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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Review: 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio

      The ecstasy and agony of an Italian sports sedan

    I couldn’t believe my eyes as to what stood before me. In the driveway stood an Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio. I had to touch it to see if I was imagining it. Okay, I am being a bit hyperbolic, but considering the long time it took Alfa Romeo to get its affairs in some semblance of order, it is amazing that the Giulia is on sale.

    Still, I had a bit of trepidation with spending a week in the Giulia Quadrifoglio. The past year has seen a number of outlets reporting various gremlins pop up on their test vehicles. Would my particular one be spared? If so, what does the Giulia Quadrifoglio offer over the competition?

    Alfa Romeo is known for styling vehicles that stand out and Giulia Quadrifoglio is no exception. Up front resides the traditional Alfa triangle grille and large openings in the bumper with mesh inserts. The carbon fiber hood features gentle sculpting and a set of air vents in the channels. The side profile features more of the gentle sculpting on the doors, along with carbon fiber side skirts and 19-inch wheels finished in dark gray. The rear is where the Giulia Quadrifoglio makes its intentions known to the world with a carbon fiber lip spoiler and massive rear diffuser with large exhaust pipes sitting on either end. Finishing off the vehicle are cloverleaf badges on the front fenders and a dark blue finish. 

    At first glance, the Giulia’s interior looks elegant. The dash has a flowing wave shape that is higher on the driver’s side to make space for the instrument cluster and infotainment system. Material choices such soft-touch plastics, carbon fiber accent trim, and a small-rimmed steering wheel with Alcantara and carbon fiber help set the Quadrifoglio apart from other Giulia models. But Alfa Romeo earns some red marks as the center console is littered with cheap plastics - the controller for the infotainment system and gear lever being the key offenders.

    Our test Giulia Quadrifoglio came with the standard leather and Alcantara sport seats. A set of carbon fiber Sparco racing seats are available as an option, but it is one we would recommend trying out first. Sitting in a Quadrifoglio with the optional seats, I found that I could not fully settle into them due to my wide shoulder blades. The standard seats offer increased bolstering to hold you and a passenger when the road gets twisty. I would like to see a little bit more cushioning in the seats as it becomes somewhat uncomfortable the longer you sit in them. The back seat in Giulia is average for the class, offering a decent amount of head and legroom for those under six-feet. Getting in and out of the back seat is not easy due to a narrow opening.

    All Giulia Quadrifoglios come equipped with an 8.8-inch infotainment system. Controlling this is a rotary knob in the center console, along with using voice commands. The system itself is very frustrating for a number of reasons. For one, the system is slow when put against competitors. It takes a few moments to switch between various menus. Also, certain functions don’t work as you might expect. For example, turning the knob in the navigation system doesn’t zoom in or out. You have to scroll the navigation menu to find the Zoom command to allow this function. Other issues I experienced during my week-long test of the Giulia included,:

    • The system wouldn’t play my iPod if I had it paused for more than minute or if I switched to another audio source and then back to the iPod.
    • Connecting my iPhone 7 Plus to the system via Bluetooth took on average about 45 seconds.
    • I had the system crash on me twice during the week I had the Giulia. One of those crashes required me to turn off the vehicle and start it back up to get the system working again.

    Alfa Romeo needs to go back to the garage and do some serious work with this infotainment system.

    Underneath the carbon fiber hood lies the beating heart of the Quadrifoglio, a 2.9L twin-turbo V6 with 505 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque. Drive is sent to the rear-wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. Quadrifoglio models have four drive modes - Race, Dynamic, Natural, and Advanced Efficiency and each one alters the engine’s behavior. Advanced Efficiency and Natural are about the same with the throttle being a bit more laid back. But that isn’t to say the Giulia isn’t quick in either mode. It has more than enough oomph to leave other cars in the dust when leaving a stop light or merging. But the engine really comes alive when in Dynamic or Race. The throttle sharpens up and the exhaust opens up to deliver a tantalizing soundtrack. Mash the pedal and hold on because this engine will throw you back. The engine sings at mid and high-rpms with speed coming on at an astonishing rate. Alfa says the Quadrifoglio can hit 60 mph in 3.8 seconds and I can say they are right on the money.

