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2011 Toyota Camry Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2011 Toyota Camry was new.


Performance: 7.6

The automotive press has very little that is complementary to say about the 2011 Toyota Camry’s performance, but auto writers often praise cars for their track performance -- something that doesn’t interest most midsize car buyers. The Camry is designed to serve as a comfortable commuter and family car. It’s offered with an adequate four-cylinder engine or a fairly powerful V6, but its handling is too sedate for most auto writers’ tastes. Critics say it fills that role well, but if you’re looking for excitement, look elsewhere.

  • "Just try to stay awake-this is among the most uninvolving transportation." -- Car and Driver
  • Confident and predictable at moderate speeds, but most models--SE excepted--are spoiled by marked cornering lean from their comfort-biased suspensions." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The new 2.5-liter base engine and standard six-speed transmissions add splashes of zest and refinement to the Camry's tried-and-true formula, which is to provide excellent ride comfort and isolation at the expense of engaging driving dynamics." -- Edmunds
  • "On the road, we were underwhelmed by the Camry's performance." -- Left Lane News

Acceleration and Power

The 2011 Camry is offered with a choice of two engines -- a 2.5-liter four-cylinder making 169 horsepower (bumped up to 179 horsepower in the SE model), or a 3.5-liter V6 making 268. The two have very different qualities. The four-cylinder, reviewers say, is adequate, but just adequate. It matches the output of the four-cylinder Chevy Malibu, but trails the power put out by the four-cylinder Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata and Honda Accord.

The V6 is a different story. At 268 horsepower, it out-powers the V6 engines found in almost all of its major competitors. Deciding between the two is a matter of evaluating how you’ll use the car. A four-cylinder Camry is adequate for most commuting, and will save you some money at the pump. But those who do a lot of highway driving may want the extra power of the V6.

While many manufacturers now build few manual transmission midsize cars, the 2011 Toyota Camry is still available with a six-speed manual at almost any trim level. A six-speed automatic is also offered, and is standard on the top-of-the-line 2011 Toyota Camry XLE. The 2011 Toyota Camry with the V6 gets 20/29 mpg city/highway, while the four-cylinder gets up to 22/33 mpg. Those interested in the Camry but seeking better fuel economy may want to consider the 2011 Toyota Camry Hybrid.

  • "It should have enough power and acceleration for most everyday driving needs." -- Automobile.com
  • Camrys with the 4-cylinder engine furnish adequate go with either transmission. However, 4-cylinder models feel taxed with the automatic when attempting quick acceleration in the 35-55-mph range." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The muscular V6 is a powerhouse, good for a zero to 60-miles-per-hour burst in less than seven seconds." -- Kelley Blue Book

Handling and Braking

The 2011 Toyota Camry is a comfortable commuter, but reviewers say it’s one of the least involving drives in the affordable midsize car class. The Camry is softly tuned, which creates a gentle ride for easy commuting and long trips. But it makes the Camry lean more severely in sharp corners than most midsize cars. For some drivers, this won’t be a problem, but if having fun on winding roads is on your agenda, you might want to test drive a Mazda6, Suzuki Kizashi or Ford Fusion. All of those cars are known for their sportier character.

Toyota does offer a Camry with sportier tuning -- the SE model. While reviewers say it’s firmer than other Camry models, it’s still no sports car. The Camry is known for having strong brakes.

  • Soft settings mean some body wallow and numb steering." -- Car and Driver
  • All models are comfortably absorbent, even on severely cratered roads. All but the SE suffer moderate float over large humps and dips at highway speed. The SE has better body control on its firmer suspension, but it thumps a bit more over sharp bumps on its 17-inch tires." -- Consumer Guide
  • For many shoppers in this segment, the Camry's cosseting suspension and cabin may be preferable to the sportier approach taken by Mazda and Nissan, but for the record, the Camry's handling dynamics are about as bland as they get." -- Edmunds
  • While we never doubted the stopping power, brake pedal feel and travel are still sedan-grade: a bit soft and long for our enthusiast-driver preferences." -- New Car Test Drive

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