Technology

2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid first drive review: A hard formula to mess up

It won’t be essentially the most thrilling automotive on the planet, however the Toyota Camry Hybrid completely excels at its supposed objective. It is comfy, environment friendly and sufficiently geared up with fashionable creature comforts. For 2021, a smattering of nonessential updates barely refines the system, making a contextually glorious automobile simply that a lot better.

New tech, but in addition not

Essentially the most instantly noticeable improve within the 2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid is the addition of a brand new “floating” display that replaces the one set into the dashboard. The complete center of the dashboard is redesigned to accommodate this new show, which measures 9 inches on my Hybrid XLE tester, though decrease trims make do with simply 7 inches. Both method, it is outstanding, and the brand new look nonetheless packs the identical bodily buttons for the local weather management, that are straightforward to succeed in and use with little distraction. Charging takes place by way of a number of USB ports, however solely the one underneath the dashboard is able to working smartphone mirroring; the USB-A and USB-C ports within the armrest are for charging functions.

Whereas the display could be new, the Entune software program on it isn’t. It is the identical acquainted person interface present in each fashionable Toyota, and it is the identical one we have been aware of for the final couple years. It is not a nasty setup by any stretch, with ample response occasions and each Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with Amazon Alexa integration, in addition to an embedded nav system that appears outdated however capabilities simply high quality. Nevertheless, no one appeared to inform Toyota that once you begin making a lot bigger screens, you may need to improve the decision, as a result of all the things on my tester’s show is just upscaled and, consequently, hella pixelated.

Picture high quality is not the perfect in different methods, both. The top-up show that comes on high-end trims is surprisingly blurry, sufficient in order that it turns into a distraction. The backup digital camera is, frankly, among the many worst on provide throughout the trade, with a picture so grainy (and blown up, given the display dimension) that particulars simply disappear into fuzz. Oddly sufficient, the small colour show between the gauges is crisp and extremely straightforward to learn at a look. I do not get it.

What most consumers will respect, although, is the upgraded Toyota Security Sense 2.5 Plus system, which is customary on each Camry. Whereas I do not really feel like testing out the improved pedestrian and bicycle owner detection, nor the left-turn detection system that forestalls me from creeping into an intersection on the unsuitable time, it is strong peace of thoughts that they are there. The adaptive cruise is up to date, and I like that it now accelerates throughout a lane change, however the lively lane-keeping help is totally too heavy-handed, identical to it’s in the updated 2021 Lexus IS that I recently drove. Depart that bit deactivated, although, and it is clean freeway crusing, as long as you may middle your individual automobile.

New look, but in addition not

The 2021 Toyota Camry has up to date styling. Are you able to inform? Me neither. In case you are curious, the cushier LE and XLE fashions get new wheels, the latter rolling on 18-inchers, which look sufficiently luxury-oriented on my tester. This Hybrid additionally rocks a brand new inside herringbone seat sample, which truly seems the enterprise, regardless that it is on the delicate facet. The sportier SE and XSE variants get some decrease fascia tweaks, too.

That is it. It is a Camry. Most of the time, people are shopping for it as a result of it is a damned good household automotive. Positive, the decrease grille’s a bit massive, however the entire shebang seems good-looking sufficient to cross muster within the valet line.

Easy hybrid energy

The 2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid’s powertrain stays unchanged for this 12 months, and that is good, as a result of it is already stellar. Beneath the hood is a 2.5-liter, naturally aspirated inline-four that mixes with a pair of motor-generators to provide 208 horsepower. Whereas that may not appear to be all that a lot for a midsize sedan like this, there is a good quantity of get-up-and-go if I have to shoot a niche when turning onto a sooner road. As soon as it is on top of things, it is all about balancing the throttle to take care of effectivity, one thing that is straightforward to do with the large ol’ energy gauge on the appropriate facet. Irrespective of how a lot driving force I name up, although, the Camry Hybrid responds with clean supply.

One won’t take into account a Camry to be all that luxurious, however the experience high quality that comes at this worth may be very, very onerous to beat.


Andrew Krok/Roadshow

The physique is tuned equally. In actual fact, it is fairly near Lexus‘ experience high quality, with supple damper tuning that turns harsh roads into smooth undulations. The XLE is a luxury-themed trim, and on the highway, it excels at retaining occupants comfy. Positive, it is a bit nautical within the turns, however you’d spring for the Camry TRD when you wished flatness.

The Camry Hybrid’s experience is not simply effortlessly comfy, it is environment friendly, besides. The EPA charges the 2021 Camry Hybrid XLE at 44 miles per gallon metropolis, 47 mpg freeway and 46 mpg mixed. My proper foot is clearly government-approved, as I earn about that a lot in every class, maybe 1 or 2 mpg decrease, however a few of that may be attributed to Michigan’s drivers being, um, a sprightly kind.

All the way down to brass tacks

The 2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid is sweet, however that is as a result of the present technology of Toyota Camry Hybrid has all the time been good. It is comfy, environment friendly and extra inexpensive than earlier than, with my range-topping XLE trim commanding a $33,165 price ticket, down $560 from the 12 months earlier than. Embrace the truth that consumers get extra bang for his or her buck than final 12 months, and this automotive makes for a chance that is fairly onerous to cross up.

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Author

Andrew Krok