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Tried and true: Toyota Camry adds new wrinkles to an old favorite
Hybrid model adds a sporty look and upgrades
Published Monday, April 12, 2021 9:00 pm
by Winfred Cross

The Toyota Camry hybrid is sportier in terms of looks and performance with all-wheel drive mated to the four-cylinder engine.

Eight generations have driven Toyota’s Camry. Millions have driven this tried-and-true sedan and have been satisfied to come back a number of times. Heck, my mom had three generations of them.

For 2021, Toyota freshens the exterior, adds a new timeline and a few more goodies.

The 20201 hybrid can now be had in an XSE model that is a bit more sporty win looks and performance. My test car was the XLE AWD gasoline powered car. It gets a new grille and front fenders and an optional new 9.0-inch infotainment touch screen.

All wheel drive isn’t anything new but it’s rare to find on a four-cylinder car. The system adds additional wait so your zero to 60 times will also suffer. The payoff is better grip and handling, and the Camry gets those upgrades. Yes, the car is a bit slower but there is better confidence while driving in heavy rain or on slick surfaces. There is little degradation in ride quality, but your turning circle does increase a bit.

The Camry’s four-cylinder engine makes 203 horsepower which is plenty to power the car to highway speeds. The eight-speed transmission shifts crisply but kicks down slowly when you need to pass. Not so slow that you can’t pass, but slow. I remember my mom’s Camry being quiet on the highway, but this new car is not. There is lots of wind noise and you get a whine from the engine when you put your foot down. Still, the ride is pleasant enough and you will enjoy the excellent fuel economy.

The Camry’s interior is well thou out. All buttons are clearly marked and easy to reach. The optional 9.0-inch touch screen is bright and has a quick response. Navigation was included and worked just fine, as did an excellent JBL audio system.

The best part of the interior is its spaciousness. Sit in front or back and you get treated to a wide-open cabin that’s comfortable. The view is spectacular, and you don’t have to do anything special to exit or enter. The door openings are nice and wide, and the ride height is nearly perfect.

All Camrys come with Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.5+ system that gives you adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking and lane keeping assist. All of these are nice to have but each use to be overly aggressive. Toyota has fixed that problem this year.

The XLE adds a bunch of standard equipment which includes full speed adaptive cruise (it keeps a distance between cars and varies speed depending on the car’s speed in front of you including stopping), blind spot monitoring, LED headlamps, keyless entry and ignition, leather, wireless charging pad and dual zone climate control.

The XLE starts at $29,870. With sunroof and AWD, the car’s as-tested price was around $37,000.

You can get Accords, Mazda6s, and those really stylish cars from Hyundai and Kia, but the Camry’s longevity and low owner’s cost make it a very attractive car indeed.

• Improved looks

• Excellent fuel economy

• Plenty of safety equipment

• Smooth transmission

• Spacious interior

• Plethora of standard equipment

• Noisy cabin on highway

• Sluggish four-cylinder

Email Winfred Cross at: cross@alldaytech.com.


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