• Fuel economy, driving dynamics, interior, exterior design, value for money, servicing cost
  • Limited choice of colours, towing capacity, potentially lower resale value than petrol model

OUR RATING
8 / 10



Toyota Camry Hybrid Review
Toyota Camry Hybrid Review
Toyota Camry Hybrid Review

The all-new Toyota Camry hybrid has gone on sale with a vast list of improvements and a mission to capture more of the private buyer segment.

Based on the new seventh-generation Toyota Camry, the new hybrid range is now more fuel efficient, faster and has a lower starting price than the model it replaces. Toyota is sticking to its guns with hybrid technology, claiming worldwide sales of over 3.5 million hybrid vehicles (the majority of which have been in Japan and North America), which the Japanese company says has saved the world 6.5 million litres of oil and 18 million tonnes of CO2 emissions.

But as we all know, private buyers are far less concerned with their carbon footprint than fleets and governments, so it all comes down to purchase price, fuel efficiency and running costs. On those three points, the new Toyota Camry hybrid is a winner. Starting from $34,990 for the entry-level Camry H (a $2000 or 5.4 per cent reduction compared to the previous entry model hybrid), the new Camry hybrid has a combined average fuel economy of 5.2L/100km (down from 6L/100km) and comes with Toyota’s industry leading fixed price servicing of $130 for the first 75,000km (or four years). It also helps that it’s faster (0-100km/h in eight seconds flat), more powerful (151kW) and lighter (-45kg) than before.

There are two variants, the base model Camry H and the luxury Camry HL. There’s now a wider gap in pricing between the two models, where before the prices started from $36,990 for the base model and finished at $39,990, the range now starts from $34,990 and tops out at $41,490. This works better on two levels, on the one side it makes the base model hybrid variant far more viable to everyday buyers already looking at a petrol Camry and on the other end the slightly more expensive luxury model now offers a lot more kit for the money.

Toyota Camry Hybrid Review
Toyota Camry Hybrid Review
Toyota Camry Hybrid Review
Toyota Camry Hybrid Review

Both variants are powered by the same 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine (118kW of power and 213Nm of torque) which is connected to an electric traction motor (105kW of power and 270Nm of torque). In unison the hybrid system provides 151kW of power. The international standard for torque measurement doesn’t generally favour the way in which hybrid systems deliver their torque (the electric motor provides maximum torque from a near standstill whilst the petrol engine reaches peak torque at 4500rpm) so there is no official torque figure, but given the individual figures for each system, we can confirm that it’s a healthy dose.

From the outside a unique radiator grille and a “hybrid blue” Toyota badge distinguishes the Camry hybrid from a standard model. The headlights also gain blue-accented extensions while the rear-end makes do with a hybrid blue Toyota badge and the high-spec HL gains a bootlid spoiler and chrome garnish. The pearl white colour is also unique to the hybrid range but otherwise it’s not all that different in the looks department.

On the inside the new Camry has been completely reworked. Addressing one of the biggest criticisms of the old model, the interior now sports a fresh, modern and well-contrasted design. It’s by and large the best interior of a Toyota to date, we’d even go as far as to say it’s better the Lexus IS range. The top of the range model also gets some nice gadgets, such as blind spot monitor (which warns of a vehicle in your blind spot by illuminating a warning sign in the corresponding side mirror) and automatic high beam, which is very useful if you frequent country roads.

Toyota Camry Hybrid Review
Toyota Camry Hybrid Review
Toyota Camry Hybrid Review
Toyota Camry Hybrid Review

One of the key focuses for the new Camry has been its improved driving dynamics. Toyota Australia has so much faith in the Camry’s ability to negotiate corners at speed that it brought us to Launceston to drive the vehicle through roads used for the world famous Targa Tasmania rally. This was unique because when we come to Launceston to review cars, they are usually sports cars and never a “white-goods-on-wheels”, which is what many have come to know the Camry for.

But even if the new Toyota Camry hybrid was the absolute best handling car in its class (which it’s not), the stigma of driving a Camry is still ever so present. There is always that sense of “just-another-Camry” whenever you’re behind the wheel. But ultimately the main problem with the Camry hybrid is that it’s such a damn good car overall. Car enthusiasts love to hate the Camry hybrid for being boring and soulless but in all fairness, it does everything that it’s been designed to do extremely well. It accelerates and corners better than most cars in its class, sits on the road confidently, absorbs all the bumps and potholes without complaint, is impressively quiet and refined inside and better yet, it’s ridiculously fuel efficient. No matter how hard we tried to dislike it, its relentless ability to outperform whatever we throw at it eventually won us over.

