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2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid XSE coming; sporty 2021 Corolla Apex ahead, too

July 15, 2020

Toyota doesn't appear to be slowing down on their sedans.

On Wednesday, the automaker outlined changes for its 2021 sedans appearing on dealer lots soon. Its most popular sedan, the Camry, gets the most significant changes next year. In addition to uprated safety equipment that's standard on all sedans, the 2021 Camry will add a new sportier-looking hybrid trim level and updated touchscreens inside.

The 2021 Toyota Camry Hybrid XSE will apply the sporty appearance package from the non-hybrid Camry XSE. The Camry Hybrid XSE will be powered by a 2.5-liter inline-4 and electric motors that make 208 horsepower, although it's expected to be rated by the EPA at 46 mpg combined, same as the 2020 Camry Hybrid XLE. Officials at Toyota say the Camry Hybrid XSE was largely dictated by shoppers' preferences; nearly one in four sedans sold last month was a hybrid, and hybrid sales accounted for 23% of Toyota's sales overall last month.

2021 Toyota Camry XLE

2021 Toyota Camry XLE

The Camry Hybrid XSE looks the part with bigger wheels, a unique grille and front and rear bumpers, and black roof. To separate the sedans further, Toyota revised the grilles on luxury-leaning LE and XLE trims, with a more pronounced lower front bumper. Toyota shelved the low-cost Camry L for 2021, the Camry LE is now the entry point for the sedan and 17 different trim levels are available.

All Camrys will be equipped with an evolution of the automaker's safety suite, which it calls Toyota Safety Sense. The updated version will include pedestrian and cyclist detection for its automatic emergency braking system, intersection assist to help avoid crashes with turning vehicles, and active lane control if the system detects a cyclist or pedestrian in a blind spot. Additionally, cars equipped with adaptive cruise control can now stop and restart without driver intervention, or speed up to overtake a vehicle when the turn signal is engaged. A rear-seat reminder is standard on all Camry models this year to remind parents to check the back seat before leaving the vehicle.

2021 Toyota Camry XLE

2021 Toyota Camry XLE

Toyota also revised its touchscreen infotainment system and added a floating 7.0- or 9.0-inch touchscreen display to the Camry, depending on trim level. It replaces a similarly sized screen from last year (7.0 or 8.0 inches, depending on trim level) that was embedded into the dash.

Toyota also added new colors to its Camry TRD lineup. Although the automaker didn't say how much the 2021 Camry would cost when it goes on sale next year, officials said the Camry TRD would be the least-expensive version with a V-6.

2021 Toyota Corolla Apex Edition

2021 Toyota Corolla Apex Edition

2021 Toyota Corolla Apex Edition

2021 Toyota Corolla Apex Edition

2021 Toyota Corolla Apex Edition

2021 Toyota Corolla Apex Edition

2021 Toyota Corolla Apex Edition

2021 Toyota Corolla Apex Edition

2021 Toyota Corolla

The small car that was new last year will get a sportier Apex special-edition package for Corolla SE and Corolla XSE sedans. The package will be limited to 6,000 units and includes a body kit, lowered ride height, and sport-tuned exhaust. Toyota said it will sell only 120 Corollas with the Apex package and a 6-speed manual transmission; the rest will be fitted on cars equipped with a continuously variable automatic transmission.

Corollas with the Apex package will still be powered by a 169-hp 2.0-liter inline-4, while Corolla L, LE, and XLE models will use a 1.8-liter inline-4 that makes 139 hp.

All Corollas will be equipped with Android Auto smartphone compatibility software for 2021, and a Corolla Nightshade edition returns for 2021.

2021 Toyota Avalon XSE Nightshade

2021 Toyota Avalon XSE Nightshade

2021 Toyota Avalon

For 2021, the Avalon will borrow all-wheel-drive hardware from the Camry to offer all-weather grip in the full-size sedan. Toyota will make all-wheel drive available on Avalon XLE and Limited models, although they didn't say how much it will cost. Toyota estimates it will return up to 28 mpg combined when it's rated by the EPA. The all-wheel-drive system will only be available on sedans equipped with an inline-4; hybrid or V-6 sedans are front-wheel drive only.

The Avalon also will add a more aggressive XSE Nightshade appearance package that adds black 19-inch alloy wheels and black window trim to the XSE's sporty appearance package. Avalon TRD models, which were new last year, will offer a summer tire package and an optional black roof, similar to the Camry TRD's appearance.

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