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The all-new 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid has been launched with a lower starting price, better fuel economy, more features and improved performance.

The Toyota Camry, which is the best selling mid-size car in the world, has again gone hybrid with the seventh-generation model now sporting a new 2.5-litre engine which combines with an electric motor to provide 151kW (up from 140kW) of power.

Individually the 2.5-litre petrol engine produces 118kW and 213Nm of torque, in addition to the 105kW and 270Nm of torque provided by the electric motor. The international standard for power and torque measurement doesn’t favour hybrid systems so there is no official torque figure, but given the individual figures for each power plant, we can confirm that it’s a healthy dose. The dash from 0-100km/h is now 0.9 of a second quicker at eight seconds flat.

Fuel usage has also improved to 5.2L/100km for the combined cycle (an 0.8L/100km improvement), which puts the locally produced Camry hybrid below the diesel competitors in its class. Toyota Australia is adamant that hybrid cars are not going away and as more and more of its models gain a hybrid variant, the acceptance rate will increase.

Two Toyota Camry Hybrid models will be available with prices starting from $34,990 for the entry-level Camry H (a $2000 or 5.4 per cent reduction). The high spec Camry HL comes in at $41,490, which is  $1500 more than the Camery Hybrid Luxury it replaces. Nonetheless, Toyota has jam packed it full of new features, such as blind spot monitoring system, automatic high beam assist and more. The company says the HL gets equipment gains of at least $4500 for the price rise.

The new Camry Hybrid also has a pure EV (electric vehicle) mode, which means about 2km of pure electric powered driving (so long as it’s under 45km/h). An ideal way to reduce noise and pollution in car parks or suburbia. Toyota says this advancement was made possible by improving the battery cooling systems.

From the outside a unique radiator grille and a “hybrid blue” Toyota badge can distinguish the Camry Hybrid from a standard model. The headlights also gain blue-accented extensions while the rear embraces a hybrid blue Toyota badge and the high-spec model gains a bootlid spoiler and chrome garnish.

The biggest change from the previous Camry Hybrid is felt inside, where it presents a far more refined interior package. Apart from the soft-touch padding and a much better overall ambiance, the hybrid models make use of a three-dial Optitron instrument panel with chrome-accented outer rings and metallic-blue meter gradations.

Like the petrol variant, Camry Hybrid gains a five star ANCAP safety rating thanks to seven airbags and an array of active safety features. A reversing camera with the image displayed on a 6.1-inch touchscreen comes standard.

CarAdvice is currently at the launch of the Toyota Camry Hybrid. Check back soon for a full comprehensive review. Check out the gallery for more pictures.

Toyota’s Camry H and Camry HL Hybrid specifications:

Both model grades have:

  • 151kW overall maximum power
  • 2.5-litre hybrid-specific petrol engine
  • EV drive mode
  • ECO driving indicator
  • seven SRS airbags
  • seatbelt warnings for all five seats
  • alloy wheels
  • electric driver’s seat with lumbar support
  • dual-zone auto climate control air conditioning
  • smart entry wireless door lock
  • smart start
  • acoustic windscreen
  • reversing camera
  • Hill-start assist control
  • display audio
  • Optitron instrument cluster with multi-information display
  • 300kg towing capacity
  • side indicators in the exterior mirrors, and
  • metallic/mica paint.

Camry H has 16-inch alloy wheels with Michelin tyres. A six-speaker display audio system with a 6.1-inch screen.

Camry HL has 17-inch alloy wheels with Bridgestone tyres, front fog lamps, rear lip spoiler, chrome door handles and chrome rear garnish. Interior leather accents and premium door trims, driver’s seat memory, power front passenger seat, premium steering wheel and gear-shift knob, electro-chromatic rear vision mirror and rear electric sunshade. JBL premium 10-speaker audio system with a seven-inch display screen, satellite navigation, live traffic updates and digital radio. The reversing camera on HL grade has a back-guide monitor. Rear parking sonar is also standard equipment on the HL model. Technology features on HL grade include blind spot monitor (BSM) and automatic high beam. A moonroof is available as an optional extra on Camry HL.