The venerable Toyota Camry mid-size sedan remains a no-brainer if you are in the market for a competent family car and has been a firm North American favourite for many a year. It has always been a conservative, solid family car that’s been a go-to vehicle for the sensible and value conscious buyer. Newer version of the Camry have looked interior and exterior wise closer to entry-level Lexus models. One interesting variant is the Hybrid version of the Camry that has the edge in fuel economy. A smart looking Ruby Flare Pearl painted 2017 Camry Hybrid XLE test model came our way recently and left us feeling rather impressed. Revisions made in 2016 have resulted in a tighter, more adept, comfortable and better handling car with improved steering feel.
Base pricing for the Camry Hybrid range starts off with the LE model at $29,235 (freight and pre-delivery inspection fees not included), followed by the sports orientated SE model at $31,610 SE, while our loaded XLE tester ($36,450) plus fees and freight, PDI) came with options such as: JBL Audio system, AVN premium navigation system and a host of high end safety goodies like: blind spot monitor, lane departure alert, Cross traffic alert and dynamic radar cruise control.
The Camry hybrid is powered by Toyota’s tried and proven 2.5-litre four-cylinder Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder paired with a 141-hp electric motor powered by a nickel-metal-hydride battery pack and mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission. The powertrain offers 200 horsepower and 199 lb.-ft. of torque; more than adequate for the cars needs. Of course, the Hybrid versions trunk space is compromised due to the extra electrics and battery in the rear, with trunk space reduced to 370L. Note, also the Hybrid Camry loses the 60/40-split fold-down rear seat, and makes do with a small pass-through for longer objects.
On the road, it is incredibly hard to fault the Camry- as it has been for many years. The Camry just delivers on many fronts with its roomy cabin, excellent visibility and ergonomic, neat, unfussy interior. The cabin ambience is certainly upmarket and our XLE featured all the creature comforts one could wish for. A high point is the Camry Hybrids impressive seamless transitions as the gas engine and electric motors transition; quite certainly amongst the best of any hybrid and a testament to Toyota’s expertise in this field. The Toyota sedan’s fuel consumption estimates are 5.7 L/100 km in the city and 6.1 on the highway.
Accusations the Camry maybe be long in the tooth are unfounded I think. True, there are many new players in the mid- size hybrid sedan field, however the Camry Hybrid is still amongst the best with its refined, steadily improved reputation, reliability and high resale value. Good news is that an all-new model is destined for 2018 that should be even better.
2017 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE: Base priced from $36,450. Price as tested with options, fees, freight and PDI $38,523.