After nearly two hours of driving around Launceston’s hilly and twisty mountainous roads, we glanced at the average fuel economy figure expecting something along the lines of 14L/100km, the reality? 7.6L/100km. Lets put this into perspective because we were doing our absolute best to wreck the fuel economy figure. The accelerator pedal was getting a work out and our Camry was being treated like a rally car going around the mountain (with complete respect for the road rules, of course). As much as we love diesels, it’s fair to say that no diesel mid-size vehicle we can think of would’ve returned a fuel economy figure that impressive under the same conditions.

Toyota Camry Hybrid Review
Toyota Camry Hybrid Review
Toyota Camry Hybrid Review
Toyota Camry Hybrid Review

Much like the new petrol Toyota Camry, the hybrid’s suspension and power steering were tuned locally for Australia’s unique road conditions. With a bit more weight at the rear (thanks to the nickel metal hydride batteries) the hybrid actually felt more stable around the bends and given the extra torque on tap, acceleration out of corners is more enjoyable. However, we were a little surprised as to the light steering feel. There is a sense of disconnect between steering inputs and what the wheels are doing – it steers well, but you wouldn’t know it by holding the wheel. It feels much lighter than the previous model, a partial consequence of moving the powersteering system to a different location. No doubt the majority of buyers would either never know the difference or in fact appreciate the lighter steering feel for everyday driving, but it still detracts from the “driver’s car” mentality.

Overall the Camry Hybrid’s dual power system works cohesively with the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), which is unlike a conventional CVT because it has to take inputs from two different power units, via a double set of planetary gears. Even though there is technically only the one forward gear (which adjusts its ratios as required), you wouldn’t know it because power delivery and acceleration is smooth and consistent throughout the rev range.

Despite the additional power and torque, better fuel economy, cheaper entry price and overall performance, there are some negatives to buying a Camry hybrid over a petrol, first of which is towing capability. Where the petrol Camry can handle 1200kg, the hybrid is rated to do no more than 300kg. The limitation is the cooling required to keep the battery and electric motor operational. Then there’s the resale value, currently the hybrid models perform worse than the petrol, but that is likely to change when more and more buyers understand hybrid technology. Lastly, the battery pack is still composed of nickel metal hydride, as oppose to the more advanced lithium ion system we’re expecting to see in the Prius V, which arrives in May.

Toyota Camry Hybrid Review
Toyota Camry Hybrid Review
Toyota Camry Hybrid Review
Toyota Camry Hybrid Review

It’s lazy to fault the new Toyota Camry hybrid for being just another lacklustre Toyota but the company’s decision to sell the model in a limited range of exterior colours, which comprise of different shades of black, white and silver, doesn’t help its cause. Nonetheless, the new hybrid makes a hell of lot of sense if you’re already buying a Camry. It may not be a car for everyone but with outstanding fuel economy, improved performance and Toyota’s low cost servicing guarantee, it’s certainly an accomplished contender in the ever crowded medium car segment.

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.

Toyota Camry Hybrid Review
Toyota Camry Hybrid Review

Check out the gallery for more pictures.


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Toyota Camry Hybrid Review
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  • DAVIDZ

    Really great vehicle, they need this powertrain in a Corolla

    Good report too

  • gt86.com.au

    Makes the commydore and falken look soo out of date.. Well done Toyota, Maybe the next model will also have some better styling to go with this.

    • BIGJ

      Seems like an adequate vehicle for a daily driver who just wants to get from A to B with no hassles. Would fit the needs of an average family. 

      However is it just me or does it look like the front bumper doesnt fit properly in the first pic? There is a large panel gap between the hood and top of the bumper that makes it look like it was just tacked on in a hurry. It is also noticeable on the (top spec :P) Camry Atara

      • BIGJ

        Its also interesting to note that the camry ‘whitegoods on wheels’ has more power than the new FT86/BRZ “sports car”.

        • gt86.com.au

           It has a 2.5L vs a 2.0L and is much heavier.. The power to weight ratio of the Toyota 86 / GT 86 and Subaru BRZ is far superior however!
          Speculations of a supercharged 86 and turbo brz however have been mentioned.. so keep tuned!

          • Dylan

            No they haven’t.. there won’t be a 86/BRZ turbo’d/supercharged in the foreseeable future. That’s verbatim from the national sales manager for Aus.. plus its Toyota.. be realistic

      • Sydlocal

        Nice to know an American reads an Australian automotive site. You also appear to have a good knowledge of our local Camry models….

