2010 Toyota Camry SE: Top-Selling Royalty
By Mike Blake, Carlisle Events
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
Once again, Toyota Camry is the top-selling passenger car in America and third best-selling vehicle behind only the Ford F Series and Chevrolet Silverado trucks. This marks the eighth consecutive year and twelfth of the last thirteen, that Camry has occupied the top spot in America.
Continuing in its seventh generation, the mid-size sedan began as a compact car within the Celica line in 1980, and fully replaced the Corona in 1983.
Deriving its name from the Japanese term: Kan-Muri, meaning "crown", Camry is built at the Tsutsumi Plant in Toyota City, Japan, TMMK in Georgetown, Kentucky, and the SIA (Subaru of Indiana Automotive) plant in Lafayette, Indiana.
For 2010, the Camry sedan gets some exterior styling enhancements with a new front fascia that features a new blacked-out grille, re-designed front bumper, larger projection headlamps, tweaked taillights and fog lights, and an enlarged lower front air intake. The outside revisions are accentuated by new alloy wheels for XLE and SE trims and new wheel covers for LE.
Under the hood, the model I tested was equipped with the same 3.5-liter 6-cylinder aluminum alloy block engine with aluminum alloy head that was employed last year, but a new 4-cylinder powertrain is also available.
In the cabin, the 2010 model receives a power window boost with jam protection, USB port for auxiliary music source, Bluetooth on LE and SE models, and Smart Key on upgraded members of the line.
A safety and control advancement is the installation of All Vehicle Stability Control with traction control as standard.
Looking clean and elegant with its fluid lines, aerodynamic multi-reflector halogen headlamps with blackout sport trim, integrated front fog lamps, 17-inch-6-spoke alloy wheels, chrome-tipped exhaust, color-keyed front and rear underbody spoilers and side rocker panel moldings, my Barcelona Red Camry measured 189.2 inches long, 57.9 inches high and 71.7 inches wide on a 109.3-inch wheelbase with ground clearance of 5.3 inches, while weighing in at a curb weight of 3483 lbs.
Camry power on my test ride came from a 3.5-liter V-6 with Toyota Direct Ignition and an EFI fuel system. The set-up produced 268hp and 248 lbs-ft of torque and is EPA estimated at 19mpg in the city and 28mpg on the highway, with an 18.5-gallon tank. My week of mixed-use testing yielded an average of 22.7mpg, but for the “green” conscious, Camry offers a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder option that puts out 169hp and 171 lbs-ft of torque and is rated at 22/33/26; and a Hybrid version of Camry is also available, with a combined 187 horsepower output that varies power between the gas engine and electric motor, or combines both as needed.
In terms of response, this year’s muscle propelled the test Camry from zero to 60mph in 7.2 seconds and worked a quarter-mile in 15.6 seconds, which was just about the same as my tests were on the 2009 version (7.2 and 15.5) -- even identical cars often test differently and run differently in tests, and these two cars, a year apart, were nearly identical in performance.
On the road, the independent MacPherson strut front suspension and independent dual-link rear absorbed most of what irregular surfaces threw at us, though severe potholes were met with jarring thumps. Quick turns produced some understeer from the power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering, and some wobble from the rear of the chassis, but the driving experience was always one of confidence. The anti-lock brake system utilizing ventilated discs up front and solid discs in the rear provides solid stopping power, and while there was more road noise than expected, the overall interior disposition was one of grace and sophistication.
Interior dimensions accommodate a seating capacity of five to the tune of 38.8 inches of headroom in front and 37.8 in the second row, legroom of 41.7 and 38.3 and shoulder room of 57.8 and 56.9.
Inside, the SE is distinguished by a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, large, easy to read illuminated blue gauge lighting, and aluminum pedals and sill plates. The cabin arrangement also includes an intuitive two-level dash and console and steering wheel controls for the audio system.
Camry’s safety strategy is engaged inside and out, starting with its body structure, which 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 buckling in the event of certain side collisions. Inside the cabin, the seat frames also are designed to help absorb side collision loads. Dual-stage advanced SRS front airbags, seat-mounted side airbags, side curtain airbags and a driver's knee airbag are standard on all Camry models.
The Camry SE starts at $26,165, and my test vehicle added a Sport Leather Package for $3,180; paint protection ($395); body side molding ($209), rear bumper appliqué ($69); leather shift knob ($72); first aid kit ($29); dual headrest rear seat entertainment system with 7-inch monitors ($1799); remote engine starter ($529) and delivery processing and handling fee ($760) for a sticker price of $33,207.
The 2010 Toyota Camry is best-selling royalty once again.
> Visit www.CarlisleEvents.com for more on the automotive hobby.
Mike Blake, former editor of KIT CAR magazine, joined Carlisle Events as senior automotive journalist in 2004. He's been a "car guy" since the 1960s and has been writing professionally for about 30 years.
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