The Toyota Camry turns 37 this year and Toyota is celebrating by offering the model’s largest and most diverse lineup yet including its first-ever XSE Hybrid. The new models keep the luxury experience Camrys have been known for but are enhanced even further with improved safety features, including the new Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+.
The 2021 Camry has a total of 17 different variants including three V6 grades, five 4-cylinder FWD grades, five 4-cylinder AWD grades, and four hybrid grades. For 2021, Toyota is also doing away with the entry-level “L” grade and is replacing it with “LE” for the base model of the Camry.
The LE and XLE variants get a new look as well with its front fascia showing a more “defined lower intake.” The LE gas variant also introduces a new 17-inch allow wheel design while the XLE will have a slightly bigger 18-inch allow wheel. The SE and XSE on the other hand boast of a bolder redesigned lower fascia shape with a honeycomb-style grille and side vent inserts and new side vent accents.
With the TRD variant, which was just debuted last year, customers will get a set of new standard feaures including Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, plus heated exterior mirrors. The Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert will be available as standalone options on the LE, SE, and SE Nightshade.
As mentioned, the new Camry models debut the new Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+. This new update boasts of enhanced and more sophisticated safety features to keep its customers safe. TSS 2.5+ expands on previous versions by enhancing the Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and automatic emergency braking) and Full-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (AKA adaptive cruise control).
In particular, TSS 2.5+ takes accident avoidance to the next level by being more proactive. To that effect, the system doesn’t just detect the vehicle ahead, but it can also detect a pedestrian or bicycle – even at night. When it comes to intersections, TSS 2.5+ is able to detect oncoming bicyclists, pedestrians, or vehicles while making a left-hand turn. The system provides audio and visual alerts and will even perform automatic braking if it should become necessary.
Adaptive cruise control has also been improved with a new feature that allows for a smoother and anticipatory approach when passing another vehicle. Specifically, when the Camry approaches a slower vehicle from behind, TSS 2.5+ will automatically accelerate after the driver engages the turn signal with steering input. This effectively eliminates the delay in acceleration that usually afflicts adaptive cruise control. The first time this feature kicked in on the highway was a bit jarring because we were surprised, but it was effective.
Some other features include Lane Departure Alert, Lane Tracing Assist, Automatic High Beams, Road Sign Assist which recognizes certain road signs using a forward-facing camera.
All 2021 Camrys will also come with Toyota’s Rear Seat Reminder — the second Toyota car to do so. This feature informs the driver if the rear door/s was opened within 10 minutes of the car being turned on through a reminder on the instrument cluster.
Camrys with an all-wheel-drive option were first seen in 2020 but will soon be available as a standalone option. The LE, XLE, SE, SE Nightshade, and XSE grades can experience the Toyota-developed Dynamic Torque Control AWD system which provides effective traction for all kinds of weather. There will also be an optional Cold-Weather Package that adds heated seats and mirrors on the LE grades while the SE grades receive the additional heated steering wheel options.
With electric vehicles becoming more and more popular, the Camry Hybrid is Toyota’s offering. Dubbed as “super-efficient”, the Camry Hybrid promises to offer similar performance to a 4-cylinder gas vehicle. It uses a 2.5-liter Dynamic Force four-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor. There’s also a second motor for hybrid battery charging.
The 2021 Toyota Camry starts at $24,970 for the LE base model while the Hybrid models start at $27,270 for the base LE models.