2025 Toyota Camry First Drive: Surprise! Sportier, Fancier and Now, All Hybrid

Comfortable and sporty, the 2025 Toyota Camry is budget-friendly too. The all-hybrid lineup means a lot less gas and more savings for buyers.

2025 Toyota Camry
The completely redesigned 2025 Toyota Camry. Photo: Scotty Reiss

And, So Much Fun You Might Forget It’s a Sedan

I can’t believe that my first time driving a Toyota Camry was the 2025 model. Even though it’s been around for much of my life, I’ve been a Toyota Prius driver for almost two decades. Beginning with a 2006 Prius, which I passed on to my daughter, I bought a second one in 2016. Both are still reliably driven on a daily basis.

So what did I think my first time behind the wheel of the Camry? Impressed. But I have to believe that the hybrid and all wheel drive aspects of the 2025 Toyota Camry contributed to that. My test drive took me through the winding back roads and hills of San Diego County, where I live, and the Camry held its own, delivering a fun, capable and fuel efficient drive.

Related: 2025 Toyota Camry: More Style and Safety (and No More V6)

The 2025 Toyota Camry
The 2025 Toyota Camry XLE in new paint color, Ocean Gem. Photo: Kymri Wilt

Hybrid Is Finally The Standard For All Toyotas

As the leader of hybrid technology, Toyota has been working hard toward extending electric technology throughout the brand’s entire fleet. To that end, beginning in 2025, every new Camry you’ll find on the market will be 100% hybrid. I’m all for standardizing hybrid engines, so of course, I was thrilled to finally get behind the wheel of the 2025 Camry HEV sedan and see how it fares given my Prius-loving bias.

The Toyota Camry is the best-selling sedan in the country, and for good reason: it’s filled with comforts and conveniences, so the sportier profile and trim detail for 2025 surprised me. But before I even get to exploring the 2025 look and styling, let me take a moment to “oooh” and “ahhh” at this new shade for the Camry line-up: Ocean Gem  I set my eyes on it and was instantly smitten – it matched my bag, my fave swimsuit, even my pedicured toes. It feels as if they chose it just for me.

The 2025 Toyota Camry is not the same-old-same-old. This 9th iteration gives a first impression that overrides whatever you’re thinking when you think Camry. For me, the Camry brings to mind a generic-looking, economical, and reliable car for the everyday person. Economic it still is, with a base model price of $28,000 ranging up to $36,000…and that puts a hybrid within reach of folks who can’t drop a chunk of change to make the switch.

The money-saving continues at the pump with an estimated 49 MPG, give or take a few depending on the model – front or all wheel drive.

The Camry has been redesigned for 2025 (right here in California), with a sportier look and a sportier drive, too. Reminds me of when the 2023 Prius re-design showed up, spurring a curiosity of knowing it’s a Toyota but looking sportier, yet different enough that you’re going to take a closer scan to see if it’s a new model altogether.

Related: BEVs, PHEVs, and Hybrids: Everything You Need to Know About Cars With Alternative Power

2025 Toyota Camry
The sporty 2025 Camry XSE in Heavy Metal paint with black roof. Photo: Toyota

A Simplified Lineup for the 2025 Toyota Camry

All grades of the 2025 Toyota Camry, the SE, the XSE, the LE, and the XLE will be hybrid, and all grades will offer an optional all wheel drive for an additional $1,500. The 2.5-liter 4-cylinder hybrid engine is going to bump up the fuel efficiency closer to 50 MPG and deliver horsepower in a range of 225-232 (again, depending on the model). Improvements to the transmission and drivetrain produce a smoother delivery of power. So what that all translates to for me is that it really didn’t feel like I was driving a hybrid at all.

The simplified engine choice – there is one– replaces the three choices that ranged from 4 cylinder/208 HP, hybrid and a 6-cylinder/301 HP in the last generation.

The result is plenty of power with clean, smooth acceleration and braking, and you won’t miss the revving vibration of a larger engine or the clunky feel of earlier hybrids.

And you have to love this: When I turned on the ignition, I did a double take to make sure it was on, it was so delightfully quiet and smooth. Overall, it’s smooth when you need it and sporty when you want it. It’s really a winning recipe.

Related: 2025 Toyota 4Runner First Look: It’s Back and It’s Awesome 

2025 Toyota Camry
The Cockpit Red interior of the 2025 Toyota Camry XSE. Photo: Toyota

Sporty Goes Beyond the Engine in the 2025 Camry SE and XSE Grades

I absolutely love the style of the XSE, the top of the line model. It is one of the sportiest sedans I’ve seen from Toyota. Face on, you can’t help but notice the front side canards framing an impressive mesh grille. Sleek aerodynamic air ducts blend into the smooth hood, while the rear has more texture with the addition of a rear diffuser, lip spoiler, and an exposed dual-tip exhaust. But the coolest option for that sporty look is an available two-tone black metallic roof – available only on the XSE. It looks especially cool against the new for 2025 “Heavy Metal” silver paint. Inside, expect none other than Cockpit Red and real leather.

