2025 Toyota Camry First Drive: Mom’s Spaghetti Sauce Just Got Better - SUV VEHICLE

2025 Toyota Camry First Drive: Mom’s Spaghetti Sauce Just Got Better

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Summary

  • The 2025 Toyota Camry remains comfortable and fuel-efficient, despite facing competition from trucks and SUVs.
  • The updated Camry offers a punchy and efficient hybrid drivetrain with generous features across trim levels.
  • While softer in styling compared to the previous model, the Camry’s balance, poise, and efficiency make it a competitive midsize sedan.



Some cars are the equivalent of a good spaghetti sauce, meaning they do absolutely nothing to reinvent the wheel but remain a tried and proven recipe that simply works.

The Toyota Camry is one such car. Here in the US and Canada, it has become as familiar as a McDonald’s restaurant, and chances are it was a Camry taxi cab that brought you there after your night out with your pals. The Camry is not particularly exciting to look at nor fun to drive – although the last-generation car did a pretty good job of changing that – but it’s incredibly reliable, comfortable, fuel-efficient and easy to live with. It’s just a darn good car.


I used to own a Toyota Camry, a 2001 XLE V6. It was a car that, even after being on this Earth for over two decades, remained a safe and dependable family workhorse. I sold it to someone who, believe it or not, still drives it daily as I’m writing this. It’s that trustworthy dependability that has allowed the Camry to dominate its respective segment. While we live in the age of the trucks and SUVs, Toyota still manages to ship, on average, 300,000 of these things each year on our continent alone.

And now, there’s a new one! The Camry has now reached its ninth generation, and it has evolved into, well, exactly what we all expected the car to evolve into. Like my mother’s delicious spaghetti sauce, driving it brought a tremendous amount of warmth to my soul.

2025 Toyota Camry Front Side
2025 Toyota Camry XSE FWD

For the 2025 model year, the Toyota Camry enters its ninth-generation with a significantly simplified lineup and a hybrid-only offering. Although sales of midsize sedans are getting eaten up by trucks and SUVs, the Camry remains a good-selling product for Toyota. This has motivated the carmaker to preserve and evolve the nameplate in the areas that matter, like comfort, handling, safety, efficiency, fuel-economy and reliability.

Model
XSE Front-Wheel Drive

Engine
2.5L Four-Cylinder Hybrid

Horsepower
225 HP Combined

Torque
NA

MSRP
$38,675

Transmission
Electronically Controlled Continuously Variable Transmission

Driveline
FWD

MSRP (As Tested)
$38,675

Fuel Economy
51 MPG
Pros
  • Comfortable, spacious and quiet. All the time.
  • Punchy and efficient hybrid drivetrain.
  • Generously equipped trim levels, across the lineup.
Cons
  • Softer and less athletic than the old car.
  • Questionable styling.
  • Why isn’t there a fully electric Camry?

Toyota flew me to San Diego, paid for my hotel and loaned me a 2025 preproduction Camry for an entire day to review. The car was therefore driven within a Toyota-controlled event. For detailed insight into testing procedures and data collection, please review our
methodology policy
.


2025 Toyota Camry First Impressions


If you read my original reviews of the last-generation Toyota Camry, you’ll see how I complained about how weird it looked. Yet, now that this new model is out with its Prius-inspired hammerhead face, I somehow miss the old one. It’s a classic case of an automotive journalist not knowing what he wants, or, perhaps, since Toyota got us all so used to the splashy, big-mouthed last-gen model, this new, considerably more mature package comes off as somewhat uninspiring.

Mind you, not all 2025 Camrys necessarily wear the same face. The model I was driving was an XSE, the “sportiest” in the lineup. It’s the only one to wear a body-colored mesh-like lower grille area, similar to the 2025 Crown Signia.

The Camry’s face reminds me of that scene in The Matrix when Keanu Reeves’ Neo gets his mouth clamped shut by the Agents.