    The automatic transmission is quite impressive. In Normal and Advanced Efficiency, the transmission delivers smooth gear changes. Turn to Dynamic or Race and the gear changes are snappy and fast. Oddly, the automatic transmission exhibits some hesitation when leaving a stop. This is a problem more attune with dual-clutch transmissions.

    EPA fuel economy figures for the Giulia Quadrifoglio are 17 City/24 Highway/20 Combined. My average for the week landed at 19.7 mpg.

    Handling is where the Giulia Quadrifoglio truly shines. Enter into a corner and Giulia hunkers down with little body roll and gives you the confidence to push a little bit further. Steering is another highlight, offering quick response and decent weight. The only complaint I have with the steering is that I wished for some road feel.

    There is a trade-off to Giulia’s handling and that is a very stiff ride. Even with the vehicle set in Advanced Efficiency or Natural mode, the suspension will transmit every road imperfection to your backside. Wind and road noise isolation is about average for the class.

    It is time to address the elephant in the room and that is Alfa Romeo’s reliability record. Since the Giulia went on sale last year, numerous outlets have reported various issues from a sunroof jamming to a vehicle going into a limp mode after half a lap on a track. The only real issues I experienced during my week dealt with infotainment system which made me breathe a sigh of relief. Still, the dark cloud of reliability hung over the Giulia and I never felt fully comfortable that some show-stopping issue would happen. This is something Alfa Romeo needs to remedy ASAP.

     Now we come to end of the Giulia Quadrifoglio review and I am quite mixed. Considering the overall package, the Quadrifoglio is not for everyone. No, it isn’t just because of reliability. This vehicle is a pure sports car in a sedan wrapper. It will put a big smile on your face every time you get on the throttle or execute that perfect turn around a corner. But it will not coddle you or your passengers during the daily drive. Add in the material quality issues and concerns about reliability, and you have a mixed bag.

    To some, that is the charm of an Alfa Romeo. Within all of those flaws is a brilliant automobile. For others, it is something that should be avoided at all costs.

    Disclaimer: Alfa Romeo Provided the Giulia, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

    Year: 2017
    Make: Alfa Romeo
    Model: Giulia
    Trim: Quadrifoglio
    Engine: 2.9L 24-Valve DOHC Twin-Turbo V6
    Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Rear-Wheel Drive
    Horsepower @ RPM: 505 @ 6,500
    Torque @ RPM: 443 @ 2,500 - 5,500
    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 17/24/20
    Curb Weight: N/A
    Location of Manufacture: Cassino, Italy
    Base Price: $72,000
    As Tested Price: $76,995 (Includes $1,595.00 Destination Charge)

    Options:
    Driver Assist Dynamic Plus Package - $1,500.00
    Harman Kardon Premium Audio System - $900.00
    Montecarlo Blue Metallic Exterior Paint - $600.00
    Quadrifoglio Carbon Fiber Steering Wheel - $400.00



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    Interior shot alone shuts shouts mash up of miss matched design.Thin side of center floor stack to thick side on passenger side. Glove box door clearly off on left sunk in compared to right side. Center vents of dash rectangle to circle on the outsides, just a mess. I see nothing here that says luxury let alone quality.

    The continuation of problems with the auto nav system would this far into the launch of the auto when you have to restart the auto to get it to work screams incompetence to me.

    Just as Alfa left in a flaming mess in the 70's, it came back in that same mess and still is garbage. I see nothing to validate any of the reviews that this is worth $72K let alone $42K. 

    This is what I would call a Kia Competitor from Kia's Early days and I very much doubt it will get better unlike Kia that has a quality product much better than this car.

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    28 minutes ago, dfelt said:

      I see nothing here that says luxury let alone quality.

