2021 Toyota Camry XSE Hybrid

Strongly recommended to those looking for fuel efficiency and a truly stress free drive.
Strongly recommended to those looking for fuel efficiency and a truly stress free drive.

by Jon Pangindian | June 14, 2021


This is the 2021 Toyota Camry XSE Hybrid. It’s been almost 38 years since Toyota introduced the Camry to the world. Little did they know from its humble beginnings that it would become one of the best selling sedans in North America. While other brands have walked away from this segment in favour of larger profits with SUVs, Toyota has remained as one of the few manufacturers to provide consumers a diverse lineup of choices.

Toyota as a whole has even decided to spice up their exterior design language and dare I say, they’re making some of the best looking cars in their storied history. The 2021 Toyota Camry XSE Hybrid we have here helps solidify Toyota’s place as a hybrid leader and a leading full sized sedan. Toyota has been the leader in hybrid technology for quite some time. They have expanded beyond the Prius lineup and now most of their vehicles have a hybrid option to choose from.

The Camry XSE Hybrid is an all new trim for 2021, and Toyota wanted to give hybrid buyers something with a bit more kick. Those looking for more of a sporty appearance in their hybrid will want to consider this car. Instead of plain vanilla that had been the norm when selecting a Camry, buyers can now choose to add some sprinkles on top.

Toyota has embraced this new aggressive styling throughout their lineup and no longer will you find the same run of the mill design like the Camry of the past.. The current Toyota Camry has taken steps to introduce a new chapter in how it is perceived by the average consumer. People that would never consider a Camry are asked take a look, though this may have alienated some of the car’s core buyers who are not used to being in the spotlight.

Sporty and aggressive are a couple of words that came to mind when I first saw the XSE’s design. The grille works extremely well and when matched with the fascia, the Camry XSE Hybrid looks wider and lower. Aggressively designed 19-inch black wheels add to the car’s sporty looks. My only reservation is the black roof with the odd cutoff at the C-pillar. This looks more like an afterthought by the designers to mimic a floating roof design. Luckily, buyers can select not to option the black roof, which will save $540.

Inside, our 2021 Camry XSE Hybrid gets an eye catching interior when packaged with the red sport leather.  The seats, doors, arm rest and portion of the dash come bathed in red. If you are less daring, select the black seats that match the rest of the interior trim. Build quality is typical Toyota; everything is well put together, materials are good and well within reach of the driver. A nine-inch touchscreen contains both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and is easy to use.

With hybrid technology thrown into the mix, the 2021 Toyota Camry XSE pushes out a respectable 208 horsepower with the 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine. The gasoline engine outputs 176 horsepower and 163 lb-ft. on its own, and the permanent magnet synchronous AC motor adds 118 horsepower and 149 lb-ft. to the mix. On the road, the electronically controlled CVT is well matched with the Hybrid powerplant. Don’t expect V6 grunt and you will be more than satisfied.

The Camry’s steering lacks any feedback but goes where pointed without much fuss. Those inside are well insulated and only the nastiest bumps and potholes seem to ruffle the Camry’s feathers. The TNGA platform means the Camry is tighter and firmer than before, but those looking for a truly sporty drive should consider the Honda Accord or even the Hyundai Sonata N-Line.

Mileage for the XSE Hybrid is rated at 5.3L/100km in the city and 5.0L/100km on the highway.  Over a week of mostly city driving and generous use of the Sport mode, we average a very commendable 5.7L/100km. The overall fuel range shows close to 1,000km on a full tank of regular 87-octane, which is seriously impressive for a car of this size.

With this being a Toyota, safety is a priority and they have loaded the Camry up with Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+.This is the latest version of their active safety technology suite and includes Pre Collision System with pedestrian detection, Full Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Tracing Assist, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist and Automatic High Beam. All of these features are standard so buyers are assured that no compromises are made.

Interestingly enough, several weeks ago I was behind the wheel of the Lexus ES 300h which shares many of the same components but just in a much better suit.  The Lexus has higher quality interior materials, a quieter interior but is priced at $14,000 more over this trim level of the Camry. The 2021 Toyota Camry XSE Hybrid comes in at $37,390 with no options available. Jump to the XLE for more luxurious bits, an upgraded sound system, and ventilated seats.

The 2021 Toyota Camry XSE Hybrid is strongly recommended to those looking for fuel efficiency and a truly stress free drive. This car just happens to be wrapped in a unique design, but still boasts Toyota’s reliability and high resale value. Toyota has stuck with what they know best in hybrid technology, and have given a wide variety of customers a Camry that sits perfectly on the market.

See Also:

2020 Toyota Camry TRD

2020 Toyota Camry XLE AWD

2021 Mazda6 Kuro Edition

Vehicle Specs
Engine Size
Horsepower (at RPM)
Torque (lb-ft.)
Fuel Efficiency (L/100km, City/Highway/Combined)
Observed Fuel Efficiency (L/100km)
Cargo Capacity (in L)
Base Price (CAD)
As-Tested Price (CAD)
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About Jon Pangindian

Staff Writer

An experienced detailer and diehard car guy, Jon brings a creative eye to his new vehicle road tests. Aside from writing, Jon spends most of his time tinkering with new detailing products and experimenting with ceramic coatings.

Current Toy: ’13 650i Gran Coupé