2015 Toyota Yaris SE 5-Door Sedan

SAM_0280The most recent car brought to me for review earlier this week was the new 2015 Toyota Yaris .  The model was the 5-door SE Liftback in Blue Streak metallic paint.  And I like blue, particularly this shade – it was coupled with nice, black fabric seats, and black and silver-colored, 16″ alloy five-spoke wheels.

The Yaris, which has been around since 2007, was substantially updated for the 2015 model and marketing of it started late last summer.  A big change to the car involved production of it in France instead of in Japan.  Styling is new in many respects, but drive train components are much like the 2014.  The styling, by the way, is an improvement in my mind.

The name of this car is derived from the word Charis, the Greek goddess of elegance and beauty.  And the German expression of affirmation, “ya” is added onto the front of the name.  It could just as surely refer to the target market of this car, Young Adults.  On balance, it is a suitable name, and the Toyota people probably don’t mind that the word looks like the cultural epicenter of Europe, Paris (in France).

Ruth and I jumped into the Yaris and drove to Cracker Barrel to get something to eat.  Getting in the car wasn’t particularly difficult, and the highway manners were fine for a subcompact.  The base price of the Yaris SE is 17,620.00, and the total M.S.R.P. is 18,625.00, including freight ($825.00) and carpeted floor and trunk mats ($180.00).  Standard equipment on the Yaris included 4-speed automatic, front-wheel drive, real hand brake, electric power steering/windows/locks, color-keyed power mirrors, anti-lock braking system, air conditioning, remote keyless entry, CD/stereo with USB and aux. jack, tire pressure monitor, tilt wheel, and a 60/40 fold-down rear seat.  Behind that last item is a 15.6 cu. ft. luggage compartment, with an articulating package tray above it.

SAM_0272

Dimensions associated with the Yaris SE are overall length of 154.7″, wheelbase of 98.8″, and curb weight of 2,315 lbs.  The fuel tank holds 11.1 gallons of regular unleaded gasoline and the car seats five people.

Yaris power is provided by a 1.5 liter, 4-cylinder, 106 hp (6,000 rpm) engine with variable valve timing.  Torque is 103 lb. ft. (4,200 rpm), and acceleration is OK (zero to 60 in perhaps a touch under ten seconds.)  Gas mileage ratings are 30 in town and 36 on the highway (an increase in highway mileage for 2015).  I observed a reading of 32.5 overall.  The car rides on P195/50R16 Bridgstone Turanza EL400 mud and snow radials.  Turning circle of the Yaris is 36.1 feet.

On this day the food in Loveland was good, and the ride back was a pleasure and I was proud to be seen in the Yaris.  I guess I looked a little old, but Ruth didn’t.  Would I let one of our three daughters drive, buy, ride in, lease, or borrow a Yaris?  I sure would.

2014.5 Toyota Camry Hybrid SE

SAM_0026The Toyota Camry Hybrid mid-size FWD sedan was introduced in May of 2006 as a 2007 model.   The current unit is in its second generation iteration.  A 2014.5 Toyota Camry SE Hybrid was brought to me last week for testing, and it was equipped as such to arrive at an M.S.R.P. of $30,970.00.  The base price of $27,945.00 for the SE model had as additions the navigation system ($1,200.00) and power tilt/slide moon roof ($915.00).  The car came in “Barcelona Red” paint, which was fun to photograph, and the cloth seating was black.  It’s a five passenger sedan with a suitably sized rear passenger compartment and a 13.1 cubic foot trunk.  Curb weight was 3,545 lbs., wheelbase was 109.3”, and overall length came in at 189.2”.  IMG_0160

SAM_0063    I drove the Camry quite a bit this last week, both to Ft. Collins, Boulder and to Denver, and gradually grew pretty accustomed to the CVT transmission setup in the car.  CVT stands for continuously variable transmission (no shifts), and it is coupled to a gasoline 4 cylinder, 2.5 liter motor with 156 horsepower and 156 lb. ft. of torque.  Two electric motor/generators are on board to add in 141 more horsepower and 199 lb. ft. of torque.  Combined power rating is 200 horsepower, and as I mentioned, it was pretty acceptable for driving the somewhat big sedan.  The ride, handling, and guidance were all good, and the styling suits me, as well (particularly front and rear). IMG_0156

SAM_0017 Fuel economy for the hybrid has been improved for the last two years, and for the time I drove it the reading was 39.5 mpg.  EPA ratings for the car I drove were 40 mpg city and 38 mpg highway – 40 mpg combined.  The fuel tank held 17 gallons of regular gasoline.  The current mileage compilation for the car is displayed on a dial; not digitally.

