By on February 27, 2020

An all-wheel-drive vehicle will reappear early this spring after a decades-long absence, tempting those who demand a sure-footed sedan with untold amounts of badge and nameplate loyalty.

While the Toyota Camry AWD might arrive too late to tackle our current winter, the future is a blank slate, ready to be filled with instances of snow-flinging fun. Perhaps a dirt road race against a Subaru Legacy driver is in the cards.

As the Camry AWD heads to dealerships, Toyota has revealed pricing and fuel economy for the intriguing model.

As reported by Motor1 following a first drive event, adding AWD to either the LE, XLE, SE, or XSE trims is a $1,500 proposition, though changes in content actually makes the difference $1,400 when directly compared. A base Camry LE AWD starts at $26,370 before destination. The sportier (in appearance, mostly) SE starts at $27,570, with the lineup topping out at the $31,405 XSE.

Generally, the AWD models are a carbon copy of what’s offered in FWD; the only difference being a small “AWD” badge and, obviously, the underbody driveline components gathered from the RAV4 and Highlander. The same 2.5-liter four-cylinder and eight-speed automatic can be found in all trims (no V6 option here), though the XSE version makes an extra 3 horsepower (205 hp total) thanks to a dual exhaust.


When announced, Toyota claimed it didn’t expect much of a fuel economy penalty with AWD. An electromagnetically controlled coupling on the front of the rear axle severs the link to the propshaft when the rear wheels aren’t required for motivation, aiding the model’s thirst. That said, the system does automatically engage when starting out from a stop, as that’s when front-end slip would most likely be detected. As well, all AWD models see a slight (0.2-inch) boost in ground clearance.

Figures put out by Toyota now show that the MPG loss isn’t exactly miniscule.

The automaker rates the LE and XLE versions at 25 mpg city, 34 mpg highway, and 29 mpg combined. SE and XSE models see a 1 mpg drop in combined economy, to 28 mpg. In contrast, the FWD Camry LE and SE earn an EPA rating of 28 city, 39 highway, and 32 combined. That’s a 3 mpg combined drop for the base AWD model and a 4 mpg drop for the SE.

The FWD XLE and XSE are rated at 27/38/31, meaning a 2 and 3 mpg combined drop for their AWD counterparts, respectively. If highway cruising’s your bag, LE and SE AWD customers will notice the greatest fuel economy drop — a loss of 5 mpg on the open road.

[Image: Toyota]

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14 Comments on “Pricing, Fuel Economy Revealed for Toyota Camry AWD...”

  • avatar

    Wow a 5 mpg drop on the highway on LE and SE when the driveline to the rear wheels isn’t even engaged is considerable. Hard to imagine that would be attributed to the .2 inch ride height increase and????? maybe a change in tires?

  • avatar

    I really like the idea of AWD on sedans and with this a Camry SE AWD just made my short list for next purchase. You may only need it six times a year even in places like Minnesota, but when you need it, you darn well *need* it.

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT


    Couldn’t agree more. Even in states where they do an outstanding job of plowing (here in Utah) the highways/streets, the parking lots are often a mess for a couple of days after a big storm. That’s when you need AWD.

  • avatar

    “An electromagnetically controlled coupling on the front of the rear axle severs the link to the propshaft when the rear wheels aren’t required for motivation, aiding the model’s thirst.”

    At first I thought you’d got it backwards. As in why do this to “aid thirst”? You want to cut thirst, not aid it, surely? But then I saw the ratings and the big mileage drop for AWD, and I realized that by luck you got it correct.

  • avatar

    Why doesn’t Toyota offer a Camry with manual transmission?
    Especially the new TRD edition…. ?
    At least with the 4 cylinder?
    Or offer a sporty Corolla with the 2.5L 4cyl and a manual! ???

  • avatar

    It’s got to be something else to cause over a 10% drop in highway mpg. Tires? Engine transmission calibration in AWD?? Ride height and weight changes don’t seem to me, an admittedly amateur engineer, to account for this.

    • 0 avatar

      The FWD one has been meticulously engineered specifically to look good in EPA tests. All cars in classes where EPA numbers are considered important, is.

      The AWD just adds AWD, with much less concern to how well it fits EPAs tests.

      IOW, in practice, the difference won’t be as big.

  • avatar

    EPA number decreases and MPG losses, are only tangentially related.

    Along the lines of EPA numbers = MPG +- 0-20%, depending on how obsessively the tuning has been done specifically to look good on EPA tests. No amount of EPA tweaking a Tundra, will make it match a Prius, but +- 3-5mpg is perfectly achievable by optimizing for EPA.

  • avatar

    Observation: Rack up sales increases like Subaru has been doing, and even Toyota will notice.

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