Auto review by Veeno Dewan
Toyota’s venerable Camry mid-size sedan remains the benchmark family car in this sector. Over the years it has morphed into a premium looking vehicle with a legendary reputation for reliability and longevity. There are a number of versions with two gasoline engines and a fuel-efficient hybrid powertrain. Improvements have always been incremental with constant upgrades in technology, comfort, features and engineering. All 2021 Camry models debut Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+, the automaker’s newest version of the novel driver assist technology suite that includes automatic emergency braking. All Camry models for 2021 also get added technology with and luxury with a new floating multimedia screen in 7-inch or 9-inch sizes. There are three V6 engine grades – XLE, XSE and TRD and seven four-cylinder FWD grades – Base, LE, LE Upgrade, XLE, SE, SE Upgrade and XSE. And the Special Edition Nightshade Edition as tested.
A new front fascia distinguishes the comfort-oriented LE and XLE grades from the sport-oriented SE and XSE for 2021. The SE and XSE have a redesigned lower fascia shape featuring a honeycomb style grille and side vent inserts accents. The performance-tuned Camry TRD, which debuted for 2020, has the exclusive, aero-enhanced design and now now comes standard with Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, plus heated exterior mirrors.
Safety is very high, and the 2021 Camry is the first Toyota model to include TSS 2.5+, the next phase in Toyota’s evolution of safety systems. A number of functions that are part of the Toyota Safety Sense have been enhanced. For starters, the Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD), features multiple enhancements. By enhancing the system capabilities, Camrys that come equipped with Full-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC), which can activate the feature above 50 km/h, have a system designed to perform vehicle-to-vehicle distance controls down to 0 km/h and can resume from a stop. Toyota’s Rear Seat Reminder will come standard on all 2021 Camrys. The feature notes whether a rear door was opened within 10 minutes of the vehicle being turned on, or at any time after the vehicle has been turned on, with a reminder message in the instrument cluster after the engine is turned off, accompanied by Multitone chimes. The 2021 Camry is the second Toyota to feature Rear Seat Reminder, as it already comes standard on the 2020 Toyota Highlander
The SE Nightshade edition as tested is commands a $2,000 premium over the SE’s standard $28,550 price tag, and is largely a cosmetic package with cool-looking blacked out window trim, side mirrors, door handles, rear spoiler, badging, and gloss black 18-inch wheels. It is only available with the Camry SE front-wheel drive model. Engine power is via a 2.5-litre four-cylinder that produces 202 hp and 184 lb-ft. torque. Transmission of choice is an 8-Speed Direct Shift Automatic Transmission with Paddle Shifters. The Nightshade model is available in two colours, white and black. The black model we had looked awesome – with a cool almost undercover police interceptor look about it.
Interior wise, the Camry impresses with a host of standard features and creature comforts such as super comfortable hated seats up front. Headroom and legroom in all quarters is very good. As standard equipment includes a rear view camera, and Bluetooth connectivity. The cabin is the best in its segment with superb materials, and high quality fit and finish. The controls, switches, dash instrumentation and the big touch screen infotainment all look, feel and operate wonderful. Rear cargo capacity is rated at 428 litres.
On the road, the first thing that surprises you is the serene hushed ride, but the Camry is still peppy to drive with stable, no drama handling. It feels agile, yet not jittery with its firm, comfortable suspension. Great visibility and front driver occupant make the everyday driving experience pleasant. Composed power delivery comes fast from the mid-range and the driver is rewarded with a nice smooth progression of torque. I liked the taut, athletic ride, it is not too firm or soft. I also enjoyed the crisp, handling, and precise linear steering. Body roll is minimal thanks to the light weight and great engineering. Fuel economy is rated at Regular Gasoline in L/100 km) 8.5 city 6.1 highway 7.4 combined.
Not a lot to complain about. It is priced well in base from with 2.5, but don’t expect Toyota Supra driving thrills and acceleration. There is a reason why the Camry racks up awards year after year and is at the top of the list in its segment! Excellent reliability and build quality, and let’s not forget Toyota’s worry-free reliability and high resale value. Highly recommended.
2021 Toyota Camry SE Nightshade
Base Price: $30,400
More info from www.toyota.ca