Camry XSE Hybrid Offers Driving Fun in 4-Door Sedan

Sign up for our weekly email to stay on top of the latest news and insights!

CHATHAM, Mass. – The new hybrid 2025 Toyota Camry XSE AWD is fun to drive.

Now that sentence may surprise many readers because the venerable mid-size four-door sedan, America’s number one selling car for the past 20 years, has been described as many things over its history, but rarely as “fun to drive.”

Designed in the company’s Newport Beach, Calif. and Ann Arbor, Mich. studios, the new, ninth-generation Camry came across as sleeker and more athletic to my eyes. And it drove on the twisting backroads of Cape Cod as it looked – quick, smooth and with a lot of verve.

It begins with a hybrid powertrain

Beginning with the 2025 model year, all Camry models will be based around the fifth-generation of the Toyota Hybrid System (THS 5) which combines an internal-combustion engine (ICE) and two electric motors.

The ICE is a 2.5-liter, Atkinson-cycle, four-cylinder engine with alloy block and head, producing 184 horsepower and 163 pounds-feet of torque. The electric motors are a permanent magnet synchronous type. The front produces 134 hp and 153 lb.-ft. of torque, while the rear 40 hp and 62 lb.-ft. The total horsepower output of the powertrain is 232 (Toyota does not provide a total torque figure), which reflects the computer’s shifting of power from front to all-wheel drive (AWD).

The transmission is a continuously variable one on the front wheels with a single-speed direct-drive one on the rear.

The AWD system is computer controlled, adding rear-wheel operation when driving conditions dictate – like in aggressive cornering or inclement weather.

The Camry XSE’s engineering team was able to combine good performance with outstanding fuel economy. According to Car and Driver test results, the 2025 Toyota Camry XSE AWD was able to get from 0-60 miles per hour in 7.6 seconds.

Even with my heavy right foot utilizing this solid power profile, I was able to squeeze 46.3 miles per gallon from the XSE, bettering the federal Environmental Protection Agency overall rating of 44 mpg (44 urban, 43 highway).

Platform provides sure footed maneuvers

Fun to drive means being able to conquer twisting, empty roads without drama or concern. This Camry allowed me to carve up a number of Cape Cod byways without any thoughts I was pushing the car to its limits. And all the while, I felt secure, the ride was controlled and comfortable, and I was thoroughly enjoying myself!

Like all unibody Toyota vehicles, the new Camry XSE is built on the company’s global GA-K platform (TNGA-K). The specific suspension pieces include MacPherson-type struts with 27 mm stabilizer bar up front; multi-link setup with 24.2 mm stabilizer bar front strut tower bracing and sport-tuned shocks and springs in the rear.

The electronically controlled brake system with anti-lock (ABS) features ventilated 12-inch rotors up front and 11.06-inch solid ones in the rear. An electronic parking brake is also part of the system.

Completing the package are 19-inch alloy wheels shod with 235/40 R19 all-season tires.

Thorough ADAS package for new Camry XSE

Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 (TSS 3.0) is part of the standard Camry offerings. This advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) umbrella features pre-collision system with pedestrian direction; full-speed range dynamic radar cruise control; lane-departure alert with steering assist; lane-tracing assist; road-sign assist; automatic high beams, and proactive driving assist.

In addition, all versions of the sedan come with blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert.

The XSE model with the Premium Package adds to the ADAS list with traffic-jam assist; front cross-traffic alert; lane-change assist; panoramic-view monitor, and front-and-rear-parking assist with automatic braking.

Technology, comfort and convenience fill the interior

The 2025 Camry XSE AWD might not be labeled a premium sedan but its interior, especially equipped with the optional Premium Package as the review unit was, came across as one.

The comfortable seats and steering wheel are covered in leather and heated (front seats are also ventilated and power adjusted). Also helping keep things comfortable is the dual-zone automatic climate control system.

Technology makes its presence obviously known through a pair of 12.3-inch screens. The one on the left is a customizable instrument/information cluster collection in front of the driver. In the center is the LCD touchscreen at the heart of the infotainment system.

The infotainment system features wireless Apple Car Play and Android Auto, SiriusXM satellite radio and Bluetooth streaming mobile-device connectivity. The Premium Package brings a nine-speaker JBL Premium Audio System as well as a 10-inch head-up display, and panoramic glass roof with front power tilt/slide moonroof.

XSE: premium without excessive price

Starting at $28,400 for the LE trim, Toyota offers a lot of choices for America’s midsize-car buyer. There are four trim levels ranging up to the XSE at $34,600, all available in front-wheel or all-wheel drive.

The 2025 Camry XSE AWD I reviewed had a base price of $36,125. The significant options were the Premium Package ($4,075), paint ($425); two-tone Midnight Black Metallic Roof ($500), illuminated trunk sill ($450), front accent lighting ($399), and 19-inch dark grey metallic wheels ($1,500). There was no delivery charge. The total price of $43,474

The price provides solid value for a very-well equipped sporting sedan which also works as a family mover with five seats and a good-sized trunk.

Subscribe Today!

Sign up for our weekly eNewsletter and get a free copy of BrakeLine, our quarterly digital magazine.

Mike Geylin
Mike Geylin

Mike Geylin is the Editor-in-Chief at Hagman Media. Geylin has been in automotive communications for five decades working in all aspects of the industry from OEM to supplier to motorsports as well as reporting for both newspapers and magazines on the industry.