2017 Toyota Camry XLE is the Best Camry To Date

With the debut of the next generation Camry at the North America International Auto Show in Detroit around the corner.  Recently I had week-long very pleasant visit with the current 2017 Camry that you can walk in to the dealer and purchase right now.

The 2017 Toyota Camry remains among the most poplar sedans for a wide range of buyers. Now celebrating its 35th year, there’s no one single reason why the Camry midsize sedan is among the bestselling vehicles in the nation, but rather a combination of winning factors. Whether you desire reliability, efficiency, easy driving manners, great resale value, or some of the latest safety features like automatic emergency braking, the Camry checks all the boxes. Like the Honda Accord, the Camry is available with 4- and 6-cylinder engines, as well a hybrid. The Camry excels as a no-fuss commuting companion and comfortable chariot for family and friends.

The Camry is very good at a lot of things, but it’s not necessarily the best at any one. Toyota’s midsize sedan isn’t as fun to drive as a Mazda Mazda6 or even an Accord, nor is it as fuel-efficient as either. If you want all-wheel drive for improved traction, look to the Subaru Legacy or Ford Fusion.

Thanks to revised suspension tuning that came with the 2015 revamp, the latest Camry sedan delivers a slightly livelier driving experience. But don’t confuse the Camry for a corner-carver: Its emphasis remains quiet and comfortable road manners. The standard 178-horsepower 4-cylinder engine that most Camry buyers will choose is more than adequate for everyday acceleration and passing power. Linked exclusively to a 6-speed automatic transmission, it is a willing and faithful partner in the city, on country roads, or on interstate highways around Orlando Florida or anywhere in North America.

The 5-passenger interior of the 2017 Camry isn’t as stylistically forward as its exterior might suggest, but it’s hardly bland. Moreover, it’s supremely functional.

Big cup holders and multiple storage nooks surround the sporty gear selector, and even the steering wheel has a familiar feel and looks more sophisticated now with its bevy of integrated controls. The Camry has good room for passengers up front and in back, and the trunk has a sizable 15.4 cubic feet of space.

The winning formula of the Camry is in my opinion due to the fact it is plain and simple.  For example the Camry uses traditional knobs and dials around its standard 6.1-inch or optional 7-inch display infotainment  screen. The controls are big, easy to read and simple to use. The standard JBL audio system in my test vehicle also was very good.

No doubt this is best looking Camry to date. The significant revisions to the sheet metal that arrived a couple of years ago still look fresh for 2017. Bookended by an eye-catching front end and a nicely detailed rear, the stylish but not outlandish  Camry is sure to attract new buyers without scaring away longtime devotees.

My test vehicle an XLE trim Camry has a choice of three powertrains. Most buyers will be more than satisfied with the standard 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that offers a good blend of performance and fuel economy.  Power is rated at 178 Hp along with 170 lb-ft of torque delivering an EPA average of 24 MPG city and 33 mpg pn the highway.  My XLE model starts  at a very reasonable $27, 145

If you enjoy a more sporty sedan I would recommend the Mazda6 but if you not an enthusiast driver.   Its taken me a long time bt now I understand better why Toyota sells so many Camry vehicles.

The Long Drive Rankings

Front Engine-FWD 6 speed automatic

Highlights

Styling

Comfort

Simple layout

Lowlights

Not a drivers car

The Best Camry ever but still a little bland

The Long Drive Rankings 1 Low 10 High

Exterior Styling 7
Interior styling and quality 8

Handling 6

Braking 6
Fuel Economy 7
Stereo System 8

Performance 5
Trunk-Cargo Capacity 8

Navigation 8
Audio System 7

 

2016 Subaru Outback Limited 3.6 Outback Premium Crossover/Wagon Alternative

As a brand Subaru has come a long way since the initial models sold here in America during the late 60’s and 1970’s. I remember growing up on a middle class street in Needham MA when a college age neighbor purchased an early Subaru GL model. It was a rather awkward looking vehicle with a very low sticker price. Initially these Subaru models were front wheel drive with all wheel drive optional.

Living in Boston 99% of my life you get used to seeing a lot of Subaru standard AWD vehicles (except for BRZ sports car) on the road. As a matter of fact Subaru is best selling brand in all of New England. Bought my first Subaru in 2011 when the high performance coupe that my wife drove just could not handle a rear facing baby seat very well. I owned the Subaru for four years and it retained its value at trade in time better than any other vehicle have owned so far in my life.

With its flat four engine sitting low in my Forester the Subaru was a decent handling machine mated with an excellent standard all wheel drive. In the test car garage this week is an Ice Silver Metallic 3.6 Outback limited model and. This is by far the most technically advanced, luxurious Subaru’s 2016 Outback crossover wagon to date. The Outback Is one of the few crossover SUVs that can actually fulfill the promises made by its off roading look exterior pieces.

