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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    2013 Toyota Camry XLE

    William Maley

    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

    August 15, 2013

    Answer: This vehicle in 2012 sold 404,886 units, making it the best selling passenger car in the U.S. for the past eleven years

    Question: What is the Toyota Camry?

    Why has the Toyota Camry been the best selling car in the U.S. for eleven years? After spending a week with a 2013 Camry XLE four-cylinder, I might have the answer to this question.

    The Camry's exterior design doesn't take any real risks. You won't find any distinctive sculpting, bold character lines, sloping roofline, or any other design cues that happen to be the hot thing at the moment. Toyota designers took the last-generation Camry, cleaned it up a bit by giving it some more tone and smoothing it out. I found it to be a nice looking vehicle.

    gallery_10485_677_1355435.jpg

    Inside is somewhat a mess. The overall look feels somewhat dated with a mismatch design, hard materials in places where you think there should be soft-touch materials, and somewhat dated climate control interface. This isn't a good sign considering Toyota had just launched this generation of Camry for the 2012 model year.

    gallery_10485_677_1500783.jpg

    There a few good points to the Camry's interior though. All of seats are very comfortable and there is a surprising amount of head and legroom for the front and back seat. Toyota's Entune infotainment system is one the easiest systems to use and provides a wide selection of audio choices and applications (such as Bing, OpenTable, and Pandora) you can access. I just wished the system was a little bit quicker when moving around the different functions and the screen did not wash out as easily in daylight.

    The 2013 Camry sticks with the tried and true four-cylinder, V6, and hybrid powertrain lineup. My XLE tester came equipped with the 2.5L four-cylinder with 178 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic that routes power to the front wheels. The engine and six-speed transmission might the bright spot in the Camry since its a very smooth and refined affair. Plus, I found the engine to provide enough power for daily driving. EPA rates the 2013 Camry XLE four-cylinder at 25 City/35 Highway/28 Combined. During my week with the Camry, I got 30.2 MPG.

    gallery_10485_677_1365454.jpg

    Competent would the perfect word to describe the Camry's ride and handling. The suspension does a great impression of doing a big sedan ride as it smooths over bumps and road imperfections. The Camry does exhibit some lean and roll when cornering, but how many Camry drivers are going to push their car to the limit? Not many.

    Why do many people buy the Camry? Well, partly its due to the Camry being a good car. Its not the most stylish, nor fun to drive. What the Camry does right is the basics; offer a vehicle that seat four comfortably, provides a comfortable ride and very good fuel economy, and a pricetag that doesn't hurt the bank. There is also the long standing reputation the Camry has built over the years. Looking for a vehicle that is reliable and worryfree? You want a Camry. Those two items have made the Camry a perennial breadwinner for Toyota.

    gallery_10485_677_1493937.jpg

    However, the current Camry is just average. Back in the early to mid-nineties, if you wanted the best midsize sedan, you went to the Toyota dealer and pickup up a Camry. Now with the likes of the Ford Fusion, Nissan Altima, Mazda6, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, and Honda Accord, the 2013 Camry is riding on its reputation and name. I understand why many people get the Camry, but you doing yourself a great disservice by not looking at others. The midsize marketplace is as strong as it ever was.

    To sum up, the 2013 Toyota Camry is a good car and many will buy it. However, there are a fair number of vehicles who are much better and deserve a look.

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

    Year - 2013

    Make – Toyota

    Model – Camry

    Trim – XLE

    Engine – 2.5L DOHC 16-Value w/Dual VTT-i Four-Cylinder

    Driveline – Front-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic Transmission

    Horsepower @ RPM – 178 @ 6,000 RPM

    Torque @ RPM – 170 @ 4,100 RPM

    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 25/35/28

    Curb Weight – 3,245 lbs

    Location of Manufacture – Georgetown, Kentucky

    Base Price - $24,855.00

    As Tested Price - $29,570.00* (Includes $795.00 destination charge)

    Options:

    Leather Package - $1,675.00

    Convenience Package - $1,195.00

    Display Audio with Navigation and Entune - $1,050.00

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    Of course the Camry is riding on a reputation that may no longer be deserved. The 1990s have ended, and the competition is either catching up rapidly (Sonata, '14 Malibu) or has passed the Camry already (Fusion, Accord et. al.). If I had to buy one, I'll take an Avalon instead. Midsizers to me are too small these days, especially in the era of the CUV, which was invented by Toyota and Honda as a response to the BOF SUV boom of the 90s.

