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William Maley

Quick Drive: 2020 Toyota Camry XLE V6

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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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I am amazed that the Camry still has a V6 option.  Just about everyone else went 4cyl exclusive a few years back, and that was before Ford and GM largely abandoned this segment (Chrysler too).

Then again, Avalons and Highlanders would make a better home for the V6 anyway.  Same with the Lexus vehicles.  Because Accords are not selling like they were six years ago, Camrys probably are not selling that well either.

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They've definitely avoided jumping on the turbo 4 bandwagon for the most part, though they have one in a few Lexus vehicles.   Can't say they were wrong avoiding going with 1.4/1.5T turbo motor as look at all the issues other manufacturers have had with them, GM included.

 

 

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I am honestly surprised Toyota has not just dropped all basic ICE and put various power levels of their Prius Hybrid system into all the auto's and move forward.

This is my thinking also with how Chevrolet should have pushed the Volt system into CUVs way before everyone else rather than the tight little 4 door sedan they stuck with. 

I honestly find the Toyota style just like the Lexus to be butt ugly. The interior looks like a mashed up mess. This will sell well to the Lemming Faithful, but I would not expect it to gain market share unless everyone else just gives up of those that are left.

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Vast majority would say that would not be a "move forward".  LOL left coasties.

I see where Lexus NX, in its NeXt gen, will have the V6 as an option.  An improvement in itself.

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27 minutes ago, ocnblu said:

Vast majority would say that would not be a "move forward".  LOL left coasties.

I see where Lexus NX, in its NeXt gen, will have the V6 as an option.  An improvement in itself.

Yes you Amish are all about keeping status quo and ignoring the ability to move forward with better tech. Sadly, when hybrids have been done, they have been done half ass in some cases and yet as proven by the sales, Toyota took a half ass version of the Rav4 hybrid, finally updated with a gen 2 hybrid and now that thing is superior in all ways to the ICE Rav4. Toyota needs to move forward with that on all auto's as does every other OEM.

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I am surprised the V6 is still around, yeah it is in the Avalon and ES350 so it is easy to do.  But I read a couple years ago the V6 take rate was only about 7% it is probably lower now.  Seems like it would be easier for Toyota to put a turbo on the 2.5 liter 4-cylinder, get about 260 hp, 260 lb-ft and replace the V6 in their front drive products.  

Maybe keep the V6 for Lexus, or a rear drive Toyota.  The V6 here makes the Camry $37k, that is a lot, with a  4-cylinder it is $33k which is more reasonable, and appropriate for this buyer segment.

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3 hours ago, dfelt said:

This is my thinking also with how Chevrolet should have pushed the Volt system into CUVs way before everyone else rather than the tight little 4 door sedan they stuck with.

I concur.  Chevy needed the VOLT system into an Equinox AND the Trax AND the Traverse, at least as an option.  There is no reason to have a V6 with such a poor uptake when Toyota could simply sell Camry Hybrids for the next decade.

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I agree.  I could see a V6 in an Avalon, given how long they are and the big price point difference from a Camry, but not in a Camry.  The 4 cylinder does a decent job pulling it around.  If Toyota could get a normally aspirated 4 cylinder to break past 200 horses would be good.

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3 hours ago, trinacriabob said:

If Toyota could get a normally aspirated 4 cylinder to break past 200 horses would be good.

2.5L NA 4 in the Rav4 makes 203 hp.

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4 hours ago, ocnblu said:

2.5L NA 4 in the Rav4 makes 203 hp.

true but it needs some torque.

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Toyota, the Torque-less auto company!

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THAT IS WHAT THE V6 IS FOR

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2 hours ago, ocnblu said:

THAT IS WHAT THE V6 IS FOR

Then Toyota should put a turbo on their 4cyl engine, like GM already has done.

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The 3.5 is done in the Cam after this year. Sounds like they are simplifying the model line now to save some money.....