        Over here in Australia we call a “hood” a “bonnet”, well we used to at least! To us, a hood is the roof/top of a convertible, we also sometimes call the lining of the roof a “hood lining”. ;-) ;-)

  • Lucii Pooky

    When I sat in the old Camry I thought to my self that anyone who bought this as their own car (a.k.a not fleet) was a total idiot, but after reading about the latest Camry, looking at it and even seeing 2 on the road, I think the new Camry is a worth rival of the Passat, Mondeo, Euro and Liberty. This car (and the 86) just prove that when Toyota pull their heads out of the sand they can actually produce a decent and worthy family car!

  • Mick

    You can have a diesel hybrid that would return even better fuel economy statistics.  The real issue with hybrid and electric cars though is the battery packs.  Large scale production of hybrid cars using lithium battery packs simply isn’t achievable, due to the availability of lithium and the environmental impact mining lithium has.  Also it will pump up the price of every other device that uses lithium batteries (phones, laptops, navigation systems etc).  Its unfortunate capacitance systems aren’t advanced enough to be suitable as a battery replacement, and be cheaper.  Besides that, even the petrol engines in hybrid cars aren’t as advanced as they could be.

    That said, it would be a great vehicle for certain people!

    • Guest

      But don’t worry about the mining for iron ore, drilling of oil and the impact of them.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1564509104 Raj Shekar

    Alborz, Did you test the new JBL systems in Toyota? how are they compared to the B&O in the German rivals

    • http://www.caradvice.com.au/ Alborz Fallah

      Yes I did, the 10 speaker JBL in the Camry HL is pretty good, but no comparison for the B&O (but also no where near as expensive). I am not a huge fan of JBL though, so maybe I am bias. It also depends on what sort of music you listen to. 

      • Blueberry

        Hey Alborz… Sorry for harping but I am also very curious about the JBL system. Does it have good bass? Good clarity? Did it distort? I am not sure if you pumped the system much but would love your opinion. It would have to be better than the 6 Speaker system in the old camry/aurion/presara of which I currently own.

        • http://www.caradvice.com.au/ Alborz Fallah

          Yes, it’s absolutely better than any other Toyota stereo. I only had a few minutes to play with the system and my co driver wasn’t exactly into loud music so didn’t get to have a huge toy with it – however it’s certainly very bass friendly and rather clear at high volume. I have a lot more faith in the B&O systems though, but JBL is still a very formidable brand. If you were going to buy a car just for its stereo, I’d go with the Germans but if you just want to know that it’s good enough, than it certainly is. 

  • John

    its cars like this that will hopefully keep the faith with the buying australian public, and therefore keep car manufacturing in australia

  • Gus

    Decent engine output, clean design, nice interior, Toyota reliability … looking good!

    • Sumpguard

      Clean design? I like the rear end styling but I have had a good look over a few of these and that lower front end doesn’t work too well imo. It isn’t fully sorted .

  • Springvale Boi

    Still no Entune (where the display connects to the internet via bluebooth/mobile phone) on the Aussie models? It’s available on the US Camrys.

  • Scv

    This car is pretty good.. It’s also quite powerful..

    I saw the interior of the new Camry today, and it’s very nice..

  • NotTheStig

    LIke every other Toyota, the interior is a thrown together mismatch of materials and styles.

    Look at that nasty ’90′s graphic for economy in the dash cluster !

    All the graphics have different fonts, styles, sizes and colours.

    How about those large areas of silver painted plastic on the console and doors ?

    If CA thinks “the interior now sports a fresh, modern and well-contrasted design” – well, you really need to look at other cars…

    Urgh.  

    • Blueberry

      I am not sure what interior you are looking at but it can’t be the new Camry… I must say when I saw it it looked fantastic. For the price point what more do you want. It actually  looks more sophisticated than the Honda Accord’s interior which is starting to look dated. Ad that is saying something as 6 months ago I thought it was the best interior out of all the mid sizers by a long shot.

      • NotTheStig

        Have a look at the photo of the instrument cluster.

        THREE different fonts used !  

        Just one example of the hodgepodge Toyota way…

      • Shak

        VFACTS classifies the Accord as a large car, and as i have one in the family i tend to agree. The things has Commodore-esque leg room, and comes close on boot space. Id also be happy to wager it drives monumentally better than this generation, or any generation of Camry.

