The Toyota Camry has been such a popular family sedan for so long, it’s name is practically synonymous with the segment. That’s for good reason: it remains an affordable, practical choice with low running costs and high reliability.
New for 2021: The Camry got an all-wheel drive model last year, and for 2021, the whole lineup gets a slight facelift. This includes a new front-end look outside, a bigger, “floating” infotainment screen inside, and a new XSE Hybrid trim. Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+ is also standard.
The Camry nameplate has been around since 1982, but back then, it was a compact car. Since about 1991, the Camry name was used for the popular mid-sized sedan we know today.
The current car ditched the milquetoast styling of the last few generations however. With more expressive styling, the Camry has a newfound personality. It also offers a wide range of models, all tailored to buyers’ needs. A four-cylinder model still anchors the lineup, though now buyers can option it with four-wheel drive. A V6 is still available too: in fact, the Camry is now the only car in its class to offer one. With the new platform comes better driving dynamics, which are best represented in the performance-oriented TRD model. All models come with a long list of standard features, including driver assists.
The Toyota Camry and Camry Hybrid are built in Kentucky for the North American market.
Pros/ Lots of powertrain options / Available AWD or hybrid / Toyota's reputation for reliability
Cons/ Infotainment still dated / Some cheap interior materials / TRD model still not quite sporty
Bottom Line/ The Toyota Camry is a smart and practical choice for a family sedan. Its bold exterior style helps set it apart.
Table of contents
Toyota Camry Powertrain
You have one of three drivetrain options with the Toyota Camry. Most trims use the trusty 2.5-liter inline-four engine. It produces 203 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque; the XSE bumps this up slightly to 206 hp and 186 lb-ft.
If you select the all-wheel drive version of any of the four cylinder models, you’ll see a drop of 1 hp across the board—but we doubt you’ll feel it.
For those seeking more oomph, the Camry has an ace in its sleeve with the only remaining V6 engine in its class. Available on XLE, XSE, and TRD trims, it puts down a very strong 301 hp and 267 lb-ft of torque.
No matter which gas engine you pick, you’ll find a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission paired with it.
Hybrid models use a more efficient version of the 2.5-liter engine, running on the Atkinson cycle. Working alongside it is a 118-hp electric motor, which draws its power from a lithium-ion battery. Total system power is 208 hp, and it hits the road through the front wheels via a continuously-variable transmission.
Toyota Camry Features and Pricing
Camry LE: Starts at $25,965 (AWD +$1,400, Hybrid + $2,300)
For 2021 the LE trim becomes the new entry-level model, as the L is discontinued. It starts just under $26,000, including $995 in destination.
Camry LE models come equipped with bi-LED headlights, LED DRLs and taillights, cloth seats with a power-adjustable driver’s seat, air conditioning, 60/40 split fold-down rear seat, two USB ports, and a 7.0-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Alexa compatibility.
Available options include the Convenience Package (Smart Key, HomeLink, auto-dimming rearview mirror), Audio Upgrade Package (larger 9.0-inch screen, wireless charger, dual-zone climate control), power moonroof, and a cold weather package (heated seats, mirrors, and steering wheel).
Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+ is standard on every Camry model. This includes automated emergency braking, lane departure alert, lane tracing, auto high beams, and road sign assist. Dynamic cruise control is also included, but for full stop-and-go capabilities you’ll need to move up to the XLE trim and above.
Blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are both optional on LE and SE trims, and standard above.
Camry SE: $27,480 (AWD + $1,400, Hybrid + $2,300)
The SE takes on a sportier exterior look, with a black grille and black-accented headlights. A dual-tip exhaust also adds some aggression out back. For a little more cash there’s also the Nightshade edition, which adds even more black paint to various exterior bits.
Inside, the SE gains single-zone auto climate control, tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), and Toyota’s SofTex faux-leather seats with fabric inserts. Drivers also get to wrap their hands around a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
The SE’s options list includes the same Convenience Package, Audio Upgrade Package, power moonroof, and a cold weather package as the LE.
