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Looking to ease the burden at the gas pump? Then you have probably considered buying a hybrid sedan. And, at the top of your list, is likely the 2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid.With the new, sport-oriented XSE Hybrid making its way onto the line-up this year, the Camry Hybrid is even spicier than it was before. Its excellent fuel efficiency, cozy and spacious cabin, and massive amount of cargo space make the Camry Hybrid a top contender this model year. Of course, you will have to look past a few flaws, like its floaty nature on the highway and the overly-grabby brakes that make coming to a smooth stop a little difficult. So, what is there to like about the 2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid? Let's find out.
What's New for 2021?
All new for the model year is the XSE Hybrid. It is geared for a sporty performance. Also, check out the price tags on each trim level! Their base prices have been lowered by just over $1,000, making them more competitively priced. On top of that, the Cold Weather Package is now listed as a stand-alone option instead of one that is integrated into specific trim levels. Other than that, everything else carries over from 2020.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid – The Pros
1. The High Fuel Efficiency
The biggest reason people invest their hard-earned money in hybrid vehicles is for better fuel efficiency. And, as far as the 2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid goes, buyers are not going to be disappointed. The XLE and SE Hybrid models get an EPA estimated 46 mpg combined, which is better than average for a mid-sized hybrid sedan. Want something even better? The base LE trim gives you an impressive 52 mpg combined. Real-world tests show that these numbers hold up for the most part, so drivers should be satisfied.
2. Swift Acceleration For a Hybrid
Not all hybrid sedans are known for their ability to get up to speed quickly, but the Camry Hybrid pulls it off. It has a 0 to 60 mph speed of about 8 seconds flat, which is quicker than most of its rivals. For everyday use, that is quite a decent showing. Compared to the gas-only variants, it might not seem like much, but hybrid powertrains are designed for efficiency over speed. The Camry Hybrid strikes a better balance than most.
3. Braking is Smooth and Secure
While the brakes occasionally feel a bit grabby (which we will discuss below), in most circumstances, they perform smoothly enough. In everyday driving scenarios, you can predict what these brakes are going to do and how they will perform when you need to make a lot of stops in busy city traffic. Low-rolling resistance tires - which are commonly found on hybrids - do not always make for secure stops, but in most cases, these manage to feel just fine.
4. Solid Steering and Handling Capabilities
The Camry Hybrid is sportier than it might look from the outside. Its steering and handling capabilities are decent for the hybrid sedan segment, which is not known for being anything exciting. There is no noticeable body roll while rounding through turns, and everything feels nicely controlled. The steering provides enough feedback to the driver.
5. Comfortable Seating and Climate Control
Comfort truly is the name of the game with Toyota, and they have it down to a science inside of the Camry Hybrid's cabin. The driver's seat is definitely the best in the house, and it provides plenty of lateral and lumbar support as you go about your commute. There is also enough support for those riding in the rear. The climate control system is easy to use, and the vents ensure that even rear seat occupants get a nice amount of air flow coming through. If you get the optional ventilated front seats, you are in for a real treat. The standard heating feels nice too.
6. A User-friendly Design
Toyota makes the Camry Hybrid as user-oriented as possible. The controls up front are all within reach for the driver and are clearly marked. There is no guessing as to what each one does, and they predominantly work as expected. Their layouts seem logical and intuitive. If you aren't a tech-savvy person, then you should feel right at home inside the Camry Hybrid. And if you are a tech-savvy person, then you should appreciate how logical the design is in its approach.
7. A Cavernous Cabin
Even though mid-size sedans aren't notorious for their spacious designs, the 2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid gets it just right with plenty of space fore and aft. Regardless of size, most drivers should be able to find a comfortable driving position without any hassle since the seat is easy to adjust. Even in the rear seat, you should have no problem getting bulky rear-facing child seats in and out due to the large door openings and abundance of space.
8. A Wide Range of Standard Infotainment Features
Even if you opt for the base LE trim level, you get an 8-inch infotainment system with smartphone app integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Previous iterations of Toyota models lacked smartphone app integration with both systems, so having it now come standard across the board is a huge leap for Toyota. Upgrading to the XLE will give you a wireless charging pad, a larger 8-inch touchscreen display, and a head-up display that projects driver data onto the windshield in front of you.
9. A Massive Cargo Area
For a hybrid mid-size sedan, the 2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid offers a lot of space in its cargo area. The battery pack does not get in the way, leaving plenty of space available for storing all the cargo you need to tote back there. You do not have to sacrifice any of the practicality you might in other hybrids.
10. A Cost-effective Option
Since Toyota is dropping the base MSRPs across the board this model year, the Camry Hybrid is one of the most cost-effective hybrid mid-size sedans out there. For all that you get on even the base trim, this really helps sweeten the deal and shows that Toyota is looking to keep customers coming to them to get reliable, durable vehicles.
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Reasons Not to Buy a 2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid – The Cons
1. The XLE Can Be Too Floaty at Highway Speeds
If you do opt for the line-topping XLE trim level on the 2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid, take note that it has a tendency to get floaty when you take it up to speed on the highway. Around town, it feels just fine, and the other trim levels don't exhibit this problem as much. The lack of feeling might not be noticeable right away, but it could become a little bit annoying after a while. Still, it is a minor complaint.
2. Finicky Driver Aids
Another in our list of strictly minor complaints is that the Camry Hybrid has some driver aids that can get a bit too touchy. Sure, you get a ton of them with Toyota's Safety Sense system, but not all of them work as they are supposed to. You might get hit with warnings a bit too frequently, and some of these functions cannot be turned all the way off.
3. The Brakes Can Get Grabby
In some scenarios, the brakes can feel a bit grabby, preventing the Camry Hybrid from making a totally smooth stop. Typically, the vehicle makes a secure stop in city traffic just fine, but panic stops can be slightly alarming since the brakes tend to grab too much. Again, this is not a frequent problem but one you might occasionally notice.
4. No Memory Settings on the Line-topping XLE
Buyers tend to love the XLE but wonder why this trim level does not have memory settings for the driver's seat and side mirrors. Most line-topping vehicles in this segment do, but Toyota has left it off the list of standard features for the Camry Hybrid. It would make for a nice addition and would add some more value to the already awesome XLE trim level.
How It Stacks Up to the Competition:
2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid vs. 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid
The 2021 Honda Accord Hybrid is one of the Camry Hybrid's biggest competitors for the model year. It, like the Camry Hybrid, has a spacious interior design and plenty of cargo space with a lot of versatility. Its fuel efficiency is almost on par too, although the Camry Hybrid just edges it out with the LE's impressive LE 52 mpg combined. However, getting in and out of the Accord Hybrid can be difficult due to the low seating position. Additionally, the brakes make for long panic braking distances that are unusual for this segment.
2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid vs. 2021 Ford Fusion Hybrid
The 2021 Ford Fusion Hybrid rivals the Camry Hybrid in a number of ways, from its user-friendly Sync 3 infotainment system to the high-quality cabin design you will find upon first inspection. This is a vehicle that is well insulated from noise even at highway speeds and remains pleasantly tranquil. On the downside, the Fusion Hybrid has a sloping roofline that limits visibility and head space in the back seat. Also, the fuel economy numbers do not really hold up well against the Camry Hybrid or many other competitors.
Overall, the 2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid is a cost-effective answer to the rising demand for fuel-efficient hybrid technology in contemporary automobiles. Toyota knows that 2020 has been a difficult year for many people and is seemingly doing what they can to make the Camry Hybrid accessible to more buyers. This mid-size hybrid sedan is one of the better options in its segment and has a lot of power underneath its hood. While the brakes need a little bit of tweaking, the driving performance is otherwise solid, and the return on fuel is well worth the cost.
• Why buy a 2020 Toyota Camry Hybrid? w/ pros vs cons