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

2021 Toyota Camry XLE

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

2021 Toyota Camry XSE Hybrid

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 minivan

Honda announces new Odyssey Sport

Sport is a new trim for the Odyssey minivan.


The Honda Odyssey may not be the most exciting vehicle in the world, but it's getting a new Sport model that at least makes it look the part. Honda will release the model for the 2023 model year, and the Odyssey line overall will be offered with a new Honda Service Pass, which includes two years of complimentary scheduled maintenance.

The Odyssey Sport slots into the Honda catalog between the EX-L and Touring trims. It comes with gloss-black exterior trim and black 19-inch wheels outside, and black leather with red stitching inside. The cabin comes with red accent lighting on the dash and in the footwells, and the roof pillars and headliner are both black. Under the hood, the Odyssey Sport gets the same 3.5-liter V6 from years past. It makes 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque, and comes paired with a ten=speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive.

2023 Honda Odyssey SportThe Sport comes with dark exterior trim and unique leather upholstery with red stitching inside. Honda

All Odyssey models come with Honda Sensing safety equipment, which includes adaptive cruise control and pedestrian detection. The 2023 van hasn't been crash-tested yet, but the 2022 model earned a Top Safety Pick + award, so it's likely the new model will be rated similarly.

Honda Service Pass is a new program for 2023+ Honda vehicles. It covers routine scheduled maintenance for up to two years or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first. Under the program, buyers get free oil changes, tire rotations, and multi-point inspections.

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The IIHS may increase the speeds it uses to test advanced driver aids.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently announced that it is considering changing the speeds it uses to test vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention systems. The agency currently tests the systems at 12 and 25 mph, but says that the speeds don't accurately represent the types of crashes the safety tech is meant to prevent.

Front crash

Automatic emergency braking (AEB) is designed to notify of a possible collision and help respond with automatic application of braking. Just like a human using the brake pedal, it can stop the car, but higher speeds make it difficult to stop in time. The new tests would be conducted at 35 to 45 mph, which is the range where a large number of rear-end crashes occur. As Automotive News noted, an IIHS study showed 43 percent of rear-end crashes occur at speeds of 45 mph or less, so it's important to have a test that shows how well the tech performs at those levels.

A whopping 85 percent of 2022 vehicles earned a "Superior" rating in the current testing regime, so the IIHS will remove it from 2023 testing and Top Safety Pick award evaluations. Their view is that, since the majority of vehicles meet the criteria, it's no longer an accurate way of evaluating performance. In its place, the agency introduced a night test for automatic emergency braking systems that will begin next year.

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