     

    Just as Alfa left in a flaming mess in the 70's,  

    Fact check: Alfa has always been more of a sporting brand, rather than luxury.  Maserati is FCA's luxury brand.    And Alfa left the US in the 90s, not the 70s...

    Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
    • Upvote 2

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    4 hours ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

    Fact check: Alfa has always been more of a sporting brand, rather than luxury.  Maserati is FCA's luxury brand.    And Alfa left the US in the 90s, not the 70s...

    I get sporting, but at least around here the few ads for Alfa have been about Luxury and you hear nothing about Maserati.

    Really left the US in the 90's? Wonder where all the terrible dealerships have been hiding as I saw none on the west coast. Washington they folded up in the late 70's and were gone.

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    Yeah, Alfa pulled out of the US in 1995, the Alfa 164 sedan was their last model, the Spider went away a year or two earlier.   I remember as recent as 2008 still seeing a couple 164s running around in the Denver area...

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    Have to agree with Dave : interior and especially the exterior- this is fine as a generic, run of the mill $35K family sedan. I don't see anything here that supports a $76K price tag other than the HP rating. It's not even leading edge design-wise; it's barely current, and the detailing is sorely lacking. A-R is going to be piling cash in every orifice to get these moving in any kind of decent numbers.

    The cheesy 'good luck' fender emblem is hilarious considering A-R's reputation.

    Edited by balthazar

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    7 speed manual please.  Otherwise, at that price point it is better to kiss the cousin and buy a Charger Hellcat.

    • Haha 1

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    On 4/9/2018 at 5:02 PM, balthazar said:

    Have to agree with Dave : interior and especially the exterior- this is fine as a generic, run of the mill $35K family sedan. I don't see anything here that supports a $76K price tag other than the HP rating. It's not even leading edge design-wise; it's barely current, and the detailing is sorely lacking. A-R is going to be piling cash in every orifice to get these moving in any kind of decent numbers.

    The cheesy 'good luck' fender emblem is hilarious considering A-R's reputation.

    interior isn't too bad (I've sat in one).  it isn't mercedes level but a BMW 3 isn't really much better, if at all.  I guess i would add here that an ATS-V doesn't support a 76k price tag and doesn't have a great interior either.

    Edited by regfootball

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    Alfa Romeo sells its cars as high performance and beautiful.  Imagine the most beautiful woman you have ever seen, and you get to have her on a date.  After a couple of months, you find that her physical beauty cannot mask the significant defects in her personality.  She might even have a few emotional problems.  So you decide to end that relationship.

    Gentlemen, that beautiful woman is an Alfa Romeo.  Looks great; has serious issues that you don't want.

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    8 hours ago, riviera74 said:

    Alfa Romeo sells its cars as high performance and beautiful.  Imagine the most beautiful woman you have ever seen, and you get to have her on a date.  After a couple of months, you find that her physical beauty cannot mask the significant defects in her personality.  She might even have a few emotional problems.  So you decide to end that relationship.

    Gentlemen, that beautiful woman is an Alfa Romeo.  Looks great; has serious issues that you don't want.

    Wasn't there a commercial sometime in the 1950s or 1960s that said you want a sports car but you marry an Oldsmobile? (Or was it Buick?)

    But yeah...

    Aphrodite: Greek Goddess of beauty, love and fertility.

    Eros: Greek God of love and SEXUAL DESIRE!

    No need to commit. One could have flings! There is nothing wrong with that. One could have lustful desires and one could indulge in them without the burden of love and commitment...if its between 2 consenting adults that are NOT committed with other people in a bond of holy matrimony. If one could have strong lustful desires and love with a wife or husband, then that is awesome...

    I know...Christianity does not allow for lustful desires outside the bonds of holy matrimony. Its a good thing for us Greeks that there is loophole for us as Aphrodite and Eros allowed us that for a minimum of 3500 years BEFORE the Holy Trinity took it away from us...and...the Holy Trinity is only bossing us around for ONLY  2000 years after that....

