2020 Toyota Camry
2020 Toyota Camry
The sleek 2020 Toyota Camry has many personalities, from journeyman mid-size sedan, to high-mileage hybrid, to track-tuned sporty car. It only comes as front-wheel drive, and uses three engines: a 2.5-liter inline-4 making 203 horsepower; a hybrid with about the same power that brings 50 mpg; and a 301-hp V-6.The handling ranges from gentle, to not-quite thrilling, to entertaining.
The instrument panel is driver-oriented, and has a high-tech feel despite the standard touchscreen. For 2020, Android Auto compatibility is added. The interior space is good, while the safety scores are straight aces.
The base Camry L is EPA-rated at 29 mpg city, 41 highway, 35 combined. The LE and SE get 28/39/32 mpg, lower mostly because of different equipment and wheels, while the XLE and XSE get 27/38/31 mpg.
The V-6 XLE is rated at 22/33/26 mpg (22/32/26 mpg for the XSE). The TRD’s aero kit doesn’t help fuel economy; it falls to 22/31/25 mpg.
The Camry Hybrid LE delivers an inspired 51/53/52 mpg. The lower-tech battery in Hybrid XSE and XLE models drops the ratings to 44/47/46 mpg.
The NHTSA gave last year’s Camry five stars for safety in every crash test, while the IIHS gave it top “Good” scores in every test. Most Camrys have headlights deemed “Acceptable,” while the optional adaptive headlights on the Hybrid XLE are considered “Good.”
Every.” Camry comes standard with adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and active lane control. Blind-spot monitors, a surround-view camera system, and rear cross-traffic alerts are available on higher-trim models.
The Camry comes as L, LE, XLE, SE, XSE, and TRD models.
The Camry L runs about $25,250, and includes a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, active safety tech, LED headlights, and power features.
The Camry LE adds a power driver’s seat and alloy wheels for $550 more.
The XSE and XLE have power-adjustable front seats wrapped in leather, JBL audio, keyless ignition, and more.
The TRD offers sharper handling but less features than the XLE and XSE.
We like the Hybrid LE for about $29,200.
For $37,200, the XLE V-6 aspires to Lexus luxury, with a surround-view camera system, and optional cooled front seats.
The Camry tries hard to be noticed, especially the bolder SE and XSE, although every Camry has the same profile. It looks more like a rear-wheel-drive car than front-drive, with its long nose and short tail. The details are clean.
The TRD is boldest, with tuner-like cladding down low, and a rear spoiler.
The instrument panel carries a lot of flair, at least for the driver. It’s canted toward the driver. Its standard 7.0-inch and available 8.0-inch touchscreens sit high, with climate controls and storage bins below. Cabin storage space is adequate.
Interior hues are style-safe grays and tans on most models, although the XSE and TRD are available with bolder red and black trim. The fit and finish is good, as are the materials, although the tech fabric on the SE doesn’t feel especially rich.
The 7.0-inch touchscreen on most Camrys is adequate. The optional 8.0-inch screen is brighter and less prone to reflections, although not as crisp as some. Toyota’s software is simple. Navigation is optional on the top models, but since all Camrys are adaptable to smart phones, navigation has limited appeal.
The spacious interior offers firm and supportive front seats. The Camry L has manual front seats, while the LE adds power adjustability. With leather upholstery, the passenger seat is also power-adjustable.
Thanks to the sloping roofline, passengers will have to duck to climb in the rear. Leg room is good back there, but a high window line means a pinched view out the sides. Some models have air vents in the rear.
The trunk on the L is only 14.1 cubic feet, but the other models measure 15.1 cubic feet, average size for a mid-size sedan.
The base 2.5-liter inline-4 sends 203 horsepower to the front wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission. Most of the time the acceleration is adequate, although the engine can feel rough at lower speeds.
The 3.5-liter V-6 makes an impressive 301 hp, again to the front wheels through an 8-speed automatic. Passing power is superb with the V-6, which is only available in XSE and XLE trims.
The Hybrid LE, XSE, or XLE uses a 176-hp version of the 2.5-liter inline-4, mated to an electric motor to yield a combined output of 208 hp. Its acceleration is about the same as the base engine. The powerplant works well with the electronic continuously variable transmission (CVT).
The Hybrid LE uses a lithium-ion battery, while the Hybrid XSE and XLE use a lower-tech nickel-metal-hydride battery that’s heavier, and returns lower fuel mileage.
Camrys with an L in their names–L, LE, XLE and Hybrid XLE–have a soft ride paired with light, accurate steering. They roll into corners when pushed, although don’t feel sloppy. The S and XSE models have a stiffer suspension and a lower ride height, as well as more steering heft. They’re not exactly sporty but they’re more entertaining than most mid-size sedans.
The Hybrids generally handle the same, but with a softer ride partly because of the added weight from their batteries.
The TRD brings fun to the otherwise pedestrian Camry. Its 3.5-liter V-6 barks through a sport exhaust, and its buttoned-down suspension sits lower to the ground and has stiffer dampers and beefier, solid sway bars. Body bracing stiffens up what was already a fairly beefy body shell.
Meanwhile, bigger brakes stop it better, while wider available tires provide better grip. It’s for enthusiasts, and not a good choice to simply add a little spirit to the Camry.
The Hybrid is the best a 2020 Toyota Camry can be, and economy is where it beats other sedans. The regular 4-cylinders are fine, but don’t stand out in a crowd. The TRD stands out with its 301-horsepower V-6, but the Camry makes an odd (if distinctive) sport sedan with limited handling. The Hybrid LE with 52 mpg is a no-fail commuter.
—by Sam Moses with driving impressions by The Car Connection