Camry XLE: $30,865 (AWD + $1,400, Hybrid + $2,300)
As the more luxurious trim in the Camry range, the XLE gains all-LED exterior lighting, and a chrome-like front grille.
Inside, the XLE features dual-zone automatic climate controls and a standard wireless charger. Its backup camera includes dynamic lines instead of the simpler projected path of lower trims. The info display between the dials grows to 7.0 inches (up from 4.2). Seating is of the leather-trimmed variety, with standard heating (ventilation is optional). Wood trim also shows up in the XLE, as does ambient lighting. The infotainment screen is the larger 9.0-inch item.
Options include an upgraded dynamic navigation system with JBL speakers, panoramic glass roof, heated seats, head-up display, 360-degree camera, and clearance sonar with rear cross-traffic braking.
Camry XSE: $31,415 (AWD + $1,400, Hybrid + $2,300)
The XSE isn’t much different from the XLE spec-wise. In place of the exterior brightwork, it swaps in black trim—you can even spec a black roof for that two-tone look. It does come with a rear spoiler, however, and a dual exhaust. Yes, that’s four exhaust tips on a Camry.
Camry TRD: $33,180
The TRD Camry remains a strange one: it’s the sportiest Camry, but it’s not the priciest. That’s because Toyota essentially de-contents an XSE V6 to make the TRD.
The headlights go back to the bi-xenon items found on the SE, for example. A mean-looking bodykit does amp up the aggression though, and the TRD cat-back exhaust doesn’t just look good, it gives the Camry a creamy exhaust note.
Interior amenities include single-zone climate control, red-lit dials, sport seats in SofTex, and a fixed rear seat. That’s because of a structural brace behind the seats, don’t ya know.
Special 19-inch wheels and unique suspenion tuning round out the TRD package.
Camry XLE V6: $35,990
Beyond the bigger engine, the major differences between this and the four-cylinder XLE is the standard fitment of the head-up display, panoramic glass roof and the JBL sound system.
Options remain the dynamic navigation system, bird’s eye view camera, parking sensors with rear cross-traffic braking, and ventilated seats.
Camry XSE V6: $36,540
Like the XLE V6, this is similar to the four-cylinder, with more power and more standard features.
All prices include a $995 destination charge.
Toyota Camry Fuel Economy
The 2.5-liter four-cylinder Toyota Camry is rated at 28 mpg city, 39 highway, and 32 combined. This drops by 1 mpg across the board for the XLE/XSE models.
Camry AWD figures are 25/34/29 for the LE and SE, and 25/34/28 for the XLE and XSE.
The 3.5-liter V6-powered Camry XLE is rated at 22 mpg city, 33 highway, and 26 combined. The XSE drops that highway figure to 32; the TRD is thirster, at 31 mpg highway, which drops its average to 25.
If you want maximum fuel economy, the Toyota Camry Hybrid is rated at an excellent 51 mpg city, 53 highway and 52 combined.
Toyota Camry Safety Rating
The Toyota Camry is an IIHS Top Safety Pick+, which is the highest possible rating the organization gives to the safest cars.
The Camry scored Good in all crash tests and even got a Superior rating in front crash prevention tests. The Camry comes standard with a pre-collision system that has pedestrian detection and in the IIHS’s tests, the Camry avoided a collision in a 12 mph and 25 mph test. Other standard safety features included in Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P) are lane departure alert with steering assist, automatic highbeams, and adaptive cruise control.
An excellent optional safety feature includes blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert. Along with 10 airbags, front seats that were designed to lessen whiplash injuries when collisions happen, and more, the Camry is one of the safest cars out there.
Toyota Camry Competitors
Future Toyota Camry Plans
With the 2021 facelift, Toyota has expanded nearly all its trims across hybrid and AWD Camry forms. From here we don’t expect major changes until the next-generation model arrives: maybe special editions, that’s all.
Toyota Camry TRD Review
By Kyle Patrick
It happened a lot during my week with the Camry TRD. For the 2020 model year Toyota gifted its trusty mid-size sedan with the Toyota Racing Development badge for the very first time. Opt for those three letters and you’ll get the cheapest available V6 Camry in the lineup, with a handful of choice chassis changes and an aggressive bodykit. To my eyes the current Camry, launched in 2018, was already a pretty good-looking vehicle for its class. The TRD treatment simply commands attention from passersby, which can be both good and bad.
