A muscle-car hides under the Camry's sensible skin

2009 Toyota Camry XLE V6 Review (video)

2009 Toyota Camry XLE V6 Review (video)
It's a good time to be a horsepower enthusiast that's shopping for a family car. Competition in today's sedan market is extremely fierce- and carmakers are beating each other up with features, options and selection, trying to be the manufacturer you give your dollar to.

Nobody ten years ago thought that someday, the Toyota Camry would be available with more horsepower than a Ford Mustang.

On the sensible side of the family-car market, competition mainly takes place on the economy, value and safety fronts. Thing is, horsepower has lately become a bit of a bragging figure as well. Nobody ten years ago thought that someday, the Toyota Camry would be available with more horsepower than a Ford Mustang.

A sleepy and sensible sleeper
That's not the point, of course. Camry is very comfortable and practical above all else- with every inch of its body and cabin screaming sensibility. The tester's exterior was capped in the front by a distinctive new grille and optional fog-lamps, while dual exhaust in the rear sits under thin, angled taillights for a touch of sportiness- but not too much. In all, it looks sleepy- or like a sleeper, depending on your perception.

Comfortable, strange looking cabin
Camry's cabin is easy to board and see out of, and it offers a bright, airy and open feel. The instruments are easy to read, and display a unique three-dimensional look. All controls are easy to reach and manipulate, and the XLE tester added a sunroof, leather seats, Bluetooth, premium audio and automatic climate control for a value-minded executive sedan atmosphere. You'll even notice a few things from the Lexus parts-bin, if you look closely. Fit and finish are good, and the right materials find their way onto most of the right surfaces.

It's mainly quiet and relaxing- though the seats may prove a little too stiff and unsupportive for some backsides. Additionally, designers have specified a head-scratching blend of colors and materials to trim the cockpit of the XLE model. You'll find the grey coloring accented by silver, chrome or even plastic wood trim in various places- depending where you look.

The instruments are easy to read, and display a unique three-dimensional look.

By Justin Pritchard,

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