Is The Eighth-Gen Toyota Camry Enthralling Enough?

K. Choubey's image
K. Choubey 

Automotive Journalist

April 27, 2020  at 9:40 AM

In its second generation that spun-off in 2018, the mass-selling Toyota Camry has been trying very hard to debunk its previous ideologies. Yes, the redesign did make it a lot more stylish and premium, but with several mechanical enhancements and multitude of models, the present-gen Camry also promises a lot more fun on the road.

There are certain specializations that every segment of automobiles specifically caters to. Speaking of that, the midsize sedan segment has always been around comfort and space. However, not many cars in the segment have been able to strike a balance such as the Toyota Camry. The Japanese mass-selling sedan has been the benchmark among midsize sedans for years now. Apart from the Honda Accord, no other product has been able to get close to the Camry’s arena. 

Apart from its extremely balanced proposition, there are several other things too that make the Camry stand apart from the crowd. One such aspect is its diverse model line-up. There is a regular Camry, a hybrid, TRD as well a Nightshade Edition. Though most of the Camry’s are powered by a 2.5 liter inline-4, it's one of the few cars in its class that still offers a V6. The available 3.5 liter V6 is standard with the TRD model and can be had as an option with the XLE and XSE trims. This engine is good enough for 301 horses and 267 ft-lbs of torque. 

Both the available engines are fairly apt in their business but are only let down by their common 8-speed automatic transmission. The shifts do come smooth, but the problem is the gearbox’s reluctance to downshift. While the 203 hp 2.5-liter standard engine feels adequately powered to carry the Camry around, it's the V6 that is the more preferable for those looking for some extra vigor. The difference of over 100 hp in both the engines is instantly evident, the moment you hit the throttle in a V6 Camry.

The V6 delivers plentiful torque down the lower rpm allowing for faster shoot-offs than the inline-4 models. The six-cylinder engine also has a strong mid-range that makes highway passing much easier as well. There is no abruption in power delivery at all, and all the power is steadily distributed between all four corners. To further keep you entertained and engaged while driving, the V6 also has a grumbling voice. However, for a better taste of enthusiasm, the sport-oriented “SE” and “XSE” trims are the more likely choice. The SE trims get some mechanical enhancements like a retuned sport suspension with McPherson struts at the front and multi-link suspension at the rear along with a re-calibrated steering.

Either of the “SE” trims coupled with the V6 engine is an ideal companion for those looking for some rapid sprints around downstreets. The reworked stiffer suspension setup adds more agility to the Camry’s character making accounting for lesser body-roll and easy maneuverability. However, you will have to sacrifice its traditional efficiency, but its totally worth it and most buyers would never mind it too. If that's still not enough fun, try grabbing the Camry TRD which makes the most spirited promises in its class. 

The Camry TRD is an altogether different form of this popular sedan that was never envisioned earlier. Though the same V6 engine is all that you can get in the TRD, it gets a whole bunch of mechanical upgrades to elevate your driving pleasure. There are stiffer and lower springs, wider and lighter rims, and thicker anti-roll bars. With all these hot spices, the TRD is the most agile Camry you can get. The stiffer suspension and wider tires do invite some direct contact with potholes and road noise but is fairly compensated by the way it tackles corners. Around sharp bends, the TRD is as confident as a sports car with minimal lean and under-steering. The steering wheel too feels more direct and precise in its sporty-iteration.

Yes, the present day Toyota Camry is certainly the most dynamic and fun-loving Camry that we have ever seen. What's most interesting with this Japanese beauty is its multiple characters that unlock accordingly in various trims. The 2020 line-up adds further icing on the already delicious cake with a new TRD model. The Toyota Camry now can be humble and generous in a Hybrid avatar and can also be as enthusiastic as a street-sport car with the TRD badging.