In fact, it’s that double-edged nature that defines the Camry TRD: for every perceived positive it brings to the Camry’s repertoire, it also takes away. It will appeal to a very particular set of people with a very particular set of requirements: value, V6 power, and a hint of sporty dynamics.
Sport sedan makeover
So what turns the Camry, long the target of cars-as-beige-appliances jabs, into a TRD? It’s hard to miss the barmy bodykit: the front lip spoiler, side skirts, and (especially) the dramatic rear spoiler make the Camry look like it just wrapped up a track day. A 0.6-inch (15 mm) drop in ride height helps too, as do the seriously cool 19-inch matte black alloy wheels, wrapped in 235/40 Michelins. The blacked-out roof also visually drops the Camry, and Supersonic Red is the color to get.
Two stainless-steel cat-back exhaust tips poke out on either side of the rear diffuser, providing the 3.5-liter V6 with a stronger singing voice. It’s here that the Toyota has an advantage over the rest of the class: it’s the only naturally-aspirated V6 left. With the exhaust upgrade, the Camry sings in a way no turbo-four can, without falling into boomy territory. Even better, it doesn’t resort to piped-in sound effects when you give it the beans.
That’s a good thing, since there’s no extra oomph over any other V6 Camry. The six-pot puts out the usual 301 horsepower here, with 267 lb-ft backing it up. Power is sent to the front wheels via an eight-speed automatic. If you want all-wheel drive in Toyota’s mid-sizer, you’re limited to the four-cylinder model.
Like the TRD truck models, the Camry benefits from chassis tweaks to make the most of its existing drivetrain. Toyota has fitted stiffer springs, unique shocks, and bigger brakes to the Camry TRD, letting it corner harder and stop faster.
Genuine fun behind the wheel
From behind the leather-wrapped wheel, the changes give the Camry a more positive front-end feel. It tracks true into corners, staying flat where other trims would wallow. The wheel itself is still feather-light, though that’s par for the class these days thanks to electrically assisted power steering. As you’d expect, the ride is harsher, but not uncomfortably so, and never feels crashy. Throwing the TRD down a few choice back roads is genuinely fun.
That being said, the throttle mapping and transmission tuning let the side down. The eight-speed auto is a fine unit for the daily schlep, but the long gears make it hard to keep the TRD’s sweet-revving V6 in its sweet spot. Throttle response is lackadaisical in Normal and Eco modes: you’re practically required to run the Camry in Sport mode at all times for any semblance of urgency.
Don’t get too excited about the manual control option for the shifter either. It doesn’t select individual gears but rather ranges: “M4” will limit the computer to the first four gears but it will still use any of them as it sees fit.
The uprated brakes, measuring 12.9 inches up front and clamped by two-piston calipers, have a strong initial bite and a consistent pedal feel. They never feel like they’re going to wilt under pressure.
Still a practical sedan
The benefit of Toyota using the Camry package means buyers get one of the most usable, reliable mid-size sedans in the business. There are acres of space front and back for people, with 38.3 and 38.0 inches of headroom, respectively. Thank the TRD’s required moonroof deletion for the extra noggin space. Even an NBA player should find the 42.1 inches of front legroom acceptable; rear row leg space is also 38.0 inches. Trunk space remains unchanged at 15.1 cubic feet—a bit behind the 16.7 of the Honda Accord—but what is different is the inability to fold the rear seats down. Sorry, sports fans: the structural bracing behind them is to blame. That’s the trade-off you’ll have to accept for more engaging handling.
The Camry TRD is also reasonably fuel efficient for a 300-horsepower four-door. Toyota quotes 22 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway, for a combined rating of 25 mpg. That’s slightly worse than other V6 models, likely due to that in-your-face styling. My week of mostly city driving turned out 23.5 mpg, so the average should be easily achievable. As a bonus, that tried-and-true 3.5-liter V6 will happily sip on 87-octane fuel instead of the pricier pump.
