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2021 Toyota Camry : Choosing the Right Trim

The 2021 Toyota Camry bucks the trend toward SUVs, offering no less than 12 variations, including all-wheel drive, hybrid, and V6 models. Even in its most basic form, the Camry looks fast and expensive. It’s a radical change from decades of overly cautious designs, and one necessitated by the rise of sporty sedans like the Hyundai Sonata and Kia K5.

The Camry continues to hold its value well, and it remains relatively problem-free, which explains its low cost of ownership. The hybrid models deliver impressive fuel economy, but a plug-in hybrid and pure electric are nowhere to be found.

2021 Toyota Camry LE (Starting at $24,970)

The first trim in the Camry lineup is a pretty diverse one. The entry-level LE offers the option of all-wheel drive as well as a hybrid powertrain.

Just by itself, the LE includes such high-tech equipment as automatic emergency braking, pre-collision warning with pedestrian detection, automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and lane centering.  Collectively, this grouping is known as Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+.

Other notable standard features include bi-LED auto on/off headlights, an 8-way power driver’s seat with power lumbar support, fabric seat covers, a 60/40 split fold-down rear seat, keyless entry with in-key remote fob, an integrated rear backup camera with projected path, a tilt/telescopic steering wheel, and a 4.2-inch multi-information display.

On the audio front, the Camry LE comes with a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system that supports Apple CarPlay, Amazon Alexa, and Android Auto. The system has six speakers and includes two USB ports plus Bluetooth phone and music streaming. Buyers can upgrade to subscription services such as SiriusXM satellite radio, Wi-Fi connectivity, and Toyota’s Safety Connect services.

Small but essential touches include auto up/down at all four windows, power door locks, a rear window defroster, and an electric parking brake.

Features such as blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are optional, as are upgrades like heated seats, a heated steering wheel, heated side mirrors, a power moonroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, Smart Key keyless entry with push-button start, a 9-inch touchscreen, and a wireless charging pad.

The LE Hybrid adds dual-zone automatic climate control, Smart Key proximity keyless entry and push-button start, and a multi-mode switch for EV, Eco, Normal, and Sport.

The LE gas model’s standard engine is a 203-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. On the LE AWD, horsepower drops to 202, and the fuel tank loses one gallon in capacity.

The Camry Hybrid uses the same 2.5-liter engine paired with an electric motor and battery pack for a combined output of 208 hp.

On a 60-month loan at 3% APR financing, a 2021 Camry LE at $26,000 will have a monthly payment of around $467. Find a Toyota Camry LE for sale

2021 Toyota Camry LE includes:

  • Lane centering –- part of the advanced TSS 2.5+ suite, lane centering works with adaptive cruise control to monitor lane markings and steer the vehicle to remain centered in its lane.
  • Smartphone integration -– the Camry’s standard audio system can integrate Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa, giving more access to music, maps, messages, and third-party apps like Spotify.
  • Pre-collision warning with pedestrian detection –- this radar-enabled system can detect persons or vehicles in the Camry’s path and warn of an impending collision.
  • Automatic emergency braking -– if the driver fails to heed the pre-collision warning, this system will apply the brakes to slow the vehicle. In some low-speed situations, it can even bring the car to a complete stop.

2021 Toyota Camry SE ($26,485)

The Camry SE costs about $1,500 more than the LE, yet there isn’t much more you get for the upgrade. Like the LE, the SE offers a hybrid and all-wheel-drive version, plus a special Nightshade Edition.

Beyond a few cosmetic upgrades, such as black headlight surrounds, a black mesh grille, and color-keyed side rocker panels, the SE and LE look pretty similar. Around back, a color-keyed spoiler and chrome-tipped exhaust finishers round out the SE’s changes.

Inside, upgrades include single-zone automatic climate control, SofTex faux-leather seating, a leather-trimmed steering wheel, and a tire pressure monitoring system with direct pressure readout.

The SE’s options packages are identical to the LE, except for the Nightshade package.

Priced at $27,185, the Nightshade Edition brings 18-inch black-painted alloy wheels, black painted mirrors, door handles, spoiler, grille, and window trim, plus a sport-tuned suspension.

Compared to the LE, the SE increases the Camry’s monthly payment by about $25 to $497. The Nightshade Edition bumps it up another $10. Find a Toyota Camry SE for sale

2021 Toyota Camry SE includes:

  • SofTex seats –- covered in a version of imitation leather, the SE’s seats are both comfortable and durable. They’re also water-resistant.
  • Single-zone automatic air conditioning -– a step up from the LE’s manual system, the SE lets you pick the temperature, set it, and forget it.
  • Tire pressure monitoring system -– provides tire pressure readouts at all four wheels, allowing the driver to pinpoint which tire needs air.
  • Rear spoiler –- not only looks cool but serves a function, directing air downward and keeping air from lifting the back end at high speeds.

