Everybody stop what you’re doing. The 2011 Toyota Camry has received a slight fuel economy bump for 2011, with the V6 model 20 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway, up from 19 and 28 mpg from last year’s model.
New low-rolling-resistance tires help with the fuel economy raise, and for those that want more, the 4-cylinder (22 and 32 mpg respectively) and Hybrid (31/35 mpg) are much more sensible alternatives.
Hit the jump to find out more about one of America’s most utilitarian cars, and its 2011 updates.
TORRANCE, Calif. — The best-selling passenger car in America for eight years running and 12 of the past 13 years, the 2011 Toyota Camry is available in Camry, LE, SE, XLE and Hybrid models. A sharp focus on customer value is reflected in the addition of new lower-rolling-resistance tires for the 2011 V6 model to increase EPA fuel economy ratings to 20 MPG city / 29 MPG highway, up from 19/28 for the 2010 V6 model; the four-cylinder Camry returns 22/32 MPG, and the Camry Hybrid is rated at 31/35 (33 combined).
For the second year in a row, the Toyota Camry is ranked #1 on the “American-Made Index” as compiled by the editors at Cars.com. The 2010 Camry was rated “The best mid-sized sedan” by Motor Trend. Forbes Magazine praised the Camry Hybrid by including it in “2010’s Best Cars for Commuters”.
Performance and Efficiency The 2011 Camry blends performance and economy in an ideal way for midsize car customers. The DOHC 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, which was new for the 2010 model year, is standard on all models. This engine equipped with Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (Dual VVT-i) to provide a wide torque band for responsive performance. The four produces 169 SAE horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 167 lb.-ft. peak torque at 4,100 rpm. In the sporty SE grade, the engine produces 179 hp / 171 lb.-ft. for even better performance. The high-tech four enables Camry to return an EPA estimated 22 mpg city / 32 mpg rating with the six-speed automatic transmission and 22/33 with the six-speed manual.
The DOHC 3.5-liter V6, available in the LE, SE and XLE grades, delivers a substantial performance boost with 268 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 248 lb.-ft. peak torque at 4,700 rpm. The chain-driven camshafts employ Dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (Dual VVT-i) which controls valve timing on both the intake and exhaust camshafts for optimal performance and efficiency at all engine speeds.
The Camry models come equipped exclusively with a six-speed automatic transmission that offers a sequential mode for manual shifting when desired (all AT models have sequential shift). Intelligent control adapts shifting strategy in response to driver input, with very fast kick-down and noticeable response.
The Camry Hybrid model owes its outstanding efficiency to Hybrid Synergy Drive, which produces a combined 187 horsepower and varies power between the gas engine and electric motor, or combines both, as needed. The first part of Hybrid Synergy Drive consists of a 147-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder Atkinson-cycle engine coupled with an electronically controlled planetary-gear continuously variable transmission.
The second part combines a small, high-torque 40-hp electric motor, an ultra-small inverter with a specially designed compact battery, and a transaxle to seamlessly combine power from the electric motor and gasoline engine. Because there are situations in which the gas engine in a Toyota hybrid completely shuts off, air conditioning and power steering systems are driven electrically.
In addition, an “ECO” button limits energy consumption by the climate control system, and under certain conditions can help improve fuel economy. Special attention paid to vehicle underbody aerodynamics, including the use of wheel spats and underbelly pans, helps yield a coefficient of drag of just 0.27, which contributes to highway fuel economy. The 2011 Camry Hybrid is certified as an Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV), just one of a handful of cars that meets this strict standard. It produces over 70 percent less smog-forming emissions than the average new car.
Handling and Ride The 2011 Camry offers responsive handling while providing the smooth, quiet ride that sets a benchmark for the segment. Four-wheel independent suspension is via MacPherson struts in front and a dual-link strut rear configuration. Camry, LE, XLE and Hybrid models ride on standard 16-inch wheels of either steel (Camry and LE) or aluminum (XLE and Hybrid) (FYI – LE has an optional alloy option too), with the sporty SE model featuring standard aluminum 17-inch wheels.
All Camry models are equipped with four-wheel disc brakes. Toyota designed the Camry SE model to spice up the daily commute. Chassis modifications specific to the SE include springs, shock absorbers and bushings with firmer, sportier values than those used in other grades. The Camry SE also has a lower ride height than other Camry models. Other modifications increase the SE’s torsional rigidity, which contributes to the model’s sharper handling response.
Tuning the SE chassis resulted in optimized underbody aerodynamics. Making the underbody as flat as possible helps to smooth and speed the airflow under the car, and engineers also specially tuned the balance between front and rear downforce.
Safety and Security The Camry’s body structure is designed to absorb collision-impact forces and help minimize impact deformation to the passenger cabin. High-strength steel is used for B-pillar and rocker panel reinforcements to help manage overall body deformation in the event of certain side collisions. The seat frames also are designed to help absorb side collision loads. Dual-stage advanced SRS front airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags, side curtain airbags and a driver’s knee airbag are standard on all Camry models.
