|Positives: Racy looks set it apart from all other Camrys, feels more responsive and buttoned down than its XSE brother, huge amounts of interior space.|
|Negatives: Needs all-wheel drive, a bit overstyled with the crazy spoiler, meh infotainment system, no heated seats.|
|Bottom Line: We like the niche flavor of the Camry TRD, and it is fun to drive with the suspension changes and lighter weight. Toyota needed to give it a bump in power and AWD to make it truly special.|
The Camry TRD might not have more power than the standard V6 Camry with its 301 horsepower and 267 lb-ft of torque, but it's lighter and more buttoned down. The driving experience, as a whole, is more rewarding than the Camry XSE, but you don't notice that much unless you drive it harder.
Ride Quality: The ride is definitely firmer but not harsh, the way you'd expect from a more focused car. It's still just fine for driving around town.
Acceleration: The TRD gets to 60 mph in the same 5.8 seconds as the XSE V6. The lighter wheels don't make it go any faster from a standstill, but the car does feel more responsive. Too bad the front wheels are overburdened when mashing the gas.
Braking: The brakes get more power due to the addition of a piston per caliper for a total of two each, versus the standard Camry's single piston units. Progression was good, and coming to a stop quickly is no problem.
Steering: Steering is pretty quick and on-center. Feedback is largely absent, but the tweaked setup is more responsive.
Handling: Taking the Camry TRD into a turn inspires confidence. There's less roll than a standard Camry, and it feels quite composed. Body control is much better thanks to the lower ride height and chunkier anti-roll bars. There's mild understeer in the turns when pushed, but it's not terribly noticeable.
We're used to the updated infotainment system, but we're still not huge fans of it. The menus, responsiveness, and the look aren't significantly better than the old Entune system.
Infotainment System: The 8-inch touchscreen display is clear and well placed atop the dash. It's not nearly as good as systems from Mazda or Ford, but it works fine.
Controls: Physical knobs and buttons are present, which is welcomed these days, but we wish the steering wheel buttons were better situated. The infotainment buttons could also be larger, making them easier to press when driving.
It's not a subtle car, by any means. Ground effects, red pinstriping, bright blue paint, and a huge spoiler cry for attention. It's not as subtle as the Avalon TRD but it's still better looking despite the massive, bi-level spoiler.
Front: The front end is pretty much the same as the XSE V6 with ample amounts of black mesh and some busy surfaces, but it actually looks right on the TRD versus the more muted XSE.
Rear: The huge spoiler and big diffuser dominate the back end. We do like the twin round pipes and the improved exhaust note, but we'd like to see a more downplayed spoiler. It's just a bit too juvenile for our tastes.
Profile: The TRD looks menacing in side view. The blue paint and the black roof and black wheels contrast nicely. It looks low-slung and purposeful but not subtle.
Cabin: The red stitching and red seat belts help give the Camry TRD a special look. They nicely match the TRD lettering in the seats. There's still a fair amount of dark plastic, though.
It's no different in terms of space in both rows. There's capacity for five, and legroom is ample. The firmer suspension means a bit less cushion over bumps, but it's not overdone.
Front Seats: The front seats don't have any additional bolstering than the XSE V6, but they're fine even for spirited driving
Rear Seats: 38 inches of rear legroom is significant and ready for tall passengers. Outboard positions have good contouring in the cushion, but the middle position is flat.
NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): The TRD is solid and exhibits no errant noises that we could notice. The summer tires are noisier than the standard Camry's all-seasons, but it's not terribly noticeable.
Visibility: Visibility is good with the exception of the thick C-pillar that blocks the rear side. The spoiler doesn't obstruct because it sits pretty low on the trunk.
Climate: The dual-zone climate control system works quickly. The TRD does not have heated or ventilated seats, unfortunately.
The Camry's safety ratings are super, and the TRD qualifies in this set. Buyers should take confidence that the safety tech and crash test ratings are at the front of the family sedan pack.
IIHS Rating: It's a Top Safety Pick+ for the stringent 2022 test criteria.
NHTSA Rating: The Camry received five stars from the federal government.
Standard Tech: The TRD comes with the robust Toyota Safety Sense 2.0+ set, which includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, adaptive cruise control, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Lane Tracing Assist, Traffic Sign Assist, Rear Cross-Traffic alert, auto high beams, the Star Safety System, and a backup camera.
Optional Tech: None.
The Camry is practical for everyday use in terms of cargo and storage. In TRD form, it loses the folding rear seat of the standard Camry, which could be an issue for larger loads.
Storage Space: There's a huge cubby in the front of the center console with ample room for your phone, etc. The armrest is deep but not long, convenient for small gear away from peering eyes. The long cupholder is also good for other items besides beverages.
Cargo Room: The Camry's trunk has 15.1 cubic feet of space, but it's smaller than the Accord's. One demerit is the fact that the rear seats don't fold down because of the TRD's reinforcements.
We drove the TRD in Sport mode the entire time, and our driving habits were fairly aggressive, hence the lower numbers. Under normal driving, we have every confidence the TRD can meet its EPA estimates.
Observed: 17.3 mpg.
Distance Driven: 142 miles.
The stock system in the TRD works just fine without any noticeable issues. An upgrade to the premium JBL system would be great for this car.