A silver 2025 Toyota Camry is shown driving on a city street.

Wholly Hybrid Camry: Is Toyota Making a Big Mistake?

Back in 1998, I remember my parents trading in their old Buick Riviera for a shiny new Toyota Camry. It was bright white with gold badging, and that thing lasted for decades. It was the car I passed my driver’s license exam in, the car I drifted into a snowbank in, and the car that my mother finally traded in when it was literally falling apart many, many years (and hundreds of thousands of miles) later. It was one of the most reliable cars I ever knew, and I guess I’m not alone, seeing as it’s still immensely popular to this day despite SUVs and crossovers taking over the roadways. The Camry has always offered many options, plenty of engines to choose from, all-wheel drive capabilities, and, of course, distinctive trims and features.

If you take notice of Toyota’s upcoming vehicles, however, the Camry has significantly changed. Where are all of the powertrain options? The 2025 Toyota Camry offers a single hybrid powertrain. Like many drivers, I have mixed feelings about this. Sure, many automakers are pledging that by 2030, their inventory will be entirely electric, but Toyota has yet to make this pledge. In fact, they seem to be maintaining the level of versatility we’ve come to expect from this brand, offering a wide selection of their vehicles as gas-powered, hybrid, and electric. To me, this provides options, which is quickly setting Toyota apart from the rest. Will Toyota’s gamble of going hybrid only for the 2025 Camry pay off? It seems to me it may be risky.

Camrys of the Past

The Camry has long been a best seller. That much is obvious the moment you take a look at its sales for the past couple of decades. Since its debut in 1983, the Camry has become ingrained in our society. This midsize sedan has shown itself to be the perfect option for a wide range of drivers. It’s efficient and comfortable, perfect for everyday commuters. Its roomy backseat and impressive trunk space make it easy for families to accommodate their little ones, as well as strollers, car seats, and more. Its optional all-wheel drive capabilities make it an exceptional pick, whether you find yourself on rough roadways or going through a bout of bad weather. To put it simply, it’s a jack of all trades.

Camrys of the past have offered drivers choices, which is why you see so many of these sedans passing you by on the highway. If you wanted more power, you could opt for the V6 engine. If you prefer more efficiency, you could opt for the hybrid or four-cylinder options. If you were interested in luxury, you could opt for the elegant XSE. If you want more excitement, the TRD is for you. Back in the day, the Camry even offered a manual transmission option. There was something for every driver, so when I heard that Toyota was vastly limiting the Camry’s engine selection, like anyone who’s committed to the Toyota brand, I was concerned. After all, the Camry is an award winner. From Best Resale Value by Kelley Blue Book to a frequent IIHS Top Safety Pick, the Camry seeks out success. This begs the question, how will the 2025 hybrid-only Camry affect all of this?

The black and red interior and dash of a 2025 Toyota Camry is shown.

What We Can Expect for 2025

Obviously, the biggest change for 2025 is the powertrain selection, which consists of a 2.5L I-4, paired with two electric motors. This is nothing new, considering this has been an engine option on previous Camry models. Toyota has made some changes, however, especially when it comes to its power. For 2025, the Camry will offer up to 232 horsepower, making the ride a bit more exciting. Looking at the numbers, this year’s hybrid tops out at 208 horses, so a more energetic ride can be expected for 2025. Of course, when you’re driving a hybrid, fuel efficiency is better than strictly gas-powered vehicles. Although fuel efficiency ratings have yet to be released, you can probably expect the 2025 Camry to offer around the same 51 MPG city and 53 MPG highway as the 2024 model.

In addition to more power and ample efficiency, the 2025 Camry can also be armed with Electronic On-Demand All-Wheel Drive. This is where you can put all of those 232 horses to work, driving you forward with confidence, and adding extra traction and control to the drive when you find yourself in some less-than-desirable travel situations. You can also expect a revamped suspension and braking system, which will enhance overall handling and performance in various driving environments. Toyota is also proud of the fact that the Camry is its first sedan utilizing the fifth-generation Toyota Hybrid System, with a new HEV system to enhance its power at lower speeds, offering excellent acceleration and ride quality.

Not only is the 2025 Camry all-hybrid, but it’s also been redesigned for its ninth generation, with a more athletic vibe, modern styling, and brilliant LED lighting elements. New exterior colors, sporty style enhancements like aerodynamic air ducts and an exposed dual-tip exhaust on certain models, and more exciting features breathe new life into this Toyota classic—that is, if you don’t mind driving a hybrid. I’m only saying that because hybrids aren’t for everybody.

Obvious Advantages

Hybrids, for the most part, add many perks to the drive. You’re able to take advantage of insane gas mileage and of course, fewer trips to the gas station. You’re able to save time and money at the fuel pump, as well as receive tax incentives and rebates for driving a hybrid car. Hybrids can also save you time and money at the mechanic, since the engine and electric motors share the burden of the drive, reducing the amount of wear and tear on each.

With the 2025 Camry, you get to enjoy more power. Gone are the days when hybrids were laughed at for their lack of power. I remember test-driving a Yaris over ten years ago and being seriously concerned when merging onto the interstate. To say that it was slow as molasses is an understatement. The 2025 Camry won’t be like that. Hybrid technology has come a long way, and in many instances, hybrid vehicles are quicker off the line than many of their gas-only counterparts. Just look at the Corvette E-Ray. Plus, the new style of the Camry inside and out is enough to appeal to drivers looking to stand out on the road.

A silver 2025 Toyota Camry is shown parked on a parking spot.

Limitations to Consider

The obvious limitation is the powertrain selection. There’s no choice whatsoever. You’re stuck with one hybrid option, and that’s it. This may have worked on the Sienna minivan, but comparing the Sienna to the Camry is like comparing apples and oranges. If you want the power of the V6 in the 2025 Camry, you’re out of luck. If you want to be able to choose between pure gas and hybrid powertrains, you’re also out of luck. This is something to consider, especially if you are not interested in driving a hybrid vehicle at this time.

Hybrids are also more expensive. People like the Camry because depending on which trim you choose, you’re able to get a bargain for the level of reliability, safety, and efficiency you can achieve in the Camry. Yes, you can save on gas when driving a hybrid, but the upfront cost can be an issue for some drivers. Hybrids also excel when it comes to city driving. Regenerative braking allows a hybrid to cycle its energy, recharging its battery anytime your foot is off the pedal on the right. If your drive doesn’t consist of city driving, hybrids aren’t all that different from many gas-only vehicles.

Another thing to keep in mind is your average climate, as any battery’s capacity can diminish more quickly in colder climates. This can make a hybrid-only model a risky choice for those living in North Dakota, Minnesota, or any other state that sees frigid weather in winter.

Final Take

Is Toyota making a big mistake by making the Camry hybrid only for 2025? It depends. We’re going to start seeing more hybrids and electric vehicles on the roadway. That’s just how the industry seems to be going. I think it would be a different story if Toyota opted for an all-electric powertrain instead, since a lot of drivers are apprehensive about adopting EVs right now. For the time being, my prediction is that Toyota will try the hybrid-only system for a while, but don’t be surprised if more powertrain options end up making their way back into the lineup in the future. We like what we like, and even the biggest Camry fan may not want to be limited to a hybrid. Only time will tell.