2025 Toyota Camry First Drive Review

The new sedan goes hybrid only, gets fresh styling, and receives a significant technology update.

Gray 2025 Toyota Camry XSE parked on concrete.Christian Wardlaw


Chances are, you or someone you know owns or has owned a Toyota Camry. The car has been a staple of the Toyota lineup and the U.S. landscape since 1983, and 40 years later, it was the bestselling sedan in the United States in 2023.

Now, a new ninth-generation Camry arrives for 2025, bringing fresh exterior styling, a new interior, hybrid-only power, and the latest technology to the popular midsize sedan. The car comes in LE, SE, XLE, and XSE trim levels, and prices start at just under $30,000 but can rise to nearly $37,500 before adding options. The 2025 Toyota Camry goes on sale just in time for summer 2024 road trips.

Gray 2025 Toyota Camry XSE parked on concrete.Christian Wardlaw

Toyota invited me to San Diego, California, to drive the updated and upgraded Camry. While I sampled several versions of the car, I spent most of my time with a fully loaded Camry XSE equipped with all-wheel drive, two-tone paint, and a Premium Plus option package. These extra-cost features brought the manufacturer's suggested retail price to $42,220, including the destination charge to ship the sedan from the Georgetown, Kentucky, assembly plant to your local dealership.

Ultimately, the new 2025 Camry is improved in some ways but not in others. Some might argue it looks more appealing inside and out, and the technology is substantially better. However, it hasn't grown in size to match its rival, the Honda Accord, for rear-seat room or trunk space, and the powerful V6 engine is gone. In addition, it still can't match a Hyundai Sonata in terms of standard ownership benefits — such as warranty coverage, complimentary maintenance, and roadside assistance. But thanks to the Camry's reliability record and newly standard hybrid efficiency, it will likely continue to satisfy its sizable constituency of customers.

2025 Toyota Camry XSE interior with red leather seats and trim.Christian Wardlaw

Every 2025 Camry Gets a Hybrid Powertrain

Though Toyota calls the 2025 Camry a redesign and designates it as a next-generation version of the car, the company bases it on the previous model. Still, nearly everything you can see, touch, and sense is new, from the exterior styling and powertrain to the interior and technology.

Designwise, the new Camry is more appealing than before. It has a cleaner and more cohesive look on the outside, married to an interior with added detailing and a modern appearance. The XSE test car wore a new exterior paint color called Heavy Metal with an optional black roof. Inside, it was equipped with a Cockpit Red leather-lined cabin beneath an available panoramic glass sunroof.

Digital instrumentation is standard, with a standard 7.0-inch or available 12.3-inch display. The Camry also gets the latest Toyota Audio Multimedia infotainment technology with a standard 8.0-inch or available 12.3-inch touchscreen. Additional tech upgrades include a standard Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 (TSS 3.0) collection of safety features and options such as Traffic Jam Assist, a 10.0-inch head-up display, a surround-view camera, a digital key system, and more.

2025 Toyota Camry engine bay.Christian Wardlaw

With the 2025 Camry, Toyota adds a standard fifth-generation version of its Toyota Hybrid System (THS). It pairs a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with a battery pack, an electric-assist motor, and a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Front-wheel drive (FWD) is standard, and all-wheel drive (AWD) is optional. In the Camry AWD, Toyota uses a small, rear-mounted electric motor to provide extra traction when necessary.

In addition, the automaker says it has re-engineered the Camry's suspension and braking systems to improve the car's driving feel.

The New 2025 Camry Is Better for Daily Driving

During a test drive on the city streets, freeways, and mountain roads in and near San Diego, the Camry displayed improved driving dynamics. The SE and XSE feature a sport-tuned suspension, and the XSE is the only Camry fitted with 19-inch wheels wrapped in 235/40R-19 tires.

My XSE AWD test vehicle supplied the athletic handling I've experienced on other vehicles built on the Toyota New Global Architecture platform, combined with a firm but comfortable ride.

Choose the Camry XLE with the standard suspension and 18-inch wheels wearing 235/45R-18 tires, and the car remains enjoyable to drive. It displays more body motion and ride compliance than the XSE, but I found it preferable. Also, though all Camrys have a regenerative braking system, each test vehicle exhibited a natural brake pedal feel without any delayed or sudden response.

Gray 2025 Toyota Camry XSE parked on concrete.Christian Wardlaw

The new 2025 Camry has more power than the previous Camry Hybrid models. With FWD, you get 225 horsepower, while the Camry AWD supplies 232 horses. You can choose between Eco, Normal, and Sport driving modes, and the XSE test vehicle had paddle shifters on the steering wheel.

