IT’S A BEST BUY BECAUSE:
The Toyota Camry boasts dynamic styling, a fairly engaging driving personality (when properly equipped), and an excellent selection of powertrains and options to suit a broad range of buyers.
The folding rear seatbacks (which aren’t available on the TRD model) rest about seven inches above the trunk floor when folded, making it difficult to slide long items forward.
Every Camry model comes standard with Toyota’s Safety Sense suite of equipment, which includes forward collision warning and mitigation with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning and mitigation, automatic high-beam headlights, and adaptive cruise control.
WHAT IS IT?
The Camry is Toyota’s midsize sedan, which has perennially been one of the most popular (if not THE most popular) cars in its segment. Three powertrains are available: a 203-hp 2.5-liter 4-cylinder (which is offered in LE, SE, XLE models and the sportier XSE, where it makes 206 hp), a 301-hp 3.5-liter V6 (offered in XLE, XSE, and sporty TRD form), and a 208-hp 2.5-liter gas/electric hybrid 4-cylinder (available in the same trim levels as the regular 4-cylinder). The Hybrid uses a CVT transmission; the others have an 8-speed automatic. All Camrys come with front-wheel drive, and non-hybrid 4-cylinder models are available with all-wheel drive as well. Four-cylinder SE models are available in a “Nightshade” blackout-trim version. Available Camry features include a head-up instrument display, 360-degree surround-view camera, LED headlights, blind-spot alert, rear cross-traffic alert, and a brake-hold feature.
The Camry gets several updates for 2021. The front-end styling undergoes a mild freshening, and new wheel designs are added. The base L model is discontinued, leaving LE as the entry-level trim, and the Camry Hybrid is now available in the sport/lux XSE trim level. Interior revisions include subtle trim updates and new tablet-style touchscreens in 7-inch or 9-inch sizes. All Camrys get an updated Safety Sense 2.5+ suite of driver-assistance technologies.
The 4-cylinder is EPA-rated 28 mpg city/39 mpg highway in LE and SE trim and 27/38 in XLE and XSE trim. All AWD Camrys are rated at 25/34. The V6 is rated at 22 city/33 highway (22/32 in XSE trim, and 22/31 in TRD form). In LE trim, the Camry Hybrid has a lithium-ion battery pack and an mpg rating of 51 city/53 highway; the SE and XLE trims use a nickel-metal-hydride battery and have a rating of 44 city/47 highway. In Consumer Guide® testing, a 4-cyl. Camry XLE averaged 27.8 mpg in 60-percent city driving, an XSE V6 averaged 24.5 mpg in 60-percent highway driving, and a Hybrid XLE averaged 40.9 mpg in 60-percent city driving in frigid winter weather.
VALUE IN CLASS
The Toyota Camry has long been a default pick for a reliable mainstream midsize sedan, but over the years it had gained a reputation as a rather plain-vanilla appliance. In recent years, Toyota has successfully imbued the Camry with a bit more spice. While the 2021 Camry is as practical and sensible as ever, it’s really no less dynamic that the rest of its class when properly equipped, and the TRD model is one of the sportiest cars in the segment—and also the most affordable way to get a V6 Camry.