2016 Toyota Camry Hybrid SE: Sales King Keeps the Crown

Year in and year out, Toyota Camry is the top selling car in the world. While the Camry is outsold by utility vehicles like pickup trucks around the planet, it moves out of showrooms fast enough that I can guarantee one definitely sold while you were reading this sentence. In fact, depending on where you snag the stats, Toyota sells three of said Camry(s) per minute.

So, a review of a Camry can seem largely pointless from this side of the typewriter. If you could pile up the total number of Camry automobiles Toyota will sell this year with or without a thumbs up from the like of me and toss the stack onto Pluto, you might make it a planet again. Japan’s number one automaker will move this metal regardless of a word typed here.

Related: 2016 Toyota Tacoma Keeps Pickup Sporty

Fortunately, I don’t have to worry about the pointless task of trying to put a dent in the Toyota hegemony because the 2016 Toyota Camry Hybrid SE is not only an improvement on the Camry’s previous generations, but it’s an excellent hybrid. 

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If any of you are an occasional visitor to these virtual pages, those last few words might’ve made you do a virtual spit take. My work hasn’t been kind to hybrids — especially the top selling kind. I believe some are built silly ugly so smug, car-hating pseudo-elitists can drive around and advertise how the sun shines from betwixt their buttocks. 

The Camry Hybrid SE throws all of that out simply by serving as a good car. It looks good. It drives well. It’s comfortable. It has enough in-car technology. It’s affordable at less than $30,000. It just so happens to be a hybrid that knocks down 43 mpg. 

The engine is obviously combined gas/electric with a co-op battery system aiding a 2.5 liter, in-line four cylinder engine. Offering 200 horsepower, front wheel drive and a smooth continuously variable speed transmission, it’s an enjoyable, if not thrilling ride. But, it’s a Camry. Nobody tracks it on a Saturday. It exists to run millions of people back and forth on daily commutes and everyday business.

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The best feature of the 2016 version has to be new exterior styling. It’s not revolutionary to say that the image of previous generations of Camry could be summed up with two words — “safe” and “boring.” But, with a new, lower and more aggressive front end and more refined lines stem to stern, the look of the Camry positively evolved from pedestrian sedan more toward luxury aspirations. 

The best part of that aesthetic evolution for Camry is that it really wasn’t necessary. Toyota was going to sell an unholy ton of these cars no matter what it looks like. But the minds behind Toyota engineering figured out that the Camry had to move forward with the general visual trends of the automotive industry. In other words, if the king was going to keep the crown, the Camry had to keep up with the times.

There. I managed to do an entire review of a Toyota without taking a direct shot at the Prius. For that, I get a cookie.

All photos courtesy Toyota