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2013 Toyota Camry LE Review

By Mathieu St-Pierre
2013 Toyota Camry LE Review

Summary Rating: 79%

Styling

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Accessories

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Space and Access

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Comfort

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Performance

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Driving Dynamics

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Safety

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General Appreciation

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What’s in a name?
Everything. Why do we buy Guess jeans, drink Fiji water, and wear Oakley sunglasses? Because we feel a certain affinity for a brand or feel emotionally safe with it -- and nothing feels safer than a Toyota.

In this case that Toyota is the Camry, which has been a go-to car for the better part of the last two decades and is a brand unto itself. People shop for a Camry, not a midsize car. This remains true to this day, despite Toyota’s recent checkered past.

The 2013 Toyota Camry is a car that sells itself. Few if any gimmicks are necessary to attract consumers. Every time I get to spend time with one, I immerse myself in the mindset of a typical owner and immediately understand: This is a good car.


What is a Toyota Camry?
The 2013 Camry is Toyota’s superstar, behind the bestselling car of all time; the Corolla. The midsize Camry is the pride of Toyota Manufacturing Kentucky, in Georgetown, and one of the strongest contenders in the most important segment in North America.

The Toyota Camry is fresh from a 2012 overhaul that infused character into its styling. Introduced in 1982, the Camry has found over 16 million buyers and has consistently been regarded as a best pick by numerous specialized media outlets.

2013 Toyota Camry LE 3/4 view
The 2013 Toyota Camry LE is one of the strongest contenders in the most important segment in North America. (Photo: Toyota)

Technicalities
The 2013 Toyota Camry can be delivered with one of two engines: The base is a 2.5L 4-cylinder and the other a 3.5L V6. The 4-pot generates 178 hp while the slowly-going-out-of-style V6 puts out 268 hp. A 6-speed autobox is standard across the board.

The as-tested base 2013 Toyota Camry LE goes for $23,700. The chart-topping XLE V6 sports a $34,275 sticker price.

2013 Toyota Camry LE engine
The base version comes with a 2.5L 4-cylinder engine that generates 178 hp. (Photo: Toyota)

Driving the Toyota Camry
Yes, there is much to say about driving a Camry. In fact, I really enjoyed every minute I spent with the car. Auto123.com staff repeatedly checked my vitals every time I raved about the Camry’s drive.

The 2013 Toyota Camry is supremely comfortable, far more so than its sub-$24k price should allow. Don’t get me wrong, comfortable need not equal float-y and boring. The Camry will lean slightly into a corner, but its P205/65R16 all season tires grip to the road. This is a direct result of the well-calibrated independent suspension.

The 2.5L powerplant is more than sufficient. The transmission is no slouch and matches the inline-4 punch for punch with determined gear holding and strong shifts at the right time. Truly, I was more than happy with this duo’s performance. By week’s end, the Camry siphoned fewer than 8L per 100 km.

Although I was very content with the brakes’ prowess, I was less than pleased with the 2013 Toyota Camry’s vague and inconsistent steering. This aspect of the drive was the only one that faithfully reminded me I was driving a Camry.

2013 Toyota Camry LE side view
The 2013 Toyota Camry is supremely comfortable, far more so than its sub-$24k price should allow. (Photo: Toyota)

Inside and out of the Toyota Camry
The 2013 Toyota Camry’s styling is in with the times, but I will not say that it’s attractive. It has some redeeming qualities, but when draped in Champagne Mica (aka beige) with 16” hubcaps, it’s not what one would call “dynamic.”

When matched to a Honda Accord and Kia Optima, the Camry looks its median buyer’s age and that’s a shame; while I had it, a pair of women in their late-70s were its biggest fans and admirers.

This Camry’s cabin suffers from the same shortcomings as all other recently tested Toyotas. The materials are hard and look cheaper than they actually are because of their awful texture.

The remainder of the interior is well conceived. The ergonomics are simple and the standard 6.1” touchscreen display is a breeze to use. I would suggest Toyota Canada revise their selecting a backup camera as standard over heated seats; seems a little backwards to me.

All seating positions are cosy; the rear bench is wide and will take three adults across, when needed. My sole gripe with the driving position is the width of the center-stack. The base, which meets up with the console, protrudes and made contact with my right knee. The trunk is large.

2013 Toyota Camry LE driver's cockpit
This Camry’s cabin suffers from the same shortcomings as all other recently tested Toyotas. The materials are hard and look cheaper than they actually are because of their awful texture. (Photo: Toyota)

Comparing the Toyota Camry
The 2013 Toyota Camry is a winner. Although a compelling car for senior citizens, it still holds many good points that make it a fine pick, regardless of the buyer’s age. Then again, the Camry name has long been associated with “old” people. The joke’s on us younger folks as we’ll eventually get older and all end up in a Camry at some point...

In the meantime, the Accord, Optima, Ford Fusion or Volkswagen Passat are all great alternatives. Get them while we’re young!




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