticeably better balanced in turns. Indeed, driving satisfaction has joined lower exhaust emissions and reduced fuel consumption as a rationale for buying a Camry Hybrid.
All 2013 Camrys come equipped with 10 airbags, including head-protecting curtain side airbags for both seating rows, knee airbags for front occupants, and torso-protecting side airbags for rear outboard passengers. Also on the standard safety list is an override system that automatically cuts signals from the throttle if the brake and accelerator are applied simultaneously.
Like every 2013 Toyota, Camry comes with the automaker’s Star Safety System. Designed as a comprehensive aid to vehicle control, it integrates the actions of Toyota’s Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) antiskid system to combat sideways slides, an anti-lock braking system (ABS) to improve control in emergency stops, and traction control to reduce wheel spin on take-offs.
Features: Toyota expands blind-spot detection from an XLE exclusive to the SE model for 2013. The system warns of unseen vehicles in adjacent lanes. In the SE model, it includes rear cross-traffic alert, which senses vehicles approaching from the sides when you’re backing from a parking spot.
Limiting those safety-enhancers to Camry’s uplevel models is an unfortunate strategy, one in also in play with the restriction of the navigation-system option to the SE and XLE.
At least all models now come with the Display Audio setup. And Toyota also adds to every 2013 Camry a convenience that’s been a staple of European cars: a lane-change feature in which one tap on the turn-signal stalk triggers a three-blink sequence. Overall, the 2013 Camry standard-features and options list contains virtually every infotainment and connectivity item buyers in this class expect.
Air conditioning, outside temperature gauge, cruise control, and power windows, locks, and mirrors continue as standard on every 2013 Camry. All versions also return with Bluetooth hands-free mobile phone connectivity and a USB iPod interface included in their base price. Every Camry but the entry-level L model comes with steering-wheel buttons for Bluetooth and audio control, though the buttons are grouped in a poorly integrated housing that looks tacked-on.
Optional on four-cylinder SE and XLE models and standard on V-6 Camrys is Toyota’s Display Audio with Navigation and Entune. This retains the 6.1-inch dashboard touchscreen but adds a navigation system, satellite and HD radio, and the automaker’s Entunes technology. Entunes provides smartphone-based access to the Bing search engine and popular mobile applications such as iheartradio and Pandora Internet radio. It enables casual-speech voice command of audio and navigation functions and can convert incoming text messages to speech, answering with programmable responses.
Optional on SE and XLE Camrys is a further upgrade called Display Audio with Navigation, Entune, and JBL. This incorporates the JBL-brand Green Edge audio system, designed for premium sound at less weight and power consumption of comparable systems. It has a subwoofer and 10 speakers.
Exclusive to the V-6 XLE model is an infotainment option with the aforementioned navigation, connectivity, and audio systems, but replaces the 6.1-inch screen with a 7-inch dashboard touchscreen. The result is a clearer presentation of information, markedly sharper resolution, and dual-screen-display capability.
Continuing its rental-fleet orientation, the entry-level L model is the only 2013 Camry without remote keyless entry and the only one unavailable with any factory options. Those options include a power moonroof for LE and SE models; the moonroof is standard on XLEs.
A Convenience Package with proximity unlocking, pushbutton start, and a rearview backup camera is optional for SEs and four-cylinder XLEs and standard on V-6 XLEs. Leather upholstery and heated front seats are optional on the four-cylinder XLE and standard on V-6 XLEs. SE models are available with leather seats trimmed in imitation-suede.
While Toyota has expended blind-spot detection to the SE model, it continues to reserve for the XLE its Safety Connect system, which provides emergency assistance, automatic collision notification, and stolen vehicle location assistance. By contrast, every volume-production General Motors passenger vehicle comes with the OnStar assistance system.
2013 Toyota Camry Prices back to top
Base-price range for the 2013 Toyota Camry is $23,030-$31,260. That represents a price increase of 0.3 percent on the low end (for the four-cylinder XLE model) and 1.3 percent on the high end (for the SE V-6). Significantly, Toyota actually decreased base prices on all but the L model when it introduced the redesigned 2012 Camry.
With the increases, the starting price of the 2013 Camry L creeps above that of the entry-level Malibu, Fusion, Accord, and Sonata. But Camry’s other models remain priced very competitively against comparably equipped versions of these sales frontrunners in the midsize class.
