An easy choice

From the June 2024 print edition

The Toyota Camry makes its way into many commercial fleets thanks to its legendary reliability and high residual values.

With the next-generation Camry’s arrival in 2025, there’s one more reason to choose it. For the first time, the entire Camry line-up will be equipped exclusively with a hybrid powertrain. This means Camry joins Toyota’s growing list of fully electrified nameplates.

This is a bigger deal for Camry than for most other products Toyota offers. The priority in a midsize sedan is almost always comfort and fuel efficiency over outright performance. And on the new Camry, this promise delivers.

Every 2025 Camry comes with a 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine matched with Toyota’s hybrid drive. In the front-wheel drive base model, an electric motor combines with the engine to produce 225 horsepower. (Toyota doesn’t declare torque figures for its hybrid vehicles.) If you opt for all-wheel drive, another electric motor is added to the rear axle and power output bumps up to 232hp.

The new Camry’s trunk is 428 litres, which is unchanged from the previous generation and remains the lowest among its competitive set.

Energetic and smooth
We test-drove a pre-production version of the XLE AWD, the top of the 2025 Camry’s line-up. Here, power output is impressive. It’s surprisingly energetic and smooth, and sport mode makes a notable difference in responsiveness when engaged. Eco mode feels subdued and somewhat numb, but this is to be expected since the goal is peak fuel economy. Most drivers will live in normal mode full-time, which is suitably comfortable and enjoyable to drive.

Each new Camry comes with an electronically controlled CVT. In some vehicles, it can be noisy and sluggish. That’s not the case here – at least, not during our test drive, where we found it mostly inobtrusive. Toyota often chooses eCVTs over geared transmissions because they’re more fuel-efficient, and in that department, the new Camry is very impressive. The lowest fuel consumption figure comes from the SE FWD, which averages 4.6 litres per 100km. The most a Camry will burn is 5.3L/100km, as seen in the XSE AWD. In our XLE AWD tester, we can expect to average 5.1L/100km combined.

The XLE’s interior comes with an interesting microfibre treatment on the dashboard and doors, including a panel that wraps around the front passenger’s legs to create an enclosed sensation. SoftTex artificial leather is the standard upholstery, while leather is provided on higher grades.

Standard equipment includes heated front seats and a heated steering wheel, an eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat, dual-zone climate control, rear air vents (not a given among sedans), keyless entry, and push-button start. The panoramic sunroof offered on the XLE and XSE grades goes a long way toward making the cabin feel light and airy, and 2025 marks its first appearance on a Camry Hybrid. Ventilated front seats are also equipped on higher grades, but heated rear seats are not available.

Standard equipment includes heated front seats and a heated steering wheel, an eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat, and dual-zone climate control, among other features.

On the technology side, the base setup is a seven-inch digital instrument cluster and an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system.
A wireless charging pad is also standard. Climb to XLE or XSE, and you’ll receive a pair of larger screens for these functions measuring 12.3 inches each and matched with a head-up display. Climate controls remain on their own row of buttons in the new Camry, which is refreshing as so many automakers are pushing these functions into their touchscreens.

Our only significant criticism on the new Camry is the trunk. At 428 litres, the volume is unchanged from the previous generation and remains the lowest among its competitive set. The rear seats can drop to increase cargo capacity, though, and the panel that creates a flat load floor is a nice touch. On our preproduction tester, there was no handle inside the trunk that would allow you to close it without getting your hands dirty.

Safety features
Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 is standard on every Camry and includes forward collision mitigation with detection for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists; dynamic radar cruise control; lane departure alert with steering assist; lane tracing assist; road sign assist; proactive driving assist; and automatic high beams. Blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are not included in TSS 3.0, but they are also standard equipment.

At the same time as so many alternatives disappear from this segment, Toyota is doubling down on Camry. In doing so, the brand just might have come close to perfecting the midsize sedan. Making efficient hybrids well-priced and available to the masses can quickly and effectively reduce real-world emissions from buyers not prepared for the plug-in electric learning curve. If midsize sedans are part of your fleet line-up, the 2025 Toyota Camry is an easy choice.