  • Jerrycan

    The combined power figure is nothing spectacular but the combined torque is the critical performance factor and more impressive, although I understand that 213 + 270 does not equal 483 in this case.

    My experience of NMh and Lithium batteries longevity in laptops is that Toyota are well advised to avoid Lithium as they deteriorate rapidly after the first year.
    Toyota say the NMh last 10 years which is pretty reasonable and can be recycled after

    The low rolling resistance tyres on the old model were positively dangerous when pressed. Are the new ones better?

  • Golfschwein

    I loathed past generations of Camry with a passion, none more so than the blob that was foisted on us two generations ago. And I had two previous models as company cars. Loathsome, punishing things. I still wouldn’t buy one, as they remain strictly middle of the road talent-wise, it seems, but I’d now be as happy as Larry if given one as a company car. And  I wouldn’t be embarrassed.

  • Scottjames_12

    Bleh. If I was interested in a hybrid, I’d be waiting for the 2013 Ford Fusion/Mondeo hybrid. Now there is a good looking car. But I’m not looking for a hybrid, so I’ll take the 2.0L EcoBoost AWD model instead, thanks! Please Ford, don’t take forever to bring it here….

    • Blueberry

      It wont come here as there is not enough demand. They wouldnt be able to make a business case for it.

  • F1MotoGP

    If you worry about hybrid battery this is what Honda said when released the new Insight.

    “Honda says its battery pack should be good for around 15 years of
    regular use, equating to roughly 240,000km on the odometer. For extra peace of mind, the battery is warranted for eight years with no kilometre limit.

    Should it need to be replaced outside of the warranty, a new battery will cost $1875. A full 98% of the old battery (a nickel-metal hydride unit) is recyclable.”
     

    • Bachman Turner Overdrive

      What happens if the inverter fails outside of warranty? Got a spare $5k kicking around? I’d be more comfortable if the battery warranty extended to the inverter. Still a replacement battery is cheaper than a non warrantable DPF on a diesel!

  • Bachman Turner Overdrive

    Can anyone at car advice tell me where the battery is located in this model? The previous version had the battery in the boot compromising its practicality. When you factor in not being able to fit a towbar, it makes for an unappealing proposition.

    I’d consider one if I could fit a towbar, the battery was underneath the car, Toyota applied the 8 yr battery warranty to the inverter and you could buy a wagon body style. For now a worthy effort… But still a science experiment.

    • Blair Waldorf.

       These can have a tow bar fitted, and the battery is in the boot but it’s far better packaged this time round…

      • Bachman Turner Overdrive

        Good to hear you can have a towbar. The battery in the boot is simply idiotic… It should be under the car.

        • Blueberry

          If they could work out how to put it under the car I am sure they would have… Its all to do with reliability I would assume.

          • Bachman Turner Overdrive

            You are right… Still, room for improvement… Maybe for the next generation of Camry?

        • Phil

          Thats where the spare wheel, exhaust and fuel tank go.

  • Springvale Boi

    IMO the hybrid models will always have lower resale value than the non-hybrid models and it is not because of the public do not know what are hybrids. If I was in the market for a 5-10yr old second hand car, I’d go for a non-hybrid even if I’ve got to pay more.  It is because they hybrids are more complex and there are more things to go wrong. The big batteries are consumable items and cost a few grands to replace (got to be careful replacing it as well as they are 300V-500V batteries and not 12V). Most of the mechanics apart from the dealers do not know how to or have the tools to repair hybrids, it’s got to go to the dealers which charge $$.  

    • Bachman Turner Overdrive

      Spot on. I would not consider a hybrid due to thieir appalling depreciation… What ever you save in petrol you will lose in depreciation.

      • Blair Waldorf

         That’s why you buy them as a lightly used demo, when the depreciation hit has already taken its toll.

        • Bachman Turner Overdrive

          Good theory.., my brother in law did this with a Prius… Now that it’s close to the end of its battery warranty it is virtually worthless.

          • Guest

            Were you looking at striking rich buying a car?

    • Dave

       Still better resale than a commode or falcon

  • Jinnzhang

    This is one of the not too many Toyotas i want to buy. The price is also good.

  • ?????????

    Honestly, the first thing i thought of when I saw my first 2012 Camry on the road was that the Tail lights looked like an updated Epica……. Seriously…
    Guess the Govco Drive cars will have a sharp edged style now.
    Shape will make ot easier to sticker up for Taxi use, wonder if they will still get the huge taxi discount???

  • DWS1

    …how about a hybrid Kluger now?

