Toyota Camry Hybrid Facelift Review
It was a brave move by Toyota to launch Camry hybrid in India in 2013 as the market was not exactly hybrid friendly back then but to everyone’s surprise, they ended up selling more hybrids than the conventional gasoline variant encouraging the Japanese car major to launch the new look Camry Hybrid in India.
The only stumbling block on why the Camry didn’t make it to the best selling list was the absence of a diesel motor where its rival the Skoda Superb had a clear lead. However, many seem to ignore the fact that the Camry Hybrid has a better mileage range than many others in the same and above segment. Not to forget it is cleaner too leaving a smaller carbon footprint. Our first take on the New Camry Hybrid is here.
Much to everyone’s relief, Toyota have finally managed to make the Camry look as interesting as its international version. The out of sync exteriors of the previous offering can be happily forgotten as the new iteration looks more appealing with fresh set of lines and contours.
The headlamp cluster has been redesigned with LED DRLs and this time it sits at the extreme ends of the wide and sleek radiator grille. There is a solid chrome band at the hood lip with a minor accent on the grille too. To make sure the onlookers do not confuse the hybrid with the normal gasoline variant, the Toyota logo has a blue background; as seen on the earlier model.
My favourite bit has to be the large open mouth air dam with a matte black wire mesh. The lip of the front bumper too gets a chrome dazzle. Unlike its traditional placing, the fog lamps have been repositioned to sit inside the air dam section making them centrally placed. Even the turn indicators have got a unique vertical positioning and are placed at the extreme of the front bumper.
The hood profile has been increased as it looks longer now. The brand new sleek head lights and turn indicators mark their presence on the side as well. This time around it gets bigger multi-spoke 17 inch alloys which look more upmarket than earlier. The window surround and door handles sport chrome finish. The overall flat straight roof line continues on this one as well.
The wrap around tail lamps have been carried forward but then the detailing around them have been changed. The chrome strip under the tail lamps has been ditched and the solid chrome band joining rear tail lamps has been replaced with a sleeker form. To make the rear bumper look wider than before, the rear reflectors have been pushed to a lower position. Lastly, there is some more chrome on the lower lip of the rear bumper as well. The number of times I wrote ‘Chrome’ in the above description might make it sound too jazzy looking but in real it’s not as the proportions used are acceptable.
Inside the New Camry, the arrangement feels a lot similar as Toyota has improvised the interiors to make it feel better equipped and premium than before. It is the roominess of Camry which speaks a lot about its interior comfort as it gets one of the best comfort zones in the market.
Large diameter semi wooden finished steering wheel makes it into this one with an important change in the instrumental cluster. It gets a modern binnacle with a central information screen which shows the drive mode with an energy monitor, driving style indicator with realistic fuel consumption and other vehicle settings. All these options can be scrolled with steering mounted controls. The tachometer has been replaced with an Eco – Power – Charging meter, which shows the current drive mode.
To make it feel rich, the interior trims sport a combination of beige and ebony complimented with strong highlights of wooden finished veneers. The same can be seen on dashboard, door trims, central console and also around the rear air-conditioner vents. In addition to its unique appeal, the massive length of space available for the rear passengers is truly rivalling.
The high on comfort rear seats and individual controls on the armrest help the rear occupants adjust and recline seats to eight degrees, operate rear windshield sunshade, control audio system and set the right temperature together make it an unparallel experience for the rear passengers. The same would be highly appreciated by the class of chauffer driven.
It also gets a new 6.1inch touchscreen infotainment unit mounted on the dashboard which can help stream music, use Bluetooth telephony and also help understand individual driving characteristics. It also shows the drive mode engaged and real time graphic display of gasoline and electric motor powering the wheels.
The quality of buttons and knobs are fairly decent with soft touch plastic. In addition to its premium comfort, it also has practical solutions for mundane needs. There are container pockets on front door trims, generous space under the central armrest, storage pockets on central console with cup holders, rear armrest storage and a large boot area.
One thing where Toyota never gets it wrong is making impressive engines. Be it the range starting Etios or its flagship offering. The new design of the Camry Hybrid is matched with an equally powerful 2.5L gasoline engine paired with a Permanent Magnet Synchronous Electric Motor doing the hybrid duties.
The petrol motor in the hybrid makes lesser power compared to its conventional offering but the deficit in power is compensated with a powerful electric motor. Both motors work in tandem to make sure the power delivery is seamless. At the press of a button, it is the electric motor that hauls the car into motion from standstill and continues to do so until the car reaches a speed of 40km/h where the switch happens.
The reason for the above is not just to get better mileage but as conventional gasoline engines cannot produce torque at low engine speeds producing a lag whereas electric motors can - resulting in a smooth and effective low range performance. Even in low speeds, electric motors are highly efficient.