Light on gadgets, big on value
There’s a reason the $32,125 TRD ($38,530 Canadian) is the cheapest V6 model by a fair margin. Toyota has essentially used the SE trim as the base here (or XSE in Canada), dropping in the big engine, amping up the looks, and keeping only the essentials. The one chair in the house with power adjustability is the driver’s seat. There’s no head-up display, no wireless charging, and neither vents nor USB outlets in the back row. In back there’s just a little cubby, from which nearly anything you put in it will come tumbling out at the mere sight of a corner. Depending on your needs that all might be fine, but unfortunately there isn’t even an option to add most of it back in.
The interior does get a minor update for TRD duty. No surprise that red is the color of choice here, with contrast stitching gracing the dash, seats, steering wheel, and shifter. There are red TRD logos on the headrests too: they might look uncomfortable but prove fine on longer drives. If I had to quibble about the SofTex-wrapped seats it’d be the lack of lateral support, now that the Camry TRD eggs you into hunting down higher and higher g forces.
Red seatbelts round out the sporty look. Even the dials are red, which looks great when parked, but can be nearly impossible to read with sunglasses in direct sunlight. The 7.0-inch touchscreen is smallish in 2020, but it’s easy to read and now finally includes both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. Everything falls easily to hand and the central storage is sizeable.
Toyota’s safety suite is standard fit here, bundling in things like auto high beams, dynamic cruise control, lane-keep assist and automated emergency braking. Blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are unavailable with the TRD trim however. Luckily it’s an easy shape to see out of.
Verdict: 2020 Toyota Camry TRD Review
The Camry TRD is a pleasantly old-school experience. It riffs on the classic muscle car recipe: strip the content and drop in the largest engine. The money has gone where gearheads will appreciate it: the handling. This Camry sounds good, drives well, and is a lot of car for the money. If you’re still a sedan diehard and want something equal parts family-friendly and fun, rest assured the Camry TRD is more than just a badge-job cash-in.
Toyota Camry Hybrid Review
By Jodi Lai
The Toyota Camry Hybrid is my favorite Camry.
This statement is true even when you take the V6 model into account. Although the V6 Camry can smoke a few sporty cars at a stoplight, it just doesn’t seem natural in the same way that a very quiet, fuel-efficient Camry does. A hybrid Camry seems to make more sense than a Camry that’s trying to be sporty, even though Toyota claims that it isn’t doing the boring thing anymore.
The new Camry is filled with all sorts of amazing improvements over the last one and although it did lose AutoGuide.com’s comparisons against the Honda Accord and the Hyundai Sonata, it’s still ridiculously good, especially if you’re loyal to Toyota. The hybrid model just makes everything the Camry does better.
The Toyota Camry Hybrid’s excellent fuel economy is hard to argue with. The LE trim sedan is officially rated at 51 mpg in the city, 53 on the highway, and 52 combined (4.9/4.8/4.9 L/100 km), which is better than its main rivals. The new Honda Accord Hybrid is rated at 47 mpg (5 L/100 km) across the board, and the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid gets 39/45/42 mpg (5.9/5.3/5.6 L/100 km).
I was getting 36 mpg (6.5 L/100 km) in the XLE version without even trying (though I was using Eco Mode a lot, which limits how quickly you can accelerate), and that was during a week with very cold and snowy winter conditions that are not ideal for hybrids. It was quite far off from the XLE’s official fuel economy ratings (44/47/46 mpg), but a more patient and dedicated driver than I could easily squeeze more efficiency from the sedan, especially at a comfortable temperature and with high-efficiency tires on (my tester had winter tires). The LE trim level gets a lithium-ion battery pack, while the SE and XLE get a nickel-metal hydride setup.
There were very tangible cost savings when I filled up the Camry Hybrid after a week of driving versus my daily driver. Those savings add up quickly.