    With THAT being said...

    Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW also have HORRID emotional problems. The thing is, long term relationships with those 3 are at a minimum...people lease those cars, non?  

    Actually, people lease faithful Chevys, Hondas and Toyotas. People just dont want commitment today! 

    People lust over those buxom blonde Germans, yet they are aware of the long term problems so they dont commit long term. They dont marry them....

    Same for Alpha Romeos. One could EASILY have lustful flings with Alpha, as long as one takes a 3 year lease term. And then one moves unto another conquest. To frolic naked in the Garden of Eden with a lover doing all kinds of nasty and dirty things to said lover...  

     

    Edited by oldshurst442
    • Upvote 1

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    • By William Maley
      Rarely, do I get the chance to drive different versions of the same model. The fleet companies I work with scheduling vehicles do their best to serve up a smorgasbord of vehicles for me to experience. But from time to time, things happen where one vehicle in a run has to be swapped because it needs to go home or is required for an important event. It happened to be that the stars aligned in such a way that two Volvo 60 series models would be swapped for various vehicles in this go around. So I found myself with an S60 Momentum one week and a V60 Cross Country another week.
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      The V60 Cross Country certainly looks the part of an off-road wagon with a three-inch lift to the suspension, body cladding along the side, different grille color, and new wheel choices. Around back, Volvo takes some ideas from their crossovers with the tailgate being similar in design to XC40 and XC60, and the tall L-shaped headlights. Out of the two, I found myself liking the V60 Cross Country more than the S60.
      Inside Story
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      Both the S60 and V60 feature front seats that provide an excellent balance of support and comfort. Ten-way power adjustments allow any person to find a setting that fits them. I also like both models coming with the optional power thigh extender to make long drives more bearable. Rear seat space is a mixed bag as there is plenty of legroom in both models, but headroom is constrained in the S60 due to the sloping roofline. 
      In terms of cargo, the V60 Cross Country is the champ. Open the power liftgate and you’re greeted with 23.2 cubic feet. This can be expanded to 50.9 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. The S60 trunk space is slightly disappointing, only offering 11.6 cubic feet. At least the rear seats can be folded down to increase load capacity.
      Non-Sensus-ical Infotainment
      All S60 and V60s come with a nine-inch screen featuring Volvo’s Sensus infotainment system. A large screen oriented like a tablet to control most of the functions fits in line with the company’s minimalist approach. But using this system becomes quite infuriating. To start, Sensus takes over a minute to boot up whenever the vehicle is started. You’ll be able to tell since the system will not respond or respond slowly whenever an input is made during this. Thankfully, the system responds quickly once it fully boots up. This brings us to another problem with Sensus, its confounding menu system. Trying to do something simple such as increase fan speed or turn on/off a safety system means swiping into various screens and menus to find that button or slider.
      Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard and does make Sensus slightly easier to use. But I think some real improvements will come when the next version of Sensus comes out that will be based on Google’s Android platform. I’m also hoping for some more redundant controls such as a fan knob or temperature buttons.
      When Five equals Four
       
      Both models come equipped with the T5 engine. Before you start thinking that this means a turbocharged five-cylinder, T5 in current Volvos means a turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 248 horsepower and 258 pound-feet. An eight-speed automatic is the only transmission choice. Opting for the T5 on the S60 means you only get front-wheel drive - you’ll need to step to the twin-charged T6 or PHEV T8 for all-wheel drive. As for the Cross Country, it gets all-wheel drive as standard. 
      The T5 is a very potent engine as I found in my review of the XC40 last year and that still holds true for both 60 series models. No matter the situation such as needing to pass a slower truck or leave a stoplight, the turbo-four is eager to move the vehicle at an astonishing rate. The eight-speed automatic is smooth and delivers prompt shifts.
      On the Cross Country, Volvo has an Off-Road mode that turns on a low-speed function, hill descent control, and optimizes the steering to keep the vehicle moving through whatever muck. For most buyers, this mode will never be touched at all. But I found it to be very handy driving through unplowed roads.
      EPA fuel economy figures stand at 23 City/34 Highway/27 Combined for the S60 and 22/31/25 for the V60 Cross Country. I got an average of 24.7 for the S60 and 23.1 in the Cross Country on a 60/40 mix of highway and city driving.
      A Smooth Ride Is Here, Provided You Have the Right Wheels
       
