The Camry is the best-selling car in its class and the second-best-selling Toyota model (behind the RAV4). But with five trim levels and a hybrid version, which Camry should you choose? If you’re looking for a sporty ride at an affordable price, consider the SE or XSE. Here’s a look at these two trim levels and the reason why one costs $4,000 more.
2021 Toyota Camry overview
Citing the 2021 Toyota Camry‘s high quality and safety, Car and Driver says this midsize sedan has returned to “its former glory.” Though some shoppers are looking for a comfortable family sedan, others will enjoy the Camry’s sporty options. With a four-cylinder engine, an optional V6, and a hybrid powertrain, the Camry has something for everyone. An eight-speed automatic transmission comes standard, U.S. News reports, and you can add all-wheel drive to any trim. The interior features an infotainment system with a 7.0-inch or a 9.0-inch touchscreen and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.
For 2021, the Camry also boasts plenty of advanced safety features. They include improved systems that recognize pedestrians and bicyclists. All trims come with lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control.
The Camry SE
The 2021 Toyota Camry’s SE and XLE trims come with a sport-tuned suspension, but their price points are pretty different. The SE starts at $27,555. A primary difference between the SE and the XSE is the engine. The SE, along with the LE trim, has the base 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, generating 202 to 206 hp. This model doesn’t provide much acceleration. A similar engine goes in the Camry Hybrid. Though it doesn’t provide much power, this engine has excellent fuel efficiency. It’s rated for 28 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway.
Along with the standard eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, Wi-Fi hotspot, a six-speaker stereo, two USB ports, satellite radio, Bluetooth, alloy wheels, LED headlights, and a rearview camera, the Toyota Camry SE has plenty of convenience features. It also has a heated leather-trimmed steering wheel, synthetic leather upholstery, and automatic climate control. Like the XSE and TRD, the SE also wears the sporty front and rear fascias that give these trims a sleeker look than the comfort-focused LE and XLE.
The Camry XSE
The 2021 Toyota Camry XSE starts at $31,490, nearly $4,000 more than the SE. That’s a big price difference. But the XSE, along with the XLE and TRD, packs the more powerful 301-hp, 3.5-liter V6. Car and Driver calls it “velvety” and says, “We’re also happy to say that we no longer hate driving the Camry.” However, this engine sacrifices some fuel efficiency. It’s rated for 22 mpg in the city and up to 33 mpg on the highway.
The XSE looks similar to the SE and TRD and also sits on a sport-tuned suspension. But the XSE includes more comfort features than the SE. That means leather-trimmed seats, an eight-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, ambient interior lighting, and wood interior inlays. The XSE also boasts full-speed adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, an electronic parking brake, proximity keyless entry, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. It comes with a 9.0-inch touchscreen, wireless device charging, and dual-zone automatic climate control.
Available XSE features include a moonroof, navigation, a nine-speaker sound system, and HD Radio. The Driver Assist package offers “ventilated front seats, a surround-view parking camera system, reverse automatic emergency braking, and a 10-inch head-up display,” U.S. News reports.
The Camry SE and XSE trims are both sport-tuned versions of Toyota’s popular midsize car. But if you’re looking for a true sports sedan, consider upgrading to the TRD trim, starting at $33,255 and tuned for the track.