The current-generation Camry has been with us for three years, meaning it’s more than halfway into its life cycle. That said, it’s aging rather gracefully. The Camry is one of the best-selling sedans on sale right now, and Toyota wants to keep the ball rolling as it moves into 2021. In order to keep the perennial mid-size sedan fresh, Toyota has made a number of meaningful changes to the Camry for 2021.
Outside, a number of small updates to the Camry’s front fascia better separate LE and XLE models from sportier-looking SE and XSE trims. The L trim is dead, meaning the LE is now the least expensive Camry you can buy. It celebrates this feat with a new set of 17-inch wheels. Likewise, the XLE gets a new 18-inch wheel design. Both trims add a more defined chin to the bottom of the front bumper. Meanwhile, SE and XSE models get small adjustments to the front bumper and feature a new honeycomb grill design.
The Camry TRD returns for the 2021 model year, too, though it remains the same from a performance perspective. Toyota has dropped the trim’s striking red from its exterior color palette and replaced it with Ice Edge (an almost arctic blue color). Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are now standard on the TRD and optional on the LE, SE, and SE Nightshade—the latter trims were previously unavailable with such features.
Toyota said that a number of its customers liked the efficiency of the Camry Hybrid but preferred the sporty looks of the SE and XSE trims. As a way to bridge that gap, the brand is launching the new Camry XSE Hybrid for 2021. The refreshed fascia that’s going on the 2021 SE and XSE models will also pair with the Camry’s hybrid powertrain.
All powertrains carry over unchanged from the 2020 cars. That means most Camrys get a 2.5-liter I-4 that makes as much as 206 hp at 6,600 rpm and 186 lb-ft of torque at 5,000 rpm. Beefier models keep the naturally aspirated 3.5-liter V-6 that makes 301 hp at 6,600 rpm and 267 lb-ft of torque at 4,700 rpm. Both engines pair with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The Hybrid remains unchanged, as well. Its 2.5-liter I-4 mates with a 118-hp electric motor that brings total system output to 208 hp. That engine/motor combo is paired to Toyota’s eCVT.
Toyota is also debuting its latest safety suite, Toyota Safety Sense (TSS) 2.5+, on the new 2021 Camry. Even better, it’s available on every single trim. The Camry’s pre-collision warning system can now detect bicycles and people in low-light conditions and can help drivers restabilize the car should they choose to swerve out of the way. Additionally, Toyota’s adaptive cruise control is now able to follow a car to a complete stop, and then resume following it, making cruising in stop and go traffic much more bearable.
The Camry lineup is more diverse than ever, with 17 different variants to choose from. That said, all models now benefit from standard Android Auto compatibility. Though much of the interior layout is the same, the overall look is more striking thanks to a new floating infotainment display. A 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment unit as standard, but pricier models will get an upgraded 9.0-inch unit. A nine-speaker, 800-watt JBL sound system is available as an option on those more expensive models.
Other smaller details include a new, Herringbone seat pattern in XLE models, a Supersonic Red and Midnight Black roof color combination for the XSE, and a new Blueprint color for all models except the TRD. The 2021 Camry hits dealer lots by early November of this year.