All 2011 Camry models come equipped with a standard anti-lock brake system (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA). The Brake Assist feature is designed to determine if the driver is attempting emergency braking. If the driver has not stepped firmly enough on the brake pedal to engage the ABS, BA supplements the applied braking power until the driver releases pedal pressure.
Standard Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) with traction control (TRAC) regulates engine output and brake application on individual wheels to help control loss of traction in turns. Camry Hybrid is equipped with the Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system that helps manage vehicle traction and stability through throttle control, brake application on individual wheels, and even minor steering correction if circumstances require.
Comfort and Convenience Camry offers many storage spaces around the front-passenger area, including console side pockets. Storage options also include a large front console box equipped with an accessory power socket and auxiliary audio jack; this box is big enough to store nine CD jewel cases. Other storage areas include an accessory box behind the shift lever containing another power socket, a rear-console box with a card holder and a movable tray, and two large cupholders adjacent to the shift lever.
The four-cylinder Camry XLE and Camry Hybrid models are exclusively equipped with special seat fabric designed to be gentle on the skin. The fabric is treated by the Fraichir process, in which it is coated with a naturally occurring component called Sericin that has been extracted and refined from silkworm cocoons. This substance is soft to the touch and gentle on the skin.
The Camry’s standard equipment includes air conditioning with micro dust and pollen filter; power windows with auto up/down and jam protection for all four doors; power door locks; color-keyed power side mirrors; cruise control; halogen headlamps with automatic on/off feature; tilt and telescopic steering wheel; vehicle immobilizer, and a six speaker 160-watt AM/FM/CD audio system with auxiliary audio jack. All Camry audio systems can play CDs with MP3 files. The Camry LE adds an in-key remote keyless entry and eight-way-adjustable power driver’s seat.
The Camry XLE’s list of standard features includes an upgraded dual-zone automatic climate control system with steering-wheel controls, plus Plasmacluster™ ionizer technology to help reduce airborne mold spores, microbes, fungi, odors, germs and bacteria inside the passenger cabin. Other XLE features include a premium 440-watt JBL audio system with Bluetooth® technology that allows hands-free calling with compatible phones; wood-style trim; power glass moonroof; reclining rear seats; fog lamps; and aluminum wheels.
The V6 Camry XLE is equipped with standard leather-trimmed seats. In the XLE grade, the rear seatbacks can recline eight degrees from their standard position to enhance passenger comfort. Rear-seat passengers also get dedicated personal reading lamps on moonroof-equipped Camry models.
The Camry Hybrid offers a standard equipment level similar to the XLE grade, adding a standard Smart Key System featuring push button start. This feature allows drivers to lock, unlock, or start the car by carrying the Smart Key.
Options Options for select Camry grades include a power tilt/slide moonroof; heated front seats; voice-command DVD navigation system; leather-trimmed seating; rear spoiler, and the Smart Key system featuring push button start. The LE and SE grades are available with an optional audio system featuring with a new USB port for auxiliary music sources, Bluetooth®, integrated satellite radio, single-CD and MP3 and streaming music capability.
When the available voice-activated DVD navigation system is added to the Camry (SE, XLE, Hybrid), it is integrated with the premium JBL audio unit and includes a four-disc in-dash CD changer.
Exterior Design Camry is built on a 109.3 inch wheelbase to provide outstanding interior room: 101.4 cubic feet of passenger space, with 38.3 inches of rear legroom. Distinctive, athletic lines, which were enhanced for the previous model year, set Camry apart in a competitive segment. The XLE grade is equipped with 16-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels.
The Camry SE projects a distinctly sporty attitude with a standard full body kit plus 17-inch aluminum wheels, exclusive black, honeycomb-style grille and smoked tint halogen headlamps.
Interior Design The Camry’s roomy interior shows the attention to detail that has helped this model set such high standards for comfort in the midsize sedan segment. Controls on the two-level dash and console are easy to see and use. Large instrument panel gauges are easy to see at a glance, and the odometer and trip meters are illuminated at all times to improve visibility. Standard on XLE and Camry Hybrid is a multi-information display that provides the outside temperature, estimated range, average speed, average fuel consumption, driving distance (driving distance since engine was started) and a trip odometer.
The Camry SE is distinguished by a unique sport-trimmed interior in dark charcoal or ash gray with a leather-wrapped, three-spoke steering wheel and blue-colored Optitron gauges. With the 60/40 fold-down rear seats, Camry offers 15 cubic feet of luggage space (14.5 cu. ft. with the reclining rear seat in XLE or fixed rear seat in SE, and 10.6 cu. ft. in the Camry Hybrid). The trunk is equipped with a grocery hook, utility box and luggage net (on XLE) for added convenience.
Limited Warranty Toyota’s 36-month/36,000 mile basic new-vehicle warranty applies to all components other than normal wear and maintenance items. Additional 60-month warranties cover the powertrain for 60,000 miles and corrosion with no mileage limitation. Toyota dealers have complete details on the limited warranty.