2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid Review, Pricing, and Specs

Article Highlights:

  • 2022 Toyota Camry Hybrid ($27,380 – $32,820)
  • “Top Safety Pick +” – IIHS
  • “2019 Best Resale Value Brand: Toyota” – Kelley Blue Book
  • Pro: The 2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid now comes in the sporty XSE trim level in addition to four other trim levels to suit nearly anyone’s needs or budget.
  • Con: There’s no all-wheel-drive option available for the Camry Hybrid.
A side driving shot of the 2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid XSE for our full review
2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid XSE | Toyota

The Toyota Camry Hybrid is a fuel-efficient sedan that can achieve up to 53 mpg (LE trim) and seat five occupants comfortably. It competes in a smaller segment that’s dominated by the Honda Accord and Hyundai Sonata Hybrid in addition to fairly newer and smaller entrants like the Hyundai Elantra Hybrid. However, the Camry brings to the table a unique sense of style and driving dynamics that aren’t indicative of its previous iterations.

For 2021, the Camry Hybrid offers buyers a new XSE trim that’s akin to the one available on its gas-only counterpart. But on the Camry Hybrid, it makes even more sense, oddly enough.

How many trim levels does the 2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid come in?

The 2021 Toyota Camry comes in five different trim levels: LE, SE, SE Nightshade Edition, XLE, and XSE. My tester for the week was a 2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid XSE in Celestial Silver Metallic with a black interior.

The Toyota Camry Hybrid has a unique look compared to others in the class

a front shot of 2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid XSE in front of a house
2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid XSE | Toyota

The Toyota Camry Hybrid looks just like its non-hybrid counterpart save for a couple of blue Toyota emblems and hybrid badges. Otherwise, the Camry Hybrid has the same aggressive front end with sharp-angled LED headlights and narrow taillights in the rear. Needless to say, the Camry Hybrid has bold styling features that not only sets it apart from others in the class, but it’s also a departure from the Camry’s last generation.

Kelley Blue Book also notes that the LE trim is the most basic looking, while the SE trim brings out a “more assertive stance with front air intakes.” The Nightshade Edition adds some darkened trim pieces and black wheels while the XSE and XLE trim levels add some chrome. The new XSE trim adds an even sportier look with two more available colors and an option for a black-contrasting roof.

The Camry’s interior has an interesting and functional design

a picture of the front seat area in the 2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid XSE
2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid XSE | Toyota

Sit inside the 2021 Camry Hybrid and you’ll notice that the seats are plush and comfortable, but they also contour well to your body. Have a look around and you’ll notice the soft-touch materials on the door panels and dash in addition to the leather-wrapped steering wheel. Traditionalists will like that there is a regular shifter to select the gears in addition to normal knobs for the radio volume and tuning.

A touchscreen infotainment system sits front and center on the dashboard and it’s easily reachable by both the driver and passenger. Also, the buttons and knobs that control the HVAC are easy to read and operate. There’s also plenty of leg and headroom for front-seat passengers as well as for those in the rear.

Standing at 5 feet, 8 inches tall, I was able to fit in the backseat behind my preferred driving position with plenty of knee space and even the middle seat had some decent room. Although, for that seat, the smaller the occupant the better.

The Toyota Camry Hybrid has plenty of standard features and options

A photo of the Hybrid badging on the 2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid XSE
2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid XSE | Toyota

The Toyota Camry Hybrid comes standard with plenty of features and is value-packed based on its trim levels. As such, the most notable features on the base LE trim include 16-inch steel wheels with plastic covers, LED headlights, dual-zone auto climate control, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, a 7-inch infotainment screen, and a cloth interior.

Stepping up to the SE trim will give you a sport suspension, 18-inch alloy wheels, and SofTex-trimmed seats. The Nightshade Edition adds the blacked-out trim pieces, while the XLE trim adds a larger 9-inch infotainment screen and leather seats with heat adjustment. Lastly, the XSE trim level adds 19-inch gloss black wheels, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters, and a sport-tuned suspension.

A Driver Assist package, which includes a head-up display, bird’s eye view camera, rear cross-traffic braking, and ventilated front seats is also available. And if having a JBL premium audio system is your jam, along with on-board navigation and Apple Carplay/Android Auto connectivity, then you might want to check the box for the Navigation package.