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    An American icon. A cousin of mine worked for Toyota in Kentucky building these for the last 20+ years...got a new one every couple of years. I wouldn't want one, but I understand their appeal..

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    As a mid size sedan, they are not as roomy as people say they are for those over 6' tall. The body is anything but nice looking. One of the most bland, conformist cars you can get.

    If you could look at who is buying them, I would not be surprised that most of the buyers are of Asian decent. The drive to fit in and be uniform is what sells this car and it's total false reputation for being so reliable. I think there are cars that are far superior than this one. Eventually it will fail.

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    As a mid size sedan, they are not as roomy as people say they are for those over 6' tall. The body is anything but nice looking. One of the most bland, conformist cars you can get.

    If you could look at who is buying them, I would not be surprised that most of the buyers are of Asian decent. The drive to fit in and be uniform is what sells this car and it's total false reputation for being so reliable. I think there are cars that are far superior than this one. Eventually it will fail.

    helluva lot more rear seat room than a 2013 chevy malibu

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    Affordable, dependable, comfortable. That defines the Camry and its reputation. You can sell a lot of cars on that definition and reputation, unfortunately you cannot design or engineer a car that immediately takes on that persona in the minds of Camry shoppers. You wanna be a Camry? Go build a Malibu with 99% of the owners not having to see a dealer or a mechanic for 15 years and 200,000 miles, then come back in 2028 and be the new Camry.

    OK, I may be exaggerating a bit. But such exaggerations may not be too far off from the perception of Camry owners and buyers as far as the reliability and low maintenance of the car. Such legendary reliability may be legend indeed, but we have a Camry in the family... it's a 2003 model with 190,000 something miles. Never broke, never fixed never failed emissions. My in law takes it to an oil change place maybe twice a year paying little attention to mileage between changes. Never done any inspection, never changed the brake fluid, never replaced the transmission fluid, never touched the powersteering fluid, never services the A/C, never went to the dealer or mechanic for routine maintenance. The steering is a little lose from worn tie rods, the parking brake is out of adjustment & essentially does nothing when pulled, the CV boot is torn but they decided to ignore it until the joint makes noise (it hasn't yet) and the windshield washer tank has been dry for years. I think his philosophy is that if the car runs he's not going to fix it. The car has seen a mechanic exactly twice -- to get new brake pads. And they did it the quick and dirty way without turning the rotors or replacing them for about $100 each time, I think the chinese shop they went to probably didn't even measured the disc thickness but hey it's $40 an hour and the cheapest joint in town. The car just won't die, won't even leak oil!

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    Your 2003 is the polar opposite of my parents best friends who owned a 2006 XLE V6 that they just traded with 78K miles on the odometer. In that 78K miles there car was in for the following issues- left front and right rear wheel bearings, intake manifold gasket failure, plug wires, alternator and battery, spark knock when using 87 octane fuel, leaking tires on corroded alloy wheels and last but not least transmission chugging in and out of overdrive on the open road which turned out to be a prom update. All of these issues just go to prove that Toyota's supposed reliability is hit and miss and that lately there cars have been cheapened and are no better than most of the competition. This brings me to the last paragraph in this write up. There are better sedans available and folks need to open there eyes when sedan shopping.