      As I mentioned earlier, the S60 I had came with a set of optional 19-inch wheels. This introduces a problem as the ride feels choppy. Over various bumps and imperfections, the S60 wasn’t able to smooth over a fair number of them. I assume going with the standard 18-inch wheels solves this issue somewhat, although some people report the ride is still rough on the smaller wheels. The V60 Cross Country also has a set of 19-inch wheels, but it is noticeably smoother over rough surfaces. Credit must be given to the higher ride height and softer suspension tuning. Wind and road noise are almost non-existent, making both perfect long-distance travelers.
      Handling is where the S60 redeems itself somewhat. The sedan shows little body and impressive grip when driven through a winding road. I do wish the steering had a little bit more weight, but that may be solved by moving to the R-Design or Polestar models. The Cross Country is a vehicle you want to push due to its softer suspension tuning.
      Two Good Models, But One Stands Tall
      The new 60 models are worthy successors to the models before it. An elegant design and mostly roomy interior pair nicely with the strong performance from the T5 engine. Sensus is the biggest stumbling block for both models, but a new version is around the corner which may solve some of the issues.
      Between the two, I found myself being more impressed with the V60 Cross Country. It has more character in its design compared to the S60 and the ride is much more comfortable. The almost $57,000 price-tag is a bit much, but with some smart optioning, you can make it much more reasonable. As for the S60, I did find it to be quite a decent steer. But the ride does need some work when on the larger wheels. Also, the Momentum can get quite expensive if you go overboard with options. My tester carried a nearly $46,000 price tag, three-grand more than the T5 versions of the R-Design and Inscription which come with some of the optional features as standard.
      The S60 and V60 Cross Country are excellent alternatives to the usual suspects, just be careful on the options.
      How I would configure them:
      There are two different ways I would go configuring an S60.
      Value: Start with the Momentum T5 at $36,050 and add Heated Front Seats & Steering Wheel ($750) and Premium Package ($2,050) to end up with a nicely equipped S60 at $39,845. You will miss out on some items such as the 360’ camera system, pilot assist, and Harman Kardon audio system, but that pushes the price to over $44,000. Sport: An R-Design T6 fits the bill here and comes with all-wheel drive as standard for a price of $48,045. Decide which metallic paint you would like ($645) or stick with the basic black. Add on the Advanced Package and Heated Rear Seats and Steering Wheel to end up with a final price tag of $51,645 for black or $52,290 for any of the metallic colors. For the V60 Cross Country, it would be similar to my test vehicle with most of the option packages and adding the Harman Kardon Premium Sound system ($800) to bring the final price to $52,795.
      Disclaimer: Volvo Provided the S60 and V60; Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Volvo
      Model: S60
      Trim: T5 Momentum
      Engine: 2.0L Turbocharged DOHC Inline-Four
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, Front-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 250 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 258 @ 1,500
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 23/34/27
      Curb Weight: 3,657 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Ridgeville, SC 
      Base Price: $36,050
      As Tested Price: $46,249 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Advanced Package - $2,500.00
      Premium Package - $2,050.00
      Multimedia Package - $1,850.00
      19" 5-Spoke Cut Wheels - $800.00
      Heated Front Seats & Heated Steering Wheel Package - $750.00
      Pebble Grey Metallic - $645.00
      Linear Lime Deco Inlay and Interior High Level Illumination - $600.00
      Year: 2020
      Make: Volvo
      Model: V60
      Trim: Cross Country
      Engine: 2.0L Turbocharged DOHC Inline-Four
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 250 @ 5,500
      Torque @ RPM: 258 @ 1,500
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/31/25
      Curb Weight: 4,202 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Gothenburg, Sweden
      Base Price: $45,100
      As Tested Price: $56,990 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Bowers and Wilkins Premium Sound - $4,000.00
      Cross Country Pro Package - $2,800.00
      Advanced Package - $2,500.00
      Heated Front Seats & Heated Steering Wheel Package - $750.00
      Birch Light Metallic - $645.00
      Park Assist Pilot - $200.00
    • By axlon
      Came across a new Porsche book  after reading the review by blogger Joe Sherlock, his review is below and another showing sample pics, book cover etc. Got mine on amazon.com, but they seem to be out of stock at the moment. It's real nice, mainly covers the air cooled 356 & 911, which are my favorites anyway, lol.
       https://www.4legend.com/2020/livre-cranswick-on-porsche-de-marc-cranswick-veloce-publishing/
      Joe Sherlock review
       