I mentioned earlier the options on board with this Camry – it was equipped with a moderate amount of equipment, including an 8 speaker JBL stereo, 7″ touchscreen for navigation and backup view, SoftTex-trimmed seating, satellite radio, 17″ five-spoke alloys, Bridgestone Turanza EL400 P215/55R17 all- season radials, tilt/telescope, pushbutton starter, cruise control, keyless entry, power windows/locks/mirrors, and Bluetooth connectivity.SAM_0044

There is a reason the Camry is America’s best selling car, and I experienced it this week with the SE Hybrid. This model will hold up well in the hybrid sales parade, although with the recent gas prices dipping under $3.00 per gallon, it will be a walking parade, not a stampede.SAM_0081

 

 

2014 Toyota Highlander Limited AWD SUV

2014 Toyota Highlander

For 2014, Toyota’s Highlander has been updated for the first time since 2008, and  is now in its third generation iteration.  It is a car-based mid-sized SUV with seven-passenger, three row seating.  Sales of the Highlander (127,572 in 2013) places its revenue right in the middle of the Toyota SUV lineup.

This past week I was able to test a Highlander, a Limited top-of-the-line unit that carried an M.S.R.P. of $44,675.00, including freight.  The Limited’s base price of $43,590.00 had as an option a set of carpeted floor and cargo mats ($225.00).  It was what was called the Platinum Package edition, and that meant inclusion of a technology package, a panoramic moonroof, heated steering wheel, and heated perforated leather second-row captain’s chairs.  The extra technology equipment included radar adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert, automatic high beam headlamps, and pre-collision warning.

Limited model items on my test car included power liftgate with glass hatch, 19” five-spoke alloy wheels, anodized roof rails, three zone climate control, JBL/Entune navigation with 8” screen, perforated black leather seats, pushbutton starter, proximity keyless entry, tilt/telescope, heated and air conditioned front bucket seats, backup camera, and nice Optitron instrumentation.

Styling, with the 2014 revision, was great.  So was the opulent-looking gray paint, “Limited” badging, and polished Chromtec finish on the wheels.  The tires mounted on the alloys were 245/55R19 Bridgestone Dueler H/L 422  mud and snow radials.

Power for the Highlander is supplied by a 3.5 liter V-6 with 270 horsepower and 248 lb. ft. of torque.  The transmission is a six-speed automatic with snow mode and full-time four-wheel drive.  A unitized body is employed and four-wheel independent suspension and disc brakes are, as well.  EPA fuel economy ratings are 18-city and 24-highway, with a combined rating of 20.  For the week that I drove the Toyota, my observation was of 23.5 mpg.  Weight is 4,508 lbs., towing capacity is 6,000 lbs. and the fuel tank holds 19.2 gallons.  Overall length is 191.1”, 3” longer than a 2013, and cargo volume behind the third-row seat is 13.8 cubic feet, another improvement over the 2013 Highlander.

I enjoyed the styling, interior comfort, visibility, road noise (or lack of), and guidance of the Highlander.  The ride was satisfactory, and I feel that this year’s Highlander makes a nice family hauler and/or travel vehicle.

2013 Toyota Camry V-6 XLE FWD Sedan

Camry XLE IThe Toyota Camry XLE that I drove around last week was painted silver – Classic Silver metallic.  I enjoy the names that this company gives its paint colors, including this one as well as names such as Super white and Attitude black.  The Toyota Camry is America’s number one selling car, having been so for eleven straight years.  They sell over 300,000 units per year in this country, year after year, and have topped 400,000 sales on several occasions.  Such a year was 2012, when 404,886 Camrys were purchased in the United States.

For the 2012 model year, the Toyota Camry was totally redesigned, inside and out, and my 2013 was a carryover of the successful styling and architecture of the 2012. I was happy with the styling of the 2006/2011 Camry, but the last two models have featured a sleeker, chiseled body style, and the fuel efficiency has been enhanced, as well.  The test XLE had the 3.5 liter, (268 hp/248 lb.ft.) V-6 and was rated at 21 city/31 highway mpg with a 17 gallon fuel tank.  My observation was 23 mpg during my time with the Camry.  Attached to the V-6 was a six-speed automatic and the front-wheel drive automobile had electric power steering to improve fuel mileage.  It rode on 17”, silver, ten spoke alloy wheels fitted with P215/55R17 Bridgestone Turanza radials.  The mid-size Camry is 189.2” long and seats five, weighing 3,420 pounds. Height/width of the car is 57.9” and 71.7”, the wheelbase is 109”.  The trunk contains 15.4 cubic feet of cargo space.

