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Toyota Camry SE
Toyota is finally going to catch up to the competition

Toyota is known for producing boring family sedans and SUVs that appeal to a large audience. The company is also known for its fuel efficient Prius family of hybrid vehicles. Vehicles like the Prius/Prius c manage to achieve 50mpg on the highway thanks to a fuel-sipping gasoline engine backed with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and an electric motor/battery.

Toyota has largely ignored making significant advances in its traditional gasoline engine/powertrain department; with efficient transmission/engine offerings lagging the competition (the Toyota Corolla still uses a 4-speed automatic transmission when the competition has moved to 6-speed units and CVTs).

However, no longer will its traditional vehicles take a backseat to its hybrids according to Takeshi Uchiyamada, Toyota's product development chief. "By 2015, through improvement in the engine and powertrain alone, we aim to achieve a fuel-efficiency improvement of 10 percent to 20 percent on the models adopting the improvements," said Uchiyamada.

The Toyota Corolla still uses an archaic four-speed automatic transmission and lags behind the competition in fuel economy

Competitors like Ford have already embraced direct injection and turbocharging across much of the produce range (see EcoBoost), and Toyota is following suit. Toyota plans to introduce a direct injection version of its 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (this new engine will first see duty in hybrid models). The engine will also find its way into vehicles like the Camry, RAV4, and Venza.

In addition, Toyota will also introduce a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine that will likely take the place of the 3.5-liter V6 currently found in midsize Toyota sedans and crossovers.

Toyota is also looking to add 6- and 8-speed automatic transmission to its vehicles. This should help vehicles like that aforementioned Corolla with its archaic transmission boost fuel efficiency ratings. The company will also add CVTs to more of its models, a move that has long been championed by Nissan. Nissan provides CVTs in everything from its tiny Versa subcompact to the large Pathfinder crossover.

All of these moves largely see Toyota playing catch-up with the rest of the automotive industry. Toyota has for too long placed all of its fuel efficiency eggs in the hybrid basket, while neglecting its bread and butter vehicles. With the competition now fiercer than ever, it now looks as though Toyota has finally realized that not everyone wants to purchase a hybrid in order to get increased fuel efficiency.

Source: AutoWeek

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By DennisB on 10/3/2012 1:16:33 PM , Rating: 1
So they finally catch up despite being competitively efficient until now. Was about time to make another leap in efficiency. Wonder how much more popular their boring cars will be.

RE: Finally
By Wolfpup on 10/3/2012 2:19:13 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah, that's what I thought...I read "catch up"...but my 2012 Camry is I think already more efficient than competing cars. I know it gets better mileage than Ford's equivalent, which was mentioned in the story.

So this doesn't sound like "catch up", it sounds like "get further ahead" to me.

And while this is my first Toyota, I have to say I really, really like their lineup compared to other car companies. I like almost every vehicle they make, which is weird for me. The Camry seems like a REALLY well crafted set of compromises to hit price, fuel economy, safety, reliability, size/comfort, power, juggling all that stuff in a semi-reasonably priced car has GOT to be hard, and it was my favorite drive of everything I tried (to my surprise, because I didn't like how they drove at all 10 years ago when I last tested a Toyota).

RE: Finally
By Brandon Hill on 10/3/12, Rating: 0
RE: Finally
By Reclaimer77 on 10/3/2012 5:15:01 PM , Rating: 5
Motor Trend is made up of proven Detroit homers who apply a double standard to imports while extolling the virtues of domestics. Even during the horrendous 1980-1999 period where domestics had the reliability and styling of a 50 year old hooker on meth.

Not sure if the Camry ever got their "car of the year" award, but it's been a more solid car for decades than pretty much any piece of Detroit crap they've tried to foist on the public.

Speaking of crap, the Passat takes first place? Have you looked at VW's reliability and customer satisfaction ratings? Yeah no thank you.

Brand recognition goes a long way. The Camry has been a solid family mover for decades, with good fuel economy.

RE: Finally
By Masospaghetti on 10/4/2012 12:35:31 PM , Rating: 2
MT is so biased towards the domestics...which is why the Passat got 1st place in their comparison (despite the slowest acceleration and worst fuel economy) while the Malibu got dead last. /sarcasm

RE: Finally
By Nutzo on 10/4/2012 12:59:34 PM , Rating: 2
I'd never buy a GM or VW due to the poor reliability.