  • Mark Zammit

    Hi All
    Like to test drive the all new Camry Hybrid contact Mark from South Morang Toyota on 94078000

    • MisterZed

      Toyota are hopeless.  A week after the new Hybrid’s gone on sale, and they still haven’t updated their website with the new model.  Wouldn’t you think they’d have people working on the new website, you know, maybe in advance *before* the car is launched?!

      • F1MotoGP

         I agree with you 100%! I checked the Toyota website few weeks ago and just 2 min ago and still the old Camry Hybrid is there. Toyota poor website!!

        • MisterZed

          Toyota are pathetic – they’re only interesting in serving their fleet customers and treat private buyers 2nd rate.  Fleets don’t care about fancy websites so why should we bother updating the Camry Hybrid site for another few months?  They also engage in false advertising on their website (such as the 360 degree view of the Corolla).  Look for yourself and you’ll see what I mean.

  • Guest

    Have anyone looked at the price of fuel lately ($1.50/litre)? Hybrid vs Diesel – no brainer here as price of diesel is $1.60-1.70/litre.

  • Dave

    Toyota has done it again! They have made a car that customers actually want. An average sized car, affordable, cheap to run and maintain and THE MOST important criteria of all- efficient. And as an additional bonus it’s a toyota so it’s reliable.  And it looks fantastic, both inside and out. The interior is superb! GM Holden and Ford could learn a thing or two from them. I’ve long been a commodore lover and didn’t mind falcons too much either but they’re looking more and more like dinosaurs getting closer and close to extinction. My next car (in a couple of years) will definitely be a hybrid Camry- I think it’s safe to say that the “white goods on wheels” mantra can finally be thrown away. Well done Toyota.

  • Turbodewd

    Id still take the EcoLPI falcon.  Cost to travel the same distance would be a bit more in the Falcon and its made and designed in Australian – winner in my books.

    Im sure this car is great…I just prefer to support AU industry.

  • Dylan

    There seems to be a fair bit of hate up there.. but I have spent a lot of time in a lot of different cars and the Camry HL (hybrid luxury) is one of the most luxurious and comfortable cars in the sector. The fuel economy out of it rivals any diesel. It’s lovely.

    • andy

      i agree- i drove the luxury hybrid today – It was absolutely lovely inside and it had every dadget you could think of, and the drive was as smooth as a babys bum :)

Toyota Camry Specs

LUXURY HYBRID (PSR/SAT) : 2.4L MULTI POINT F/INJ - CONTINUOUS VARIABLE - UNLEADED PETROL - 4D SEDAN
Car Details
Make
TOYOTA
Model
CAMRY
Variant
LUXURY HYBRID (PSR/SAT)
Series
AHV40R
Year
2012
Body Type
4D SEDAN
Seats
5
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
MULTI POINT F/INJ
Engine Size
2.4L
Cylinders
INLINE 4
Max. Torque
187Nm @  4400rpm
Max. Power
110kW @  6000rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
66.9W/kg
Bore & Stroke
88.5x96mm
Compression Ratio
12.5
Valve Gear
VARIABLE DOUBLE OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
CONTINUOUS VARIABLE
Drive Type
FRONT WHEEL DRIVE
Final Drive Ratio
3.542
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
UNLEADED PETROL
Fuel Tank Capacity
65
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
6L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
1645
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
1480mm
Length
4815mm
Width
1820mm
Ground Clearance
150mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:0  Unbrake:0
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
11
Front Rim Size
6.5x16
Rear Rim Size
6.5x16
Front Tyres
215/60 R16
Rear Tyres
215/60 R16
Wheel Base
2775
Front Track
1575
Rear Track
1565
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DISC
Standard Features
Comfort
Auto Climate Control with Dual Temp Zones, Power front seats, Power Sunroof
Control & Handling
16 Inch Alloy Wheels, Electronic Brake Force Distribution
Driver
Cruise Control, Leather Steering Wheel, Mobile Phone Connectivity, Parking Distance Control, Power Steering
Entertainment
CD with 6 CD Stacker, Radio CD with 6 Speakers
Exterior
Fog Lights - Front, Power Mirrors, Rear Spoiler
Interior
Power Windows
Safety
Dual Airbag Package, Anti-lock Braking, Head Airbags
Security
Alarm System/Remote Anti Theft, Central Locking Remote Control, Engine Immobiliser
Optional Features
Exterior
Metallic Paint
Other
Service Interval
9 months /  15,000 kms
Warranty
36 months /  100,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
10-O-18
Country of Origin
AUSTRALIA