Entry level LEs have an all-black lower fascia, which works a bit better, while the more comfort-oriented XLE gets a traditional grille design, similar to the last-generation Avalon. I prefer that look.

2025 Toyota Camry Grille

Whichever Camry I was looking at during this launch event though, I wasn’t able to truly pinpoint if I liked this new design or not. The car’s face has too much grille and not enough headlights due to the slim LEDs. The side profile is basically the old car, while the rear somehow reminds me of a Honda Accord. While my Reservoir Blue example attracted more eyeballs than the other examples on site, the new Camry just looks bland.


Dimensionally, it’s almost the same package as before, but like everything else in life, this Camry is a tad larger than the car it replaces. It rides on the same wheelbase, is the same width and height, but its total length grew 1.4 inches.

2025 Toyota Camry: Differences Between The US And Canadian Market

US Market

Canadian Market

LE FWD ($28,400 USD)

SE ($34,300 CAD)

LE AWD ($29,925 USD)

SE Upgrade ($36,300 CAD)

SE FWD ($30,700 USD)

SE Upgrade AWD ($37,950 CAD)

SE AWD ($32,225 USD)

XSE AWD ($44,250 CAD)

XLE FWD ($33,400 USD)

XLE AWD ($44,950 CAD)

XSE FWD ($34,600 USD)

XLE AWD ($34,925 USD)

XSE AWD ($36,125 USD)


Exterior Dimensions

Length

193.5 in.

Width

72.4 in.

Height

56.9 in.

Wheelbase

111.2 in.

Front Track

NA

Rear Track

NA

Curb Weight

3,450 to 3,538 lb.

Driving Impressions And Performance

2025 Toyota Camry Front Side


From a technical standpoint, the new Camry is somewhat of a continuation of the old model in the sense that it still rides on the same platform, Toyota’s TNGA-K architecture. But Toyota did tweak some of the car’s suspension components for improved ride and handling.

All cars get new and retuned shock absorbers, while the XSE gets larger front and rear stabilizer bars, as well as what Toyota calls “sport-tuned suspension”, without going into specifics. Thicker glass helps, according to the carmaker, to reduce overall noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH).

2025 Toyota Camry Front Section


All cars are now powered by a singular hybrid unit based on Toyota’s tried and tested 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. It’s now mated to a larger 2.4-kWh lithium-ion battery and an electric traction motor integrated directly into the continuously variable transmission (CVT). A second, smaller electric motor acts mostly as a generator to run the car’s accessories when the internal combustion engine (ICE) shuts off.

In front-wheel drive form, the Camry puts down 225 combined horsepower, while all-wheel drive models slightly bump things up to 232 horsepower thanks to a third electric motor installed on the rear axle. The Camry can run in electric vehicle (EV) mode, but only for a very short period of time and at very low speeds.

2025 Toyota Camry Engine


My time with the Camry was spent on the beautiful winding roads of southern California, just outside San Diego. The warm sun and the smooth, pothole-less tarmac allowed me to really test out its handling and acceleration.

The Camry is always well-buttoned down and ready to brawl, even if it was never really engineered to be a sports car. Handling is flat, neutral and predictable, although I did find the XSE’s suspension tuning to be softer than its predecessor. This would make sense considering that most Camry owners won’t spend their weekends carving canyon roads, but rather prefer going from Walmart to Costco with a few little rascals sitting on the rear seat.

2025 Toyota Camry Front Three Quarter


But while soft, this midsize sedan demonstrated balance and poise on the sharpest of corners. Its tires hunted for grip, but its chassis was quick to respond, revealing how versatile Toyota’s TNGA setup really is. I ended up having quite a bit of fun behind the wheel.

The hybrid drivetrain also proved rather punchy and eager to play along. At this point, it’s obvious that Toyota has mastered hybrid technology. The new Camry is a wonderful testament of this.