(Note that base prices in this review include the manufacturer’s mandatory destination fee. Toyota’s fee for the 2013 Camry is $795, an increase of $35 from 2012. The fee may vary for Toyotas purchased in Southeastern and Gulf states.)
The 2013 Camry L model starts at $23,030, an increase of $180 over its 2012 counterpart.
Base price of the 2013 Toyota Camry LE is $23,475. Like the L model, the LE comes with 16-inch tires on steel wheels with plastic wheel covers. But it adds as standard such features as remote keyless entry, variable intermittent windshield wipers, the steering-wheel audio and Bluetooth controls, and two 12-volt power outlets instead of one. Popular options for the 2013 Carmy LE include a package that combines a power driver’s seat, power moonroof, dual illuminated visor mirrors, and a rear reading lamp.
The 2013 Camry SE is priced from $24,195 with the four-cylinder engine and from $28,055 with the V-6. In addition to the sport-tuned steering and suspension and specific grille and aero trim, SEs add to LEs halogen headlamps, fog lamps, chrome exhaust tips, and heated mirrors.
SEs with the four-cylinder engine get the 17-inch tires, those with the V-6 get 18s, both on alloy wheels. Inside, SEs add the paddle shifters plus a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. SE front bucket seats are contoured to provide additional lateral support. A power driver’s seat is standard on the V-6 SE and optional on four-cylinder SEs. Besides the aforementioned audio/navigation/Entune systems, popular Camry SE options include heated front seats, moonroof, and leather/Ultrasuede upholstery with leather door trim.
Base price of the 2013 Camry XLE is $25,650 with the four-cylinder engine and $31,260 with the V-6. Among the XLE’s standard features are the 17-inch alloy wheels, power moonroof, and chrome exterior trim. XLEs include all the LE equipment, plus dual-zone automatic climate control, power front seats, and unique fabric trim. Leather upholstery and heated front seats are optional on four-cylinder XLEs and standard on V-6 XLE. So is an automatic-dimming inside rearview mirror and HomeLink remote garage and gate control.
The 2013 Toyota Camry Hybrid starts at $26,935 in LE trim and at $28,465 in XLE form. Aside from the hybrid-specific powertrain and gauge displays, standard features on the LE and XLE Hybird models reflect those of their gas-only LE and XLE counterparts. Leather upholstery and the moonroof are options exclusive to the XLE version of the Hybrid.
2013 Toyota Camry Fuel Economy back to top
EPA fuel-economy estimates for the 2013 Toyota Camry are unchanged from the 2012 ratings. Four-cylinder Camrys remain among the more fuel-efficient midsize sedans. V-6 Camrys, however, rate below similarly powerful turbocharged four-cylinder engines various rivals use in place of V-6s.
Fuel-economy ratings are 25/35/28 mpg city/highway/ combined for 2013 Camrys with the four-cylinder engine.
Ratings are 21/30/25 mpg city/highway/combined for the 2013 Camry SE V-6 and XLE V-6.
The 2013 Toyota Camry Hybrid LE model repeats at 43/39/41 mpg city/highway/combined. The marginally heavier 2013 Hybrid XLE comes in at 41/38/40 mpg.
2013 Toyota Camry Release Date back to top
The 2013 Toyota Camry goes on sale in January 2013.
Toyota looks for this sophomore edition of the seventh-generation Camry to continue as America’s No. 1-selling car. Sales in calendar 2012 were up some 30 percent over 2011, keeping Camry ahead of – in decreasing order -- Accord, Altima, Fusion, Sonata, and Malibu in the nation’s highest-volume market segment.
Significantly, Camry is attracting buyers with an average age of 52. That’s an appreciable decline from the average of 60 before the model-year 2012 redesign. Younger buyers are any automaker’s goal; they’re better for brand image and bolster chances for repeat purchases.
Toyota credits Camry’s average-age drop to stronger demand for the SE, the model most likely to appeal to younger shoppers. The SE accounts for around 45 percent of Camry sales, compared with just 25 percent before the 2012 redesign. The LE model, at about 50 percent, remains the highest-volume Camry trim level. The Hybrid accounts for about 13 percent of Camry sales.