Unlike many other competitors’ in its segment the Outback’s all- wheel-drive system is designed to tackle more than just snowy roads and dusty trails. Its 8.7 inches of ground clearance and X- Mode off-road assist greatly assist the Outback’s ability. The 2016 Outback’s Limited luxurious interior combined with the latest driver-assist technology, such as Subaru’s amazing EyeSight collision-mitigation and active cruise control, elevate the Outback to the realm of many premium luxury SUVs. I used the active cruise control that work seamlessly on both the highway and clogged commuter highway traffic. The system hauling the Subaru down to complete stop and then picked up speed with the flow of the traffic moved forward down the highway. No input from driver’s foot pedals needed at all.

The Subaru Outback for 2016 delivers a comfortable ride, precise steering and lots more. For those families on a budget with rear facing car seat in the mix the large backseat combined with very good front seat travel make car seat hauling a breeze. Also if you are shopping for vehicle that excels in the areas of resale, fuel economy and safety, the 2016 Subaru Outback wagon is it. If you’re looking for a roomy family vehicle that can also tackle deep snow and off-road trails, the 2016 Subaru Outback can do that, too. Just remember this not a trail rated Jeep. If you need a serious off roader the Outback is not for you. But for most families its off road capillarity is perfect.

Living in Florida where it rains hard tropical style quite often. I was impressed when the roads turned nasty and you could feel the AWD system in play Overall I was impressed by our 2016 Subaru Outback crossover SUV’s quiet cabin, its car-like driving characteristics (based on the Legacy sedan) and its stable composure even in the most inhospitable driving conditions. Compared to the flat four engines, the 6-cylinder power plant provides a more sporty driving experience and is recommended for anyone who needs to tow.

On the road, Subaru’s Active Torque Vectoring enhances traction at higher speeds by automatically routing power for better stability. Off-road, the 2016 Subaru Outback’s true magic is revealed. Standard X-Mode bolsters low-speed traction while Hill Descent Control does all the braking on steep descents, allowing the driver to focus on piloting the vehicle. When not in use, the Outback’s roof-rack crossbars pivot to stow in the roof rails, thus reducing wind noise above the roof. The crossbars are also adjustable fore and aft.

The Subaru Outback crossover SUV for 2016 interior design and execution clean and functional, and  I like the latest touch- screen infotainment system’s design infotainment stereo system a first in Outback to date The seats are comfortable in all positions, especially the roomy, reclining rear seat (thanks to the Outback’s tall roof). Cargo space in this SUV is obviously leaps and bounds better than the Legacy sedan. That goes double with the seats folded.

It’s quieter than its predecessor, thanks in part to the way the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) mimics gear changes at full throttle Exterior styling wise this Subaru crossover-SUV wagon is definitely an improvement over the previous generation Outback.

The neatly integrated headlights and taillights blend with an upright, chunky look that incorporates Subaru’s new hexagonal grille and the Outback’s traditional round fog lights and rugged-looking lower body cladding. Cool features include grille shutters that close at speed to improve fuel economy, and LED taillights. Of course, there are the usual comfort and convenience features standard including power windows, air conditioning, power mirrors, cruise control, and so on. However, even the base Outback comes with a rearview camera and advanced safety features like under-seat-cushion airbags to prevent submarining in a crash.

Being a bit of audiophile I was very impressed with the 3.6 Limited’s optional upgraded is hands down the best system to date in any Subaru model I have ever experienced. It also includes air 7-inch screen, Aha, iHeart Radio, Pandora and, of course, Bluetooth, CD player and USB. Every Outback also comes with X-Mode, hill-descent control, active torque vectoring, and grille shutters. The EyeSight system, which adds adaptive cruise control, lane- departure warning, lane-keep assist, pre-collision braking and, on some models, steering-responsive fog lights. Also available is a power liftgate with a programmable maximum height, voice- activated navigation with a larger 7-inch screen, and a Rear Vehicle Detection System that combines blind-spot detection, lane-change assist and rear cross-traffic alerts.

My test vehicle h a well executed is a leather interior trimmed with classy-looking faux wood. Sticker Price of my loaded test vehicle was $37,335.00 Under the Hood the 3.6-liter flat-6 puts out 256 horsepower and delivers 247 lb-ft of torque. EPA fuel economy numbers come in at 20-mpg city and 27 mpg highway. To me with extra engine punch is worth the added prime of admission.

Overall the Subaru lineup of vehicles continues to expand and improve, this is no doubt the best Outback to date. Premium crossover/SUV features at not so premium price.

The Long Drive Rankings

Front Engine- AWD-CVT Automatic

Highlights

All Wheel Drive System

Resale Value

Roomy Backseat

Value

Lowlights

Some cheap plastics inside

OK but not great styling

Some might think Pricey for a Subaru

 

Scale 1 low-10 high

Exterior Styling 7

Interior styling and quality 7

Handling 7

Braking 6

Fuel Economy 7

Stereo System 8 Navigation System 8

Performance 6

Trunk-Cargo Capacity 9