    • By William Maley
      The landscape of midsize sedans was much different ten to fifteen years ago. All of them offered the choice of a four-cylinder and V6 engine. Today, it is a completely different story as most automakers that still offer a midsize sedan have dropped their V6 engines in favor of turbo-fours. But Toyota is bucking the trend by sticking with the V6 in the Camry. It seemed like a good time to ask whether or not there is a place for a V6 in the midsize class.
      The V6 in question is a 3.5L used in many Toyota and Lexus vehicles. In the Camry, output is rated at 301 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic routes power to the front wheels. This V6 is one of my favorites due to its combination of excellent acceleration off the line and smoothness that turbo-fours can only dream of. One gotcha you need to keep in mind that torque steer will pop up if you decide to mash on the accelerator. The eight-speed automatic is very smooth and quick to upshift but hesitates to downshift when you need more speed. This is likely due to programming in the transmission to improve fuel economy. EPA fuel economy figures for the Camry XLE V6 are 22 City/33 Highway/26 Combined. My average for the week landed around 24 on a 60/40 mix of highway and city driving. The XSE and TRD V6s see a slight dip in fuel economy due to their performance ambitions. While the XLE can’t fully match the athleticism of the XSE I drove last year, it still can hold its own in the bends. The XLE has the added benefit of providing a smoother ride, as most bumps and road imperfections become mere ripples. Disappointingly, there is a fair amount of road and wind noise comes inside when driving on the freeway. A key difference between the XLE and the XSE I drove last year is the front end treatment. There is a larger lower grille and a different top grille design. I find this design to be a bit much and may scare a lot of people away. On the other hand, the new front does give Camry some needed presence on the road - something that couldn’t be said for previous-generation models. The XLE is surprisingly luxurious with quilted luxury upholstery for the seats and stitching on the dash. Although, a Mazda6 Signature is slightly more premium in terms of offering more luxurious trim pieces, whereas the Camry XLE uses a lot of piano black trim.  Comfort is one area that the Camry XLE excels in. The seats are quite cushy and offer plenty of support, no matter the distance of any trip. The back seat offers plenty of head and legroom. The Entune system may not have the sharp and modern graphics as some competitors, but it does have a simple interface and the ability to use either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. The XLE starts at $29,455 for the base four-cylinder, while the V6 will set you back $34,580. With a few options, my test XLE V6 carried an as-tested price of $37,824. That’s slightly more expensive than a Mazda6 Signature which offers a slightly more premium interior and better driving dynamics. But the Camry can counter with the smooth performance of the V6, comfortable ride, and its long-standing reputation for reliability. I came away really impressed with the Camry XLE, but also wondering how much longer Toyota will hold out. Despite all of the positives, the V6 is a very expensive proposition and most buyers will likely be happy with the four-cylinder. If I was to buy one, I would likely go for an XLE minus the options. Disclaimer: Toyota provided the Camry, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Toyota
      Model: Camry
      Trim: XLE V6
      Engine: 3.5L DOHC D-4S Dual-Injection w/Dual VVT-i V6
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Eight-Speed Automatic
      Horsepower @ RPM: 301 @ 6,600
      Torque @ RPM: 267 @ 4,700
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/33/26
      Curb Weight: 3,549 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Georgetown, KY
      Base Price: $34,050
      As Tested Price: $37,824 (Includes $920.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Driver Assist Package - $1,550.00
      Navigation Package - $1,040.00