The interior of the XLE features leather-trimmed heated sport buckets up front and matching two-toned (black/gray) fold-down 60/40 rear bench with armrest and cup holders.  Toyota’s EnTune system and Bluetooth connectivity are present, as well as moon roof and hard-disk drive navigation/backup camera with a 7” touch-screen.  The JBL Green Edge stereo has ten speakers in eight locations, and the Toyota cruise control is behind the steering wheel at 4 o’clock.  The Camry has excellent acceleration and handling, and guidance and ride are acceptable.

Total M.S.R.P. for the XLE was $34,135.00, and that included the $1,620.00 navigation package, $500.00 for a blind spot monitor, $515.00 for Safety Connect arrangement, as well $225.00 for carpet/trunk mat set.  The base price was $30,465.00, and freight charge was $810.00.  That total is actually a couple of thousand dollars less than what Toyota charged for such a model two years earlier, making the new 2013 Camry a pretty good deal.

 

2013 Toyota Tundra CrewMax 4WD Pickup

Tundra

    The Toyota Tundra full-size pickup, available since model year 2000, is a capable replacement to the old Toyota T100, and is available with three engine choices.  They are the 4 liter V-6 and two V-8s, with the largest one putting out 381 horsepower and 401 lb. ft. of torque.  It’s what’s called the iForce 5.7 liter DOHC aluminum V-8 with (i)ntelligent variable valve timing and flex fuel capability.  It is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with console-mounted shifter, and such were the drive train specifications of my test vehicle this past week.

The Tundra that I drove was the Limited CrewMax with an M.S.R.P. of $46,518, including options and freight.  Base price of this model is $43,895, and options on it were the TRD off-road package, running boards, bedliner, full width power sliding rear glass, and remote start.  It was part-time four wheel drive with electric control and trailering equipment.  The interior was leather and seated five, a JBL stereo with satellite radio was on hand, and Bluetooth connectivity was present.  No touchscreen for the radio was in the pickup and a navigation system was not installed. Tundra Interior

      The “standard” bed that comes with this CrewMax is 78.7” long, wheelbase is 145.7”, length is 228.9”, width is 79.9”, height is 75.8”, and the truck weighs 5,375 lbs.  Towing capacity is 10,200 lbs., but apparently that is a lowball figure because Toyota towed the space shuttle Endeavour across the #405 freeway in California last year with the Tundra – weight of the space orbiter, 292,000 lbs.  My wife Ruth and I flew to Florida to watch that Endeavour launch from Cape Kennedy in February of 2010.  The mission was STS-130 to the International Space Station and of course it was quite a thrill.

Styling of the Limited was upgraded to include chrome door handles, chrome outside mirrors, TRD and Limited badging, five-spoke brushed finish alloy wheels, BF Goodrich Rugged Trail T/A 275/65R18 white letter tires, and the running boards.  All the full-size pickups from GM, Dodge, Nissan, and Ford are good-looking, as is the Tundra.

Ride, cab noise, guidance, and visibility were all acceptable in this vehicle.  The gas tank holds 26.4 gallons, and the EPA ratings on the previously described engine was 13 city, 18 highway, and 15 overall.  I observed 15 miles per gallons during my time with the Toyota.

Toyota sold over 100,000 Tundras last year, a 22% increase for them over 2011 sales.  The big American manufacturers sold substantially more than that, with total pickup sales in the U.S. (all sizes) at 2 million.  Nonetheless, when shopping for a full-sized pickup, I see no reason to rule out a Toyota Tundra.

 

2013 Toyota RAV4 AWD Limited SUV

Toyota RAV4 I

My latest test car from the Automotive Media people was a 2013 Toyota RAV4 Limited AWD SUV that was painted Shoreline Blue Pearl metallic and featured a black Softex (leather-like) five passenger interior.  The RAV4 is classified as a compact SUV, and is currently in its fourth generation of production, having been sold in America since 1996.

