Some things don't change. Take the 2010 Toyota Camry's buttery-soft ride and roomy, serene cabin, for example, which have been endearing Camry traits since we can remember. And some things get better with age. Look at the Camry's powerful, fuel-efficient and ultra-smooth 268-horsepower V6, which is not only the best Camry V6 ever, but also the best all-around V6 in any family sedan. Unfortunately, other things can sour with time. That's where the current Camry's underwhelming interior quality comes in. Overall, though, the 2010 Camry remains one of the top choices in this competitive segment. With excellent crash test scores and comfort and refinement to spare, the Camry's got what most family-sedan shoppers want.
For 2010, the Camry receives a midcycle rejuvenation. Most notably, the base four-cylinder engine increases in size from 2.4 to 2.5 liters, with a corresponding 11-hp bump (21 hp on the SE), and the manual and automatic transmissions matched to this engine are now blessed with six gears instead of five. The exterior styling has also been tweaked, boasting a new grille, larger headlights, and a revised taillight design. On the safety front, stability control is now standard across the lineup. Other notable additions include auto up/down windows all around and a new optional audio system with satellite radio and Bluetooth for the lower trim levels.
The current-generation Camry's '07 debut coincided with the latest Nissan Altima's, and the new Honda Accord joined the crowd a year later. Then, in 2009, Mazda threw its hat in the ring with the upsized Mazda 6. Meanwhile, other competent midsizers like the Chevrolet Malibu and Hyundai Sonata have soldiered on as viable alternatives. And this just in -- the 2010 Ford Fusion has received a thorough going-over and looks set to seriously challenge the class leaders.
In the face of such stiff competition, there have been some rumblings that Toyota's iconic family sedan is losing its edge. Judging by the Camry's so-so interior quality relative to previous generations, there might be some truth to that. In most other respects, though, the 2010 Toyota Camry is still a top contender, from its top-notch crashworthiness and plush ride to its slightly sullied but nonetheless enduring reputation for reliability. It doesn't handle nearly as well as sporty entrants like the Mazda 6 and Altima, of course, but we suspect the majority of shoppers in this segment will appreciate the Camry's ride and handling balance more than the Mazda's or the Nissan's.
With so many appealing options to choose from, we strongly advise shopping around and test-driving as many models as possible. We're fans of the Camry, though. Its refined character is bound to appeal to families looking for a soothing vehicular escape from the daily grind.