Transition points between ICE and EV are now virtually imperceptible and although that four-cylinder still likes to drone through the cabin when your right foot asks for motive force, the car actually moves now. This Camry is respectfully quick by any standard, but also exhibits its performance in the utmost refinement and discretion. I never once missed the old V6 engine.


Performance Specifications

Battery Type

Liquid-Cooled Lithium-Ion

Usable Battery Capacity

2.5 KWH

Combined Horsepower

225 HP (FWD) / 232 (AWD)

Torque

NA

Transmission

Electronically Controlled Continuously Variable Transmission

0-60 MPH

NA

Top Speed

NA

2025 Toyota Camry Fuel Consumption

2025 Toyota Camry Front

Of course, being a controlled event and because I only drove the Camry over a distance of less than 50 miles, I wasn’t able to truly assess its real-world fuel economy.


However, although Toyota claims that a front-wheel drive LE will pull an impressive 51 MPG, which is apparently an improvement over the last car, official EPA data for the 2023 model reveal otherwise (52 MPG). We’ll need to wait for the EPA to get its hands on the car to see if the new Camry hybrid is truly more fuel-efficient than before. The table below shows all of Toyota’s fuel economy estimates for the entire 2025 Camry lineup.

Energy Consumption Data

City

Highway

Combined

EPA-Rated Fuel Consumption

NA

NA

NA

Toyota-Estimated Fuel Consumption (LE FWD)

53 MPG

50 MPG

51 MPG

Toyota-Estimated Fuel Consumption (LE AWD)

51 MPG

49 MPG

50 MPG

Toyota-Estimated Fuel Consumption ((SE FWD, XSE FWD, XLE FWD)

48 MPG

47 MPG

47 MPG

Toyota-Estimated Fuel Consumption (SE AWD, XLE AWD)

46 MPG

46 MPG

46 MPG

Toyota-Estimated Fuel Consumption (XSE AWD)

44 MPG

43 MPG

44 MPG

Energy Consumption As Tested

NA

NA

NA


Interior Design And Comfort

Inside, the Camry is still…a Camry in the sense that it’s still comfortable, spacious, well put together and never tries to be something it’s not. While Toyota did update the infotainment system and changed the layout of the climate control panel, the overall layout looks and feels very familiar.

The Camry has a functional interior, meaning that it doesn’t try to wow you with bling. It rather hands you over the kind of usefulness that you expect from a daily driven family appliance.


Material quality in the XSE is good, without overdoing itself, and the sportier seats offer sufficient lumbar and lateral support, even during spirited driving. Overall, visibility is fantastic thanks to a low belt-line and a generous window area. A large-opening panoramic glass roof – a first for the Camry – adds to the cabin’s airy feeling.

2025 Toyota Camry Back Seat

In the rear, it’s still the spacious and comfortable midsize sedan we all know and love. Six-foot tall me had no issue squeezing my frame behind a front seat that was adjusted for my height. There’s more than enough legroom back there, even for tall passengers. However, taller people might feel the need to slouch to prevent feeling their head rubbing the ceiling.


Interior Dimensions

Front

Rear

Headroom

38.3 in.

37.6 in.

Shoulder Room

57.7 in.

55.7 in.

Hip Room

55.4 in.

54.6 in.

Legroom

42.1 in.

38.0 in.

Technology And Ease Of Use

The 2025 Camry inherits Toyota’s latest infotainment system which, I must say, works a lot better than the previous one. Like I’ve written in my other Toyota reviews, the system mostly relies on Android Auto and Apple CarPlay in the sense that its interface and general controls seem to have been tailored for these apps. And that’s totally the way the entire industry should be doing things, honestly.


By default, the Toyota system doesn’t have a home screen, as it mostly acts as a settings adjustment system. And it responds fast, displays its information through up-to-date graphics, but some menus can be confusing to comprehend at first, which can complicate its user experience. In my case, wireless Android Auto connected quickly and easily.

