Toyota Camry Hybrid: Clean Drive

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  • 37.5 Lakhs
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Toyota Camry Hybrid: Clean Drive - CarTrade

author image Aditya Chatterjee
Friday 01 November 2013

Toyota Camry Hybrid: Clean Drive

Rising petrol prices have made consumers shift to diesel, a comparatively cheaper option. However, it is equally responsible for an increase in carbon footprints, which harms the environment considerably. In addition to the environmental hazards, diesel vehicles cost more upfront and are also high on maintenance compared to their petrol run counterparts. 

Automobile manufacturers unfortunately are compelled to offer diesel variants owing to high demand. There are a huge number of diesel vehicles on the road. This gives added fuel to the fire that accompanies environmentalists and proponents of cleaner automobiles. The best solution is to reduce its consumption and substitute it with alternative fuel sources. 

Hybrid cars are very popular internationally but in India they are not as popular yet because they prove expensive for the normal consumer. Honda did try entering this segment with the Civic hybrid but the sales were very discouraging. Toyota has been successfully selling Prius hybrid in international markets along with offering it in domestic market. 

D+ segment premium sedans mainly consist of Skoda Superb, Honda Accord, Volkswagen Passat, Toyota Camry and Hyundai Sonata. The Superb clearly leads this segment with its uber comfortable interiors along with an efficient diesel engine. Honda and Toyota do not offer a diesel and that makes these two handicap compared to competition. Toyota however decided to take it up as a challenge and equip the Camry with hybrid technology. Premium sedan, spacious interiors and to top it all it’s not heavy on the environment and the pocket. Too good to be true?.. We find out more about it.

Exterior

The Camry Hybrid does not look very different from the conventional model except for few highlights which distinguish this model. It looks very grand on exteriors. The bold chrome coated radiator grille marks the new face of this premium sedan.

It looks like a long cruise liner on wheels. High on design and not on consumption is the theme as even the headlights are very low on power consumption and have a better shelf life. The logo has a blue background symbolizing it’s a hybrid. With chrome being the main character, even the fog lamps are not spared and get the bling touch.

See it along its length and it will not have a Wow! Effect but then at the same time it is not a letdown. The long slung design of the Camry is impressive. The window panes also get sun protection shades running along. The exterior looks of it make you realize that this is a big sedan. The ORVM positions can also be saved and retrieved according to the driver’s convenience.

The rear profile feels very upmarket and premium with the bejeweled tail lights and the chrome section joining them. Overall, the Camry Hybrid looks impressive. It holds on to its luxurious character with a bold design.

Interior

Step inside the cabin and the luxury will engulf you. Premium sedans especially the ones in D+ segment are all about space, comfort and luxury and the Camry Hybrid indeed checks all the boxes.

The interior trims are finished in faux wood, beige and matte black. Their well balanced proportions makes the passengers feel very comfortable. The leather clad wooden finished steering wheel gets audio controls mounted on it. It can be electrically adjusted for setting the rake and reach.

The front seats also have controls mounted on their side so as to let the rear passengers adjust its position. Adding to the comfort factor are the arm rests for the front row as well as the rear row of passengers. With more than generous headroom, legroom and kneeroom, the new Camry retains its comfortable executive sedan tag.

The on board music system is decent and does not have the amazing audio quality as some of its competitors offer. The music system comes with 6 speakers with a touchscreen compatible screen as well as USB and AUX-in plug in options. The user interface of the touch screen could have been better than the one being presently used. However, the utility aspect of it is nice as it is very convenient and easy to use.

 

Performance

The Camry hybrid combines the best of both worlds by offering a 2.5L gasoline engine combined with a Synchronous electric motor. This combination is a very good solution to the otherwise conventional diesel setup as it is less on maintenence, high on effeciency.

The Hybrid pushes the envelope further by raising the total power output to 205Ps. It uses a Permanent Magnet Synchronous motor to churn 650V of voltage. This motor is capable of producing torque of upto 270Nm and an output of 143 PS. Unlike other hybrids which only concentrate on making the drive more efficient this one actually makes the engine feel more powerful.

A soft touch on the Power button and the electric motor switches on. It is the display on the instrumental panel which will make you realise that the vehicle is powered on since there is no audible sound. Shift the stick to D and a small green EV logo appears on the panel indicating it is on Electric mode.

