The balancing act continues for the 2016 Toyota Camry, a perennial best-seller that's trying to move forward without abandoning its roots. With nimble, aggressively styled rivals nipping at its heels, Toyota's popular family sedan pivoted last year, debuting sleeker looks and a tauter sport-tuned suspension in certain models. At the same time, the Camry faithful demand traditional traits like an ergonomic control layout and a hushed, buttery ride. Serving these two masters will be a key to the Camry's ongoing success.
To sustain the momentum from last year's redesign, Toyota has introduced a Special Edition trim level for 2016. Based on the sporty Camry SE, the four-cylinder-only Special Edition ups the edginess quotient with flashy 18-inch wheels, smoked taillights, the SE's sport-tuned suspension and vibrant blue interior trim. But the company knows that not everyone wants tuner-inspired performance and styling flourishes, which is where the relatively staid LE and XLE trims come in. Outfitted with more conservative bodywork, a comfort-biased suspension and restrained interior decor, these Camry variants should reassure longtime fans that Toyota hasn't lost touch with its base.
There's a plethora of intriguing alternatives in this segment. On the athletic end of the spectrum, the Ford Fusion and Mazda 6 deliver still more smiles per mile without scrimping on fuel economy or features. The refreshed Honda Accord is a superb all-around choice, while the Hyundai Sonata is value-packed and more sophisticated than ever. But with its distinct sport- and comfort-oriented model lines, the Camry just might come the closest to being everything to everyone. Whether you're looking for the tried-and-true or the cutting edge, you owe yourself a drive in the Edmunds "A" rated 2016 Toyota Camry.