Toyota’s Camry midsize sedan is a juggernaut of the automotive industry, racking up sales numbers in the millions over the years.
Like most sedans, Camry has taken a hit from the tremendous popularity of SUVs, but it is still very much alive and selling in 2020, snazzily designed and delivering excellent fuel economy, comfort, safety and reliability.
A new Camry TRD model (Toyota Racing Development) joined the roster this year, souped up with a V6 engine, sport-tuned and brawnier underpinnings, exterior and interior embellishments, and other accoutrements associated with higher performance.
Pre-existing members of the Camry lineup are the L, LE, SE, XLE, and XSE trim levels. There is also a Camry Hybrid, generally covered as a separate model in Toyota consumer information.
The base engine is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder making 203 horsepower, used in L, LE, and SE models. An optional 3.5-liter V6, available only in XLE and XSE models, and standard in the TRD, generates 301 horsepower. Both engines are combined with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Four-cylinder models have the better fuel economy, with the Camry L the best of the bunch: 29 mpg city, 41 mpg highway, and 34 mpg combined. Next in line are the LE and SE at 28/39/32 mpg. XLE and XSE get 27/38/31. With a V6 under the hood, the XLE’s numbers are 22/33/26 and the XSE’s are 22/32/26. The TRD rates 22/31/25 mpg.
All-wheel drive reduces fuel economy ratings a bit. For example, a four-cylinder XSE with AWD is rated 25/34/28 mpg.
Front-wheel drive is standard on all 2020 Camrys. All-wheel drive is newly available for 2020, but only on LE and SE models, or XLE and XSE models equipped with the four-cylinder engine. The extra charge for AWD is $1,400.
Including a $995 destination charge, pricing for the 2020 Camry starts at $25,420 for the base L model. Beginning with Toyota’s inherent reliability, it has a good list of standard features including LED headlights with automatic high beams, a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with six speakers, SiriusXM satellite radio, voice command, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, Wi-Fi, a USB port, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning system, and lane keeping assist. Cloth front seats have six-way adjustability, and the driver’s seat includes power lumbar support.
I drove the XSE model with a four-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive. Its $38,579 total price included options adding up to $6,179. If I had to economize the test car I’d start by scrubbing the $2,375 Driver Assist package. It added ventilation to the front seats, a bird’s eye view camera, a sonar detection system with rear cross traffic braking, and the 10-inch head-up display I kept in Off mode because I’m an HUD hater.
A couple of the least expensive options on the list were the actual favorites: $150 for a heated steering wheel, and $259 for rubber floor mats and trunk liner. They could be bundled into a Rural Snohomish County Preferred Fall and Winter Package.
The four-cylinder engine didn’t make me yearn for the V6. It was no disappointment at all, and the AWD was wonderful to have for the extra traction it delivered during a week of rain-soaked roadways.
2020 TOYOTA CAMRY XSE AWD
Base price, including destination charge: $32,400
Price as driven: $38,579
Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.