Sometimes its often the little things that define a suite of updates for an automobile. In this instance, with the Toyota Camry already benefiting from some big 2020 changes, the Japanese auto giant has chosen to focus 2021’s enhancements on updating some of the supporting cast that has helped make the Camry one of the leading sales forces in the mid-size sedan segment.
A big change for 2021 is that the Camry Hybrid will now receive an XSE trim. XSE is the mainstream sporty trim in the Camry’s trim roster (only topped by the TRD Edition) and as is the case on non hybrid Camrys, the trim brings an aggressive swagger to Toyota’s greenest sedan model. Along with the sportier suit of clothes, XSE models also benefit from a sportier suspension tune which aims to bring some polish to the hybrid’s handling manners while also making it a far more engaging drive at the same time. Toyota chose to feature a grey hued example, and it certainly has a subtle sleeper car quality to it, with only the blue hued hybrid badges giving it away. If you were in the minority that thought the Camry looked too much like a bargain priced Maytag dryer, then this new suit of clothes might help sway you towards the green side.
Meanwhile, the standard Camry also gets its fair share of updates, with the LE and XLE models getting a revised front fascia for 2021. As is the case with the bigger Avalon, the lower bumper transforms into a grille dominated region, with the look being bolder and much more amplified than before. New wheel designs are also in the pipeline, while the XLE introduces an all new herring bone style seat pattern for the comfortable leather buckets. It also appears that Toyota is trying to do a better job differentiating the two cabins, with sportier models getting patterned metal trim, and XLEs getting a dark wood hued material.
Along with the revised styling elements, Toyota engineers also upgraded the types of infotainment systems that will be available for 2021. The base system for example is an all new seven inch screen that is better integrated into the dashboard. Buyers looking for more can opt for an all new nine inch screen (as is the case on the RAV4 SUV.) Both units come loaded with standard Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Alexa all baked in. Rounding out the technology upgrades are an improved suite of safety technology, with Toyota upgrading the Camry to version 2.5 of its Toyota Safety Sense systems. That means the addition of enhanced auto emergency braking with pedestrian detection, full speed adaptive cruise control, lane tracing assist, automatic high beams, road sign assist, and even Toyota’s all new rear seat reminder system.
All of these changes are very impressive in their own right, and buyers will be happy to hear that all the improvements can be had at a cheaper price, with Toyota also instituting a mild price cut for the Hybrid. The revised base price now reads $28,265 which is $1,160 less than the 2020 model. The XSE Hybrid is now the most expensive eco warrior in the Camry family, with that model starting at $33,715. As for the rest of the lineup, they actually get small bumps in price, with the LE model being excluded from the increases. A more notable offender is a model that is tasked with making the Camry a weekend performance warrior, the TRD Edition. That model sees a $1,015 jump in price, and while you do get some new goodies this time around (blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and the new Ice Edge paint option.) Buyers are now presented with a revised $33,180 base price. It’s still the most cost effective way to gain access to the beefier V6, but some of the initial value advantage is lost in the process.
Look for the 2021 Toyota Camry lineup to begin arriving in dealerships later in October.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.