Toyota Camry: Which Should You Buy, 2020 or 2021?

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edited November 20 in Cars Motorcycles

Most significant changes: New Toyota Safety Sense 2.5 suite of safety tech; additional availability of all-wheel drive; new XSE model for the Camry Hybrid; minor exterior and interior updates; base L discontinued

Price change: For gas-only models, no change for LE, $315-$415 increase for SE through XSE, and $1,015 increase for TRD; the Camry Hybrid decreases by as much as $1,345 (varies by trim level)

On sale: Now

Which should you buy, 2020 or 2021? For the gas-only Camry, a 2021 model makes the most sense if the upgraded safety tech is paramount, even given the potential price increase. It may be a tough pill to swallow if you’re shopping for a TRD, however. Hybrid shoppers should look for a 2021 model (or to reap similar or better savings on a sale-priced 2020 example).

Toyota’s uber-popular Camry sedan continues along in its eighth generation with mild updates for the 2021 model year, including slight exterior tweaks and a modest interior update, plus expanded availability of all-wheel drive and an additional trim for the Camry Hybrid. There’s also an updated set of advanced safety tech as part of Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.5 system, which adds daytime and nighttime cyclist detection, intersection support and lane-centering steering.

Related: 2021 Toyota Camry and Camry Hybrid Get Safety, Tech Upgrades

Engines and Gas Mileage

Powertrains carry over for 2021, meaning gas-only Camry models come with either a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (LE, SE, SE Nightshade, XSE, XLE) or a 3.5-liter V-6 (XSE, XLE, TRD), with both engines paired to an eight-speed automatic. The Camry Hybrid, meanwhile, comes with only one powertrain: a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine combined with an electric drive motor drawing power off a lithium-ion battery pack, all mated to a continuously-variable-style automatic transmission.

Combined fuel economy for the gas-only model ranges from a low of 25-26 mpg for V-6 models, up to 28-29 mpg for the AWD four-cylinder and 31-32 mpg for the FWD four-cylinder.

The Camry Hybrid, meanwhile, has fuel economy of 46 mpg combined for the SE, XSE and XLE, and 52 mpg combined for the LE.

Interior and Safety Features

New for 2021 is a floating, dash-mounted touchscreen for the standard 7.0-inch display instead of its former unit integrated into the dash, with a 9.0-inch screen installed on higher trims. Leather upholstery is once again available on the XSE and XLE, while the TRD gets unique SofTex faux-leather seats.

Making its debut on the 2021 Camry is the latest iteration of Toyota Safety Sense advanced safety technologies, now in version 2.5. For the Camry, this adds daytime and nighttime cyclist detection, intersection support to detect and warn of oncoming vehicles when turning left across opposing lanes of traffic, and lane-centering steering. (TSS 2.0, available elsewhere in the Toyota lineup, also has lane centering.) Toyota says it refined the adaptive cruise control for smoother operation in stop-and-go traffic and when passing. Other standard safety features include lane departure warning and lane-keeping assist, automatic high beams and road-sign assist. Blind spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert is standard on the XSE, XLE and TRD, and optional on the LE, SE and SE Nightshade.

Pricing and Release Date

The 2021 Camry and Camry Hybrid are on sale now. With the discontinuation of the base L for 2021, the lowest priced Camry is now the $545 pricier LE. All prices include a $995 destination fee, and the optional AWD — available on the four-cylinder gas LE, XLE, SE, SE Nightshade and XSE  — adds $1,400. Opting for the FWD-only V-6 in the XLE and XSE, meanwhile, will cost an extra $5,125.

  • 2021 Toyota Camry LE: $25,965
  • 2021 Toyota Camry SE: $27,480
  • 2021 Toyota Camry SE Nightshade: $28,180
  • 2021 Toyota Camry XLE: $30,865
  • 2021 Toyota Camry XSE: $31,415
  • 2021 Toyota Camry TRD: $33,180

  • 2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid LE: $28,265
  • 2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid SE: $29,780
  • 2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE: $33,165
  • 2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid XSE: $33,715

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