2021 Toyota Camry

2021 Toyota Camry

The Camry’s body has grown gym-buff, but don’t let that scare you: It’s still a gentle companion, one with a cushy ride in any configuration. It’s a 6 for performance.

Camrys come with one of three engines. Base cars get a 2.5-liter inline-4 that sends 203 hp to its front wheels via an 8-speed automatic. All-wheel drive is an optional upgrade with the base engine only on some trim levels for all-weather traction. It’s the adequate performer of the bunch, a little grumbly at lower speeds, never excessively eager, always outshined by its siblings. It’s such a Jan.

The 301-hp 3.5-liter V-6 on the options chart is a weird flex for a car like the Camry, but we’ll take it. It gushes with good V-6 sounds, pours out superb passing power, and since it’s only offered in XSE and XLE trim, comes bundled with features that ordinarily would wear Lexus drag.

Still, we’d pick the Camry Hybrid for ourselves and for friends and family. It’s equipped with a 176-hp version of the inline-4, one teamed with batteries and a motor for a net 208 hp. It’s as moderate in pace as the base car, but it works well with the electronic continuously variable transmission (CVT). 

It’s simple to divide ride and handling in the Camry family with a single letter. If it has an “L” in it, it’s tuned for easy-going steering, ample body lean in corners, soft tires and a softly composed ride. “S” Camrys get lower ride height, more starch in their suspensions, more weight in their steering, and more grippy tires. They’re more entertaining than an LE or XLE, and don’t have the extra few hundred pounds of the Hybrid Camry to weigh them down.

The ultra-Camry TRD takes things in an unexpected direction. The 301-hp sport edition gets a more buttoned-down suspension with even lower ride height, thicker anti-sway bars, and stiffer dampers along with more body bracing and bigger brakes. It’s the enthusiast’s choice, and makes itself known with a cat-back exhaust and summer-tire grip—it’s a Nissan Maxima rival that doesn’t go too far down a sport-sedan dead-end road.

Review continues below

Published at Sat, 22 Aug 2020 11:00:00 +0000