2021 Toyota Camry XLE ($29,870)

The XLE is the trim that opens the door to the most configurations and some pretty nice options.

The same 2.5-liter engine that powers the LE and SE serves the XLE; the same holds for the all-wheel-drive version. The hybrid option is also available, along with a V6 engine that brings even more standard equipment. Regrettably, all-wheel drive is not available with the V6.

$30,000 goes a long way on this trim, one of the Camry line’s best sellers. Standard over the SE is full LED headlights, heated outside mirrors with integrated turn signals, Smart Key proximity key, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, dual-zone automatic climate control with rear-seat vents, a wireless charge pad, and a customizable 7-inch information display screen.

The XLE’s infotainment system features a 9-inch touchscreen and genuine leather covers the seats. The passenger gets an 8-way power seat with power lumbar support, and the entire interior bathes in ambient lighting. The adaptive cruise control is upgraded to full-speed range mode, meaning it can slow the car to a stop and then resume speed or low-speed follow.  Heated front seats are also standard, as are rear-seat adjustable headrests.

Optional upgrades for the XLE and XLE Hybrid include JBL premium audio, navigation, a heated steering wheel, a panoramic glass moonroof, 10-inch color head-up display, reverse automatic braking, ventilated front seats, and a 360-degree bird’s-eye view camera.

The Camry XLE V6 includes all of the XLE’s optional equipment except for ventilated front seats, the bird’s-eye view camera, rear automatic emergency braking, navigation, and the heated steering wheel.

Without options, the XLE carries an out-the-door price of around $30,865. Using our 60 months at 3% finance rule, the monthly payment comes out to $555, or roughly $60 more than a standard SE.

The XLE V6 adds another $5,125 to the bottom line, resulting in a monthly payment closer to $650. Find a Toyota Camry XLE for sale

2021 Toyota Camry XLE includes:

  • Smart Key keyless entry –- simply approach the vehicle with the Smart Key fob in your pocket, and the vehicle doors will unlock upon touching the door handle. Once inside, a push of a button is all that is needed to start the vehicle.
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control –- allows individual temperature settings for the driver and passenger. Even better, this system includes rear-seat vents.
  • Blind-spot monitor –- uses sensors to monitor traffic approaching from the side. A lighted icon and a warning chime will alert the driver to a car’s presence, helping avoid contact when changing lanes.
  • Full-speed range adaptive cruise control — allows the driver to set a safe distance between the Camry and traffic ahead. The system can slow the vehicle and initiate a low-speed follow, as often occurs in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Once the coast is clear, the system automatically resumes the set speed.

2021 Toyota Camry XSE ($30,420)

The XSE is the sportier version of the XLE. Both offer hybrid and V6 engine options, but the XSE brings a little more attitude to the table.

Building from the XLE, the XSE brings a sport suspension, 19-inch gloss black wheels, a color-keyed rear spoiler, dual exhaust with quad chrome tips, and gloss black exterior accents around the grille.

The XSE’s leather-wrapped steering wheel gains paddle shifters, while patterned metal accents adorn the dash and door panels.

Except for the above-noted upgrades, the XLE and XSE have the same standard equipment roster for the 4-cylinder and V6 trim. The only option that differs from the XLE is a two-tone paint scheme with a metallic black roof.

Compared to a similarly equipped XLE, the XSE adds only $550 to the price tag and a few extra dollars to the monthly payment. Find a Toyota Camry XSE for sale

2021 Camry XSE includes:

  • Smart Key keyless entry –- simply approach the vehicle with the Smart Key fob in your pocket or purse, and the vehicle doors will unlock upon touching the door handle. Once inside, a push of a button is all that is needed to start the vehicle.
  • Sport-tuned suspension –- delivers a more aggressive driving experience but also makes for a firmer ride.
  • 19-inch gloss black wheels –- look especially menacing on the Camry, and with low-profile 19-inch tires, vastly improve the car’s cornering ability.
  • Steering wheel paddle shifters –- allow the driver to change gears manually without removing their hands from the wheel.

2021 Toyota Camry TRD ($32,185)

This high-performance Camry builds off the SE’s standard features but adds the V6 engine, full-speed range adaptive cruise control, and Smart Key. Also standard is a specially modified TRD sport suspension, TRD cat-back exhaust, and larger brakes with red-painted calipers. In front, you’ll find a black mesh grille, TRD front splitter, side aero skirts, and around back, a rear diffuser.

The Camry TRD’s interior includes red illuminated accents and red stitching on the seats, steering wheel, and shifter, plus red seat belts and cloth inserts on the SofTex seats. In a nod to improved structural rigidity, the TRD’s rear seatback does not fold down, and there is no moonroof option.

At around $33,000 with fees, the TRD would have a monthly payment closing in on $600 a month, placing it between the XLE and XLE V6. Find a Toyota Camry TRD for sale

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