2021 Toyota Camry TRD review: Flash with some performance sizzle

The Toyota Camry TRD definitely seems sporty.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

Forgive me, however I could not assist however initially be skeptical concerning the Toyota Camry TRD. Granted, the current-generation Camry is certainly probably the most aggressive-looking one up to now and Toyota has been making headway in constructing extra partaking automobiles with merchandise just like the Supra. But a performance model of the Camry? Really?

Don’t Like

  • Flat entrance seats
  • Mushy brake pedal
  • Slow infotainment display screen response

More visible flash

To give the Camry TRD extra angle, Toyota’s designers developed a physique package that provides a black grille with mesh insert, entrance splitter, facet aero skirts, trunk wing and rear diffuser. If these aren’t sufficient to alert different motorists on the street that they don’t seem to be dealing with a typical run-of-the-mill Camry, then the pink TRD badges will make it clear as day. The entire package deal rides on trick 19-inch matte-finish black wheels.

I’ve to say, this Camry TRD boasts some styling aptitude and angle. The entrance finish seems lots aggressive, and all of the black TRD physique extras distinction properly with my take a look at automobile’s Ice Edge paint. The entire factor works effectively with the Midnight Black roof for an impactful two-tone look.

Inside, the TRD exclusives embrace black SofTex-trimmed seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, pink distinction stitching, a TRD shift knob, TRD gauges, pink seat belts, TRD ground mats and aluminum pedals. I do want Toyota would have gone one step additional and beef up the entrance seat facet bolsters. As is, there’s some help there, however a bit extra can be appreciated to maintain riders higher nestled in place.

The remainder of the Camry’s inside is on par with every part within the midsize sedan class. The supplies are good with most main surfaces wrapped and switched, whereas the exhausting plastics are properly completed. Passenger house in each rows is beneficiant and there are quite a few slots and cubbies to stash stuff up entrance. Unfortunately, folks within the again should make do with out local weather vents, a middle armrest or energy factors. Trunk house measures in at a roomy 15.1 cubic toes however carrying longer objects within the TRD can be tough because the second-row seat backs don’t fold down due to a V-brace put in behind for added physique stiffening. 

Updated know-how

Like each 2021 Camry, the TRD receives a brand new floating touchscreen infotainment show that places the controls a tad nearer to passengers, and helps lower glare on the comparatively small 7-inch display screen. Buttons and knobs flanking the display screen allow easy accessibility to the generally used menus and stereo changes, whereas the touchscreen’s structure is simple to navigate. Unfortunately, the system has a noticeable delay when altering between menus.

A floating infotainment display screen is new for 2021.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

Standard options embrace a six-speed sound system, satellite tv for pc radio, Bluetooth, a Wi-Fi hotspot and each Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. If you are an audiophile, you may possibility out your Camry TRD with a nine-speaker JBL audio system for a further $1,585.

On the energetic security entrance, the TRD beneficial properties commonplace blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert for 2021 along with an improved Toyota Safety Sense 2.5 Plus package deal. Forward-collision warning can now choose up bicyclists and is healthier at detecting pedestrians in low-light conditions. Adaptive cruise management, automated emergency braking, lane-departure warning and street signal help are additionally included.

A greater performer

Motivation comes from a silky 3.5-liter V6 pumping out 301 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. As competitors have deserted six-pot engines in favor of turbocharged fours, I applaud Toyota’s resolution to stay with a six for its seamless and linear energy supply. Throttle response is snappy at tip-in and low-end torque is suitable, although definitely not as muscular as force-induced I4s in rival automobiles. From the center of the rev vary to the 6,800rpm redline, although, the V6 pulls forcefully and sounds candy, emitting a surprisingly good midrange growl by means of a TRD cat-back exhaust. 

The Camry’s V6 is a clean 301 horsepower operator.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

An eight-speed automated transmission routes energy to the Camry’s entrance wheels and goes about its work in a seamless method. Gear modifications are at all times well-timed and there is zero hesitation to go down a cog or two when that you must get transferring. If you need to use the large steering wheel-mounted paddles to manually orchestrate the gears, they’re surprisingly attentive to downshift instructions. Behavior for upshifts is extra erratic, although — fast to reply at instances and hesitant at others.

When pushed usually, the TRD’s drivetrain returns an EPA-estimated 22 mpg within the metropolis and 31 mpg on the freeway. In blended driving, I noticed 25 mpg, matching the EPA’s mixed gasoline financial system ranking.

The Camry TRD’s greatest modifications come within the chassis division. Thicker underbody and aforementioned rear seat bracing will increase the sedan’s torsional rigidity. A suspension overhaul brings completely different shock absorbers, stiffer springs, a half-inch decrease journey top and larger antiroll bars. Perch all of that on 19-inch Michelin Primacy MXM4 all-season tires and you’ve got your self a tidy handler.

Bigger entrance brakes are one of many TRD’s many performance enhancements.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

At nook turn-in, the TRD’s physique squats barely and confidently corners higher than any Camry I’ve ever pushed. There’s sufficient grip and composure to have a reasonably good time behind the wheel. Of course, pushing the Camry exhausting leads to the entrance finish washing out in a gradual method. The trade-off to the firmer chassis is a small lower in journey consolation. Impacts from bumps are felt greater than an ordinary Camry, however are under no circumstances violent or uncomfortable. The growth group did an unimaginable job balancing performance and journey high quality right here.

The brakes are additionally upgraded — and never solely with pink paint on the entrance calipers. The TRD’s entrance clampers are two-piston models as a substitute of single-piston stoppers on non-TRD Camrys, and so they clamp down on bigger 12.9-inch rotors (up from 12). They’re sturdy, scrubbing off pace in a rush, although firmer pedal suggestions is on my want checklist. The steering is direct sufficient and acceptably weighted, regardless of a small lifeless spot on middle.

This 2021 Toyota Camry TRD pictured right here will price you $34,312.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

How I’d spec it

The Camry TRD begins at $33,285, together with $1,025 for vacation spot. As for me, I’d start by checking the field for the two-tone Ice Edge paint and Midnight Black Metallic roof like my tester. It seems nice and is definitely worth the $500 upcharge. Since I take pleasure in my tunes, I’d additionally get the $1,585 JBL audio system to have one thing higher than the usual six-speaker setup. And lastly, $129 to present rear passengers easy accessibility to a pair of USB ports is a no brainer, bringing the underside line of my very best Toyota to $35,499. That’s greater than my $34,312 tester, however I really feel the couple further niceties are value it.

A extra entertaining Camry

Compared to the base car, the Camry TRD is certainly a sharper specimen. The physique package is not garish, doing sufficient to visually pump this sedan up, whereas the extra boisterous exhaust and higher dealing with reflexes present a drive expertise that’s certainly extra enjoyable. There is, nonetheless, room for enchancment — some tinkering to the steering and brakes would additional amp up this Camry. All issues thought-about, nonetheless, the TRD is a nice shock.

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