2025 Toyota Camry Instrument Cluster

The Camry also now comes with an available fully digital gauge cluster that allows you to independently customize what you see on the left, center and on the right of the display. That’s all controlled via steering wheel-mounted buttons. And it all works with absolute ease.


Cargo And Storage Space

2025 Toyota Camry Cargo Space 1

The Camry’s cargo space is a carryover over the last car, which means its trunk area remains smaller than several midsize sedans currently on sale, like the Honda Accord (16.7 cu-ft), the Nissan Altima (15.4 cu-ft) and Hyundai Sonata (16 cu-ft). For reference, it has the exact same cargo space as a Subaru Legacy. See below for details.

Minimum Cargo Capacity (Rear Seat In Place)

15.1 cu-ft

How The 2025 Toyota Camry Compares To Its Competition

2025 Toyota Camry Rear


There aren’t many midsize sedans left on the market, but the good ones are still hanging on. The Camry therefore faces solid rivals in the likes of the Honda Accord, Chevrolet Malibu, Hyundai Sonata, Kia K5, Nissan Altima and Subaru Legacy. However, only the Accord and Sonata offer the option of a hybrid powertrain.

Historically, it’s the Accord that has always been the Camry’s toughest competitor in terms of sales, performance, pricing, reliability and resale value. That’s why I’ve decided to use the Accord as the Camry’s most important rival.

2025 Toyota Camry Versus 2024 Honda Accord

Radiant Red 2023 Honda Accord Hybrid Front 3/4 view
Honda 


Like the Camry, Accord sales are still doing rather well in the US and Canada. Consumers appreciate this midsize sedan for its proven track record for reliability, ease of ownership and downright excellence. We’ve also already established that you’ll get a bit more cargo space from the Honda.

Like Toyota, Honda considerably narrowed down the lineup of its current-generation Accord, but unlike its main Japanese rival, it still offers the option of a uniquely ICE engine. Base cars are therefore powered by a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder that’s good for 192 horsepower and 192 lb-ft of torque. The only transmission available is a CVT.

Related
2024 Honda Accord: A Comprehensive Guide On Features, Specs, and Pricing

The Honda Accord has been going strong for more than 4 decades, despite stiff competition from models like the Toyota Camry and Hyundai Sonata.

The Accord hybrid resembles the Camry in terms of specifications and output. Its 2.0-liter ICE engine is also mated to a small electric motor that was incorporated into the CVT. However, the battery powering it is of smaller displacement; 1.4 kWh versus 2.4 kWh in the Camry. The total combined output is therefore lower, with 204 horsepower and 247 lb-ft of torque.


Since Toyota doesn’t publish torque figures for its hybrid systems, it’s hard to know if the Accord produces more or less of it. Lastly, the Accord can only be had with front-wheel drive, contrary to the Camry which offers an all-wheel drive option on all trim levels.

Front 3/4 shot of a red 2024 Honda Accord
Honda

As for pricing, the Accord kicks off at a slightly lower price point as a base Camry LE front-wheel drive ($27,895). But at that price, you’re not getting a fuel-sipping hybrid. The Accord hybrid starts at $32,895, or about the same price as an all-wheel drive Camry SE. While the Accord hybrid comes out of the box rather well-equipped, it still doesn’t offer all-wheel drive. The Camry simply gives you more for each dollar spent across the board,


Ready To Take Over North American Streets Once Again

2025 Toyota Camry Rear Three Quarter

It’s fair to say that while midsize sedans are a dying breed, Toyota still knows how to manufacture a truly great one. Thanks to standard hybrid power, the option of all-wheel drive, handling and performance that could surprise some sports compact car drivers, and a pricing ladder that speaks to the average middle class family, it’s fair to say that the almighty 2025 Camry is still the midsize car to beat.

Like that delicious spaghetti sauce you grew up eating, the Camry recipe is still a good one. All it needed was a new blend of spices to make it even better. As for me, I’m looking forward to living with a press unit for an entire week to truly give it the thorough, family-focused review it deserves.


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