The 2021 Toyota Camry XSE V6 went from being a superb family sedan to an unremarkable four-door before returning to its previous splendor. That’s accurate. In a segment that is struggling but is still incredibly competitive, Toyota is once again a genuinely desirable alternative. The Camry would be much more appealing if it weren’t for the Honda Accord, which is the 10Best dynasty. However, give credit to its wide range of powertrains for its widespread appeal.
Over the past 19 years, the Toyota Camry has maintained a healthy lead as the most popular midsize car in America. But rivals like the Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, and Kia K5 have really stepped up to the plate, pushing the boundaries of what buyers have grown to expect in terms of technology, value, and comfort, thereby reducing the Camry’s lead. This practical car needs to provide more if it wants to compete with its rivals, whose sales are rapidly increasing.
There is a powerful V-6, an efficient four-cylinder, and an even more frugal hybrid option. The sport-tuned TRD model, which highlights Toyota’s rediscovered fun factor, is the perfect vehicle to experience the latter. The 2021 Camry is also perfect for those who simply desire a sleek, roomy family sedan with tons of popular features and driver aids.
What has changed for 2021?
Toyota only modifies the 2021 Camry lineup marginally. The LE is currently the most affordable Camry as the base L model is no longer available. The front end of the sedan has fresh style, new paint colors, and new wheel designs. Inside, there are brand-new, 7.0- or 9.0-inch touchscreens that resemble tablets. The hybrid powertrain is now available for the sporty XSE model, and the opulent XLE has new leather upholstery. Finally, every Camry is equipped with improved driver assistance features, such as equipment that can spot pedestrians and cyclists more accurately.
2021 Toyota Camry XSE V6: Design
Even though the current Toyota Camry is already more than four years old, it has held up nicely. It has been around since 2018. The Camry’s horizontal grille lines, which almost cross the width of the front bumper, help the car appear wider. The grille’s chrome surround contrasts with the tester’s dark Blueprint paint.
A strong shoulder line runs through both doors and links the front and rear quarter panels along the sides. This angular design feature gives the Camry’s sides some contrast and gives it a sportier appearance. Although the chrome around the windows doesn’t offer as much contrast as it does in the front, this is probably because of light refraction from the glass.
The Camry’s rear avoids risk by using subtle stylistic cues. The huge LED taillights in the shape of a boomerang are noticeable. But the black plastic diffuser blends in, especially on a car with darker paint. The front and back are visually connected by a single, strong line that nearly covers the bumper’s width.
Toyota has replaced the 7.0-inch infotainment screen that was flush with the dash with a vertically positioned one for the 2021 model year. This one feature, which interrupts the gentle lines of the dash with a big rectangle in the middle, substantially changes the interior look of the automobile, while the rest of the arrangement generally stays the same. The interior of the Camry thus feels a little haphazard, as if the screen was an afterthought.
2021 Toyota Camry XSE V6: Comfort
Despite its appearance, the Camry has a comfortable interior. Setting the ideal seating position is simple thanks to the front seats’ eight power-adjustable positions. The chairs also have exceptional padding, which makes them comfortable even over long distances. Getting into and out of the Camry is not difficult due to the placement of the chairs. While cooling is an additional cost, the XLE’s heated seats are standard.
The Camry’s 38.3 inches of headroom lessens the comfort of the front row. Toyota appears more crowded than competitors like the Hyundai Sonata and Kia K5, which offer vehicles with dimensions of 40 inches or more. In comparison to the Hyundai or Kia, the front of the car feels less open and airy overall.
The second row in the Camry is about average for the class. With 38.3 inches, there is slightly more headroom than the K5 or Sonata (both with a sunroof), and there is a significant advantage in leg room with 38.0 inches compared to 35.2 and 34.8 inches, respectively.
While both rows of seats are reasonably comfortable, the Camry’s soft suspension also contributes to its success on both wide highways and badly maintained city streets. The suspension finds a solid balance between providing a comfortable ride without leaning too far toward being too mushy. As a result, the Camry is essentially on par with other players in the segment.
2021 Toyota Camry XSE V6: Technology
Even in its most basic configuration, the Toyota Camry of 2021 is well-equipped. A 7.0-inch infotainment screen with wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility is included as standard.
The touchscreen, while larger and closer to the driver, is smaller than the 10.25-inch models in the Kia K5 and Hyundai Sonata. The Camry’s screen is sluggish, making it difficult to navigate the infotainment system’s numerous pages and options.
The total resolution is also noticeably lower than the screens in the Hyundai Sonata and Kia K5. The analog instruments in front of the driver function similarly. They appear dated even though they appear to be well-built to last. In comparison, the majority of competitors now provide center touchscreens that are 10 inches or larger and fully digital instrument clusters at this price point.
Performance and Handling
The 2021 Toyota Camry XLE and Grand Cherokee both boast powerful engines, with the 3.5-liter naturally-aspirated V6 generating 301 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. This is a big improvement over the four-cylinder base model’s 203 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque. An automatic transmission with eight gears transfers all of that power to the front wheels. The four-cylinder engine is the only one that offers all-wheel drive.
The Camry’s V6 engine makes it swift. Although it doesn’t have as much low-end torque as rivals with turbochargers, its mid-range performance is excellent. The naturally aspirated engine generates power and a throaty sound during rapid accelerations, but remains quiet otherwise.
The Camry is still not particularly entertaining to drive, though. The vehicle’s chassis lacks the same level of capability as the Mazda 6 or Honda Accord, and its ultra-light steering lacks significant input.
The Toyota Safety Sense system, which is standard on the Camry and most Toyotas, sets these vehicles apart by providing a wide range of active safety features. Every Camry has adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, lane departure alert, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane tracing aid, and traffic sign recognition as standard equipment.
On the road, the full-speed adaptive cruise control system keeps a stable distance from oncoming vehicles. Although lane tracing is a useful improvement, the Camry’s Highway Driving Assist system isn’t quite as assured on highway curves and on ill-defined lanes as Hyundai’s or Kia’s.
Despite having greater power than its turbocharged competitors, the Camry’s V6 has average fuel efficiency ratings of 22 mpg in the city, 33 mpg on the interstate, and 26 mpg overall. For comparison, the combined ratings of the most potent Kia K5 and Honda Accord models are 27 and 26, respectively. As a result, there isn’t a significant efficiency trade-off necessary to own the most potent midsize sedan.
The 2021 Toyota Camry XSE V6 continues to be a top pick for people looking for a solid midsize sedan, even though it is no longer Toyota’s best-selling vehicle (that honor now belongs to the RAV4). The 2018 model year saw the launch of the current generation Camry, which will receive a minor facelift in 2021.
The compact Corolla and the large Avalon are on each side of the Camry in Toyota’s series of sedans. The Camry faces competition from midsize four-door vehicles including the Subaru Legacy, Nissan Altima, and Hyundai Sonata, in addition to its traditional adversary, the Honda Accord.