The 2021 Toyota Camry four-cylinder will score a power boost and an all-new automatic transmission when the facelifted model arrives in the coming months.
Australian government documents reveal the non-hybrid, facelifted Camry's 2.5-litre naturally-aspirated four-cylinder petrol engine will develop 152kW of power – up 19kW over the 133kW produced by the outgoing base Ascent, and 17kW over the 135kW extracted by higher Ascent Sport, SX and SL grades.
Crucially, the engine is now mated to an eight-speed torque-converter automatic transmission – likely shared with the US-market Toyota Camry, which has offered it since 2018 – up from the outgoing model's six automatic speeds.
Additional gear ratios should allow for improved fuel economy and throttle response throughout the rev range, plus a lower engine rpm at high speeds for quieter, more refined motorway cruising.
Above, top and below: US-spec Toyota Camry XLE, wearing the 'standard', non-sport body kit set to be offered with the base model in Australia.
While Toyota's local arm has yet to provide official confirmation, the change in engine capacity (from 2494cc to 2487cc) listed with the facelifted model indicates it is an all-new engine versus the unit fitted to the outgoing model – likely a version of the newer, more efficient 'Dynamic Force' four-cylinder offered in the US since 2018.
The US engine's 151kW/250Nm outputs all but match those of the facelifted Australian Camry's near-identical 152kW claim, while the eight-speed auto debuting in local models has been standard-fit in the US since the current-generation sedan went on sale there in 2017.
A torque figure for the updated Toyota Camry four-cylinder in Australia isn't listed in the government document, however if the related RAV4 mid-size SUV, which shares the 152kW 2.5-litre Dynamic Force engine, is any guide, expect the facelifted model to produce 243Nm.
2021 Toyota Camry range reshuffled: Four variants, no more V6
Decoding the government listing reveals four variants of the updated Toyota Camry will offered, as before – however, changes have been made to available engine options and standard equipment.
While the names of each variant have yet to be confirmed, it's likely they will retain the naming structure applied to the outgoing Camry: the base Ascent, mid-spec Ascent Sport, sport-themed SX, and the luxury-oriented SL.
The entry-level grade – which we'll tentatively dub 'Ascent', as per the outgoing model – appears set to be offered solely with the uprated 2.5-litre petrol engine discussed above, paired with 17-inch wheels and the 'standard' exterior styling package (pictured in Japanese-spec guise above).
Above: Japanese-spec Toyota Camry G, similar in exterior appearance to Australia's entry-level model.
Sitting above the Ascent will be the first of two mid-spec models, likely badged 'Ascent Sport', powered solely by a carry-over hybrid powertrain, mating a detuned version of the 2.5-litre Dynamic Force four-cylinder with electric assistance for a total of 160kW.
It features an upgraded 259-volt lithium-ion battery – replacing an ageing nickel-metal hydride unit – which, while announced alongside the facelift, was implemented as a running change from August 2020 pre-facelift production onwards.
The Ascent Sport shares the base car's 17-inch wheels, though gains a sportier exterior body kit, likely comprising a more aggressive front bumper, a rear diffuser and dual exhaust tips.
Sitting above the Ascent Sport is a hybrid-only, sport-themed variant, likely dubbed SX, which the government filings claim will feature 19-inch alloy wheels, a sports suspension tune, and the sport-look body kit shared with the Ascent Sport.
Above: Japanese-spec Toyota Camry WS, similar in appearance to Australia's SX. Bottom of story: Japanese-spec Toyota Camry leather interior.
Expected to sit atop the Camry range is a variant likely to be dubbed SL, seeking power solely from the aforementioned 2.5-litre hybrid system. While the top-spec car features lesser grades' sports body kit, it rides on smaller 18-inch alloy wheels and the 'standard' suspension setup.
As reported in December 2020, the range-topping 3.5-litre V6 – previously offered as an option on SX and SL grades – has been axed due to slow sales, making up just 4 per cent of total Camry sales in Australia.
Unveiled in July 2020, the Camry's mid-life facelift ushered in a range of tweaks and updates for Australia's most popular mid-size car, introducing a revised look, upgraded interior technology (with a larger infotainment screen) and tweaked safety systems.
The 2021 Toyota Camry will go on sale in Australia in the first half of 2021, with a local launch rumoured to occur in April, according to production timelines. Official Australian pricing and specifications will be announced closer to launch.