Unfortunately, the powertrain's sound and behavior didn't inspire me to use those paddles. Acceleration is merely adequate, and when you're entering a freeway, passing slower traffic, or charging up a mountain, the CVT emits a characteristic and mood-killing drone. In other situations, you're typically unaware of the transmission's presence.

Toyota estimates the Camry XSE AWD will get 44/43/44 mpg in city/highway/combined driving. While using the car's Normal driving mode, my observed figure was lower, at 36.7 mpg. In the Camry's defense, energetic driving on mountain roads on a day warm enough to require continuous air conditioning contributed to this result.

Later, while driving a Camry SE on San Diego's streets and freeways in Normal mode, that car delivered 47.6 mpg, which aligns with Toyota's estimates of 48/47/47 mpg.

2025 Toyota Camry XSE digital instrument cluster.Christian Wardlaw

Next-Gen Tech Brings the 2025 Camry up to Modern Standards

During my driving, the Camry's new safety features met expectations. Standard on every trim level, it includes the collision warning and avoidance systems you expect to find on a modern automobile. The only unusual technology is Proactive Driving Assist, which adds subtle braking and steering in daily driving to add an extra layer of safety.

My Camry XSE test car had the Premium Plus package, which adds several more items to the driver-assistance menu. One notable feature is Traffic Jam Assist feature, which provides hands-free driving at speeds less than 25 mph as long as the situation meets specific conditions.

During this drive I didn't encounter those conditions. However, previous experience with this system and others in this package have demonstrated their effectiveness and worth.

Driving with all of the TSS 3.0 systems active, the car struggled to maintain lane discipline in the curves of the two-lane roads east of San Diego. In addition, the adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist can be frustrating to use on multilane freeways with traffic moving at various speeds and lane-hopping motorists. However, TSS 3.0 is generally a competitive package of safety features.

Infotainment screen in a 2025 Toyota Camry XSE.Christian Wardlaw

The new infotainment systems are an improvement, though they lose the previous Camry's three-panel Home page display. However, thanks to wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, that might not matter since many people will likely use those platforms instead. A bass-heavy JBL sound system with nine speakers is an option with XLE and XSE trim.

Several connected service plans are available, including access to a Wi-Fi hot spot, and Toyota provides a 10-year free trial subscription to Safety Connect. However, navigation and a conversational digital voice assistant are available only through Drive Connect, complimentary only with XLE and XSE trim for one year.

2025 Toyota Camry XSE red leather front seats.Christian Wardlaw

I didn't spend hours behind the Camry's steering wheel, but the XLE and XSE trims have a promising eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat. These trim levels also include leather upholstery, an upgrade from the cloth in the LE, and the SofTex artificial leather in the SE. The upper trims also have standard heated front seats and a heated steering wheel, with ventilated front seats optional.

In my experience, finding a comfortable driving position is easy, and the Camry XLE and XSE prove comfortable on short drives. The dual-zone automatic climate control system had no trouble cooling the cabin on a warm and sunny day, and the newly standard rear air-conditioning vents make rear passengers happier.

Unfortunately, since the ninth-generation 2025 Camry is an update of the previous eighth-generation model, the back seat isn't as roomy as you might find in other midsize sedans, especially the Honda Accord. Similarly, the 15.1 cubic-foot trunk measures on the smaller side for the segment.

Gray 2025 Toyota Camry XSE parked on concrete.Christian Wardlaw

New and Improved 2025 Toyota Camry Faces Stiff Competition

Without a ground-up redesign, the 2025 Camry retains some of the previous model's faults. However, in most ways, Toyota's popular family sedan is improved over the car it replaces. And if you don't like the changes, there are plenty of used ones to choose from. In 2023, Toyota sold more than 290,000 examples of this car.

You can also shop the competition. Several of the Camry's rivals are just as appealing, and they include the Chevrolet Malibu, Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Kia K5, Nissan Altima, and Subaru Legacy.

Toyota provided the vehicle for this 2025 Camry review and paid for lodging and meals during the evaluation period.

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Christian Wardlaw
My first word was “car.” That’s what I’m told, anyway. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with them. The design. The engineering. The performance. And the purpose. I’m a car enthusiast who loves to drive, but I’m also most interested in the cars, trucks, and SUVs that people actually buy. Anybody can tell you that a sports car is fast. What you need to know is whether or not you should buy that new SUV, and why. My life purpose is to help you make that decision.