It gets difficult to believe that a 1625 Kg vehicle is just rolling on the road without any engine noise at all. The electric motor is very effecient and smooth. A gentle pat on the accelertor pedal and the car starts gaining speed. The on-board computer senses the driving style and automatically shifts to gasoline as required. The intermittent shift takes place seamlessly.

Even the gasoline VVT-i engine feels alive when pushed hard. The engine may not be an athletic unit but even then it feels very punchy similar to a diesel unit. If you are not much in the Eco mood and nor do you want the effecient electric motor to pull, get all the modes off and enjoy the pure petrol 2.5L engine. On the highways, it is sheer joy as it does not take efforts to overtake and reaches high speeds very easily.

A small letdown is the handling of this car. It has a noticable body roll. This gets highlighted when driving it at sharp corners and great speeds. It seems to lose grip and drift away. The grand dimensions which work in favor of comfort dont score high when it comes to handling.

Even the suspension setup is adjusted to provide a soft drive. It takes all the undulations very easily and the passengers dont even come to know about it. The rear section of the Camry is the zone to be in. It feels like a King’s throne with oodles of legspace and luxury to get spoilt in. The array of controls on the rear armrest makes life so easy. It suits the typical Blackberry talking Financial Express reading executives who like the niche life.

The Camry Hybrid also delivers great effeciency figures as we got an idealistic figure of 17 Kmpl with the hybrid motor. Overall, the performance of Camry Hybrid indeed impressed us. Performance clubbed with effeciency and a cleaner alternative makes the Camry Hybrid one of its own kind in its segment.

 

Specifications
Technical Specifications
 Make Toyota
 Model Camry
Variant Hybrid
Engine displacement (cc) 2494
Power in PS / RPM 160/5700
Torque in Nm / RPM 213/4500
Transmission E-CVT
Electric Motor Type Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor
Max. Voltage 650V
Max. Output 143PS
Max. Torque  270Nm
Hybrid System
Total Max. Output 205PS
Total Max. Torque 270Nm
Drive Mode ECO and EV
Tyre size 215/60 R16
Brakes Front Disc
Brakes Rear Disc
Fuel Tank capacity (L) 65
Dimensions in mm
Length 4825
Width 1825
Height 1480
Wheel Base 2775
Ground clearance 160
Minimum turning radius M 5.5
Kerb Weight Kgs 1625
Features Hybrid
Automatic HID Head lamps  Yes
10 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
Leather seats 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
Traction Control Yes
Collapsible co-passenger headrest Yes
Impact sensing Fuel Cut off Yes
Vehicle Stability Control Yes
Toyota Camry Competitors
Specifications
Toyota
Camry
Honda
Accord
Skoda
Superb Ambition
Hyundai
Sonata
Variant Hybrid 2.4 AT 2.0 TDI AT 2.5 Gdi MT
Ex showroom Price  Mumbai NA 2178999 2315171 2168066
Engine Displacement 2494 2354 1968 2359
Power in PS / RPM 205 180/6500 140/4200 201/6300
Torque in Nm / RPM 270 222/4300 320/2500 250/4200
Transmission 6/AT 5/AT 6/AT 6/MT
Tyre size 215/60 R16 215/60 R16 185/65 R15 215/55 R17
Brakes Front Disc Disc Disc Disc
Brakes Rear Disc Disc Drum Disc
Fuel Tank capacity L 65 70 60 70
Fuel Hybrid Petrol Diesel Diesel
Dimensions in mm
Length 4825 4950 4838 4820
Width 1825 1845 1817 1835
Height 1480 1475 1482 1490
Wheel Base 2775 2800 2761 2795
Ground clearance 160 155 158 155
Minimum turning radius M 5.5 5.6 5.4 5.4
Claimed Mileage Kmpl 19.16 11.8 17.2 16
Features
Headlight height adjuster Yes Yes Yes Yes
Alloy wheels Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fog lamps Yes Yes Yes Yes
2 DIN Audio system  Yes Yes Yes Yes
Leather interiors Yes Yes Yes Yes
Electrically adjustable driver seat Yes Yes Yes Yes
Rear AC Vents Yes Yes Yes Yes
Rain sensing wipers Yes Yes Yes Yes
Driver and  front Passenger airbag Yes Yes Yes Yes
Side Curtain airbag No Yes Yes Yes
Electric sunroof No Yes No No
ABS with EBD and BA Yes Yes Yes Yes
Conclusion

 It is about time that we encourage such alternate fuels and encourage more manufacturers to come up with such environmental friendly solutions. The Camry Hybrid with its hybrid technology and extreme passenger comfort scores very impressively.

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