2023 Toyota Camry Review

2023 Toyota Camry - Camry hybrid a smooth, economical ride

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Price: $32,970

Pros--Very fuel-thrifty. Roomy. Smooth ride. Decent acceleration. Sure handling. Top-selling mid-size sedan.

Cons—Average driving fun. Rather numb steering feel. Small door pockets.

Bottom Line—Comfortable, economical, dependable mid-size hybrid sedan.

Those looking for a smooth, gas-stingy dependable sedan might try the Toyota Camry, which has been the best-selling sedan in America for the past 20 years. It does everything it is supposed to do without fuss..

The 2023 hybrid version adds icing to the cake with its estimated fuel economy of 44 miles per gallon in the city and 47 on highways. Power comes from a sophisticated 2.5-lite four-cylinder engine which works with two electric motors and a battery to provide good, if not startling, acceleration (0-60 m.p.h. in 7.8 seconds). Nobody buys this thing to go hot rodding, although you can get a Camry with a 301-horsepower V-6.

Actually, the XLE Hybrid sedan is most likely the best model of the Camry lineup.

And, no, there is no reason to plug in to recharge the car’s battery pack because energy from braking charges it.
 
The near Lexus-style interior has a pushbutton start, easily read gauges and clearly marked manual controls that include large sound system volume and tuning knobs, a touch screen that’s pretty easy to quickly figure out and a 7-inch multi-information display.

There is plenty of room for five tall adults in supportive long-distance seats partly because this is a fairly big car. The center of the rear seat is even comfortable, which can’t be said for many vehicles I test. If not occupied, the seat has a center fold-down armrest with cupholders. And rear seat backs, with trunk located release controls, flip forward to enlarge the spacious cargo area. However, the cargo floor isn’t prettily flat when they are folded forward.

Front cupholders are easily reached in the curvy and asymmetrical center console, and there’s a wireless phone charger under the center stack. Cabin cargo storage space is generally good. There are various small covered storage areas for objects such as a cell phone, and the console has a deep bin with a cover. But all four door  pockets are too small to be of much use.
 
Acceleration is good from the sophisticated 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, which works with two electric motors and a battery to produce 208 combined system net horsepower and 184 pound/feet of torque. Only 87-octane gas is needed for the 15.8-gallon tank.

An electronic continuously variable automatic transmission helps provide smooth acceleration. A driver can choose between “Econ,” “Normal” and “Power” driving modes.” “Normal” is best for most driving, but “Power” can be used for a little faster freeway merging and highway passing.

The ride is smooth, thanks partly to this car’s 111.2-inch wheelbase and supple suspension, While rather numb, the steerings quick and handling is good.  Regenerative braking of hybrids sometimes causes an odd-feeling brake pedal, but that’s not the case with this car.

However, the Camry XLE Hybrid is essentially a family workhorse and isn’t much fun to drive.

This $32,970 Camry looks sleek. The XLE Hybrid is part of a long line of Camry models that start at $25,945 and end at $33,370. Options on my “Supersonic Red” Camry XLE Hybrid put the bottom line price at $40,232. But that included $1,095 freight and options. They included a 10-inch color heads-up display, ventilated front seats, cold weather package with a $150 heated steering wheel and $860 power tilt/slide moonroof with a shade.

Actually, my test car had lots of standard equipment. It included leather-trimmed heated power front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, push-button start, 9-inch touchscreen and a sound system with 6 speakers.

This is essentially a family vehicle, so it’s loaded with standard safety features. They include a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, full-speed dynamic radar cruise control, lane-departure assist with steering assist, lane-tracing assist, blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert and road sign assist.

The Camry is in its eighth design generation. Toyota has been building Camrys for so long that it’s no surprise that the XLE Hybrid sedan is hard to fault.




Dan Jedlicka

Dan Jedlicka's Website

Dan Jedlicka joined the Chicago Sun-Times in February 1968 as a business news reporter and was named auto editor later that year. He has reviewed more than 4,000 new vehicles for the Sun-Times--far more than any newspaper auto writer in the country. Jedlicka also reviewed vehicles for Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Autos Internet site from January, 1996, to June, 2008.

Jedlicka remained auto editor at the Sun-Times until October, 2008, and continued writing for the newspaper's AutoTimes section, which he started in 1992, until February, 2009. While continuing his auto writings at the Sun-Times, he served as assistant financial editor of that newspaper from 1970 to 1973, when he began his automotive column.

He has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including NBC's "Today," ABC's "20/20" and "The CBS Evening News." He was a host, consultant and writer for Fox-TV Channel 32's 1991 New Car Preview show and that Chicago-based station's 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995 Chicago Auto Show Previews.

Jedlicka's auto articles have been printed in national magazines, including Esquire and Harper's. His auto columns have been reprinted in U.S. government publications and economic textbooks and he is profiled in the "World's Greatest Auto Show" history book about the Chicago Auto Show. In late 1975, Jedlicka was host and technical advisor for three one-hour television specials, "Auto Test 76," which aired nationally on PBS and were the first nationally televised auto road test shows.

In 1995, Jedlicka was the recipient of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois Inc.'s Consumer Education Award, given annually to a person who has gained distinction in the field of consumer education. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Media category and inducted into the Legends of Motorsports Guild at the Carquest World of wheels custom car show in Chicago in January, 2006.

Jedlicka was a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year jury, composed of a select number of auto journalists from throughout the country, from 1995 until 2009. From 2010 to 2012, he was a member of Consumer Digest magazine's auto experts panel that gave Best Buy new vehicle recommendations.

He is a 1987 graduate of the Bob Bondurant Race Drivers School and later of the BMW "M" and Skip Barber Advanced Driving schools. He was a member of the U.S. team that participated in the 1987 1,000-mile Mille Miglia race/rally in Italy and has been a race winner at the Chicago area's Santa Fe Speedway.

Jedlicka has owned 25 classic cars, including 1950s and 1960s Ferraris and 1950s and 1960s Porsches, a 1965 Corvette, a 1967 Maserati and a 1957 Studebaker supercharged Golden Hawk. Jedlicka resides with his wife, Suzanne, in the Frank Lloyd Wright historic district of Oak Park. They have two children, James and Michele.

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