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    • By William Maley
      4Runner Venture Edition
      Not much has changed outside since we last checked out the 4Runner in 2016. It still has a blocky and chunky look that helps it stand apart from other SUVs. This Venture model adds several goodies such as TRD wheels, blacked-out trim pieces, and a Yakima roof rack; perfect if you decide to go adventuring. Inside, Toyota has made a massive update to the infotainment system. A larger eight-inch touchscreen running an updated version of Toyota’s Entune system is standard. This change makes it so much easier to operate the system either parked on while on the move. It doesn’t hurt that this system also brings forth Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Aside from this, the interior hasn’t changed. There is plenty of space for those sitting in the front or back, and controls are well marked. Power comes from the old, but reliable 4.0L V6 with 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a five-speed automatic transmission. The base SR5 can be equipped rear-wheel or four-wheel drive, while other trims only come with four-wheel drive. The 4Runner’s performance is adequate. Around town, the V6 can get up to speed quickly and smoothly. But it struggles when trying to get up to higher speeds. Adding an extra gear would allow for more flexibility in terms of performance. It would also help fuel economy as I saw 15.4 mpg for the week. EPA figures are 16 City/19 Highway/17 Combined. My average for the week landed at 15.4 mpg. The 4Runner’s roots of being an old-school SUV show up prominently when driving on pavement. It has noticeable body roll-around turns and the ride quality is rough. One area that I sadly did not get to test was the off-road capability. With such features as Multi-Terrain Select and Crawl Control, this helps make the 4Runner very capable off-road. The 4Runner should be considered by someone who wants to venture off-road. For those who are planning to commute or go on family trips while on pavement, Toyota has other models that should be considered first.
      Land Cruiser Heritage Edition
      The Heritage Edition adds some nice touches to the Land Cruiser’s exterior such as 18-inch BBS wheels with a bronze finish, black accents for the front grille, and vintage-style “Land Cruiser” badges on the rear pillars. The Heritage Edition does lose the entry steps found on the standard model, making it somewhat difficult to get in and out. The interior looks somewhat boring in terms of the design, but Toyota nails the materials. Wood trim, supple leather, and soft-touch materials make this a very pleasant place to be in.  Despite having one of the larger screens in Toyota’s utility lineup, the Land Cruiser’s infotainment system leaves a lot to be desired. Using an older version of Entune, it feels sluggish and the graphics look somewhat dull. No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto to be found here as well. Anyone sitting in the front or second-row will have no complaints about space or comfort. No third-row is available on the Heritage Edition which helps boost cargo space from 41.3 cubic feet (with the third-row folded) to 53.5. Under the hood is a 5.7L V8 engine producing 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with an eight-speed automatic and a full-time four-wheel drive system.  Performance from this engine is impressive considering the Land Cruiser’s curb weight of almost 6,000 lbs. It will move away from a stop much faster than you first think. The only place where the engine seems to run out of steam is on the highway. The eight-speed automatic does an excellent job of providing smooth and quick shifts. I do wish it wasn’t giddy with trying to shift into top gear quickly. Fuel economy isn’t great with EPA figures of 13 City/17 Highway/14 Combined. I only got 13 mpg during my week. I was surprised at how well the Land Cruiser drove on pavement. It felt stable and provided a ride that made even some of the roughest roads feel smooth. There is a fair amount of body roll when cornering, but that is to be expected considering the size and intended purpose of this vehicle. I am bummed that I didn’t get the chance to take the Land Cruiser off-road during my week. But from reading other reviews, very few vehicles can match what is on offer. How to sum up the Land Cruiser Heritage Edition? This is a vehicle that will not impress most due to the poor fuel economy and aging infotainment system. But for a small group who are wanting something that can take them anywhere and back, and do it in comfort, the Land Cruiser is the right vehicle. (Addendum: As I post this review a few months late, I have some news on the Land Cruiser. Earlier this month, Toyota unveiled the next-generation model with a new twin-turbo V6 replacing the V8. The outside doesn't look that much different from the current model, but the interior has underwent some major changes. It is unclear whether or not we'll see this model arrive in the U.S. The best chance we possibly have is next-generation LX. Stay tuned. -WM)
      Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the SUVs, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Toyota
      Model: 4Runner
      Trim: Venture
      Engine: 4.0L DOHC 24-Valve V6
      Driveline: Five-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 270 @ 5,600
      Torque @ RPM: 278 @ 4,400
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 16/19/17
      Curb Weight: N/A
      Location of Manufacture: Tahara, Aichi, Japan
      Base Price: $44,285
      As Tested Price: $48,877 (Includes $1,120.00 Destination Charge and $730.00 Keep It Wild discount)
      Options:
      Kinentic Dynamic Suspension Suspension System (KDSS) - $1,750.00
      TRD Pro Exhaust - $799.00
      Power Tilt/Slide Moonroof - $730.00
      Running Boards - $345.00
      Cargo Floor Mats & Cargo Mat - $269.00
      Door Edge Guard - $79.00
      Year: 2020
      Make: Toyota
      Model: Land Cruiser
      Trim: Heritage Edition
      Engine: 5.7L DOHC 32-Valve VVT-i V8
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Four-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 381 @ 5,600
      Torque @ RPM: 401 @ 3,600
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 13/17/14
      Curb Weight: 5,715 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Toyota, Aichi, Japan
      Base Price: $87,645
      As Tested Price: $89,239 (Includes $1,295.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Glass Breakage Sensor - $299.00

      View full article
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