Photo via: Toyota

2021 Toyota Camry XSE Hybrid

The popularity of the Toyota Camry has come in waves. From a well received, family-friendly and affordable 4-door at launch in 1983, to getting a little lost in the vast sea or sedans in the earlier half of the 90’s and 2000’s. Ever since the debut of its most aggressive visual version in 2018, the Camry has been back on top of the sedan world. A category somewhat dwindled in size here in the U.S. But still the right choice for plenty of small families in search of a good mix of space, economy and driving enjoyment.

2021 ushers in several compelling upgrades for the beloved Camry. The front-end has received minor styling enhancements, with new paint colors and wheel designs to choose from. Improved driver assist technology helps the Camry detect smaller objects like pedestrians better. Perhaps the most exciting change for 2021, and the one most relevant to me, as it was the model I was lucky enough to test drive, is that the upscale XSE trim is now available with a hybrid powertrain. 

Photo by: Toyota

This Hybrid Synergy Drive system combines with a 2.5L 4-cylinder engine to make 208 system horsepower. In Sport mode, the combination makes for brisk acceleration. A big improvement over the somewhat lifeless 4-cylinder when it’s left to do all the work by itself. A sport tuned suspension ups the athleticism even further, creating a driving experience as engaging and dynamic as the exterior design would suggest is possible. Black alloy wheels are perfectly sized at 19” and match the black front grille with sport mesh inserts perfectly. 

The 2021 Toyota Camry XSE Hybrid looks good, turns good and accelerates good, but it’s at the gas pump where the Hybrid system really shines. A combined fuel rating of 46 mpg is a figure that’s sure to keep owners on the road and away from petrol stations. 47 on the highway and 44 in the city.

In 2021, thanks to an aggressive design, dramatically improved build quality, and range of models to choose from, the Toyota Camry has reinstated itself as one of the very best in the business. From the base model LE to the exciting and high performing TRD edition. Going forward, the biggest challenge that remains is that it still has to compete with the objectively superior Honda Accord. Nothing spurs along greatness like chasing a goal though.

Price as tested: $36,974.00

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