My current Camry (2002) is over 10 year old and other than normal fluid changes & maintenance, I've spend less than $200 on repairs (replaced a failed AC relay and a worn out motor mount). Even the brakes lasted over than 70K miles of mostly city driving, which is more then 2x better than any other car I've owned.
Alot of people may look at the Camry as boring, but I conside reliable transportation and good resell value (even after 10 years) as more important.

RE: Finally
By Samus on 10/4/2012 12:14:36 AM , Rating: 2
And they blame their sluggish sales on the 2011 Tsunami...Korean cars are more appealing to me than Toyota.

RE: Finally
By jeffkro on 10/4/2012 12:40:30 AM , Rating: 1
Korea is really putting the squeeze on japan from autos to tv's

RE: Finally
By jeffkro on 10/4/2012 12:50:52 AM , Rating: 3
Personally I'm most impressed with Mazda's direction for improving mileage.

RE: Finally
By macca007 on 10/4/2012 3:05:59 AM , Rating: 2
Quite right, Korea is getting better and better. I must say some of Hyundai's cars are now worth considering. I used to laugh at them less than a decade ago now I am like hmmmmmm not bad,Not bad at all.
Was the same way back in early eighties,Everyone would laugh at Japanese cars, Look at that Jap crap. But now everyone wants them be it sports cars or family cars, I am sure Korea is entering that stage now.

RE: Finally
By Brandon Hill on 10/3/2012 3:01:48 PM , Rating: 3
Their two biggest sellers:

Camry: 25/35
Corolla: 27/34

Compared to class leaders:

The Altima (Camry competitor) gets 27/38
The Elantra (Corolla competitor) gets 30/40

So a 10 to 20% efficiency boost will put Toyota at parity with the rest of the classes it competes in.

RE: Finally
By othercents on 10/3/2012 3:43:28 PM , Rating: 2
The Altima and Elantra are not boosted cars, so Toyota can provide better fuel efficiency without going the boosted route and probably with just the direct injection.

The better comparison is between the Camry: 25/35 and the Ford Fusion with EcoBoost 22/33. Also the Chevy Malibu has an "EcoTech" engine with direct injection and they get 25/37.

BTW. I average 28MPG in my Elantra when I'm driving nicely, so obviously there are extreme differences in driving styles to get to 40MPG.

RE: Finally
By Brandon Hill on 10/3/2012 3:54:47 PM , Rating: 2
1) This was the correct comparison. The Camry which gets 25/35 right now is the 2.5-liter. It will be replaced by the 2.5 with DI mentioned in the article.

A hypothetical Camry 2.0T would go up against the Fusion 2.0 EcoBoost, Accord V6, and the Altima V6.

If you're going to go the EcoBoost route, the correct Fusion comparison would be with the 1.6, not the 2.0. The Fusion 1.6 EcoBoost is rated at 25/37.

2) The Malibu you're talking about is the Malibu Eco. It used a mild hybrid/alternator arrangement to get 25/37. The standard 2.5-liter Malibu is only rated at 22/34.

RE: Finally
By cknobman on 10/3/2012 4:55:19 PM , Rating: 3
Lets see:

Altima: See of cheap plastic and interior materials. Personally I think the interior Nissan design is some of the worst in the industry while their exterior is some of the best.

Elantra: That 40mpg nubmer is as mythical as la Chupacabra and their have been plenty of reports of dissatisfied customers and even inquiries into if that 40mpg number was ever achievable in the first place.

RE: Finally
By Samus on 10/4/2012 12:17:06 AM , Rating: 2
My sister pulls 35mpg of pure city driving in her Elantra, so I challenge your statement it doesn't get 40mpg of consistant highway driving.

RE: Finally
By cknobman on 10/4/2012 10:15:52 AM , Rating: 2
RE: Finally
By jeffkro on 10/4/2012 12:42:24 AM , Rating: 2
The altima gets its mileage from its CVT.

RE: Finally
By km9v on 10/4/2012 11:48:51 AM , Rating: 2

The only exciting car Toyota made was the Supra. I've driven Camry's as loaners & nearly fell asleep driving.

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