The 2024 Toyota Camry TRD is the Ultimate Dad Car

Kyle Patrick
by Kyle Patrick
The 2024 Toyota Camry TRD marks the final mainstream, V6-powered sedan. Image credit: Kyle Patrick

There won’t be another quite like it.

When I drove the final Camry TRD a few months back, I found it a fun but flawed sedan. The last of its kind—the kind being a mid-sized mainstream sedan powered by a naturally-aspirated V6—it’s “the least rational Camry, and that sort of oxymoron is catnip to car folks.”

There’s another demographic the Camry should appeal to. Ahead of Father’s Day, we’re revisiting this final V6 model because, like New Balances, jean shorts, and an inexplicable love of golf, it’s peak dad. And there aren’t many actual cars—not SUVs—that better capture that paternal power.


Big exhaust. Big wing. Big dad energy. Image credit: Kyle Patrick

Dads love a good deal, almost regardless of how it happens. It could be the barely-worn jeans from the fifth yardsale they visited last Saturday, to the bartender charging domestic price for their import beer. If there’s more money in dad’s—way too thick, very weathered—wallet, then it’s been A Good Day.

The Camry TRD satisfies the dad-deal-ometer. For starters, it’s the most affordable option for getting the V6. What we’re looking at here is, basically, a fast food combo, where the specific combination is a better deal than getting everything else piece-meal. It’s not the deal it once was, but a list price of roughly $35,000 (or $40,000 CAD) is both well under the average new car transaction price, and lower than most anything else packing 300 horsepower. Especially anything featuring four doors. Which brings us to the next point:


The Camry cabin is sensible, but it also has red accents, so it's basically a race car. Image credit: Kyle Patrick

This is a delicate one. Are SUVs like the new Crown Signia more practical from a cargo-hauling perspective? Certainly, especially since the Camry’s seats don’t fold flat. But dad takes a more holistic approach to the p-word. The Camry is practical not because it will swallow all the kids’ hockey gear, but it will do so while keeping them separate from the cabin. The Camry is easy to get in and out of, and since Toyota has built approximately eleventy-billion of those 3.5-liter V6s, running costs should be low. Dad’s playing the long game here.

The cabin is low-tech compared to just about any other sedan these days, but it does the job. There's wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but let's be real: dad's probably sticking to Bluetooth, and that's fine. He'll appreciate the physical buttons for all the main controls, because kids are spending too much time on touchscreens these days dangit.

A near-endless supply of polos proves it: dad's love embossed stitching. Image credit: Kyle Patrick

There’s another important angle: this is a freaking Camry we’re talking about. When someone asks dad what he’s driving, “Camry” will see all eyebrows in the vicinity resolutely unraised. He’s very pragmatic, the fellow parents on the school council must think. A little behind the times by eschewing SUVs maybe, but unmoved by trends. There’s a respectability to having a no-frills four-door… oh.


Those forged alloys are wicked cool. Image credit: Kyle Patrick

The TRD bodykit isn’t exactly subtle. The wing in particular wouldn’t be out of place in a Fast and Furious movie. The low lip spoiler will snag on the curbs the SUV drivers absent-mindedly roll over at school pick-up time. Very cool 19-inch alloy wheels sit properly in the Camry’s wheel arches: not too low, just purposeful. Yet it all exists on a shape that is practically everywhere; a playful bit of fun, like the puns that pepper so many dad conversations.

It isn’t all looks, either. The Camry has impressive muscle, that 301-horsepower engine putting it within spitting distance of non-V8 Mustangs and Camaros. It’s even quicker than the old ‘60s versions of either, and boy does dad have some stories about those times. The TRD-tweaked suspension still remains cosseting enough for ferrying friends and family, yet keeps the Camry remarkably flat and composed down the nearest scenic route.

From directly head on, the TRD is barely different from any other run-of-the-mill 2024 Camry. Image credit: Kyle Patrick

Dads love a good exhaust note, and the trusty 2GR sings with that sport exhaust. There’s rumble but not an overwhelming level of boom—looking at you, EcoBoost ‘Stang. Hey, if this engine was good enough for Lotus in the Evora, you bet it works for dad, too.

No word of a lie: while I had the TRD for review, a man came up to me in the parking lot to ask if the bodykit was factory. “Sweet,” he said as he opened up the tailgate of his SUV, from which two child seats in the back row were clearly visible. This guy got it.

Goodbye, Dad Car

The Dad Car Venn diagram.

With the remaining sedan market generally splitting into two camps—economical mainstreamers and wicked-quick, expensive Euro missiles—a clear successor to the Dad Car throne doesn’t exist. So cheers to the Camry TRD, and the dads who may long drive it.

Become an AutoGuide insider. Get the latest from the automotive world first by subscribing to our newsletter here.

Red glow does not, in fact, come stock. Image credit: Kyle Patrick
...but red dials sure do! Image credit: Kyle Patrick
Kyle Patrick
Kyle Patrick

Kyle began his automotive obsession before he even started school, courtesy of a remote control Porsche and various LEGO sets. He later studied advertising and graphic design at Humber College, which led him to writing about cars (both real and digital). He is now a proud member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), where he was the Journalist of the Year runner-up for 2021.

More by Kyle Patrick

Join the conversation