Although the sedan segment may be a shadow of its former self, that hasn’t deterred Toyota from unveiling a new, ninth-generation Camry. And it’s for good reason, too, since Toyota’s venerable Camry is Canada’s best-selling mid-sized sedan and has taken the trophy of best-selling car in America for 22 consecutive years.
While Toyota is calling the 2025 Camry a new generation, a walk around the car reveals enough similarity to the 2024 Camry to suggest this is an extensive update and not a reinvention. Dimensionally, the car appears the same as the outgoing model with familiar proportions, its roofline being one of the key giveaways.
Even still, the handsome back end has been tidied up with new lighting treatments and sweeping creases where they weren’t before. But it’s the Camry’s front end where Toyota’s California design studio seems to have spent the most time, giving it a Prius-like beak with the distinctive “hammerhead” fascia and razor-sharp LED lights. Below that, however, Toyota has given the new Camry a gaping body-coloured cheese-grater grille that may be the only part to stir some visual controversy.
The show car’s grey finish did a good job of catching the light and showing off its many interesting body lines, and in the sportiest XSE trim, it’s a handsome car sitting squat over its 19-inch wheels.
The V6 Is Dead, Long Live the Hybrid
The more aggressive styling belies the loss of the Camry’s sportiest TRD variant with its smooth, snarling V6 engine. For 2025, all Camrys will feature the 2.5-litre four-cylinder mated to Toyota’s fifth-generation hybrid system, helping the company march toward its carbon-neutral goal and earning the Camry its “Beyond Zero” trunk badge. It’s a powertrain we’ve seen used in many of Toyota’s SUV models, but this is its first application in a sedan, available with either front-wheel drive and 225 hp or all-wheel drive with 232 hp.
The latter means the new hybrid AWD Camry gets an extra 30 ponies over last year’s non-hybrid AWD model. Toyota’s engineers have tuned the electric motors to reduce engine revs and drawing more power from its battery pack to give livelier performance at lower speeds. That, combined with the AWD version’s greater traction, the new Camry should be pretty zippy around town, even in inclement weather where last year’s saucy TRD trim would have struggled for grip. Toyota also claims a fresh suspension tune for greater handling responsiveness with XS and XSE models getting a specific sport-tuned suspension, all of which we will have to evaluate once we get time behind the wheel in coming months.
More Tech for the Cockpit
The Camry’s cabin was already a spacious and comfortable place to be for five occupants, and that remains the case with the ninth-generation model. The seats are supportive and even in the back, head- and legroom are generous enough for adults, and thanks to the electrified AWD system, there’s no obtrusive centre tunnel obstructing space for the middle rear passenger’s legs.
Typical of Toyota, the cockpit layout features materials that feel like they’ll hold up over time, but adding a flourish of style, it has carried over the seat material colour and texture into the door and dash panels. The show car’s red interior was a bright and lively design, but photos shown of the XLE trim with a grey interior reveal a more subdued Camry cockpit is also still available.
More importantly, the Camry does a great job of blending modern technology with a digital gauge display coupled by an infotainment system that incorporates wireless smartphone connectivity and charging. On SE trims, this means a 7.0-inch gauge cluster and 8.0-inch touchscreen, while XSE and XLE variants get the very good twin 12.3-inch twin displays for both the gauges and infotainment screen. Thankfully, the Camry has physical buttons for often-used climate control features and seat heaters, plus there’s still a volume knob.
Even the entry-level SE trim gets niceties like heated seats and steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, smart key entry, and an auto-dimming rear view mirror. Moving up the trims adds larger wheels, leather seating, a moonroof, better sound systems and, the larger dash displays.
Impressive Standard Safety
The new Camry gets Toyota’s standard Safety Sense 3.0 system in every unit. This means even SE trim cars have collision avoidance with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, dynamic cruise control with lane active lane centring, road sign recognition, and automatic high beam control. Blind spot monitoring and reverse warning alerts are also found in all new Camrys.
XLE and XSE models get additional driver aids like frontal cross-traffic alert, lane change assist, panoramic view monitors, front and rear parking assist with automated braking, and traffic jam assist.
While there will be a small number of past Camry buyers lamenting the loss of the model’s great V6, the new Camry’s improved hybrid drivetrain available in both FWD or AWD format, more tech, and more safety are sure to appeal the vast majority of remaining sedan buyers.
The 2025 Toyota Camry is set to arrive at Canadian dealerships in Spring, 2024 with pricing expected closer to launch date.