There are two driving modes to choose from namely the EV Mode and Eco Mode. The EV mode will only be activated if there is sufficient charge left in the battery to power the electric motor else the vehicle continues to run on the 2.5L engine. The Eco Mode combines the potential of both engines for a smoother performance throughout the range.
The 2.5L engine makes 160 PS of power at 5700 rpm and 213 Nm of torque at 4500 rpm. The electric motor combined with the petrol engine raises the power output to 205 PS. It also comes with an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission which makes sure the shifts are smooth along with reduced fuel consumption.
The shifts aren’t as quick as in competition cars but then it does a decent job of building higher momentum in a subtle manner. The intelligent hybrid system keeps a close eye on the driving style. At low speed range it is the electric motor which pushes the car into mid range post that the more powerful gasoline motor kicks in. Even at cruising speeds, the electric motor automatically takes it over shutting the gasoline unit. It is the CVT which delays the delivery at certain occasions else the petrol motor has tremendous potential to be extremely quick.
It feels soft on harsh roads and uneven surfaces as the suspensions quickly absorb the difference in surfaces with great ease. The settings remain similar to the previous car with an important change of improved cabin insulation. The exhaust system has been tweaked along with better cabin insulation to cancel the outside ambient noise.
The ride dynamics feel stable on straight line and can easily reach higher speeds without much of stress. The delayed response post shifts makes it difficult at times especially at manoeuvres like overtaking which demands more power than in usual straight line. There is body roll too but not to the amount of highlighting it. If pushed hard, the engine tries hard to match up with the rising demand while the shifts act confused. The ARAI mileage figures stands best in class at 19.16kmpl while realistically we got 14kmpl.
|Engine displacement (cc)||2494|
|Power in PS / RPM||160/5700|
|Torque in Nm / RPM||213/4500|
|Electric Motor Type||Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor|
|Total Max. Output||205PS|
|Total Max. Torque||270Nm|
|Drive Mode||ECO and EV|
|Tyre size||215/60 R16|
|Fuel Tank capacity (L)||65|
|Dimensions in mm|
|Minimum turning radius M||5.5|
|Kerb Weight Kgs||1635|
|Automatic HID Head lamps||Yes|
|15 Spoke 16" Alloy wheel||Yes|
|Rear combination lamp ith LED brake light||Yes|
|2 DIN Audio system with touch screen display||Yes|
|Center console Box with sliding leather armrest||Yes|
|Leather trip on cowl and dashboard with real stiching||Yes|
|8 Way power adjust driver and front passenger seats||Yes|
|Rear AC Vents||Yes|
|Rain sensing wipers||Yes|
|Driver and front Passenger airbag||Yes|
|ABS with EBD and BA||Yes|
|Rear seats with Power recline||Yes|
|Front seats with ventilation System||Yes|
|Triple Zone Automatic Climate Control||Yes|
|Smart entry system with Start/Stop button||Yes|
|Immobilise + Alarm||Yes|
|Collapsible co-passenger headrest||Yes|
|Impact sensing Fuel Cut off||Yes|
|Vehicle Stability Control||Yes|
Competition All Specs
|Variant||Hybrid||Elegance 2.0 TDI CR AT||35 TFSI Premium|
|Fuel||Petrol + Electric||Diesel||Petrol|
|Power in Bhp/RPM||158 / 5700||138 / 4200||170 / 3800|
|Torque in Nm/RPM||213 / 4500||320 / 1750||320 / 1400|
|Wheel base mm||2775||2761||2808|
|Kerb Weight in Kg||1635||1644||1545|
|Fuel tank capacity L||65||60||63|
|Tyres||215 / 55 R17||205 / 55 R16||225 / 55 R16|
Taking advantage of the new FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric vehicles in India) scheme launched by Indian Government, Toyota gets a waiver of Rs 70,000 which the company has effectively passed on to the consumers.
This luxury line sedan from Toyota has always been appreciated for its features and comfort. With the new design, it looks better and modern in line with its international line-up. The Camry Hybrid is priced at Rs 31.92 lakhs with the generic argument going against it as many would end up comparing it with Skoda Superb, which is cheaper. Also, for a similar price, one can opt for a more premium Audi A4 with more snob value.
But then, both these cars lack practicality of a daily car wherein the Camry steps in. The oodles of space for all occupants, great on comfort features and then to top it all, the highly efficient hybrid motor makes it unlike any other car. Even after driving it for more than 500Kms, the fuel tank showed 90% fuel left. Therefore, if you are looking for a luxurious sedan with a clean green and long range of mileage, the Camry Hybrid should do just fine.