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2021 Toyota Camry is cheaper than last year... if you get the hybrid

Gas-powered Camry models get a tiny price bump, but the hybrids head in the opposite direction.

2021 Toyota Camry
Most trims get minor visual nips and tucks for 2021, but the real upgrades are in the Camry's tech portfolio.

It's a rarity that a car actually costs less than it did the year before. If that car gets actual upgrades, the chances of this happening are even more scant. Yet, the 2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid will cost less than the 2020 model despite a few key enhancements.

The 2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid will start at $28,265 including the mandatory $995 destination charge. That's a $1,160 price drop from the 2020 model, which is a breath of fresh air. It's even better for the SE trim, which will set buyers back $29,780, or $1,345 less than the year before. The posh XLE trim narrows the delta with a $560 price reduction, settling in at $33,165. The new-for-2021 XSE trim takes its position as the top trim with a price of $33,715.

While there are some tweaks to the Camry's bodywork across its various trims, the most important update for the 2021 model year is the addition of Toyota Safety Sense 2.5 Plus. This is the first Toyota to pick up the latest and greatest suite of driver assistance systems. Forward collision warning can now pick up cyclists during the day and pedestrians in lower-light situations. Intersection Support can detect oncoming traffic during left turns and engage the brakes to prevent a collision. Adaptive cruise control's been tweaked for better performance, and its new emergency steering assist can help the driver smooth out last-minute wheel sawing to avoid pedestrians or vehicles. A rear-seat reminder is also new for this model year.

There's also a new screen tucked away inside each Camry. The base model is a 7-inch touchscreen rocking a "floating" design. It's pretty well loaded with tricks like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa integration and satellite radio. Higher trims get a 9-inch touchscreen and the option of a nine-speaker, 800-watt JBL sound system that includes a subwoofer.

These additions also make their way to the gas-powered Camry in the 2021 model year, but alas, not every variant gets the same window-sticker haircut as the hybrid. A base Camry LE sees its price unchanged at $25,965, but each trim after that sees a price hike between $315 and $415 -- except the Camry TRD, which rises $1,015 to $33,180. Non-TRD inline-four models top out at $31,415 with front-wheel drive, but AWD is a $1,400 upcharge no matter the trim. The V6 variants remain the most expensive Camrys on offer, with the XSE V6 commanding $36,540.

Production of the 2021 Toyota Camry is expected to begin in October, and dealers should start getting their first examples shortly thereafter.

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