We took the latest iteration of the Toyota Camry Hybrid Luxury for a ride and found it was pretty good for one of the larger cars in the hybrid family. However, its size is not without some compromise to economy compared with Toyota’s other offerings.
It took 8.5 seconds to go from 0 to 100 km/h, which is impressive. The steering is very light and quick for a big car, though it feels a touch lifeless and it's not as direct as others. That said, it’s much better than the Prius’ steering. A leather-wrapped steering wheel feels slippery, just as with the Prius, but it is adjustable for both height and rake. The brakes feel powerful and will stop the car quickly from any speed – 10 metres from 50 km/h.
The car has constantly variable transmission which works well, and it’s fast to respond when putting the right foot down quickly. The ride is comfortable, but quite firm, and the car feels stable even when cornering fast. The body also feels solid.
The cabin is comfortable – the seats are firm, and the backrest and pew of the driver’s seat provide enough lateral support. A bit of road noise enters the cabin when driving on rough surfaced roads, and slight wind noise is present from the A-pillars when going over 100 km/h. It has some nice features which make driving it a pleasant experience: a reversing camera, electric driver’s seat adjustment with two memory positions, and a blind-spot monitor, which is a light built into the outside mirrors that comes on if there is another car next to you, warning you not to change lanes.
While Toyota claims 5.2L/100 km, we found around 6L/100km – still pretty good for such a large car. Like the Prius, the petrol engine turns off if you come to a stop, thus saving fuel. It’s hardly noticeable when it fires up and it’s as good as the system in the Prius.
The Camry hybrid base model is about $5000 more expensive than the base model Camry, which does make this a relatively expensive car and not quite as fuel efficient as other hybrids. However, it’s recommended if you’re looking for a larger car but still want to reduce your fuel.