2021 Camry Hybrid XSE is a home run

BY H. THROTTLE
AUTOMOTIVE COLUMNIST

Spent the last week driving around Colorado mountain roads in a 2021 Camry XSE Hybrid sedan  averaging 47 mpg for the journey. The gas tank still reads half-full, what a pleasure to drive such a spirited and economical vehicle. This Toyota best seller also can boast a perfect five-star safety rating in all categories by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The Camry has a far more expensive appearance than the manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $32,720.  Several desirable optional packages can raise the price, such as the driver’s assist package that includes more cameras and safety features adding $1,430.  A second navigation package adds JBS 9-speakers with subwoofer and amplifier and a premium dynamic navigation system for $1,760.  These special options and others are worth the additional charges and the complete package is around $36,974.   

The exterior is attractive with “Celestial Silver Metallic” paint with the final assembly being done in Georgetown, KY.  The car rides on 19-inch black alloy wheels that match the exterior paint for a great appearance.

The interior has black trimmed heated and ventilated leather seats that provide a soft, comfortable ride, even on the crumbling I-70 highway going West.  Panel lights warn of speed limits and car speed and paddle shifters can control the electronic variable transmission optional gear choices.  There is a normal and sports mode and sport mode suspension for high performance driving.  

The Toyota Safety Sense 2.5 program offers the precollision system with pedestrian detection, full speed radar cruise control and lane departure alerts. The rear traffic alert is especially appreciated at the local grocery parking lots.

Overall, American consumers have made Camry a number one selection with many good reasons.  Toyota’s chief scientist Gill Pratt argues that a diversity of electrified drive train types are a better means of addressing climate change than a monoculture of only electric vehicles.  The trend to hybrid is increasing and makes more  common sense than total electric choices.  The hybrid system teamed with the 2.5L, 4-cylinder engine delivers both economy and performance with no necessity to charge the battery system that provide a powerful vehicle performance.

The overall fuel economy is astonishing with the  high-performance of the Camry.  

The rear seats have adequate leg room and the trunk space is large and spacious for golf clubs and luggage.  You can certainly “Go Places” in this top performing Camry hybrid.