America’s Favorite Midsize Sedan
What a shame midsize sedans are losing favor with car buyers. Take your pick among several manufacturers and you will not go wrong with bold designs, interior refinement, advanced safety features and fuel economy. The 2019 Toyota Camry is an excellent example of a five-passenger sedan that is a favorite with consumers and remains one of the perennial best sellers in this category.
Clean Fleet Report spent a week in the front-wheel drive 2019 Camry XSE. The naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V6 was mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, with this combination good for 301 horsepower and 267 pounds-feet of torque. The EPA rates fuel economy at 22 mpg city/32 highway/26 combined. Running on regular unleaded on Southern California freeways, we averaged 30.3 mpg over 435 miles. This is a strong number for this powerful of an engine. Toyota says a big part of achieving 30+ mpg is the transmission having been designed to offer crisp performance shifts, but also operating in a calm manner for fuel economy.
Open Road Cruising
The V6 is strong, pulling up through the gears with linear acceleration and never a stumble at any speed or demand. It is good to drive a V6 after many smaller, turbocharged four-cylinder engines. Nothing wrong at all with a four-cylinder turbo, but the feel of the V6 is just different. In the case of the Camry’s V6, it comes along with respectable fuel economy.
What made our time in the Camry so pleasurable is how easy it is to drive. Its smooth ride was unaffected by passing semi-trucks or road imperfections, and the electric power steering was programmed for a positive connection to the road. Acceleration was swift with a consistent 5.8 seconds for 0-60 mph. The transmission is so well-tuned that using the steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters does not add any speed or knock any time off the acceleration run. However, the paddle shifters are fun when on mountain curves, providing for a more controlled experience, delivering precise shifts and response exactly how and when you want it.
There are three driver-selectable drive modes: Normal, Eco and Sport. For the best fuel economy, leave it in Eco and let the computer adjust the throttle input for the most efficiency. Sport mode is by far the most spirited and fun, where the acceleration feels sharper. A good test for the drive modes is to be driving at 65 mph on a flat, straight road in Eco or Normal. Then select Sport, and watch the tachometer turn red, blip up as much as 1,500+ rpm, and feel the car jolt forward from the increased engine power.
The Camry XSE came with attractive 19-inch machine-finished silver alloy wheels. Mounted with 235/40R Michelin Primacy all-season tires, they provided good traction with limited tire slippage even under hard cornering stress. The MacPherson strut front and multi-link rear were part of the sport-tuned suspension that helped give the Camry XSE a planted feeling. Toyota does not market the Camry as a sports sedan, but under most reasonable aggressive driving situations, it holds its own.
Stopping comes from Toyota’s Electronically Controlled Brake System (ECB) that incorporates power-assisted, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD). The stops were straight and consistent.
Fully redesigned in 2018, the 2019 Camry continues with a very welcoming interior. Clean Fleet Report was driving the XSE trim level that had heated, leather-trimmed seats, with the driver and passenger getting eight-way power adjustments. Settling-in for driving, the leather-trimmed steering wheel (with controls for audio, hands-free telephone operation, and cruise control) were centered by the tilt and telescopic steering column.
The cockpit design is driver friendly with the gauges all in easy sight and controls in easy reach. The visibility was excellent with large windows and a low belt line. A much-appreciated feature was the 10-inch color head-up display (HUD) that had customizable settings to select, among others, the speedometer, audio, phone and outside temperature. The HUD was adjustable for brightness and angle. Other HUD settings are the TSS-P indicators, for the Toyota Total Safety Sense system, showing the driver assist technologies of pre-collision, pedestrian detection, lane departure alert and the dynamic radar cruise control. Clean Fleet Report feels that a HUD should be on all cars, as it is a safety technology that keeps the driver’s eyes on the road.
