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    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.

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    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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    30 mpg and expected to be reliable with a butt load of room inside. Can be had for good deals.

    No nonsense. No risk means big reward.

    Is it any wonder they move millions of these?

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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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      Verdict:
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    • By William Maley
      Summertime means something different for everyone. For some, it’s time to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather. For others, it is the time to take that trip you have been thinking about for awhile. If you’re an automotive writer like myself, summertime means convertible season. The feeling of having the roof down and enjoying the expanded view of the sky is something quite special. This summer saw two of GM’s latest convertibles roll into the Cheers & Gears’ Detroit garage, the new Buick Cascada and recently redesigned Chevrolet Camaro SS convertible. How did these two droptops fare in the summer heat?
      Exterior:
      There is no denying the Opel/Vauxhall roots of the Buick Cascada as it is just basically the Cascada sold in Europe with Buick basing. But that isn’t a bad thing since the Cascada is handsome for the most part. The front features a new grille design and headlights with LED accents. The side profile reveals short overhangs for the front and rear. These overhangs make the side look somewhat oddly proportioned. A set 20-inch wheels come standard. Around back, a long chrome bar runs along the trunk lid into the taillights. 
      On the opposite end is the Chevrolet Camaro. If you’re looking for something quiet and doesn’t bring attention, then maybe you should pass on it. Redesigned last year, Chevrolet retained the Camaro’s basic profile with its sharp lines and rounded corners. But major work was done on the front and rear ends. The front features a narrow top grille and slim headlights. A massive grille sits underneath between a set of deep cuts into the front bumper. The back has been cleaned up with a new trunk lid design, rectangular headlights, and quad-exhaust tips. 
      One item both the Cascada and Camaro share is a fabric top. Putting the top down or up takes under 20 seconds for both vehicles. With the tops down, both vehicles look quite good. But put the tops up and the Cascada is the better looking of the two. I can’t put my finger as to why, but I think it deals with how the Cascada has a little bit more glass than the Camaro. 
      Interior:
      Unfortunately, both the Cascada and Camaro fall on their face when it comes to the interior for different reasons.
      In the case of the Cascada, it features the dash from the outgoing Verano and Encore. This reveals that the Cascada is older despite what Buick may have you think. For example, the center stack is laden with buttons and it will take you a few moments to find the specific one you’re looking for. Not helping is the Cascada using GM’s last-generation infotainment system. While the system is easy to use, the interface is looking very dated. It would have been nice if Buick could have slipped in the dash from the updated Encore into the Cascade, but that would have likely introduced more problems than solutions.
      On the upside, the Cascada’s interior is well-built and features decent quality materials. A fair amount of dash and door panels feature some soft touch material. The front seats are comfortable for short and long distance trips. Power adjustments for the driver’s seat make it easy to find a position that works. One touch Buick deserves applause for is the seat belt presenter. The front seat belts are nestled away when the Cascada is turned off to make it easier to get in and out of the back seat. But when you start it up, the presenter extends for both the driver and passenger to buckle in. The back seat provides enough space for kids or small adults. Taller folks like myself will find minimal legroom. With the top up, anyone sitting back here will feel very confined. With the top down, this feeling goes away. 
      Step into the 2016 Camaro Convertible’s interior and you’ll find the same retro ideas from the previous model such as the shape of the dash and circular vents. But Chevrolet improved the overall usability of the Camaro’s interior. For example, the retro-inspired engine information gauges that were placed ahead of the shifter in the previous generation are gone. In its place are a set of air vents that also control the temperature of the climate control system. 
      Our tester featured the optional Chevrolet MyLink system with navigation. We know we’re beating a dead horse with our complaints with MyLink such as a slow response when going from various screens and recognizing devices plugged into the USB ports. But you would think that GM would maybe issue an update or something by now to fix some of these issues? Like other Chevrolet models we have driven this year, the Camaro’s MyLink system comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. We tried CarPlay and found it to be easier to use than most automaker’s infotainment systems. But, we had issues with apps crashing and the system not always recognizing our phone.
      The front bucket seats are quite comfortable and will hold you in if you decide to tackle that special road aggressively. A set of power adjustments makes it easy for anyone to find a comfortable position. The back seat is best reserved for small kids or extra storage as legroom is nonexistent. You would think that the Camaro Convertible wouldn’t feel as claustrophobic as the coupe since you can put the top down, but it isn’t. Sitting in the Camaro convertible with the top down, I felt like I was being contained in a small box. Blame the high belt line for this.
      Powertrain:
      Power for the Buick Cascada comes from a turbocharged 1.6L four-cylinder with 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. This is paired with a six-speed automatic. The figures are impressive for this engine. But drop it into the Cascada and it is quite disappointing. Performance is very lethargic as the engine has to overcome the nearly two tons of Cascada. It feels like an eternity getting up to speed and you’ll find yourself putting the pedal to the floor to get the vehicle moving at a sufficient rate. EPA figures for the Cascada stand at 20 City/27 Highway/23 Combined. My average for the week landed at 21 mpg. 
