Year after year, the Toyota Camry has been America's bestselling car, earning it a reputation for being both reliable and a good value. However, there's growing competition from other midsize family sedans like the Nissan Altima. And with almost every automaker setting its sights on overcoming Camry sales, it's quite possible that a better car exists for the money.
What the Camry Gets Right
Toyota addressed the Camry's image problem with sharper body contouring and a more aggressive front end. The result wasn't dramatic, but enough to give the Camry some genuine character.
The standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder produces 178 horsepower, and you can upgrade to a 3.5-liter V6 with 268 horsepower. Both engines deliver power to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. Also available is a 200-horsepower hybrid setup that achieves 41 mpg in combined city and highway driving.
What the Altima Gets Right
The current Altima looks far richer than previous editions and performs better, too, thanks to an updated suspension. The most noticeable improvement is in the cabin, where soft-touch materials and a finely detailed dash create an atmosphere of casual luxury.
Both the base 2.5-liter four-cylinder and optional 3.5-liter V6 are matched to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that's unobtrusive and efficient. At 182 horsepower, the 2.5-liter is one of the more powerful four-cylinders in this class, and yet returns 31 mpg in combined city and highway driving, exceptional for a gas-powered midsize car. The V6 delivers 270 horsepower for eye-opening acceleration, albeit at a loss of economy.
Has the Camry Met Its Match?
The Altima has made a serious play for supremacy in the family sedan market, but even though it has style and personality aplenty, it's not ready to knock the Camry off its perch.
Our Verdict: Toyota Camry
A modern design, multiple trim levels, and a choice of engines keep the Camry reputation safe. It remains an attractive, reliable car that gives you a lot for your money.