Full 2014 Toyota Camry Review
What's New for 2014
For 2014, the Toyota Camry is unchanged apart from the addition of another trim level to the lineup, the SE Sport. This model adds bigger wheels, a sunroof and a power driver seat to the four-cylinder SE's equipment list.
The 2014 Toyota Camry stands as a quietly competent midsize sedan. Though it's not particularly glamorous, the Camry checks off most of the boxes for most folks shopping this segment.
Chief among this Toyota's desirable traits is its peppy yet economical performance with either the four-cylinder or V6 engine. (Those seeking maximum mpg should consider the Camry Hybrid, which is covered in a separate review.) The Camry also offers comfortable seating, solid build quality, a sterling reputation for reliability and low ownership costs.
The most significant turnoff for some people will be in the way that the Camry drives. Although the ride quality is smooth, the driving experience overall feels rather disconnected and numb. The exceptions are the SE trim levels, which, thanks to their more firmly tuned suspensions, provide sharper, more involved handling. The SE isn't a sport sedan, but we do think most people will prefer the way it feels from behind the wheel.
Understandably, the family sedan segment is chock full of good choices. That's certainly not a problem for consumers, though, as it just means there are more options to consider. If you're seeking sportier handling from an otherwise top-rated sedan, the Honda Accord, Mazda 6 and Nissan Altima are worth a try. With their more distinctive styling and similarly broad list of strengths, the Ford Fusion and Kia Optima also deserve a look, as do the value-themed Hyundai Sonata and roomy Volkswagen Passat.
We think most people will be quite pleased with a 2014 Toyota Camry purchase. But with so many great choices, though, we suggest planning a weekend's worth of test-drives.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Toyota Camry is offered in L, LE, SE, SE Sport and XLE trim levels. The L features 16-inch steel wheels, air-conditioning, power windows and mirrors, cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, split-folding rear seats, a trip computer, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 6.1-inch touchscreen display and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB/iPod interface.
The Camry LE adds automatic headlamps, power door locks with remote keyless entry, audio controls on the steering wheel and an outside temperature display.
The SE includes a sport-tuned suspension, 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, heated mirrors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, sport seats and unique interior and exterior styling treatments. The SE Sport (four-cylinder only) adds 18-inch wheels, a sunroof and an eight-way power driver seat. The SE V6 models don't have the sunroof but do get the 18-inch wheels and power driver seat as well as keyless ignition/entry, a navigation system, voice controls, HD and satellite radio, and the Entune smartphone and Web integration system.
The XLE reverts to the LE's equipment and softer suspension settings and adds 17-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors, foglights, a sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control and an eight-way power driver seat. The XLE V6 models add HD and satellite radio, Entune, a navigation system, a rearview camera, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather upholstery, a four-way power front passenger seat and heated front seats.
Some of the extra features found on the higher trims can be added as options to the lower trim levels, though availability varies according to the region of the country where you live. Other options include a blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert (SE and XLE), Safety Connect telematics (XLE only) and a 10-speaker JBL sound system (SE V6 and XLE four-cylinder). For the XLE V6, the optional JBL system comes bundled with an upgraded navigation system and a larger 7-inch touchscreen display.
Powertrains and Performance
Every 2014 Toyota Camry features front-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission.
Base Camrys are powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 178 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque. In Edmunds performance testing, a Camry LE with this engine accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 8.4 seconds, about average for a four-cylinder midsize sedan. With EPA-estimated fuel economy of 28 mpg combined (25 mpg city/35 mpg highway), the four-cylinder Camry is among the class leaders.
Available on SE and XLE trims is a 3.5-liter V6 that generates 268 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque, which helps the Camry V6 reach 60 mph in 6.6 seconds, an average time for upgrade engines in this class. Fuel economy rates an impressive 25 mpg combined (21 city/31 highway).
The 2014 Toyota Camry comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front- and rear-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and knee airbags for both driver and passenger. A blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert is also available for the Camry SE and XLE. The optional Safety Connect telematics system for the XLE includes roadside assistance, stolen vehicle location and automatic collision notification.
In Edmunds braking tests, a Camry LE stopped from 60 mph in 129 feet, a bit longer than average for the segment. An SE V6, with stickier tires, performed the same test in 119 feet, which is better than average.
In government crash testing, the Camry received a top five-star score for overall crash protection, with four stars for overall frontal protection and five stars for overall side protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Camry the best possible rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side and roof strength tests. In that agency's new small-overlap frontal-offset test, the Camry scored a "Poor" rating (the worst rating), though in fairness, few cars have done well in this relatively new test.
Interior Design and Special Features
The interior of the 2014 Camry feels roomy and its thin front pillars provide good outward visibility. What the cabin design lacks in cohesiveness, it makes up for with generally good materials quality, especially the handsome stitching on the dash and door panels of upper trims. The spacious rear seat is complemented by a nicely reclined seatback angle that helps the Camry match the Honda Accord for the most comfortable backseat in the class.
The Camry's upgraded audio system also includes Entune, a suite of smartphone-connected services that includes features like the Bing search engine, Pandora streaming radio, real-time traffic and sports and stock information. Getting started with Entune can be a hassle, though, since you have to install an app on your phone and register for an account, plus you always need an active data connection to use it. The touchscreen interface has straightforward menus, but it's sometimes unresponsive to user touch.
At 15.4 cubic feet, the Camry's trunk capacity is about average, although the 60/40-split rear seat folds down to yield more cargo space when necessary.
Both four-cylinder and V6 engines generate ample power for everyday driving, and that power is delivered in a smooth, quiet fashion. Gearchanges are likewise unobtrusive, and for a car that earns such high fuel economy numbers, the transmission surprises with quick downshifts when additional power is needed. On the highway, the 2014 Toyota Camry is comfortable and an excellent long-distance companion.
The electric-assisted steering feels pretty good in the V6 and SE versions. But the steering in non-SE four-cylinder models feels somewhat lifeless in comparison and lacks precision. Most drivers will probably be fine with the way the Toyota Camry drives, but we still recommend the SE. It's not exactly sporty, but it feels more in line with the handling and responsiveness of the Toyota's closest rivals.