The Camry Hybrid is comfortable on the freeway and handles well in the turns

a side driving shot of the 2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid XSE
2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid XSE | Toyota

I took the Toyota Camry Hybrid XSE out on the freeway and through some canyon roads during my time with it. At cruising speeds, the Camry Hybrid is comfortable as it soaks up road imperfections well and its cabin is quiet enough to hold a conversation. According to my decibel meter, the Camry Hybrid registered at around 72 decibels at highway speeds, which is the same ratings as its cousins from Lexus.

When throwing it into sharp turns on the canyon roads, the Camry XSE did not disappoint, in fact, it pleasantly surprised me. The XSE trim’s sport suspension allows for less body roll when cornering and the car gripped well with its 19-inch Michelin tires. What was even more surprising is the car’s steering, which felt tight and dialed-in compared to Camrys in the past. No, it’s not sportscar-responsive, but it feels a lot better than the vague steering that most Toyota vehicles are known for.

There’s only one engine choice for the Camry Hybrid

A close front shot of the 2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid XSE
2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid XSE | Toyota

Unlike the gas-only Camry, which can be outfitted with either a four-cylinder or V6 engine, the Camry Hybrid only comes with one engine choice. The sole powertrain includes a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that’s mated to an electric motor for a combined output of 208 hp. That combination is powered by a lithium-ion battery and connected to a CVT that transmits the power to the front wheels. All-wheel-drive is not available on the Camry Hybrid.

While it’s not a rocket, the Camry Hybrid does well when getting onto freeways and going up hills, thanks to the instant torque off the line from the electric motor. Also, the hybrid setup gives the car a lot of mid-range torque, so passing other cars at speed is a drama-free affair. According to the EPA, the hybrid setup is good for up to 44 mpg in the city and 47 mpg on the highway. During my week of testing, I averaged 39 mpg in mixed driving situations.

I should also note that there are three different drive modes: ECO, normal, and sport. Changing the drive modes yield only a minor effect on the car’s steering feel and throttle response. I recommend leaving it in “sport” for the best driving feel, but a marginal decrease in fuel economy.

How safe is the Camry Hybrid?

a side shot of the 2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid XSE next to some trees
2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid XSE | Toyota

The 2021 Camry Hybrid is very safe. In fact, it took home top honors for safety as the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded it with a “Top Safety Pick +” award for 2021. But if that’s not reassuring for you, then you can rest assured that the Camry Hybrid can keep you and your passengers safe with its suite of driver-assist features.

Those features include an automatic emergency braking system with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning with steering assistance and lane tracing, as well as automatic high beams. Additionally, every Camry Hybrid is equipped with 10 airbags and side-impact door beams, so you can bet that it’s safe as can be.

Is it cheap to maintain a Toyota Camry Hybrid?

2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid XSE wheel shot
2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid XSE | Toyota

Toyota vehicles have also been known for their affordability when it comes to maintenance and repairs and the 2021 Camry Hybrid is no exception. According to Edmund’s “True Cost to Own” calculations, it should cost an average of $2,484 to maintain a Camry Hybrid for the first five years of ownership. And when it comes to repairs, owners can expect to pay an average of $744 for the first five years.

What’s even better, though, is that Camry Hybrid owners won’t have to worry too much about repairs for the few years of ownership. Every Toyota vehicle comes with the brand’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. For the Camry Hybrid, its hybrid system carries its own 8-year/100,000-mile warranty and the battery is covered for up to 10 years or 150,000 miles, whichever comes first.

The 2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid is a value-packed, fuel-efficient sedan

If you’re looking for a comfortable mid-size sedan that will take you far distances between fill-ups, the 2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid should be on your shortlist. While it does compete with heavy hitters like the Accord and Sonata Hybrid, the Camry Hybrid presents buyers with a unique sense of style and an easy-to-use package that’s reliable to boot. And if you want a dash of sportiness added to it, I highly recommend the XSE trim level.

MotorBiscuit gives the 2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid an expert rating of 8.2 out of 10

The editors at MotorBiscuit gave the 2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid an overall rating of 8.2 out of 10. Although the Camry Hybrid gives buyers the same type of fuel efficiency as its rivals, it adds an interesting sense of style inside out. Additionally, the Camry’s comfortable ride and surprising agility set it apart from the rest.

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