Family sedan with a wild side. The 2021 Toyota Camry ushers in a sportier look and feel. It has always been and always will be a family-first sedan, but this latest iteration is slightly different. Plus, with a V6 engine giving it respectable straight-line speed and an aggressive-looking TRD trim, the Camry can attract a new type of buyer.
This sportier Camry design is starting to age, but it remains relevant. Its age has put it at a disadvantage against some other competitors in the midsize sedan class, but the Camry remains a standout.
A powertrain for all but lacking true performance. The Camry has a trio of powertrain options. Its base 203-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine is nothing to write home about, but its optional all-wheel drive sets it apart. The Honda Accord and Mazda Mazda6 offer only front-wheel drive.
Where the Camry beefs up is with its optional 3.5-liter V6 that delivers a healthy 301 hp and sprints this family sedan to 60 mph in the six-second range. This V6 trumps virtually every optional engine in the midsize sedan class.
The V6 is also available in the TRD model, which includes a sleek body kit, tuned suspension, a cat-back exhaust, and more. While it may look the part of a sports sedan, the Camry TRD is no track machine.
For buyers seeking something on the thriftier side, there’s the Camry Hybrid, which pairs a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine to an electric motor for a combined 208 hp. It may not be powerful, but, according to the EPA, it delivers a respectable 52 miles per gallon combined, beating the Accord Hybrid by 4 mpg.
Sporty looks that aren’t for everyone. The Toyota Camry boasts intriguingly sporty looks that are sure to grab some eyes. It stands out in a class that mostly specializes in blending in with its bold front end, long hood, sharp body lines, and more. Add in the TRD package, and you have a surprisingly sporty family hauler.
This sporty look is far from fitting for every buyer. Some shoppers want to blend in with the crowd and never be seen. For these buyers, the Accord or Volkswagen Passat may be a good buy.
Loads of features and safety gear. The Camry has no shortage of standard features, as its base LE trim includes LED headlights, a power driver seat, and a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Buyers can also add premium upgrades like a 9-inch touchscreen, a JBL audio system, and a surround-view camera.
While the Passat, Subaru Legacy, and Nissan Altima mostly match the Camry’s standard features, the Accord and Mazda6 lack standard smartphone connectivity – a nearly unforgivable oversight in today’s automotive world.
The Camry is also fully loaded with safety gear, including standard automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane keeping assist. This exceeds or matches all of its key competitors.
Final thoughts. The 2021 Toyota Camry remains a family car for the masses, despite bolder looks that may not work for some buyers. Add to that its potent V6 and the sportier TRD model, and it also attracts the enthusiast crowd. That said, don’t mistake the Camry – including the Camry TRD – for a performance sedan.
Buyers who prefer to blend in with the crowd may be taken aback by the Camry’s styling. These buyers may be best suited in a Honda Accord or VW Passat.
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