When it comes to getting the most mileage from a tank of gas, I’ll take any help I can get. The Camry will score you based on how efficient your driving is and resets every time you stop, but the system is not that transparent in how it comes up with that score, which means it’s harder to improve on that score. Other hybrids make a game out of greener driving, which makes it easier to be efficient, especially if you’re a competitive person. Other hybrids visualize how green you’re driving in an effective and easy-to-digest way that helps you improve. The Camry doesn’t really have this and would benefit by making it more fun.
The Camry Hybrid does, however, have a useful gauge in the cluster that shows you when you’re being the most efficient — if you’re coasting or accelerating very gently, the needle stays in the green Eco zone, and if you stomp on the pedal, it quickly shoots up into the grey “Power” zone, and if you’re braking, the needle goes into the recharge zone. You learn pretty quickly how to avoid the grey zone. This is a very good indicator of efficiency, but the other systems in the Camry don’t relay much information and end up being quite useless. Not a huge deal, as learning how to drive a hybrid more efficiently is only a quick Google search away.
All the improvements to the Camry’s driving dynamics have also made it into the hybrid version. The same excellent chassis is employed here and it keeps the car much more composed than it used to be in pretty much every scenario: highway driving, city driving, rough roads, curvy roads; the Camry does it all quite gracefully and drama free.
Like the conventionally gas-powered model, the Camry Hybrid is smooth, quiet and comfortable. The system switches between battery and gas power pretty seamlessly and the only complaint I have about driving dynamics is that the brakes can feel a bit unnatural, which makes it a bit more difficult to drive smoothly. The first bit of brake travel doesn’t really do much and then it bites aggressively almost all of a sudden, probably a result of having regenerative braking.
The Camry Hybrid is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that outputs 176 horsepower and 163 pound-feet of torque. The internal combustion engine is augmented by an electric motor that adds 118 hp and 149 lb-ft, but the hybrid system’s net power output is 208 hp. Power is sent to the front wheels via a CVT. It’s not thrilling to drive, but it definitely doesn’t need to be. In regular mode, the Camry Hybrid gets up to highway speeds and passes decently, but in Eco mode, you have to be very patient, which will net you better fuel economy.
Lacks Attention to Detail
One reason why the gas-powered Camry lost our comparisons against the Sonata and Accord despite being such a strong car is that Toyota seemed to display a lack of attention to detail, which is the same case with the hybrid version.
It’s the little things like having the wireless cellphone charger in a spot where a phone could easily slide away into the footwell if you do an aggressive turn (a better rubberized mat would have fixed the problem), or the fact that even after a week of use, my fingers still couldn’t intuitively locate the trunk release button out back. Little things like how the front collision sensors continue to beep even though the car is stopped completely and there’s no more risk of a crash (this happens while parking, waiting in traffic, etc). Or even the fact that the buttons used to control the infotainment and climate controls on the center console are tiny, oddly shaped, and not labeled in the clearest font, which makes them harder to use while driving.
And one more: not offering Android Auto (though it does have Apple CarPlay) when the infotainment system is laggy, not terribly user-friendly, and looks dated makes it worse. These are all little complaints that alone aren’t that significant, but add up to create a frustrating experience.
The Verdict: Toyota Camry Hybrid Review
The hybrid is my favorite member of the Camry family and if you’re considering the regular four-cylinder version, you might as well spring for the hybrid. The efficiency is hard to argue with and it does everything the conventional Camry but does slightly better.
|Price Range (USD) /||$25,965 — $36,540|
|Engine /||2.5L I4 / 3.5L V6 / 2.5L I4 w/ Electric Motor|
|Horsepower (hp) /||202–206 / 301 / 208|
|Torque (lb-ft) /||182–186 / 267 / 163|
|Drivetrain /||8AT/eCVT, FWD/AWD|
|Seating Capacity /||5|
|Cargo Capacity /||15.1 cubic feet|
Our Final Verdict
Better than it’s ever been, the Camry now blends the reliability and standard safety features the model has long been known for with bolder exterior styling. With fuel-sipping hybrid models, all-wheel drive editions, and the sporty TRD trim, there’s a Camry for nearly every sedan buyer’s needs. While the Camry is a smart and practical choice for a family sedan, we’d still give the nod to the Honda Accord overall, however.3.8
|Space and Comfort||9.0|