The basic Camry cabin and configurations haven’t changed much in recent years. They still appear bland, average and uneventful to me. Standard features include dual zone automatic climate control with air filter, and electric power steering, power locks, and power windows with driver-side auto up/down. Entertainment is provided by the Display Audio system with a 6.1” touch screen, AM/FM/CD with MP3/wma capability, USB port, iPod connectivity, six speakers, hands-free phone connectivity, and audio streaming through Bluetooth.
The instruments are easy to see and read as the tilt/telescopic steering wheel with audio and Bluetooth hands free control aids visibility. The Hybrid is also standard equipped with ECO and EV modes, which allows the driver to trade off A/C power and throttle sensitivity against fuel economy, and adjusting how far the car can stay in purely electrical drive mode.
The Camry rolls on 16” alloy wheels managed by the Hybrid Synergy Drive system, and has colored-key folding power outside mirrors, side rocker panels with chrome inserts, tire pressure monitor, jam protection, daytime running lights, and sport mesh front grille. All standard features that add to Camry’s good looks.
You may feel that Camry is somewhat limited, but time and time again the Camry has proven itself to be a comfortable, dependable, economical and popular car being purchased in the 100,000s. In fact, 90% of Camry’s sold in the last 15 years are still on the road.
There is not much change unless you look under the hood of the hybrid. Camry is completely free of engine drive belts, making the Camry more reliable while saving weight, reducing friction, and helping to improve fuel economy. The hybrid’s electric water pump doesn’t require the engine-driven belt. This shortens engine warm-up time for reduced emissions.
Standard gasoline power component for the Camry Hybrid is a 2.5-L 4-cylinder DOHC 16-valve engine with Dual VVT-i. It is accompanied by a 6-speed transmission, and puts down 178 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 170 lb.-ft. torque at 4,100 rpm. The estimated fuel economy is 43 mpg city and 39 highway for the Hybrid LE, and 40/38 for the heavier Hybrid XLE.
When you look at the hybrid, try to find the battery. Should you give up, then look for it neatly packaged in an area ahead of the trunk, but behind the seats. It actually doesn’t take up much room. Everything is so well packaged, there is little noise, vibration, or harshness.
The Multi-Information Display keeps you continually informed of the Hybrid Synergy Drive energy flow and its efficiency management.
The Camry is spacious and comfortable with 38.8” head room, 58.0” shoulder room, and 41.6” leg room.
The Camry is also equipped with low rolling resistance tires. These specially designed tires allow the air pressure to be increased, which reduces the rolling resistance and improves gas mileage.
The price for the Camry Hybrid is just over $25,000, but the exterior magnetic gray metallic color can add an additional $727.
Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this paper or [email protected]