2019 Toyota Camry Review & Compare in Lemon Grove, CA

New 2019 Camry adds Apple CarPlay as standard equipment

Since 1983, the Toyota Camry has been the car to buy when you don't want to spend a lot on a car--but you want to be able to drive that car until long after your grandchildren have graduated high school. That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but there's a reason why, when you go anywhere in the country, you'll find an old Camry still kicking on every city block and back road.

It's also why Toyota has sold more than 10,000,000 cars in the US since its first year.

The Toyota Camry was completely redesigned for 2018, so not much has changed for the 2019 MY. Trim levels include a long list of options, including the L, LE, XLE, XLE V6, SE, XSE, and XSE V6, as well as Hybrid LE, Hybrid SE, and Hybrid XLE.

Bolder styling that's coming into its own

Last year's huge styling change was a shock to people--the mild-mannered, practical, excessively mature Camry wearing sharp angles, gloss-black accents, and quad chrome exhaust tips? And while that was a rough shock for some and a very, very good shock for others, that consternation has faded slightly as we collectively settle into the new face of Camry.

The new model features standard Bi-LED combination headlights, a tight, balanced rear end, and a sharpened front fascia. The emphasis on its new sporty persona can't possibly be missed--especially when you shift your eyes to the 2019 Camry XSE and its custom styling. The hyper-bold XSE brings sport side rocker panels, an integrated rear spoiler, a wild new grille with a black mesh insert, and a color-contrasting black roof. We'd call it overkill if it didn't look so good.

Not your average bare

When you think of the typical midsize family sedan, you probably don't think of plush seats and soft-touch surfaces. More likely, you're thinking of plastics, pilling cloth upholstery, and chunky A-pillars. And, at a time, that may have been the Camry--but not anymore. Following up with the full-body redesign, the 2019 Toyota Camry is one of the most luxurious in the history of the nameplate, with standard tech front and center, a stitched steering wheel, a soft headliner, and supportive seats.

Options on upper trim levels of the 2019 Camry include a "Cockpit Red" leather-trimmed cabin that pushes the downplayed Camry into a whole new comfort zone, an available panoramic glass roof with a power-retractable sunshade that would normally feel more at home in a luxury sedan, and three levels of dual-zone automatic climate control for all-passenger customized comfort.

Standard safety features to appeal to families

As part of Toyota's recent, and successful, push to make safety a given across full lineups through advanced driver-assistance features, the current-gen Camry had added Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P) as standard equipment:

  • Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection
  • Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist
  • Automatic High Beams
  • Dynamic Radar Cruise Control

This suite of systems makes the new Camry one of the safest midsize sedans on the road for the price, and the 2019 Camry's growing list of top safety ratings and awards is showing that. Additional safety features--including a Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert--can be added to the new Camry through available trim levels and package options.

Tech and new standard Apple CarPlay

While there are still five varieties of Toyota's Entune multimedia system to choose from in the new 2019 Camry--ranging from a standard 7.0-inch screen with basic features to an 8.0-inch touchscreen with App Suite, Dynamic Navigation, and a lot more--the big news for the newest Camry is the addition of Apple CarPlay smartphone integration.

Yes, the squeaky wheels have gotten their grease. Toyota was one of the very holdouts to not include one of the major integration systems in their standard multimedia setups, but Apple CarPlay (and Android Auto, to a lesser degree) has become the Bluetooth of the modern age. It's not just strange to not include it--it seems absurd.

Engine options and performance

Last year, the Camry jumped onto the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), and that's widely thought of as a good choice. The new platform not only helped to boost value for the car, by cutting costs for the manufacturer, but improved overall performance in just about every way. It's a little lighter, a little sportier, a little more aerodynamic, and a little more powerful.

The 2019 Camry offers four powertrain options (not including transmission variations): 
  • 2.5-Liter four-cylinder w/ 203 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque (L, LE, SE)
  • 2.5-Liter four-cylinder w/ 206 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque (XSE, XLE)
  • 3.5-Liter V6 w/ 267 pound-feet of torque 301 horsepower (XSE V6, XLE V6)
  • 2.5-liter four-cylinder hybrid w/ 176 horsepower and 163 pound-feet of torque

Most Camry models come standard with an eight-speed automatic transmission, but an electronically controlled CVT with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters is an option on select trim levels. Like in the past, the Camry is front-wheel drive only; no all-wheel drive system is yet offered on this iconic midsize sedan lineup.

Final thoughts on the new 2019 Camry

Looking for a midsize Camry that's ultra-affordable, but can be decked out with the swankiest features this side of a Lexus? You really can't go wrong with a Camry. And even if you do, these things hold onto resale value like a dog with a bone.

Compare the Toyota Camry vs the Competition