Additional interior convenience features included the panoramic glass power moonroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, power windows and door locks, an integrated backup camera with dynamic gridlines, push button start/stop, map and reading lights, Qi-compatible wireless phone charger and an auto-dimming Homelink equipped rearview mirror. The 60/40 split folding rear seat comfortably accommodates three, with ample head and leg room. The trunk swallowed-up all our gear. The 2019 Toyota Camry XSE is ready for a long road trip.
Another very handy feature was activated by a dash-mounted button: the optional Bird’s Eye View camera with Perimeter Scan. By pushing the button, the scan gives a downward 360º look at anything that may be in the Camry’s surrounding area. You will come to rely on this nifty feature.
Next was becoming familiar with the JBL Premium infotainment system that came with Toyota’s Entune and its app suite. The 8.0-inch, high-resolution touch-screen housed the voice command navigation along with SiriusXM/FM/CD/HDAM with MP3 playback capability. SiriusXM service is included for 90 days. There is an auxiliary audio jack, USB port with iPod connectivity, music streaming via Bluetooth wireless technology, Siri Eyes Free and Apple CarPlay. The system came with a subwoofer amplifier to drive the nine speakers.
A nice feature is the Verizon-powered Wi-Fi hotspot. You get up to 2GB with a six-month trial. If you have passengers streaming video or use the Camry as a mobile office, this is a great feature.
The 2019 Camry carries-over the all-new design of the 2018 model. The Camry has a contemporary design with a low center of gravity, enhanced by its wide stance. Our Camry XSE, in Blue Streak Metallic, had black B pillars, shark fin antenna and mesh front grille. The bumpers, exterior mirrors and door handles were colored-keyed. Minimal chrome was found on window trim, badges and the quad, dual exhaust tips. All-in-all, a sleek design and profile.
The Camry is well-equipped with active and passive safety features including 10 air bags, a tire pressure monitoring system, collapsible steering column, anti-theft alarm and engine immobilizer, rear view camera, blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert with sonar clearance, and rear cross-traffic emergency braking, which is very helpful. When backing from a blind parking spot, and cars or pedestrians suddenly appear behind the car, the brakes are instantly applied.
In testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) the 2019 Camry received five stars, its highest rating, while the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded the 2019 Camry its top safety pick for overall crash protection.
Pricing and Warranties
The 2019 Toyota Camry XSE V6 has a base MSRP of $34,850. Clean Fleet Report’s test car had a total price, including $3,354 in options, of $38,204. Pricing excludes the $930 delivery and processing fee. Lesser-equipped Camrys start at $24,095.
The 2019 Camry comes with these warranties.
- Powertrain – Five years/60,000 miles
- Comprehensive – Three years/36,000 miles
- Maintenance Plan – Two years/25,000 miles
- Anti-perforation – Five years/Unlimited miles
- Roadside Assistance – Two years/25,000 miles
Observations: 2019 Toyota Camry XSE V6
First introduced in 1982, it didn’t take the Camry long to become America’s favorite midsize sedan. The 2019 Toyota Camry continues delivering high marks as a fuel-efficient performer, with either a four, six or hybrid power plants. The standard convenience and driver assistance feature list is long, offering an excellent combination of quality and value.
Built in Georgetown, Kentucky, the Camry has a firm and stable ride, is comfortable and quiet, and is a place you want to spend time in. As can be imagined, there aren’t any glaring reasons to not consider a Camry when looking for a five-passenger sedan.
Treat yourself to a long test drive at your Toyota dealership, and see for yourself.
Whatever you end up buying, Happy Driving!
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Clean Fleet Report is loaned free test vehicles from automakers to evaluate, typically for a week at a time. Our road tests are based on this one-week drive of a new vehicle. Because of this we don’t address issues such as long-term reliability or total cost of ownership. In addition, we are often invited to manufacturer events highlighting new vehicles or technology. As part of these events we may be offered free transportation, lodging or meals. We do our best to present our unvarnished evaluations of vehicles and news irrespective of these inducements.
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