The new 2013 RAV4 was rolled out to the public earlier this year in a splashy Super Bowl ad featuring Kaley Cuoco (Big Bang) playing the part of a wish-fulfilling genie.  One Mr. Henderson, standing near his RAV4, wishes that “the spare tire was gone”, and Ms. Cuoco magically removes it from the rear of the Toyota.  The man actually was wishing for a trimmer profile, but Toyota’s message, nonetheless, is that the car has attained such with its new design.  I actually was somewhat fond of the outside spare tire on the old RAV4, which incidentally has now been placed underneath, not removed.  Other wishes granted to the Henderson’s have nothing to do with the automobile, but the talking squirrels in the commercial are hilarious.  Cost to Toyota for the Super Bowl ad – about $3.9 million.

My test car carried an M.S.R.P. of $31,964, including freight, and was the Limited all-wheel drive model.  The RAV4 can be purchased with front-wheel drive, although part of its name, RAV4, denotes four-wheel drive.  RAV stands for recreational activity vehicle, by the way, and it’s a big seller – 170,000 units per year on several occasions.  Options on the RAV4 included a technology package for $1,660, a blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert for $500, and running boards for $549.  The Limited had standard items such as proximity keyless operation with pushbutton start, power liftgate, moon roof, remote start, backup camera, twin RAV4 Interiorheated power buckets, Bluetooth/USB connections, roof rails, and tilt/telescope/leather steering wheel.  The technology items were satellite radio, 11-speaker JBL stereo, and a navigation system.

Power for the RAV4 is supplied by a 2.5 liter, four-cylinder DOHC engine (176 hp/172 lb. ft.) coupled with a six-speed automatic transmission.  Zero to 60 mph acceleration time is reportedly 8.4 seconds, and fuel economy ratings are 22 city/29 highway, 25 overall.  Weight of the RAV4 is 3,425 lbs., wheelbase is 104.7”, overall length is 179.9”, width is 72.6”, height is 65.4”, and the fuel tank holds 15.9 gallons.

Ruth and I took the Toyota to Denver twice, and in typical Toyota fashion, the car almost drove itself.  It rides, guides and passes other vehicles in OK fashion, and holds five adults comfortably.  With the back seat folded down, the cargo capacity is 73.6 cubic feet.

The RAV4 styling for 2013 is somewhat of an improvement over last year’s model, and despite my fondness for outside spare tires, I must say I like the rear end treatment.  A person can probably set a Subway combo lunch on the protruding taillights on each corner.  Big running board/steps are attached between the RAV4 Headlightwheels, which are 18” ten-spoke silver alloys fitted with P235/55R18 Toyo A20 all-season radials.RAV4 Wheel

If Kaley Cuoco wants to grant me a wish relative to my test RAV4, it would be a red or black paint job and more bling inside the tires.  Those things could be easily rectified for me or for a prospective buyer of America’s 19th best-selling vehicle.

“Evolution Orange” 2012 Toyota Prius C

Prius C

    An evolution is taking place within the Toyota Prius lineup, most recently with the introduction of their Prius c (city), which occurred earlier this year.  It’s the smallest Prius, and is the fourth model that the company currently makes available.  Toyota brought me an orange one to test last week, or at least that is what it looked like.  The color is Habanero, named after a chili pepper of the same hue.  The paint, which is metallic, received a split vote at our house; I liked it and Ruth didn’t.

Toyota had two goals in mind when they started production of the Prius c, and they were to offer it for under $20,000, and to insure that it got 50 miles per gallon.  It is basically a redesigned Yaris with a hybrid power train.  The power comes from a 1.5 liter, four cylinder, 73 horsepower aluminum engine with 82 lb. ft. of torque.  It is coupled with an electric motor with 60 horsepower, and the total hybrid system horsepower is listed at 99.  A continuously variable automatic transmission puts the power to the front wheels.  It’s OK to drive, although certainly not as perky as the regular Prius with its 134 horsepower system or even a Yaris with its 106 horsepower.  Trips both north and south out on Interstate 25 were not terrifying – I had the cruise control and power enough to stay out there with the glut of traffic associated with that artery.

On the northbound trip to Cheyenne, I obtained a combined 55.2 mpg on the round trip with the Prius c.  Ratings on the car are 53 city and 46 highway, and 50 combined.  This is the information that Toyota wants you to contemplate when you consider the window sticker on the Prius like I drove, which is $26,140.  It’s way over twenty grand because it’s the “four”, upgraded model with leatherette SofTex (black) buckets, moon roof, navigation system, push button starting, in-your-pocket keyless entry, tilt/telescope, satellite radio and 16”, eight-spoke attractive alloy wheels.  Toyota installed Bridgestone P195/50R16 Turanza EL400 all-season radials on the car, and I liked them fine.

