You Won't Recognize The 2025 Toyota Camry’s Sporty Aspirations

You Won't Recognize The 2025 Toyota Camry’s Sporty Aspirations

When I told folks I was set to review the 2025 Toyota Camry, the response was pretty much standard across the board: “Good luck.” Good luck finding something interesting to say. Good luck remembering the finer points of the drive. Good luck enjoying yourself. Well, sorry to all the haters and losers, but the 2025 Camry absolutely rips, and I’m here to spread the good word of this new hybrid-only sedan.

Full disclosure: Toyota invited me to Coronado Island in San Diego, California for an all-out trip test driving four new or refreshed Toyota models in just two days. It was an impressive display of event organization, though I think I was most taken by the ducklings and flamingos living in the pond outside the hotel.

Listen. I get it. Previous versions of the Camry weren’t much to write home about. It was a reliable little machine to get you where you needed to go, but it certainly didn’t encourage you to take the scenic route on your way there. You could fit some people in the back. You could stick plenty of luggage in the trunk. You got good gas mileage. It was fine — but this new generation has brought with it a whole new set of far sportier and more enjoyable aspirations.

Photo: Jalopnik / Elizabeth Blackstock

Let’s start with the basics. The 2025 Toyota Camry is all hybrid now, pairing the company’s fifth-generation hybrid system with a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter inline-4 engine. This is only the second appearance of that specific hybrid system in Toyota’s lineup, with the first coming on the fifth-gen Prius. The slightly more powerful engine mated to the hybrid system means the Camry makes 225 combined horsepower on the front-wheel-drive configuration, and a total of 232 hp on the all-wheel-drive model. Most important for our cost conscious customers out there is the fuel economy: You’ll nab a whopping 51 manufacturer-estimated miles per gallon combined with this hybrid system.

See also  What To Know About Driving a Left-Hand Drive in the UK

If you’ve driven one of the Camrys of the past, I entirely understand that you might have formed the opinion that this vehicle is a bore to drive. For the 2025 redesign, though, Toyota has completely retuned the suspension and braking, with drive feel being one of the big points of interest. I had a chance to test both LE and XSE trims on the twisty mountain roads of Dulzura, California, and I was honestly impressed with both. The Camry felt balanced and competent, sticking closely to the road. The steering was nicely weighted and responsive, where I felt entirely in control whether I was accelerating out of a sharp curve or maneuvering around a poorly parked truck in a parking lot. The braking was responsive and just the right amount of firm.

2025 Toyota Camry

Photo: Jalopnik / Elizabeth Blackstock

Once I got up to speed, it was honestly pretty easy to forget I was driving a Camry and not something purpose-built for more sporty driving. The only thing that reminded me I was in a comfy sedan was the acceleration, which is definitely improved from previous Camry generations but still fails to move with urgency and purpose. Pop it into Sport mode for more responsive acceleration — just be willing to have a little patience as the Camry gets into action. If you want to guarantee a more interesting ride, opt for the XE and XSE sport trims, as they’re outfitted with new shock absorbers and a larger stabilizer bar that translates into more control for the driver.

Both the trims I drove were all-wheel drive, but electronic on-demand AWD is available on every trim level. Basically, that means that the electric motor powering the hybrid system can kick in during situations where you’re encountering a loss of traction. I didn’t have a chance to drive on any wet roads, but I did almost get a little squirrely pulling out of a gravel parking lot. The system can detect which tire is struggling for grip and send a little torque to that wheel; it’ll catch you quickly, well before you even realize you might be losing control.

See also  Top 10 Reasons You Should Hire a Public Adjuster

On the outside, the 2025 Camry has been revamped to have a fresher look that offers a more cohesive, angular, and sleeker design than the outgoing model. Toyota calls it an “athletic” design, and I can see where it’s coming from on that one: The ninth-gen Camry looks like a refined track and field star. If you want to go even more athletic by opting for one of the SE trims, you’ll gain a webbed grille design, different side skirts and black finishes that help carve out a unique profile. The XSE is extra special thanks to its color-matched grille, rear diffuser, and 19-inch black and gray alloy wheels.

2025 Toyota Camry

Photo: Jalopnik / Elizabeth Blackstock

Inside, you’ll see more of that same streamlined refinement. The interior feels more open and spacious than before, which is only enhanced by a quiet cabin on the more luxurious models and different trim designs inspired by the model at hand. Comfort trims have a swoopy ocean-like look to them, while the sport grades feature boldly colored panels and leather-wrapped accents.

As far as tech goes, you’re not looking at anything groundbreaking, but the new Camry is well-equipped with standard digital gauge clusters that grow in size as you move up the trims, plus a standard 8-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. The Camry also has plenty of standard safety features like pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert, and more.

2025 Toyota Camry

Photo: Jalopnik / Elizabeth Blackstock

The pricing is another big star. In a world where everything in life costs so much money, the base Camry starts at $29,495, including destination. While that is a bump over the outgoing generation’s base model (the LE trim fitted with only a non-hybrid 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine), it’s still $400 cheaper than the base hybrid model from 2024. The top-line trim for the 2025 Camry starts at $37,125.

See also  2024 BMW XM Label First Drive: When the standard XM isn’t enough

If I was in the market for a new car, I’ll be entirely honest: The 2025 Toyota Camry would tick all the right boxes. It’s not eye-wateringly expensive, it’ll save me money at the pump, it looks good, and it’s honestly a blast to drive if you’re looking for something practical with a little zip. For the more jaded folks out there, that may not be enough to transform their deeply ingrained perceptions of what a Camry is, should be, and can be, but if you’re willing to look beyond that bias, you can find one hell of a nifty sedan.

2025 Toyota Camry

Photo: Jalopnik / Elizabeth Blackstock

2025 Toyota Camry

Photo: Jalopnik / Elizabeth Blackstock

2025 Toyota Camry

Photo: Jalopnik / Elizabeth Blackstock