Dad Fast at 500 Miles

Dad Fast adjective
/dad fast/

  1. The feeling of speed for a dad in a practical car that looks and sounds fast, but is not.

Toyota Camry XSE Start Up Dash

Shortly before we all ducked into our houses for shelter-in-place, I replaced my old 2013 Toyota Avalon XLE Hybrid with a new 2020 Toyota Camry XSE.

I wanted more tech in my car and I wanted a more comfortable ride. The 2013 Avalon was Toyota’s attempt to correct the Avalon image of it being a boat for old people. They did a great job in the looks department and the interior. But, they might have overdone it and sacrificed in ride comfort. Instead of a comfortable ride, they made the ride so stiff that every bump came through. It was a harsh ride made a bit harsher by the seats that lacked much cushion. Also, lets get this out of the way: Toyota Entune is terrible.

My Original 2001 Toyota Solara SLE V6

The first car I bought with my own money was a brand new 2001 Toyota Solara SLE V6. I loved this car. It’s V6 produced 200hp and 214lb-ft torque. It wasn’t fast, but it was fun.

I love how my new car looks so close to what my Solara looked like, but with nice changes. The two tone black top with white body is striking and that was the exact paint scheme that I was looking for.

Toyota Camry XSE Red Interior

I was also looking specifically for the red leather interior because it is so bold and fun.

Toyota Camry XSE at Santa Cruz

There are lots of reviews of the 2020 Toyota Camry, so I will forego reviewing the car except for some quick notes about it. The ride is firm, but not so stiff that it is uncomfortable. I can feel the road when driving, but the suspension nicely soaks up all the bumps are nicely. The steering on the Camry has a nice weight to it and is not floaty like the Avalon.

The longest drive I have done was a 68 mile round trip drive from home to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and back. It was a fun drive, especially the windy parts of Highway 17.

Toyota Camry XSE Side

I got the four cylinder 2020 Camry XSE for the gas mileage. It is totally Dad Fast, but it’s not really fast. The XSE has quad exhaust and has 206hp and 186lb-ft torque which is an amazing an extra 3hp and 2lb-ft torque over the L, LE, SE and XLE. The 0-60mph is a paltry 7.6 seconds. Whee!

Having driven a hybrid with a CVT engine for the last few years and enduring the constant droning of the engine – no matter how hard I push the accelerator it was always just a drone – going back to an automatic transmition is quite nice. The eight speed automatic in the Camry is nice and smooth. Though, as others have observed, it is slow sometimes and at other times it can’t make up its mind. Also the paddles behind the steering wheel work, but the transmission will kick in an change gears if it decides it has to. Which is no fun. Heh.

Apple CarPlay

Apple CarPlay makes all the difference. And for those of you with Android devices, the 2020 Camry finally supports Android Auto too. I haven’t tried Android Auto in the Camry yet since I’m currently using an iPhone 11 Pro – though I am familiar with it since, unlike CarPlay, Android Auto also runs as a standalone app and I used it in the past as a standalone app and it’s great.

The infotainment system in the 2020 Camry is barebones, mine came with the navigation system built-in instead of relying on the external Scout GPS app. It works fine enough and integrates turn-by-turn instructions into the dash. The infotainment system looks very bland compared to the rest of the car, as if it were designed in a different room than the rest of the car. So, thank goodness for Apple CarPlay support since it works much nicer and will be getting updates as iOS gets updates. Hopefully all cars in the future will continue this trend of only being a mirror display for Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. I don’t care how often in-car systems get updated, just plugging in and having my phone contents right away is the best experience.

Camry XSE Lights

The Camry rides lower than the previous generation and is wider also. That makes for a car that feels firmly planted to the road. Toyota may have gone a little overboard with the aggressive looks of the car – including the very aggressive front end, the 19” wheels, the side skirts, the little bits of aero all over, the rear diffuser and the abundant amount of fake vents. But, having said that, I love how the car looks.

Camry Looking Left

Because of the shelter-in-place and pandemic, I haven’t gotten to drive my Camry much (sadness). So, I look forward to putting more miles on the car when things start to return to normal. I will keep track of thoughts about the car as I put more miles on the odometer.