Both the SE and the XSE will have paddle shifters on either side of the leather trim steering wheel and shiny aluminum sport pedals. I mean, if you’re going to sit behind the wheel of a sedan without feeling like you’re driving a sedan, this one’s the way to go.

2025 Toyota Camry
Center console charging nook, with wireless and 3 USB charging ports. Photo: Kymri Wilt

Next-Generation Control and Comfort in the 2025 Camry LE and XLE

I do have a sporty edge in the way I drive (yes, even in my Prius), I spent most of my morning in the Camry LXE AWD. It has the same engine, after all, so I was really interested to see how it would handle the curvier backroads of San Diego. It performed as anticipated: smooth when I wanted it and sporty when I needed it.

I loved that the steering and suspension were noticeably tight, and I felt in full control taking the turns. And braking felt less like a hybrid than I’ve experienced to date. With four drive modes available – SPORT, Normal, ECO, and EV – I found that Normal was entirely sufficient, which is good because there are a lot of drivers out there who just stick it in Normal and forget about it. However, I did feel a better grip and more power in SPORT mode, and I love ECO for driving around town and shorter commutes.

The 2025 Toyota Camry
The 2025 Toyota Camry Digital Gauge Display in Eco Drive mode. Photo: Toyota

All the Tech and Safety Features You Like Are in the 2025 Toyota Camry

The Toyota Safety Sense package is standard, and it includes:

  • Blind Spot Monitor
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Predictive fuel-efficient drive
  • Tire pressure monitor
  • Backup camera
  • Hill Start Assist Control
  • Collision sensors
  • 8 airbags
  • LATCH anchors and tethers in the rear (of course)
2025 Toyota Camry
The 12.3-inch multimedia and navigation screen of the 2025 Toyota Camry XLE. Photo: Kymri Wilt

Technically Speaking, “Hey Toyota” is Just the Beginning.

Technology is always evolving, and the Camry is keeping pace nicely. You can now just say “Hey Toyota” for hands-free voice command assistance. The visual technology, though, is impressive and full of functionality. Both XLE and XSE models have a 12.3-inch digital driver display as standard, and both have an optional head-up display. The driver display can be customized using buttons on the steering wheel, so it is easy to toggle around to see your charge status, gas vs. electric consumption, drive mode, trip stats, range, tire traction, and more.

The audio and multimedia touchscreens have increased in size for all grades. Here, you have access to all your settings, wireless Bluetooth music streaming, hands-free phone, and Apple Car Play and Android Auto compatibility. I especially like to utilize full-screen navigation maps when driving, and they’re big enough that I don’t lose sight of the road. You can customize the map route to show traffic incidents, avoid tolls and highways, find parking, and also program your home or work.

2025 Toyota Camry
The spacious back row of the 2025 Toyota Camry XLE with upholstery in light gray. Photo: Kymri Wilt

Niceties Are for Camry Passengers, Too

Toyota has strategically placed 5 USB ports in the front and rear, plus a more powerful Qi wireless charger in the center console. All the climate controls are at your fingertips just under the touch screen, including available heated and ventilated driver and passenger seat functions. There are 8 cup and bottle holders throughout, so no more bumping elbows for drink holders. And, of course, no more fighting over charging ports, leaving passengers in the 2025 Toyota Camry with little to complain about.

Lastly, passengers in both front and back will be crazy about the optional panoramic glass tinted sunroof. It comes in the Premium Plus Package, along with ventilated front seats, driver seat memory, a 9-speaker JBL premium audio system, digital key compatibility, and a host of additional enhanced safety features like lane-change assist, safe exit alert, cross-traffic alert, traffic jam assist, and driver attention monitor.

Overall I am stoked that Toyota is really moving “full charge ahead” in its vision for a carbon-neutral future and normalizing hybrid technology while maintaining affordability, comfort, and safety. As a hybrid early adopter and fan, I approve.

2025 Toyota Camry
Scotty Reiss and Kymri Wilt enjoying the panoramic sunroof available in the Premium Plus Package. Photo: Scotty Reiss

Disclosure: I was a guest of Toyota for this test drive. Travel and accommodations were provided, but all opinions are my own. Additionally, A Girls Guide to Cars may earn a commission from affiliate links in this story.

Based in Cardiff by the Sea, California, Kymri is a freelance travel photographer, writer, and videographer. Between travels, she... More about Kymri WIlt