      The Camaro’s engine lineup includes a 3.6L V6, turbocharged 2.0L four, and our SS tester’s 6.2L V8. The V8 pumps out 455 horsepower and 455 pound-feet of torque. We had the optional eight-speed automatic, but you can get a six-speed manual. The V8 makes the Camaro Convertible stupidly fun. I found myself wanting to roll down the window at a stop light to tell the vehicle next to me “let me play you the song of my people” before stomping on the accelerator and having the V8 roar into life as the light turns green. The engine will pin you in your seat if you floor it and there is a never-ending stream of power throughout the rev range. A nice touch is the optional dual-mode exhaust system that only amplifies the noises of the V8. The eight-speed automatic is ofine around town and on the highway but stumbles somewhat in enthusiastic driving where it takes a moment to downshift when slowing down. Fuel economy for the Camaro SS Convertible stands at 17 City/28 Highway/20 Combined. I got about 19 mpg during my week-long test.
      Ride & Handling:
      Describing the ride and handling characteristics of the Cascada can be summed up in one word; smooth. Buick’s engineers tuned the Cascada’s suspension to deliver an almost magic carpet ride. Even with a set of twenty-inch wheels as standard equipment, the Cascada is able to deal with rough roads with no issues. Around corners, the Cascada feels planted and body roll is kept in check. But don’t plan on doing anything enthusiastic with it. The steering is a little bit too light for it. Drive it like a relaxed cruiser and you’ll enjoy it. Wind buffeting is minimal with either the windows rolled up or down.
      The Camaro Convertible is shocking as to how well it handles. Part of this comes down to optional Magnetic Ride Control (MRC) system which limits body roll. Chevrolet engineers also worked on improving the structural rigidity of the Camaro. The combination makes the convertible just as good as the coupe in corners. Direction change is fast and there is plenty of grip coming from the meaty tires. Where the Camaro Convertible falters is the ride quality. The SS comes with a set of twenty-inch wheels. While they do look sharp, it makes for a somewhat unbearable ride. Bumps of any size are clearly transmitted to those sitting inside. MRC does its best to provide a comfortable ride, but it might be worth considering going down to a smaller wheel to improve the ride. Wind buffeting is kept in check with the windows up or down.
      Price:
      The 2016 Buick Cascada starts at $33,065 for the base model. Our up-level Premium starts at $36,065 and comes to an as-tested price of $37,385 thanks to the vehicle being finished in an optional blue color. You really don’t get much in terms of additional features when compared to the base Cascada aside from some additional safety features - front and rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, and forward collision alert - and automatic wipers. Also for that amount of cash, you could with the Audi A3 cabriolet which offers a slightly more premium interior. But you would lose out on the larger back seat of the Cascada. You would be better off with the base Cascada.
      If you have your heart set on a Camaro Convertible, be ready to shell out the cash. The 2016 Camaro 2SS Convertible carries a base sticker of $48,300 - $6,005 more expensive than the coupe. Add on the list of options fitted to our tester such as the eight-speed automatic, magnetic ride control, and dual-mode exhaust system and you’ll end up with an as-tested price of $54,075. I’ll give you a moment to pick yourself up from the floor due to the price shock. The Camaro is nice car all-around, but is it really worth dropping $54,000?! We’re not so sure. 
      Verdict:
      Both of vehicles have issues that don’t make them as appealing. The Cascada’s engine either needs to be kicked to the curb or head off to the gym to get a bit more power. It would nice if Buick could also figure how to put in the dash from the updated Encore into the Cascada, although that might prove to be an engineering nightmare and something that would be better suited for the next-generation model. The Camaro Convertible’s price tag will make a number of people and their bank accounts cry. Also for being a convertible, the Camaro still feels as claustrophobic as the coupe.
      But when you drop the tops in both models, you forget all about the issues. Instead, you begin to take in the sky and rush of the wind. This makes you remember why you bought a convertible, to enjoy the feeling of openness. It is only when you put the top back up that makes you wonder if you can live with the issues. In the case of the Cascada, the answer is no. The Camaro is a maybe.
       
       
      Disclaimer: General Motors Provided the Cascada and Camaro; Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2016
      Make: Buick
      Model: Cascada
      Trim: Premium
      Engine: Turbocharged 1.6L SIDI DOHC with VVT
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Six-Speed Automatic
      Horsepower @ RPM: 200 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 207 @ 1,800 - 4,500, 221 @ 2,200 - 4,000 (with overboost)
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 20/27/23
      Curb Weight: 3,979 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Gliwice, Poland
      Base Price: $36,065
      As Tested Price: $37,385 (Includes $925.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Deep Sky Metallic - $395.00
      Year: 2016
      Make: Chevrolet
      Model: Camaro Convertible
      Trim: SS
      Engine: 6.2L VVT DI V8
      Driveline: Rear-Wheel Drive, Eight-Speed Automatic
      Horsepower @ RPM: 455 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 455 @ 4,400
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 17/28/20
      Curb Weight: 3,966 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Lansing, MI
      Base Price: $48,300
      As Tested Price: $54,075 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Magnetic Ride Control - $1,695.00
      Eight-Speed Automatic - $1,495.00
      Dual-Mode Exhaust - $895.00
      Chevrolet MyLink with Navigation - $495.00
      20" 5-Split Spoke Aluminum Wheels - $200.00
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