To help members understand the latest automotive technology so they can purchase vehicles that best suit their needs, the Automobile Club of Southern California's Automotive Research Center (ARC) began testing and reviewing vehicles nearly a decade ago in the AAA Green Car Guide, which initially focused entirely on rating fuel-efficient, low-emitting vehicles.
For the 2020 edition, we're expanding the focus of the guide to include testing and ranking cars and light trucks with the latest technology, including having at least one advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) feature. To further reflect this change, we've renamed the guide: It's now the AAA Car Guide. In addition to vehicle evaluation, the guide covers a number of pertinent automotive topics in detail-for example, the latest advanced safety features, the dangers of distracted driving, and the development of autonomous vehicles.
The green cars tested by the ARC are evaluated on the basis of 13 categories: emissions, fuel economy,
crashworthiness, braking, acceleration, handling, cargo-carrying capacity, ride quality, interior noise, ease of entry and exit, maneuverability, roominess, and visibility.
The scores for the categories are totaled, and the cars are ranked from high to low.
Car Guide Winner: 1st Place Midsize
2019 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE
Vehicle Type: Midsize Hybrid
Category Ranking: 1
Price as Tested:$38,215
Fuel Type: Regular
Fuel Capacity (gal): 13.2
EPA City mpg: 44
EPA Highway mpg: 47
EPA Combined mpg: 46
with specific headlights
Advanced Safety Features
Adaptive Cruise Control [S]
Advanced Headlights [S]
Automatic Emergency Braking [S]
Blind-Spot Warning [O]
Forward-Collision Warning [S]
Lane-Departure Warning [S]
Lane-Keeping Assistance [S]
Rear Cross-Traffic Warning [O]
[S] Standard, [O] Optional
The Toyota Camry, redesigned for 2018, replaced its
previous bland exterior with bold, aggressive sheet metal.
Other upgrades include an improved drivetrain, better fuel
economy, and a suspension tuned for sportier handling. The
top-trim XLE Hybrid’s interior features high-quality plastics
and soft-touch surfaces on the dash. The front bucket seats
are firm but comfortable. All controls are well marked and
easy to use. The backseat is fine for two people but tight
for three. The trunk is large and deep, because the hybrid
battery pack is now under the backseat. The Camry’s hybrid
powertrain—a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that generates
176 hp, a 118-hp electric motor, and a CVT—is smooth,
with great drivability. Total power output is 208 hp. The
XLE Hybrid has good acceleration, with responsive and
sporty handling, although the steering is imprecise and has
an artificial feel. Toyota’s Safety Sense suite of advanced
safety features is standard. The Hybrid XLE’s fuel economy
is an EPA-rated 46 mpg in combined city/highway driving,
excellent for a midsized sedan.