In a departure from Prius custom, the c has the shifter on the console of this car, an improvement in my mind.  The hand brake is there, as well, and those front buckets proved comfortable for me and Ruth.  My daughters from Denver jumped in the back for a ride around Northglenn, and they had no complaints either.  The cargo area equals 17.1 cubic feet (it’s a hatchback – no trunk lid to cap off your cargo), and the nickel-metal hydride, 19.3 KW battery resides under the 60/40 fold-down back seats.

Styling is different than the big brothers in the Prius lineup, and includes huge, 23” rear taillights and no lower tailgate window.  The reconfigured Yaris body style is an improvement, and up front they’ve installed fog lights and projector-beam halogen headlamps.

“Evolution Orange”, by the way, was a song by Earth, Wind, and Fire from their 1982 R & B album, “Raise!”.  It was a middling number on that album among hits, and perhaps the Prius c will suffer the same fate, what with shoppers opting for a used, traditional Prius.  Or they may like the looks as much as I did and go for the “little fella”.

2012 Toyota Hybrid XLE

2012 Camry Hybrid

Toyota’s Camry Hybrid mid-size sedan has been available since 2006, and is currently available in its second generation configuration as a 2012 model.  Such a car was delivered to my house last week for testing, and it was loaded to the tune of $34,547.00, M.S.R.P.  The base price of $27,400.00 for the XLE model had as additions the blind spot monitor ($500), safety connect package ($450), leather package ($1,160), premium navigation/electronic package ($2,600), moon roof ($915), and wheel locks ($67).  It came in “cosmic gray mica” paint and the leather seating was a light gray in color.  It’s a five passenger sedan with a decent sized rear passenger compartment and a 13.1 cubic foot trunk.  It comfortably seats five adults.

I drove the Camry quite a bit this last week, both to Ft. Collins and to Denver, and gradually grew pretty accustomed to the CVT transmission setup in the car.  CVT stands for continuously variable transmission (no shifts), and it is coupled to a gasoline 4 cylinder, 2.5 liter motor with 156 horsepower and 156 lb. ft. of torque.  Two electric motor/generators are on board to add in 141 more horsepower and 199 lb. ft. of torque.  Combined power rating is 200 horsepower, and as I mentioned, it was pretty suitable for driving the somewhat big sedan.  I liked the ride and handling better than last Camry I had, and styling is great front and rear, OK from the side.

Fuel economy for the hybrid has been improved for 2012, by some estimates a full 12 mpg. Ratings for the car I drove were 40City and 38Highway. The current mileage compilation for the car is displayed on a dial; not digitally. When the car was picked up I notated 38 mpg for the miles I drove it. Overall, not that bad.

I mentioned earlier the packages on board with this Camry – it was equipped like a full blown luxo sedan. Good JBL stereo, 7″ touchscreen for nav and backup, fancier dash materials for 2012, perforated leather seat inserts, blind spot monitor, satellite radio, 17″ alloys, and Bluetooth.

There is a reason the Camry is America’s best selling car, and I experienced it this week with the Hybrid. This Hybrid model with its increased economy will be chipping into Prius sales, as I see it… and into the competition’s.

2012 Toyota Prius Hybrid

2012 PriusThe Toyota Prius was introduced in our country in 1997, and is America’s top-selling hybrid car.  The Prius accounts for almost 51% of the 270,000 or so hybrids sold in America each year, and globally the U.S. accounts for half of Prius production.  The name on the car, “Prius”, is Latin for “before”.  This is the second “Prii” that I have driven this year, with the first one designated as a “V”, for versatile.  This 2012 that I am reporting on now was a Winter Gray metallic, 3rd generation Prius in the Five Model configuration.  A Five Model is the top-of-the-line Prius with SofTex leather-like interior and 17” alloy five spoke wheels, among other things.  And by third generation, I mean the car that has been on the market since 2009, with its full re-design.  It is the best-looking Prius that has ever been produced.

