2021 Toyota Camry Review
The Toyota Camry is a midsize family sedan that slots between Toyota's smaller Corolla and the larger, more luxurious Avalon. This latest Camry generation came out for the 2018 model year. In many ways, it's the safe choice in this class, and many shoppers are drawn to Toyota's reputation for reliability.
For 2021, the Camry gets some minor styling updates inside and out. Toyota has restyled the front bumper and grille, and there's a newly optional 9-inch touchscreen display that's positioned higher on the dash than the standard 7-inch screen. We're pleased with the changes, though they're ultimately not quite enough to elevate the Camry past higher-ranked sedans such as the Kia K5, Honda Accord and Mazda 6. Check our Expert Rating for our in-depth take on the 2021 Camry.
What's it like to live with?
We bought a 2018 Camry in the sporty SE trim and tested it for more than a year. To learn what it was like to live with, read our long-term test, where we covered everything from seat comfort to fuel economy. Note that the 2021 Camry differs slightly from that 2018 model, which did not have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto smartphone integration, but our coverage is otherwise applicable.
Thanks to strong fuel economy, a comfortable interior and good value, the Toyota Camry is one of our higher-ranked midsize sedans. It's an easy go-to choice. But a lackluster four-cylinder engine and excessive wind and engine noise keep it from being best-in-class.
How does the Camry drive?
We tested the four-cylinder Camry SE. Toyota has optimized it to get high fuel economy, but the trade-off is rather sluggish acceleration off the line. Our test car accelerated from 0 to 60 mph in an unimpressive 8.2 seconds, though it feels a little zestier than that in the real world. The transmission helps make up for this a bit with reasonably good response and quick shifting. With eight speeds, there's always a gear for the occasion, but expect two-gear downshifts when you dip into gas as it tries to make do with available engine power.
The Camry SE benefits from a slightly sportier suspension, which lends a more hunkered-down feel. It's not set up for truly aggressive driving, but it'll handle anything the average driver is bound to throw at it on a daily basis. The brakes are also easy to control with a light and responsive pedal, and the Camry's stopping performance is about average for the segment.
How comfortable is the Camry?
Big, comfortable seats and a smooth ride mean the Camry will suit a wide range of drivers even on long trips. Add in a powerful, easy-to-use climate control system that can cool the cabin effectively, even in triple-digit temperatures, and the Camry provides a pleasant cabin environment for any occupant along for the ride.
Its biggest flaw here is that the Camry lets in too much outside noise. You'll hear a prominent engine buzz when accelerating and noticeable wind and road noise at freeway speeds. The Camry is definitely noisier than average for a midsize sedan.
How’s the interior?
The Camry's cabin won't wow you with its opulence but instead nails the fundamentals across the board. Highlights include an airy cabin that is easy to get in and out of. It's also spacious for both front and rear occupants and has great outward visibility. An optional 360-degree camera system makes it even easier to navigate cramped parking lots.
The user interface presents no mysteries, with large, clear gauges and simple, well-labeled buttons. They are relatively intuitive even for tech-averse drivers. The radio volume and tuning knobs are small but easy for the driver to reach, though the passenger might have to stretch a bit to use them.
How’s the tech?
The Camry's smartphone integration includes standard Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Amazon Alexa. Both the standard 7-inch and optional 9-inch infotainment touchscreens are easy to read and operate. Built-in navigation is offered on higher trims if you want it. Three USB ports and the option to add a wireless charger should provide plenty of charge for all occupants on the road.
All 2021 Camrys come with Toyota's Safety Sense 2.5+. It's an impressive suite of standard driver assistance features such as adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking and lane keeping assist. Previously, some of these systems have been too sensitive for our liking, but they've been refined for 2021 and work much better.
How’s the storage?
As midsize sedans go, the Camry's stuff-hauling credentials are pretty solid. The 15.1-cubic-foot trunk area is large for the class. It also has a wide opening with a low liftover height. The 60/40-split back seat is easy to fold down via trunk-mounted release handles if you need to fit longer items.
There is a good amount of concealed cabin storage too. There's a sliding compartment underneath the wireless charger, a moderately sized center armrest bin, and a small storage cubby on the far left-hand side of the dash. Camry buyers with kids will appreciate the ample rear-seat room for car seat access and the easily accessible anchors.
How economical is the Camry?
The four-cylinder Camry SE's EPA fuel economy rating is among the best in its class at 32 mpg combined (28 city/39 highway). We measured 33.7 mpg on our standardized 115-mile evaluation drive route that provides a mix of city and highway driving. Edmunds also tested a Camry SE of this generation for more than 33,000 miles and observed an average of 29.8 mpg.
Is the Camry a good value?
The Camry is an easy-to-use, dependable and fuel-efficient vehicle at the expense of some excitement. It isn't as feature-driven as the Hyundai Sonata or as luxurious as the Mazda 6, but its design and variety of textures manage to be attractive without sacrificing functionality.
Toyota's warranties and after-care support are pretty typical, with a three-year/36,000-mile basic and five-year/60,000-mile powertrain coverage. That's nowhere near what Hyundai and Kia offer, but most other brands are in the same boat.
The Camry doesn't disappoint, especially in SE trim. It won't replace a real sport sedan, but its pleasing driving dynamics are certainly welcome in this class of car. And with relatively aggressive styling, the Camry at least tries to shrug off the image that midsize sedans don't have to be boring.
Which Camry does Edmunds recommend?
There's no shortage of Camrys to choose from. We suggest going with the XSE because of its wealth of standard features, attractive styling touches and its sport-tuned (yet still comfortable) suspension. Opting for the XSE gets you desirable equipment such as standard blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and leather upholstery. It also opens up nice-to-have options including a panoramic sunroof and heated seats.
Toyota Camry models
The 2021 Toyota Camry is a midsize sedan available in six trim levels: LE, SE, SE Nightshade, XSE, XLE and TRD. A four-cylinder and an available V6 engine are offered. You can also get all-wheel drive with the four-cylinder. Standard feature highlights include: