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2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.4

The 2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid is a deft performer in its class, aided by a lively powertrain, a relaxed ride, composed handling, and pretty good gas mileage.

  • "While acceleration around town is adequate, it's not the same story at higher speeds. When pressed into duty in a passing maneuver or sustained acceleration, the powertrain emits an unpleasantly gritty engine note during passing maneuvers. Toyota's 2.5-liter four is a bit loud, a trait made more apparent by the continuously variable automatic transmission's propensity to keep the engine at one rpm. The powertrain does transition smoothly from electric to gas and electric, and the ride is soft and quiet." -- Car and Driver
  • "With the Camry Hybrid, you get more power than the standard model (208 horsepower), and far more fuel efficiency – the potential of over 50 mpg. Moreover, the Camry Hybrid is seamless and enjoyable to drive." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Better yet, the hybrid gets 47 mpg overall, bettering all other midsize hybrid sedans. It is also quieter and has a smoother power delivery than the conventional car without losing any oomph in acceleration." -- Consumer Reports (2020)

Engine Options, Horsepower, and Acceleration

  • Powertrain: 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor with a combined 208 horsepower
  • Drivetrain: front-wheel drive
  • Transmission: continuously variable automatic (CVT)

The Camry Hybrid has an energetic powertrain. Acceleration comes swiftly, and there’s sufficient passing power at higher speeds. The CVT operates well, but critics are divided about engine noise, with some finding it to be quiet and others noting that there’s quite a bit of droning at times.

  • "The 2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid's powertrain remains unchanged for this year, and that's good, because it's already stellar. Under the hood is a 2.5-liter, naturally aspirated inline-four that combines with a pair of motor-generators to produce 208 horsepower. While that might not seem like all that much for a midsize sedan like this, there's a good amount of get-up-and-go if I need to shoot a gap when turning onto a faster street. Once it's up to speed, it's all about balancing the throttle to maintain efficiency, something that's easy to do with the big ol' power gauge on the right side. No matter how much motive force I call up, though, the Camry Hybrid responds with smooth delivery." -- CNET
  • "The hybrid model has a quieter powertrain than the conventional version whose engine has a pronounced groan at high rpms. The electric motor is nearly transparent in the hybrid and complements the engine well." -- Consumer Reports (2020)
  • "In most situations, you'd be hard-pressed to tell this Camry is a hybrid. The gasoline engine is quiet and quick to rev, and the CVT automatic blends electric and gasoline power with ease and efficiency." -- Edmunds (2019)

MPG Estimates

The base Camry Hybrid LE gets the best fuel economy of the lineup, with 51 mpg in the city and 53 mpg on the highway. Those are good, but not great, ratings for a hybrid. The other trims get 44 mpg in the city and 47 mpg on the highway.

Handling and Braking

The Camry Hybrid opts for comfort over agility. Its ride remains cushioned on uneven pavement, and handling is composed, with well-weighted, albeit numb, steering. The regenerative braking system works smoothly, but the brake pedal can be overly sensitive at lower speeds.

  • "The body is tuned similarly. In fact, it's pretty close to Lexus' ride quality, with supple damper tuning that turns harsh roads into soft undulations. … The Camry Hybrid's ride isn't just effortlessly comfortable, it's efficient, to boot." -- CNET
  • "The steering is pleasantly weighted and feels substantial when cornering and light when maneuvering in parking lots. We found the Camry's brake pedal responsive and not too soft, even in the hybrid, in which it must meld friction with regenerative braking (where the energy from braking is used to recharge the hybrid's battery pack). At lower speeds, however, the hybrid's brake pedal is hypersensitive, making parking maneuvers a bit of a herky-jerky affair." -- Car and Driver
  • "The steering is accurate, and the ratio is quick enough to make low-speed maneuvers a breeze. But there's an overabundance of power assist, so the steering is light and gives you little feel of the road." -- Edmunds (2019)
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2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid

MSRP: $27,270 - $32,720

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