Crossover SUVs have overtaken passenger cars as the best-selling vehicles in America, but there's still a big market for passenger cars. Now in its 37th year of production, the Camry is a mainstay of the sedan market. Buyers can choose between eight gas-fueled trim levels and four hybrids. For the last 18 years running, the Toyota Camry has been the best-selling sedan in America. We asked Erin Winkler, Marketing Manager at Beaverton Toyota, why that is.
"Camry is tried and true and it's a great vehicle," she says. "We sell about 20 Camrys a month between the gas and hybrid models. And now for 2021 it's offered with all-wheel-drive."
We've reviewed the Camry hybrid recently, so we opted for the gas-powered all-wheel-drive Camry this time.
The 2021 Camry comes with your choice of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine or a 3.5-liter V6. The four-cylinder offers 203 to 206 horsepower depending on the trim level, while the V6 delivers a potent 301 horsepower. All gas-powered Camrys use an eight-speed automatic transmission. The V6 engine is always front-wheel-drive, but you can get front-wheel or all-wheel-drive with the four-cylinder.
Toyota's Dynamic Torque Control AWD provides traction for inclement and slippery weather while minimizing drag on fuel economy. The system can direct up to 50 percent of engine torque to the rear wheels when it is needed for traction, but disconnects when it's not needed. The Toyota all-wheel-drive system costs just $475 over the price of a comparable front-wheel-drive Camry, so it's a no-brainer to take this upgrade.
Another big update for the Camry is the addition of Toyota Safety Sense 2.5 as a standard equipment feature. This is the latest iteration of advanced driver assistance and active safety from Toyota. The new package features an enhanced Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection. This system can now detect a bicyclist in daytime and even a pedestrians in low-light conditions. At intersections, the system can detect an oncoming vehicle or pedestrian when performing a left-hand turn and may provide audio/visual alerts and automatic braking in certain conditions. Additional functions include emergency steering assist, which is designed to stabilize the driver's emergency steering maneuvers within their lane while avoiding a pedestrian, bicyclist or vehicle.
Toyota Safety Sense 2.5 also includes lane keeping assistance, automatic high beams, road sign assistance, and rear seat reminders. Optionally, the Camry offers adaptive cruise control, which integrates with the TSS 2.5 package.
Inside, the Camry offers a functional, high quality interior. A seven-inch touchscreen is included with lower-priced Camrys, but a nine-inch touchscreen infotainment system is standard with XLE and XSE trims. The Toyota system supports both Android and Apple phone integration, satellite radio, and Bluetooth. Leather and heated seats are optional, but well worth the expense in Portland.
On the road, the Camry's four-cylinder engine is more than adequate for most purposes. If you want more power, the V6 is a good choice, but the Hybrid is the real hot rod of the Camry family. The Camry provides excellent visibility and the all-wheel-drive system makes the car sure-footed in our recent rains.
The 2021 Camry starts at $24,970, and well-equipped XSE with all-wheel-drive, the nine-inch touchscreen, panoramic sunroof, and heated leather seats totals $35,084 as we tested it. "At any given time, we have about 40 Camrys on the lot to choose from," Winkler says. So if you're shopping for a sedan, it's easy to find the right Camry to match your budget and your needs.
2021 Toyota Camry XSE AWD
Base price: $30,420
Price as tested: $35,084
Type: Midsize Sedan
Engine: 2.5-liter four-cylinder (205 hp, 185 lbs-ft)
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
EPA estimated mileage: 25/34
Overall length: 192.7 inches
Curb weight: 3,580 pounds
Final assembly: Georgetown, Kentucky
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