During the week, Ruth and I travelled to Denver twice in the little gray Prius and obtained over 40 miles per gallon of regular gasoline.  We were so excited about the national championship game at the Pepsi Center, I must admit that we failed to nail down the exact mileage of the car.  Everyone knows these Prii do good on gas, and the economy ratings are 50/city and 48/highway.  The reason that city ratings are superior is because of the availability of electric power to cruise around town.  The Prius has a 98 horsepower (1.8 liter) gasoline engine and two electric motor/generators on board.  In the “EV” mode, a person can drive to the neighbors or perhaps to Loaf ‘n Jug without the gas engine even operating.  For highway driving, you need internal combustion engine power, but the car runs pretty quietly and ride/handling are fine.  The Prius is pretty roomy (it seats five) and comfortable, with fetching two-tone seats and plenty of cup holders and compartments.  This Prius was base-priced at $29,805.00, and freight and technology package brought the total to $34,885.00.  That last item provided hard-disk nav, JBL sound system with MP3 connection, Entune (a Toyota exclusive), HD/satellite radio, Bluetooth, hands-free phone setup, back-up camera, radar cruise control, lane keep assist, and head-up speedometer display in the windshield. Approaching the car with a key fob in your pocket, you can just reach for the door handle and get in.  Upon getting situated, you just push the button and the car is ready to drive (even though you may not hear anything).  The navigation screen was 6.1” touch-type, and provided oodles of information for interested parties.

Outside, the car had blue-accent car badges, rear spoiler, LED headlamps, power mirrors, and front fog lamps.  Tires that were fitted on the 17” alloys were P215/45R17 all-season radials.  I recommend the Prius to anyone looking for a solid investment and a method for saving money on gas.  A person could wait for the plug-in Prius, due out soon, but would have to spend a little more money, and, well, plug it in.  Either way a person wants to go, the pump prices we are seeing make the purchase pretty sensible.

“Paint It, Black” 2012 Toyota Camry SE

2012 Camry SE

Admit it; you thought the name of Mick Jagger’s old smash hit song was “Painted Black.”  Well, at least I did.  And, in fact, the song lyrics include the phrase, “painted black” on seven different occasions.  Jagger and Keith Richards (The Rolling Stones) wrote the song and gave it the title “Paint It Black,” and reportedly Decca, the record label, added the comma.  It reached number 1 in both the U.S. and the U.K. in May of 1966, and currently it stands at number 73 on the list of the Greatest Hits of the 60’s.

I love hits of the 60’s, and also love automobiles of the 10’s.  The Toyota Camry SE that I drove around last week was painted black – Attitude Black.  I get a positive vibe looking at these Toyota paint chips; as you recall, the Toyota Yaris I recently drove was painted Absolutely Red.  This Camry, of course, is quite a bit more car, and in fact is America’s number 1 seller, having been so for ten straight years.  They whip out over 300,000 units in this country, year after year, and have topped 400,000 units on several occasions.

For 2012, the Toyota Camry was totally redesigned, inside and out.  I’ll admit I was perfectly satisfied with the styling of the 2006/2011 Camry, but for 2012 the company has given the car a sleeker, chiseled body style and the fuel mileage has been improved.  The SE in my possession had the 3.5 liter, 268 horsepower V6 and was rated at 21 city/30 highway mpg.  I observed 21.9 mpg in mostly town mode.  Behind the V6 was a six-speed automatic with paddle shifters on the steering wheel.  This is a front-wheel drive automobile with electric power steering to enhance that fuel mileage.  It rides (rather firmly) on 18”, dark gray, five spoke alloy wheels fitted with P225/45R18 Michelin “green” Primacy radials.  The mid-size sedan is 189.2” long and seats five, weighing in at 3,420 pounds. The trunk contains 15.4 cubic feet of cargo space.

The interior of the SE features leather-trimmed Ultrasuede sport buckets up front and matching two-toned (black/ash) fold-down rear bench with armrest and cupholders.  All the sound system and Bluetooth connectivity items are present, as well as hard-disk drive nav/backup camera with touch-screen (6.1”).  The JBL stereo has ten speakers in eight locations, and the Toyota cruise control is behind the steering wheel at 4 o’clock.  Riding around in the peppy Camry is like wearing a nice old pair of shoes that don’t pinch your toes or bother the arches.  It just kind of gets the job done without distress.

Base M.S.R.P. for the SE was $26,640.00, and that included the $895.00 convenience package as well as the leather seating.  Moonroof, special mats, wheel locks, and freight brought the total to $31,202.00.  That total is actually a couple of thousand dollars less than what Toyota charged for such a model in 2011, making the new Camry a pretty good deal that is “painted black.”