I’ve Driven A Few Toyota Camrys In My Time, But The 2019 XSE V6 Version Is By Far The Best

December 5, 2018  |  

2019 Toyota Camry

Source: Victoria Oluloye / Victoria Oluloye

When people think of the Toyota Camry, they think of a reliable set of wheels. What I tend to hear from both experts and everyday drivers alike is, “It’s a good car,” no matter the year. That is the draw. The parts are easy to get, maintenance is affordable, they’re fuel efficient and Camrys can go pretty far and for a long time without giving you trouble. That has certainly been the draw for my family at least. My husband and I bought a 2003 Camry this summer that we love. My father has a 2011 version. My father-in-law has — hold onto your hats — a fly option from 1999 in a maroon. We’re clearly confident in this car.

When you get a Camry, you’re often just looking to have that dependable vehicle, that “good car.” You’re not expecting a lot of frills or what you could get from a sports car, but that’s exactly what you feel like you’re getting from the new 2019 Toyota Camry XSE V6.

I was able to test out the car during the Thanksgiving holiday while visiting Chicago, and it was quite the experience. Let’s talk about some of my favorite features.

The Camry was a bright cherry red with black leather interior, heated front seats, and not only a backup camera but also a birds eye view camera that scans all around you as you park. There are also sensors to warn you when cars approach from your blind spot. There’s ambient lighting in the car that keeps it from being too bright, especially when you need to find something, as well as LED rear-seat reading lights for your passengers. And for drivers with long legs like myself, you can scoot the seats back further than I’ve experienced before (my pins were almost fully extended) while still leaving some space for the passenger behind you.

I also experienced the active safety features, particularly the emergency braking (got too close to someone while trying to pull out of a gas station…), part of Toyota’s Safety Sense, which I could appreciate.

2019 Toyota Camry

Source: Victoria Oluloye / Victoria Oluloye

As for the exterior, I could also appreciate the LED headlights that cut on automatically when necessary. They keep you from being that person driving without your lights on in the rain and when the sun starts to go down because you simply forgot to turn them on. The moonroof is a nice touch, as are the sleek black finished alloy wheels.

And the car held up well, even in an unexpected Chicago snowstorm. The lights kept me from veering off on backed up and dark interstates, and the wheels never left me slipping and sliding.

The XSE model is a different beast, though. It has 206 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque. It is 22 mpg in the city, 32 on the highway and 26 combined (I had to refill the tank sooner than I expected to be honest), but the L and LE models are definitely more fuel efficient. They start at $23,845 (L) and $24,350 (LE) compared to the XSE’s cost of $34,600.

Overall, the XSE is flashy but drives with the reliability of the Camrys you’re used to. It has a glossy look, a great entertainment, sound and GPS system, and handles so well. But you don’t have to take my word for it. The 2019 model is already ranked #1 in midsize vehicles by U.S. News & World Report. Seriously though, take my word for it. Whether you opt for the more affordable options or ball out on the fun XSE, Toyota has made itself yet another “good,” if not fantastic car.

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