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Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, ocnblu said:

THAT IS WHAT THE V6 IS FOR

Which won't mean squat for a RAV 4 since it won't be getting a V6 and because the current 4 banger already pushes into 4 Runner territory (price wise) and I know which SUV I would take at that point and it sure as hell won't be a near $40K RAV 4. The NX can just burst into flames and no one would even shed a tear. No V6 changes that ugly.

 

On a side note, the V6 Camry only happens when selecting the TRD and XLE models. Clearly, they see the V6 as a niche which only puts the writing on the wall as far its lifespan goes. The next gen Camry will probably forgo it entirely. 

Edited by surreal1272

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18 hours ago, riviera74 said:

Then Toyota should put a turbo on their 4cyl engine, like GM already has done.

The hybrid option has plenty of torque for the RAV4.  Turbos and DI have really not been kind to reliability of vehicles.

 

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54 minutes ago, frogger said:

The hybrid option has plenty of torque for the RAV4.  Turbos and DI have really not been kind to reliability of vehicles.

 

Maybe the top of the line Camry should be the hybrid 4cyl; do the same for the RAV4 and any other vehicle that lacks a v6.

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Hybrid 4 cylinders should be relegated to base models because they're crappy.

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6 hours ago, surreal1272 said:

Which won't mean squat for a RAV 4 since it won't be getting a V6

??? This is a thread about the Camry, not the RAV4.  Everybody already knows the RAV4 is a 4 cylinder.

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51 minutes ago, ocnblu said:

??? This is a thread about the Camry, not the RAV4.  Everybody already knows the RAV4 is a 4 cylinder.

No $h! Sherlock. It was an example where a V6 isn’t always the answer. Sorry that went over your head a bit there. Guess you missed where I ended it with,

the V6 Camry only happens when selecting the TRD and XLE models. Clearly, they see the V6 as a niche which only puts the writing on the wall as far its lifespan goes. The next gen Camry will probably forgo it entirely.”

 

 

 

1 hour ago, ocnblu said:

Hybrid 4 cylinders should be relegated to base models because they're crappy.

And diesels shouldn’t exist on anything outside of a heavy duty truck. See, it’s easy to just throw out any old opinion like it means something. 

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7 hours ago, surreal1272 said:

Which won't mean squat for a RAV 4 since it won't be getting a V6 and because the current 4 banger already pushes into 4 Runner territory (price wise) and I know which SUV I would take at that point and it sure as hell won't be a near $40K RAV 4. The NX can just burst into flames and no one would even shed a tear. No V6 changes that ugly.

 

On a side note, the V6 Camry only happens when selecting the TRD and XLE models. Clearly, they see the V6 as a niche which only puts the writing on the wall as far its lifespan goes. The next gen Camry will probably forgo it entirely. 

It would be nice if they could make it an option on all lines. 

I already know their V6 in danger since only the US is using it at the moment. A buddy of mine who works for Toyota has mentioned that the hybrid and 4 bangers are the future.

Even Toyota will be dumping a few models soon......

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2 hours ago, daves87rs said:

It would be nice if they could make it an option on all lines. 

I already know their V6 in danger since only the US is using it at the moment. A buddy of mine who works for Toyota has mentioned that the hybrid and 4 bangers are the future.

Even Toyota will be dumping a few models soon......

Exactly my point, something some folks fail to realize while barking about V6s like it makes a crap on a FWD rolling appliance. 

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Considering that the Rav4 Hybrid has more torque, more speed off the line and returns 40MPG, better MPG than the ICE only. I see no reason for Toyota to not make the Hybrid a Standard top line feature on every model and have a gutless 4 banger as entry and turbo 4 as mid range.

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1 hour ago, dfelt said:

Considering that the Rav4 Hybrid has more torque, more speed off the line and returns 40MPG, better MPG than the ICE only. I see no reason for Toyota to not make the Hybrid a Standard top line feature on every model and have a gutless 4 banger as entry and turbo 4 as mid range.

But, but, Hybrids suck! A reliable source told me so.

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