When people think of all-wheel drive, probably the last vehicle that comes to mind is a sedan. But here it is, 2021, and the Toyota Camry offers an all-wheel drivetrain. However, this isn’t the first time the Camry has come with this feature. It also sported AWD in the ’80s and early ’90s.
Nowadays, though, AWD systems have improved, and fuel efficiency is a bit better. In fact, U.S. News lists 13 vehicles for the 2021 model year that get good gas mileage with an all-wheel drivetrain. And the Camry is one of them.
How all-wheel drive affects fuel efficiency
All-wheel and four-wheel drivetrains provide more power to all four wheels in rainy or snowy conditions or on rocky terrain. It helps the driver stay in control of the vehicle as they maneuver wet, slippery surfaces. But these types of drivetrains typically get worse fuel efficiency than the front-wheel- and rear-wheel-drive models.
One reason an all-wheel-drive vehicle gets worse gas mileage than a two-wheel-drive version is that the AWD must use extra energy to send power to the other wheels, Autotrader reports. That energy comes from the car’s fuel tank.
The other reason for the lowered gas mileage is that AWD vehicles are heavier than those with front-wheel or rear-wheel drive. AWD systems weigh a few hundred pounds more than their two-wheel counterparts. And the heavier a vehicle, the more energy it consumes.
The AWD Toyota Camry’s gas mileage
Four-cylinder front-wheel-drive Toyota Camry models get an EPA-estimated 28 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway. Upgrading to the V6 engine gets 22 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway.
Expect EPA ratings to go down a bit with the AWD Camry. This version can get 25 in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. Toyota doesn’t offer AWD on all models, though. It’s not even an option for the V6 engine.
You can get it only with the four-cylinder motor. Trim levels available with AWD are the LE, SE, SE Nightshade, XLE, and XSE. It’s standard on the hybrid model, though. Adding AWD to the other models costs about $1,400 more.
What else does the 2021 Toyota Camry offer?
Though the all-wheel drivetrain is one of the Camry’s most exciting features, this sedan placks plenty more. Its 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine produces 206 hp. There’s also a 301-hp 3.5-liter V6 paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
And as with all Toyota models in this year’s lineup, the Camry boasts the new Safety Sense 2.5+. This package provides a plethora of driver-assist features. They include automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, automatic high beams, radar cruise control, and lane-departure assist. Also standard are road-sign and lane-tracing assist.
The 2021 Camry also comes with a 7.0- or 9.0-inch central touchscreen that allows access to infotainment and navigational apps. Other amenities are a 10-inch head-up display, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Amazon Alexa.
The Toyota Camry, especially the all-wheel-drive model, comes with many great features. Though AWD usually means worse fuel efficiency than FWD, it doesn’t make a huge difference with this model. But it will definitely make it more fun to drive.