2024 Toyota Camry TRD

It's the end of the road for the V6 Camry, so naturally, we took it for one last ride
It's the end of the road for the V6 Camry, so naturally, we took it for one last ride

by Ben So and Nick Tragianis | May 2, 2024

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I am a father of three rapidly growing kids and I have a dilemma. I am in pursuit of that ‘perfect dad car’ for myself; one that makes me look cool yet responsible, that I can enjoy driving my family around, and with room to spare so my wife can nap comfortably on our road trips. I have finally found that car — it is the 2024 Toyota Camry TRD.

Over the last decade, SUVs and crossovers have largely displaced midsize sedans, including the Camry, as default family transportation. To cater to these new tastes and preferences, Toyota has pivoted away from multiple powertrain options and will instead prioritize efficiency by making the upcoming ninth-generation Camry hybrid-only. Luckily, for those itching for a sporty family sedan, the Camry TRD is sticking around for a little longer, but time is running out.

The styling drew a great divide among our team. Some, like myself, loved the extra flair over the standard Camry models, while others thought it looks ridiculous, especially with the oversized rear spoiler. They are clearly incorrect, but regardless of where you stand on its design, it is evident Toyota put in effort to ensure the TRD trim is more than an extra badge. Visually, the difference between this and the outgoing XSE trim is a lip kit all around, the aforementioned spoiler, bright red brake calipers, and matte black 19-inch wheels. Inside, there are various red accents and TRD logos throughout.

The enhancements are more than skin-deep. The TRD-tuned sport suspension lowers ride height by 0.6 inches, thus creating a more aggressive stance over standard Camry models. Other chassis and suspension bits have been stiffened as well, and the front brakes have been upgraded to include larger rotors and two-piston calipers instead of the single-piston units on the XSE. It is unusual for a manufacturer to give a discontinuing model this much attention to detail, especially if it was not known for athleticism to begin with.

What’s more unusual is Toyota sticking by its tried-and-true 3.5L V6 in the TRD, while the rest of the lineup abandons this creamy smooth but inefficient powertrain. Outpot is rated at 301 horsepower which is plenty for any urban situation, but keep in mind it is not the hard-surging turbocharged power we are used to in other modern vehicles. The Camry TRD will happily chirp its front tires when you hammer the throttle, but it builds speeds rather linearly and rewards your patience with a calm, collected, and smooth demeanour you cannot find anywhere else.

As expected, the Camry TRD is not known for its prowess in beating stopwatches, but it managed to surprise all of us with how it felt behind the wheel. The hydraulic steering has good feedback with some real weight to it, and its underpinnings are set up well as a fun urban commuter. The Camry TRD is responsive yet comfortable, and a joy to wring out while commuting or running errands. The specially tuned brakes offer solid feel and the unique TRD exhaust gives the Camry a satisfying grunt. Our only complaint is the sluggish eight-speed automatic transmission when we want to play with the paddle shifters, but it is fine when you leave it to its own devices.

Fuel consumption is rated at 10.8 L/100 kilometres in the city, 7.6 on the highway, and 9.4 combined. Our observed real-world average were close to the rated figures, which is actually impressive as most of our evaluations were conducted with a relatively heavy foot. The Camry TRD accepts regular-grade gasoline for the 61-litre tank, which is a sweet bonus over most sport sedans that require premium fuel to power those turbochargers.

In my books, while the Camry TRD drives well and looks great, the main reason it’s the perfect family car is the interior space. Many of us seem to have forgotten that, before SUVs became the de-facto family mover, midsize sedans were the default choice. As such, the Camry has always been more than accommodating, and this TRD is no exception. There is good headroom and legroom for all five seats, and the 428-litre trunk is very usable. I also enjoyed the materials — they look premium for a mainstream vehicle, but also feel durable and low-maintenance to handle the abuse from my kids.

The rest of the Camry TRD is rather straight forward. Creature comforts such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, heated seats and steering wheel, and Toyota’s Safety Sense 2.5+ suite of driver assists are all standard. In addition, Toyota has added a few more features omitted with the original Camry TRD, including a power-adjustable passenger seat, a sunroof, folding rear seats, and auto-dimming rear-view mirror.

The 2024 Toyota Camry TRD starts at $38,300, with the only option being $540 for a colour Toyota calls “Underground”, bringing the total to $38,840 as-tested but before any extra fees and taxes. There is serious value here, and I am not talking about how much cheaper it is when compared to other cool dad cars such as the BMW M5 and Audi RS 6. These days, with Honda Civics knocking on $40,000 and Toyota RAV4s breaching that mark, you are getting a lot more car with the Camry, both literally and figuratively.

At the end of the day, I find myself longing for the Camry TRD in my garage, far more than other exotics. The distinctive styling works for me, there is plenty of room for my growing children, the dynamics are more than engaging for the driving I actually do nowadays, and it is budget-friendly without much long-term reliability concerns. Unfortunately for me, and any other cool moms and dads in my shoes, the 2024 Toyota Camry is officially sold out. Off to Kijiji I go.

 

Vehicle Specs
Segment
Midsize sedan
Engine Size
3.5L normally aspirated V6
Horsepower (at RPM)
301 hp @ 6,600 rpm
Torque (lb-ft.)
267 lb-ft @ 4,700 rpm
Fuel Efficiency (L/100km, City/Highway/Combined)
10.8/7.6/9.4
Observed Fuel Efficiency (L/100km)
11.3
Cargo Capacity (in L)
428 L
Base Price (CAD)
$38,300
As-Tested Price (CAD)
$38,840
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About Ben So

Editor-in-Chief

Ben has been living and breathing car magazines, spec sheets, and touring auto shows for his entire life. As proud member of the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada, he keeps a close eye on the latest-and-greatest in the auto industry. When he isn't geeking out about the coolest new cars, he's probably heading to the next hidden-gem ice cream shop with his three quickly growing kids.

Current Toys: '97 Integra Type R, '07 LS 460 RWD, '08 Corvette Z06, '13 JX35 Tech

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