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Original MSRP: $18,570 - $28,120
MPG: 21 City / 31 Hwy
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2008 Toyota Camry Performance

This performance review was written when the 2008 Toyota Camry was new.

The Camry's performance score for the sedan is good but not good enough to clear the top-tier of a highly competitive class, and reviewers almost unanimously describe the 2008 Toyota Camry as a refined road performer, not a sporty one. But most are still pleased with the Camry's polished performance, and how it compares to that of the higher scoring Honda Accord and other family four-doors.

  • "The 2008 Toyota Camry drives much like most family sedans, not too sporty and not too soft." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Truly, those seeking a truly sporting drive in a midsize sedan will continue to be better served by such cars as the Mazda 6, Nissan Altima, Subaru Legacy and Volkswagen Passat. Still, the overriding impression is one of refinement and a somewhat isolated feel from the road compared to more athletic competitors." -- Edmunds
  •  +"2008 Toyota Camry offers comfortable, quiet and smooth ride, even when the road conditions are less than ideal." -- All Auto Reviews
  • "On the road, we were underwhelmed by the Camry's performance." -- Left Lane News
  • "The little four-cylinder is peppy and fun, despite the power-sapping limitations of the automatic transmission. The car drives smoothly and quietly enough up to about 70 mph, and then things turn a little raucous and unsettled, almost as though Toyota engineered the car to the U.S. freeway speed limit, but not a touch beyond." -- AutoWeek

Acceleration and Power

The 2008 Camry offers a 2.4-liter inline four with 158 horsepower and 161 pound-feet of torque, and a 3.5-liter V6 with 268 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. Reviewers say the base engine is sufficient for most drivers, but the V6 is good for providing a few thrills. When it comes to powertrain -- most reviewers say it’s a matter of preference -- the Camry's engines and transmissions are comparable in power and performance to those of its close competitors -- the Honda Accord or Nissan Altima. EPA ratings for the Camry range from 19 to 21 (mpg) miles per gallon in the city to 28 to 31 mpg on highways.

  • "Toyota's four-cylinder engine is not the strongest, but it's more than adequate with the manual transmission." -- New Car Test Drive
  • "Our LE model came with Toyota's 2.4L engine -- rated at 158 horsepower and 161 lb-ft of torque -- and struggled a bit to carry around the 3,300 lb Camry. According to Toyota, 0-60 takes a leisurely 9.5 seconds. Under acceleration, the engine is also quite loud and buzzy yet works well with the five-speed automatic transmission." -- Left Lane News
  • "The muscular V6 is a powerhouse, good for a zero to 60-miles-per-hour burst in less than seven seconds." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "There's something really exciting about discovering the unexpected, especially when it comes in the form of the Camry's available 210-horsepower, DOHC, Variable-Valve-Timing V-6 engine. For those who don't want that much excitement, the standard four-cylinder DOHC job relies on Variable Valve timing to produce up to 157 horsepower." -- Wheels Direct2U
  • "V6's 6-speed automatic transmission is sometimes hesitant to kick down for passing power." -- Consumer Guide
  • Following a comparison test between the '07 Camry SE and a 2008 Honda Accord V6, Motor Trend editors found, "Though not as green as Honda's PZEV engine, Toyota's 24-valve mill provides virtually identical fuel economy, thanks in large part to the extra cog in its six-speed automatic, which, unlike the Accord's five-speed, offers a sport-oriented manual mode." -- Motor Trend

Handling and Braking

The 2008 Camry's quiet-on-the-road personality is one of its strong suits, thanks to a MacPherson strut front suspension and dual-link rear suspension. Most test drivers describe the Camry's ride as soft and smooth, and several praise the sporty-like qualities of the SE trim.

  • During a recent Car and Driver comparison test featuring the Camry, Dodge Avenger, Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata, Chevy Malibu, Nissan Altima and Honda Accord, editors reported, "In stark contrast to the Fusion, it was almost impossible not to drive the Camry smoothly, making it the car everyone wanted to inhabit during heavy-traffic slogs." -- Car and Driver
  • A "quiet, soft ride still characterizes the Camry's on-road demeanor, though this year's revisions give the handling dynamics a slightly sportier feel." -- Carz Unlimited
  • Consumer Guide's team tested all Camry models at once. "Steering on all but the Hybrid is accurate and responsive, if a bit overboosted and numb in the opinion of some testers." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The SE has firmer springs, shock absorbers, stabilizer bars and bushings to improve handling and limit body roll over the other trim levels." -- Cars.com
  • When test driving the SE, NCTD editors found, "While we never doubted the stopping power, brake pedal feel and travel are still sedan-grade: a bit soft and long for our enthusiast-driver preferences." -- New Car Test Drive
Review Last Updated: 3/10/09

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