New Model New

Toyota Camry gets new XSE grade, roster of mid-cycle updates for 2021

Toyota has given the Camry a new standard 7.0-inch infotainment touch screen.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

The eighth generation of the Toyota Camry has been on sale since 2017. The 2021 Toyota Camry will feature a host of upgrades including new safety features, fresh infotainment technology, and a different face.

For 2021, the Camry will be offered in 17 different varieties. Seventeen. Different trim levels are available depending on the buyer's engine and drivetrain choice. The list of trim levels includes LE, XLE, SE, SE Nightshade, XSE, and TRD. The Camry L grade has been discontinued.

Camry XSE with the hybrid powertrain is new for the 2021 model year. It is positioned as a more premium version of the Camry SE Hybrid trim level, without the level of sportiness of the Camry TRD.

2021 Toyota Camry XLE

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

2021 Toyota Camry XSE Hybrid

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

The three available power plants include a 2.5-liter four-cylinder, 3.5-liter V6, and a 2.5-liter four-cylinder hybrid engine. The smaller gasoline-powered engine achieves 203 horsepower (202 horsepower in AWD variants) and 184 pound-feet of torque. The V6 gets 301 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque. The hybrid system has a total output of 208 horsepower.

There are a few exceptions, however. The Camry XSE gets 206 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque as well as a dual-exhaust outlet. It's XSE AWD counterpart gets 205 horsepower.

The gasoline engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission while the hybrid as a six-speed auto.

The V6 is offered in Camry XLE, XSE, and TRD models. The Four-cylinder with front- or all-wheel drive comes in Camry LE, XLE, SE, SE Nightshade, and XSE variants. Hybrid buyers can choose from the Camry LE, XLE, SE, or XSE.

The Camry LE and XLE will be better differentiated from Camry SE and XSE models for 2021. This is a similar design approach as in the Avalon lineup. The gas-powered LE also gets new 17-inch alloy wheels while the XLE gets redesigned 18-inch alloys.

The Camry TRD sees its Blue Streak Metallic paint option replaced by the Blueprint color. Additionally, that model has an exclusive color - Ice Edge, which is paired with a two-tone Midnight Black Metallic roof. Camry XSE is now available in a two-tone Supersonic Red paint scheme with Midnight Black Metallic roof.

The in-cabin tech of the Camry remains pretty much the same as the 2020 model. However, models now come with either a 7.0- or 9.0-inch infotainment touch screen that is similar to the one in the Toyota RAV4. It has smartphone-like capabilities and customization options as well as Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Amazon Alexa capability.

As for looks, Toyota has slightly updated the interior with new dashboard and trim appointments that vary by trim level as well as an available herringbone seat pattern for Camry XLE.

Additionally, Toyota has upped the ante on the popular Camry TRD, giving it standard blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert technologies as well as heated exterior mirrors. Those two safety technologies are now standalone options on Camry LE, SE, and SE Nighshade. They are standard elsewhere.

All models adopt Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+ as standard equipment.

The 2021 Toyota Camry goes on sale later this year.

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New sports sedan

2022 Infiniti Q50 gets more standard tech

The car sees new tech and interior features for 2022.

Infiniti

The Infiniti Q50 is an aging but still-stylish sedan that offers value and power, but it hasn't quite kept pace with the crop of more engaging premium European cars. However, it's still worth a look, and to press that point further, Infiniti has updated the car for 2022 with a healthy list of standard features.

2022 Infiniti Q50 Exterior styling has not changed for 2022.Infiniti

Headline updates for the 2022 Q50 are wireless Apple CarPlay and newly standard Bose Performance Series Audio. There's now leather for every trim, but in the ways that count, the car is the same as the one we saw last year, the year before, and so on.

That's not to say that the car is bad. After all, it still offers a 300-horsepower twin-turbo V6 as standard and can be upgraded with a 400-horsepower version of the engine. And, despite its aging exterior styling, it's still a handsome car with smooth, sculpted bodywork. The seven-speed automatic transmission and available all-wheel drive remain in place.

2022 Infiniti Q50 All-wheel drive is available for all models.Infiniti

Pricing for the 2022 Infiniti Q50 starts at $43,125, which includes a $1,025 destination fee. The car gets standard wireless Apple CarPlay, leather upholstery, 18-inch wheels, and Bose Performance Audio. All-wheel drive is available for a $2,000 upcharge.

2022 Infiniti Q50 Wireless Apple CarPlay and Bose audio are standard.Infiniti

The mid-range Q50 Sensory starts at $48,825, and comes with 19-inch wheels, black open-pore wood interior accents, navigation, and an air purifier system. Stepping up to the top Q50 Red Sport 400 will run $56,975, and brings the more powerful V6 engine, semi-aniline leather upholstery, and Dynamic Digital Suspension, which adjusts damping settings depending on road conditions and driving style.

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Highway safety

U.S. roadway fatalities up in 2021

Ford, Microsoft team to use quantum-inspired technology to understand traffic congestion
Photo coursesy of Ford Motor Company

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has just released its estimates on traffic fatalities for the first quarter of 2021 and the numbers aren't promising. In the first quarter of this year alone, 8,730 people died in motor vehicle crashes. Last year's cumulative numbers weren't much better, coming in higher than any year since 2007.


U.S. Roadways Traffic may be going up, but fuel fill ups are down according to the latest research automotivemap.com


The grim statistics represent a 10.5 percent increase from the same time period last year, a time when we were already marveling at the numbers. Further data reported by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) indicate that the number of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) decreased by 2.1 percent, which makes the increase in fatalities all the more striking a statistic. Initial projections pegged the number of fatalities per 100 million VMT at 1.12, but it instead climbed to 1.26 fatalities per 100 million VMT.

Regionally, most areas in the United Statessaw an increase, though two did not. The Midwest region, which includes Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, and Arkansas did not change, while the mid-east coast states of North Carolina, Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, and West Virginia actually saw a six percent decline in fatality counts.


Highway 1 big sur Highway 1 near Big Sur includes the Bixby Creek Bridge, a famous landmark. Photo by\u00a0Getty Images


What's behind all of this? Last year, the NHTSA reported that, with fewer people on the roads, those that were driving were engaging in risky behavior. What's more, Automotive News reports, that the number of deaths involving people not wearing seatbelts increased 15 percent last year and speeding deaths climbed 10 percent.

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