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11 Best 2017 Cars Under $30,000

6. 2017 Toyota Camry XLE

Market segment: Midsize car
Body style: Four-door sedan
Base price: $27,175
Price as tested: $29,270
Key options: Advanced Technology Package, $750; Convenience Package, $845; Blind Spot Monitor, $500
For: Roomy interior, reputation for reliability, good acceleration
Against: Numb steering feel, clumsy infotainment system
Next big change: Full redesign for model year 2018

The midsize Camry sedan is a rock-solid family car for its amenable road manners and spacious interior. It’s one of the more conservative-looking and performing rides on the road, with easygoing handling and fine absorbency over most road surfaces. While that can be perceived as a negative among driving enthusiasts, for many owners. it’s the among the car’s prime assets.

The interior is comfortable and there’s ample rear seat room for a pair of adults, with a third able to squeeze in as necessary. On the down side, Toyota’s available Entune touchscreen infotainment system can require too many pushbutton and touchscreen stabs to deliver the function you’re after. Camry’s standard engine is a 178-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder that should be powerful enough for most buyers. For those with deeper pockets, the available 3.5-liter 268-horsepower V-6 is one of the better six-cylinder powerplants in the business. A six-speed automatic transmission is included either way. A sport-tuned suspension is included on SE and XSE models, but it only nominally enhances corning abilities.

V-6-equipped editions are priced above our $30K limit, so we chose the well-equipped four-cylinder XLE, starting at $27,175. It comes with dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated power front seats, and a navigation/audio system with full smartphone connectivity. To that we added the Advanced Technology Package, a $750 bargain that includes automatic high-beam headlamps, lane-departure warning system, adaptive cruise control and, vitally, autonomous emergency braking that can stop the car to avoid a frontal collision. Camry’s so equipped are eligible for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s prestigious Top Safety Pick + designation. We also specified the $845 Convenience Package with keyless entry and pushbutton start, automatic-dimming rearview mirror, alarm/immobilizer system, and a garage door opener. We also had $500 left over to order a blind-spot monitor.

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to Carpreview.com two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for HowStuffWorks.com, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]