This is my automotive history before marriage: BMW, Porsche, Mercedes, Honda CBR - after marriage: Honda Civic, Dodge Caravan, Trek bicycle pulling a child carrier. Now I'm in the market for a family sedan and I see this absolutely gorgeous car, and it's a KIA? I test drive the OPTIMA LX and I felt it was terrific. The thought of a boring CAMRY did not cross my mind because I wanted the KIA!, then my wife persuades me to look at Toyota.
I reluctantly go to a Toyota dealer and choose to test the CAMRY SE I4. To my amazement the SE was noticeably quieter and smoother than the KIA while having good power with sporty and confident handling. The OPTIMA is great but the SE is the car for me.
Overall ride quality, handling, performance, quietness, roominess (back seats are very comfortable even for adults), real-world fuel economy (easily 35mpg on HWY), smooth and responsive 6sp transmission, paddle shifters (makes me feel like an F1 driver), outward rear visibility.
Would have preferred carbon fiber like finish interior trim instead of the relatively cheap looking faux brushed aluminum. Brakes are very strong but do lack feel. Otherwise the car overall is surprisingly good.
I too was surprised by the Camry SE.
After reading some less than flat erring reviews on the Camry I was set to buy a Honda Accord.
However the Honda guy played too many games with the price.
Also the Honda was kinda loud on the highway.
I went to the Toyota dealership not expecting much. I test drove the SE and loved it. Brought it a few months ago. No regrets.