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2017 Toyota Camry Test Drive Review

There are many reasons why the Toyota Camry has been the best-selling sedan in the U.S. for the last 14 years, but styling and performance haven’t always been at the top of the list. The 2017 Toyota Camry XSE V6 fixes all that!

With its aggressive look and bigger engine, the 2017 Toyota Camry XSE V6 is the cure for the common family sedan, and I recently put Toyota’s bread-and-butter sedan through its paces during a 1,000+-mile family road trip. Such an adventure tests the limits of any car when it comes to space, comfort, entertainment and efficiency, and the 2017 Toyota Camry XSE V6 performed flawlessly.

2017 Toyota Camry Exterior:
Even with a sportier and bolder Camry coming for the 2018 model year, the 2017 Toyota Camry XSE is a sharp car even when compared against some of the sportier offerings in the midsize segment like the Kia Optima and Ford Fusion. Up front, the XSE trim level gets a unique fascia with a blacked-out grille that is flanked by narrow LED headlights and angled LED daytime running lights, while the rear of the sedan gets a decklid spoiler, black chrome accent trim and dual exhaust outlets. Adding to its sporty look, the 2017 Toyota Camry XSE has stylish 18-inch V-spoke wheels, and this tester was finished with an eye-catching hue called Blue Streak Metallic.

2017 Toyota Camry Interior:
Matching its sporty exterior, the interior of the 2017 Toyota Camry XSE is dressed up with perforated sport bucket seats and suede inserts found on the seats and door panels. In fact, just about all surfaces are dressed up to some degree including the leather-wrapped steering wheel, stitched accents on the instrument panel and metallic-like accents throughout the interior. For the extra money, the XSE trim level also gets upgrades to the standard content list including Qi-compatible wireless smartphone charging, acoustic laminated windshield to reduce cabin noise and dual-zone auto climate control – all of which proved to be among the Camry’s strong points on this long road trip.

There is plenty of room for all passengers to relax in the Camry, but my only gripe about this interior is lack of adjustable headrests for the rear seat. Not only do these one-size-fits-all headrests create some discomfort for taller passengers, it also proved to be a challenge when installing a child seat in the outboard seating positions. The fact that this was the only downfall of this interior after more than 1,000 miles and about 20 hours of driving time only shows why the Camry is the most popular family sedan.

2017 Toyota Camry Powertrain:
While the Camry comes standard with an economical and budget-minded four-cylinder engine, if you want the power to back up the styling of the 2017 Toyota Camry XSE, then opt for the 3.5-liter V6, which ups the power to a reasonable 268 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque. All 2017 Camry sedans use a six-speed automatic transmission, and while the Camry’s powertrain options aren’t the most advanced (lacking turbocharging and direct injection), they still get the job done with this V6 returning EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 21 mpg in the city and 30 mpg** on the highway. Even with the extended mileage of this road trip, I still saw an average of 28.2 mpg in a mix of mostly interstate driving yet still plenty of urban traffic.

Despite the bigger engine, the 2017 Toyota Camry XSE comes up short in terms of performance, and that’s despite being upgraded with wider tires and a beefed-up suspension (courtesy of a thicker rear stabilizer bar). Neither acceleration nor handling gives drivers delusions of sporty grandeur on the XSE trim level, but this is the Toyota Camry after all where comfort is paramount to everything else. This car’s ride is about as smooth as they get even with the 18-inch wheels and the seats provide enough support and comfort to make long drives a piece of cake.

2017 Toyota Camry Safety:
A staple of any midsize family sedan is safety, and the 2017 Toyota Camry leads the way with top levels of safety achieving a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety as well as a five-star overall crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. These top ratings are thanks to options like the affordable $750 Advanced Technology Package that comes with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Auto High Beams and Full-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control and the $500 Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert – both packages were equipped on this tester. Of course, this is in addition to an abundance of standard safety features including 10 airbags and the Star Safety System.

2017 Toyota Camry Overall:
It is models like the 2017 Toyota Camry XSE V6 that proves why this sedan has become the perennial favorite among car buyers. This lineup has just about everything you could want from a car with the XSE delivering a refreshing amount of style and sportiness. Even so, it’s a decent bargain when you factor in all of the content you get with this car carrying an as-tested price of $34,718*, which is a considerable price hike over the base $23,070 Camry but is still less expensive than some of this car’s competitors.

Make sure to visit your local AutoNation Toyota dealership and test drive the 2017 Toyota Camry today!


*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2017 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.

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