2025 Toyota Camry XSE: Five thoughts

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Sedans are one of the best examples of Darwinism in the automobile business. The companies that still make them — mainly Toyota, Honda, Hyundai — do a fine job with them. This notion came into sharp focus for me during a recent test drive of the 2025 Toyota Camry. Once derided as the color beige manifested onto four wheels, the latest Camry has sleek, edgy styling, a nicely appointed interior and hybrid power. I spent a week with an XSE model, and I have five thoughts.

The XSE is top of the line and worth it

I tested the top XSE all-wheel-drive trim that cost $45,431, including the designation charge and several options. That might sound high for a Camry, but it’s almost exactly the average price of a new car sold in the United States. For this price, you can get a lovely red interior (or other colors) with heated leather seats and a leather steering wheel, aluminum sport pedals, ambient lighting, a gloss black spoiler, a mesh grille and Toyota’s latest safety system with pre-collision sensing. 

The Premium Plus package costs $4,075 and adds a nine-speaker JBL audio, more safety features like a panoramic camera, and a moonroof. Scotch this and you pay closer to $41 grand out the door. I would keep it and also would splurge on the upgraded dark gray metallic 19-inch wheels ($1,500), which remind me of BMW M designs.

It’s a lot of stuff for a reasonable price.

The Camry is a looker

The Camry has been a decent looking car for a while now, but for 2025, Toyota gave its sedan a makeover in line with the Prius, which nearly everyone agrees is now an attractive car. Perhaps because Toyotas were so dull for so long, might we be giving them too much credit for taking design risks now? Regardless, the Camry’s sleek nose, lightly creased sides, prominent wheels and raked C-pillar exude confidence and presence. The XSE trim enhances the styling, but even the base car is sharp.

Embrace the appliance powertrain

Toyota’s fifth-generation hybrid system generates 232 net horsepower in the Camry and returns a combined EPA rating of 44 mpg for this AWD car. This is a good-sized sedan with respectable power that’s not making any compromises. Through that lens, the mpg figure is outstanding. The entry level SE (front-wheel drive) offers 51 mpg combined, and many people won’t need to upgrade to AWD. I personally liked the old V6 and the TRD variant, which were discontinued for the new model, but this hybrid four is the way to go. 

There’s tons of space in the comfy interior

2025 Toyota Camry XSE
2025 Toyota Camry XSE

The trunk is huge, swallowing camping chairs, golf clubs, baseball equipment and other sporting goods all at once. There’s decent headroom in the back and plenty of space for a car seat. It’s been a minute since I’ve been in a roomy, comfortable interior in a non-luxury car, and the sedan makes the case for family duty as well as any vehicle of this size. You don’t need a crossover. Many sedans, like the Camry, will get the job done just fine.

It’s decent to drive

The 235-pony hybrid system offers respectable power, though it’s hardly quick. The steering is light, but provides some feedback. The suspension is set up for comfort, which makes sense. All-wheel drive theoretically adds a performance vibe, though you don’t really feel it. The 2025 Camry's dynamics don’t match its relatively aggressive design, but it’s enjoyable enough for the segment. Come to think of it, maybe a V6 wouldn’t be so bad.


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