What's next for the 2013 Toyota Camry back to top
By redesigning the Camry for model-year 2012, Toyota got a jump key on competitors that are all-new for model-year 2013. The Accord, Malibu, Altima, and Fusion boast fresh styling of their own and interesting powertrain and technology story lines.
Toyota isn’t likely to make notable changes in the Camry until a midcycle facelift, probably for model-year 2015. The next full redesign will likely be for model-year 2016. How this seventh-generation Camry will change over the course of its lifecycle is open to debate. But we’re not betting on introduction of a turbocharged four-cylinder engine or elimination of the V-6: neither would fit the expectations of Camry’s vast and loyal customer base.
Whether the seventh-generation Camry design will spawn a two-door coupe or convertible model also is open to conjecture. The Toyota Solara was a Camry spin-off that served that role but was discontinued after the 2008 model year because of slow sales. Among key rivals, only the Honda Accord and Nissan Altima have offered coupe body styles in addition to their sedans. No direct competitor is available as a convertible.
Return of a Camry-based coupe or convertible could help Toyota inject a bit of sportiness into the Camry family without having to compromise the core mission of the sedan. The Venza crossover shows how Toyota has already broadened Camry’s reach without diluting its sedan flavor. Venza plays the role of a Camry station wagon, but goes SUV-trendy with a high seating position and available all-wheel drive.
2013 Toyota Camry Competition back to top
Honda Accord: The 2013 Accord is the first all-new edition of this Camry archrival since model-year 2008, and it’s a dandy. Slightly smaller on the outside than its predecessor, and lighter, too, Accord nonetheless remains among the roomier cars in the class. Sedan and coupe versions return with styling that’s evolutionary but sleeker than the outgoing generation. Consistent with the rivalry, Accord looks leaner than the Camry and its athletic road manners are the class benchmark. Honda retains four- and six-cylinder engines and is readying a plug-in hybrid sedan. Four-cylinder models have 190 horsepower and rate 28/34/28 mpg city/highway/combined with the six-speed manual transmission, 27/36/30 with the CVT that replaces the previous five-speed automatic. V-6 versions have 278 horsepower and rate 21/34/25 with the six-speed automatic in the sedan, 18/28/22 with the six-speed manual available in the coupe. Full details about the plug-in Accord were unavailable in time for this review but Honda says it’ll rate more than 100 mpg-equivalent. Base price range for the 2013 Accord sedan is $22,470-$30,785 with the four-cylinder and $30,860-$34,220 with the V-6.
Nissan Altima: A full redesign for model-year 2013 brings the first all-new Altima sedan since model-year 2007. This is Nissan’s top-selling car and the redesign continues Altima’s expressive styling while retaining the sporty nature and roomy cabin that helped make the 2007-2012 version a success. A focus on fuel economy nets a 20-percent increase versus the previous generation. The coupe body style carries over pending its model-year 2014 redesign. Altima stays with a four- and six-cylinder-engine lineup and again employs a CVT exclusively. Four-cylinder versions have 182 horsepower, rate 27/38/31 mpg, and have a base-price range of $22,280-$30,860. V-6s have 270 horsepower, rate 22/31/25, and have a base-price range of $26,140-$30,860.
Ford Fusion: A contender for midsize-class honors in both styling and driving feel, the all-new 2013 Fusion mounts the most serious domestic-brand challenge to the Camry, Accord, Altima, and Sonata. A carbon copy of an Aston Martin front end highlights a new body that’s larger than the previous generation but still wanting for rear-seat space in the competitive set. Fusion abandons its V-6 option for an all four-cylinder lineup, plus a conventional hybrid and a plug-in hybrid. The base engine has 170 horsepower and rates 22/34/26 mpg. Turbocharged upgrades have 179 and 237 horsepower and rate 23/36/28 and 22/33/26 mpg, respectively. The 237-horsepower turbo can be coupled with all-wheel drive in place of the standard front-wheel drive. The conventional hybrid has 185 horsepower and rates an impressive 47/47/47 mpg. Full details on the plug-in were unavailable in time for this review but Ford promises more than 100 mpg-e. Base-price range is $22,495-$30,995 for front-drive models. The AWD version starts at $32,995 and the conventional hybrid at $27,200.