      Carpet/Trunk Mat Set - $264.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      The landscape of midsize sedans was much different ten to fifteen years ago. All of them offered the choice of a four-cylinder and V6 engine. Today, it is a completely different story as most automakers that still offer a midsize sedan have dropped their V6 engines in favor of turbo-fours. But Toyota is bucking the trend by sticking with the V6 in the Camry. It seemed like a good time to ask whether or not there is a place for a V6 in the midsize class.
      The V6 in question is a 3.5L used in many Toyota and Lexus vehicles. In the Camry, output is rated at 301 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic routes power to the front wheels. This V6 is one of my favorites due to its combination of excellent acceleration off the line and smoothness that turbo-fours can only dream of. One gotcha you need to keep in mind that torque steer will pop up if you decide to mash on the accelerator. The eight-speed automatic is very smooth and quick to upshift but hesitates to downshift when you need more speed. This is likely due to programming in the transmission to improve fuel economy. EPA fuel economy figures for the Camry XLE V6 are 22 City/33 Highway/26 Combined. My average for the week landed around 24 on a 60/40 mix of highway and city driving. The XSE and TRD V6s see a slight dip in fuel economy due to their performance ambitions. While the XLE can’t fully match the athleticism of the XSE I drove last year, it still can hold its own in the bends. The XLE has the added benefit of providing a smoother ride, as most bumps and road imperfections become mere ripples. Disappointingly, there is a fair amount of road and wind noise comes inside when driving on the freeway. A key difference between the XLE and the XSE I drove last year is the front end treatment. There is a larger lower grille and a different top grille design. I find this design to be a bit much and may scare a lot of people away. On the other hand, the new front does give Camry some needed presence on the road - something that couldn’t be said for previous-generation models. The XLE is surprisingly luxurious with quilted luxury upholstery for the seats and stitching on the dash. Although, a Mazda6 Signature is slightly more premium in terms of offering more luxurious trim pieces, whereas the Camry XLE uses a lot of piano black trim.  Comfort is one area that the Camry XLE excels in. The seats are quite cushy and offer plenty of support, no matter the distance of any trip. The back seat offers plenty of head and legroom. The Entune system may not have the sharp and modern graphics as some competitors, but it does have a simple interface and the ability to use either Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. The XLE starts at $29,455 for the base four-cylinder, while the V6 will set you back $34,580. With a few options, my test XLE V6 carried an as-tested price of $37,824. That’s slightly more expensive than a Mazda6 Signature which offers a slightly more premium interior and better driving dynamics. But the Camry can counter with the smooth performance of the V6, comfortable ride, and its long-standing reputation for reliability. I came away really impressed with the Camry XLE, but also wondering how much longer Toyota will hold out. Despite all of the positives, the V6 is a very expensive proposition and most buyers will likely be happy with the four-cylinder. If I was to buy one, I would likely go for an XLE minus the options. Disclaimer: Toyota provided the Camry, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Toyota
      Model: Camry
      Trim: XLE V6
      Engine: 3.5L DOHC D-4S Dual-Injection w/Dual VVT-i V6
      Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Eight-Speed Automatic
      Horsepower @ RPM: 301 @ 6,600
      Torque @ RPM: 267 @ 4,700
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 22/33/26
      Curb Weight: 3,549 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Georgetown, KY
      Base Price: $34,050
      As Tested Price: $37,824 (Includes $920.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Driver Assist Package - $1,550.00
      Navigation Package - $1,040.00
      Carpet/Trunk Mat Set - $264.00
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