2021 Toyota Camry SE Nightshade Edition AWD

Safe, beautiful, fun to drive
By Durhl Caussey
Durhl Caussey
Durhl Caussey
January 30, 2021Updated: January 31, 2021

There were numerous impressive things I liked about the Camry SE Nightshade Edition right off the bat. Even with just a quick glance, all those gloss black Nightshade Edition accents on the outside is a real head turner. The most prominent feature lies in the four corners: 18-inch gloss black alloy wheels. Other eye-catching blacked-out parts include door handles, side mirror caps, badging, window trims, lip spoiler, shark fin antenna, and front grille with sport mesh inserts.

Choose Midnight Black Metallic exterior paint, and you have a stealth fighter Camry. Surprisingly, you can actually pair Nightshade goodies with Super White or Celestial Silver Metallic paint as well. The interior is only available in Black SofTex.

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Stealth Camry. (Courtesy of Toyota)

Even though the SE Nightshade Edition is very appealing outside, the interior is just as breathtakingly beautiful and fundamentally sound.

The 7-inch touchscreen audio system with 6 speakers provides Bluetooth hands-free and music streaming, SiriusXM, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay. Information presentation blends nicely with the 7-inch TFT Multi-Information Display (MID) in the instrument cluster panel. Both systems work together to keep the driver informed.

Sport fabric SofTex trimmed 8-way power driver’s seats with power lumbar support bring additional comfort. The front passenger seat is 6-way power-adjustable. Although the seats are the sports type, they are not tight fitting or too narrow to be uncomfortable.

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Camry Nightshade Super White. (Courtesy of Toyota)

The Camry Nightshade is powered by a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, outputting up to 202 horsepower and 182 lb-ft of torque through a Direct-Shift-8AT 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. All this power thrusts the car ahead with the assist of sport-tuned suspension and all-wheel drive.

The fuel economy for this AWD Camry is rated at 25 mpg city and 34 mpg highway, for 29 mpg combined average.

Safety and convenience are major focuses for Toyota. Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+ (TSS 2.5+) offers a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Lane Tracing Assist, Road Sign Assist, and Automatic High Beam.

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Black badges, wheels, window trims, door handles, shark fin antenna, and spoiler. (Courtesy of Toyota)

In today’s unusual and difficult times, it is challenging to know just what schools are open or closed. However, with Road Sign Assist, Camry quickly reminds you when entering a school zone. This provides a great benefit to the driver while helping to maintain a safe environment for students.

I need to mention there is some info in the literature warning that the Pedestrian Detection sometimes would not able to detect bicycles in the daytime and low light conditions.

Rarely do you find any vehicle that is perfect in safety ratings, but the Camry family certainly fills that bill.

2021 Toyota Camry FWD and AWD have been evaluated through the NHTSA’s 5-Star Safety Rating System with a perfect 5-star score across the board, covering the categories of Overall Safety Rating, Frontal Crash (overall, driver, and front passenger), Side Crash (overall, front and back seats), and Rollover.

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Nightshade trio of Highlander, Camry, and 4Runner. (Courtesy of Toyota)

The absolute best feature is the rear seat detection which uses door opening sequence logic to check the backseat for an item or child.

There are numerous competitors in the mid-size sedan field — long-time rivals like Nissan Altima, Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata and Subaru Legacy to name a few. I think Camry is the pick of the litter.

36 months/36,000 miles Basic Warranty
60 months/60,000 miles Powertrain Warranty
60 months/unlimited miles Corrosion Perforation Warranty
60 months/60,000 miles Restraint Systems Warranty

Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this paper or [email protected].