Toyota Camry Hybrid

The Toyota Camry of years past has never been criticized for being a bad car. The few criticisms it did receive were often directed at the cars anonymous styling. The 2015 redesign changed that, with the Camry getting much bolder front and rear styling. The side of the car features additional character lines to make it more interesting, while the whole car cuts a sportier stance.

The interior features soft-touch materials throughout, so even the base model feels relatively luxurious. Toyota claims that this Camry has the quietest interior yet, while the dashboard puts more of an emphasis on high-tech amenities. The overall look both inside and outside is definitely more exciting than in years past.

Powering the Camry is a choice of one of two engines, a 2.4L 4-cylinder engine making 178 horsepower or a 3.5L V6 making 268 horsepower. Both engines are mated to advanced 6-speed automatic transmissions, and with either choice, the Camry is rated at above 30 mpg on the highway. While the 4-cylinder engine provides plenty of power for most applications, the V6 actually packs decent punch, with impressive acceleration to match.

For fuel misers, the Camry is offered with a hybrid drivetrain as well. The hybrid drivetrain provides up to 200 horsepower, utilizing both a 2.5L 4-cylinder and an electric motor. Acceleration numbers fall somewhere between the four and 6-cylinder engines, however fuel economy is far better than either non-hybrid model: The Camry Hybrid is rated at 43 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway. Both are excellent numbers for a car this big.

The non-hybrid Camry is offered in four basic trim levels, LE, SE, XSE and XLE any of which can be had with either engine. Hybrid models are offered in LE, SE and XLE trims only. There is also a Special Edition trim for 2016.

The Camry is a mid-sized car and in this segment, even the base model offers plenty of features and amenities. The LE-trimmed Camry is equipped with a backup camera, automatic headlights, an 8-way power adjustable driver's seat, a 6.1 inch touchscreen controlled audio system, keyless entry, Bluetooth hands-free controls, as well as air conditioning and power windows.

SE models are a little bit sportier and come standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, a more aggressive looking front grill, a rear spoiler, a multi-function information display and sport-tuned suspension.

The XSE trim builds on the sporty SE model, adding 18-inch machined-face alloy wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, LED daytime running lights and seating surfaces trimmed in Toyota's "Ultrasuede" material.

The XLE trim is the most luxurious trim level. It features 17-inch alloy wheels, leather trimmed seats, a power moonroof, as well as daytime running lights and dual-zone climate control.

Options available on the Camry line include a premium Entune audio system, a navigation system, a smart key system with push button start and illuminated entry, a blind spot monitoring system, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with Homelink integration.

All Camry models come standard with 10 airbags, anti-lock brakes, traction control and stability control.

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Editors' First Take

It might not be the most exciting car on the planet, but the Toyota Camry Hybrid absolutely excels at its intended purpose. It's comfortable, efficient and sufficiently equipped with modern creature comforts. For 2021, a smattering of nonessential updates slightly refines the formula, making a contextually excellent vehicle just that much better.

New tech, but also not

The most immediately noticeable upgrade in the 2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid is the addition of a new "floating" screen that replaces the one set into the dashboard. The entire middle of the dashboard is redesigned to accommodate this new display, which measures 9 inches on my Hybrid XLE tester, although lower trims make do with just 7 inches. Either way, it's prominent, and the new look still packs the same physical buttons for the climate control, which are easy to reach and use with little distraction. Charging takes place via several USB ports, but only the one under the dashboard is capable of running smartphone mirroring; the USB-A and USB-C ports in the armrest are for charging purposes.

While the screen might be new, the Entune software on it is not. It's the same familiar user interface found in every modern Toyota, and it's the same one we've been privy to for the last couple years. It's not a bad setup by any stretch, with sufficient response times and both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, in addition to Amazon Alexa integration, as well as an embedded nav system that looks old but functions just fine. However, nobody seemed to tell Toyota that when you start making much larger screens, you might want to upgrade the resolution, because everything on my tester's display is simply upscaled and, as a result, hella pixelated.

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