2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid SE Review

Friday January 5th, 2018 at 11:11 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid SE

Hypes: Improve Looks, Packaging, Performance
Gripes: Poor Regenerative Brake Pedal Feel

Toyota’s official designation for the color of this week’s 2018 Camry is “Ruby Flare Pearl.” It costs $395 extra and is worth every penny. But since when is Ruby Flare Pearl a name you’d associate with a Camry? Since now. Toyota has finally begun to veer off the straight and narrow path that defined the plain vanilla Camry franchise for so long. Our candy apple red Camry Hybrid colors an all new design for 2018, the first to use the TNGA platform that lowers roofline and driving position by a full inch. This architectural revision signifies a willingness to rethink, redirect and reinvigorate the staid Camry model line.

2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid SE

Camry’s reduced height is hardly the only noticeable change for 2018. Both the nose and tail have been radically re-proportioned, with newly incised slits and gills up front, and nips and tucks to the rear to eliminate the outgoing model’s hefty butt. The all new Camry is so much better looking than the model it replaces that you wouldn’t know it was even a distant cousin to Toyota’s long line of frumpy looking sedans . Setting off the scintillating new fender flares are a set of sharp aluminum wheels, 18 inches in diameter, finished in black but set off by the high gloss silver of machined facings. Hankook Kinergy GT tires (235/45R18) supply the show quality rims with excellent all weather grip. They promise long life too, with a tread wear (TW) rating of 580.

2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid SE

Inside the cabin, the changeover is even more apparent. The interior of our up-market SE level four-door sported a sweeping, lavishly appointed dashboard, set off by discreet hammered aluminum trim. The plush seats, upholstered in cream colored SofTex fabric, looked dramatic, with bold horizontal ribs defining the actual seating surfaces. Belying this car’s base MSRP of $29,500, the driver’s seat features standard 8 way power adjustments plus power lumbar, and 6 way manual adjustment for the passenger. In the center of the dash sits a 4.2 inch multi-informational display. This screen is well integrated to the confines of the available space, and avoids the drive-in movie screen effect so common to dashboards today. It’s easy to read in all lighting, and a snap to operate when setting or selecting favorites on SiriusXM radio. To Toyota’s everlasting credit, all HVAC controls are operable independently of the screen, with separate heat, blower and A/C buttons that leave your eyes focused on the road, not the dash.

2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid SE

The big news for Hybrid fans in 2018 is the complete revision of this system’s battery and packaging. An all new, smaller Lithium-Ion battery pack now sits beneath the back seat, allowing the sizeable 15 cubic foot Hybrid trunk to offer a flat floor for the first time. That’s a net gain of 2.0 cubic feet in storage space this year. Even better, the Hybrid offers a 60/40 split rear bench seat for the first time ever. But the most important aspect of the latest Hybrid is not its appearance, its wheels, its tires or its interior. Rather, this is the first Camry Hybrid I have driven that is fast enough to justify calling it a legitimate sports sedan. This SE is genuinely quick in a straight line. It will rocket from 40mph to 80mph on the freeway so fast you will disbelieve your speedometer. This year, Toyota has coupled a very sophisticated 2.5 liter, 4 cylinder, 176hp gasoline engine to the revised 118hp electric motor. When prodded in unison, this duo provides 208 combined horsepower, and more importantly, 302lb.-ft. of torque. That’s enough output to rocket this Camry from the slow lane to the fast lane in an eye blink. It’s also the first sedan I have driven that is perfectly suited to the rheostat like power management of a CVT transmission. Although Toyota provides floor mounted manual shifting through faux “gears” as well as steering wheel adjacent paddles, neither is necessary to harness the turbine-like performance of the new “Dynamic Force” engine. On all counts, then the 2018 Camry marks a huge improvement over the Hybrid it replaces. At $33,695 including optional moonroof ($900), uprated audio package ($1,080) and Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert ($600), this drastically revised sedan makes a strong case for choosing it over any cumbersome SUV.

2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid SE

2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid SE

  • Engine: 2.5 liter inline 4, DOHC, 16 valve, dual injection and VVT-i; Electric Motor, permanent magnet, AC synchronous
  • Horsepower: Gas Engine – 176hp@5700rpm; Electric Motor – 118h
  • Torque: Gas Engine – 163lb.-ft.@5200rpm; Electric Motor – 149lb.-ft.
  • Fuel Consumption: 1MPG City/53MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $33,695
  • Star Rating: 8.5 out of 10 Stars

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2016 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE Sedan Review

Wednesday July 20th, 2016 at 11:77 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

2016 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE Sedan

By David Colman

Hypes: The Gas Gauge Never Moves Off Full
Gripes: Limp Tire Choice, Unpredictable Regenerative Brakes

As the first half of 2016 fast approaches, Toyota’s Camry remains the sales leader in the USA in the crowded mid-size sedan marketplace. What does it take for this unassuming four-door to beat such heavy hitters as Honda’s Accord, Nissan’s Altima, Hyundai’s Sonata, Ford’s Fusion and VW’s Passat? If our week in the Hybrid version of the Camry is any indication, it takes excellent fuel mileage combined with reputable dependability to persuade Americans to buy more Camrys than any other mid-size product.

2016 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE Sedan

Of all the models in the Camry line, from the 173hp entry-level 2.5 liter LE to the 268hp 3.5 liter XLE, only one garners top honors in the fuel efficiency sweepstakes. That would be the Hybrid XLE we drove. In a solid week of testing, including numerous short hops and long distance cruises, the fuel level never once dipped below the 3/4 full mark because the Hybrid scores 38 MPG on the highway and an even better 40 MPG around town. This is truly amazing for a fully appointed four door that weighs more than a ton and a half. This Hybrid rates 9 out of 10 on the EPA’s “Fuel Economy and Greenhouse Gas Rating” and it does so without the inconvenience of a plug-in receptacle. You can hold your green head high with this vehicle and never once suffer the range inhibition so common to owners of fully electric vehicles.

The acceleration of the Hybrid is surprisingly strong with good torque immediately on tap as the CVT transmission shuffles belts to maximize output from a standstill. The Hybrid uses a 2.5 liter inline four cylinder petrol engine good for 178hp. This unit combines with an electric motor to boost total output to 200hp. The additive value of the electric motor thus adds 22hp to the 2.5 liter gas-only Camry. In practice, that 22 extra hp transforms the sedan’s performance from boring to rewarding. There was never an occasion when the Hybrid was wonting for pop.

2016 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE Sedan

This year Toyota offers a sports handling package for the Camry called “XSE.” From all reports, it doesn’t do much for your driving enjoyment but actively diminishes ride comfort. Our Hybrid was equipped instead with the XLE trim level, which adds the following niceties: Entune infotainment with 7 inch touchscreen, navigation, auto on/off LED headlights, moonroof, dual-zone climate control, Qi wireless phone charging, heated front seats and leather upholstery. In addition, Toyota fitted our test sedan with a Homelink transceiver ($345), and a premium JBL audio system ($1,330). Also upping the price by $750 was an “Advanced Technology Package” which adds Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert, and a Pre-Collision System that tightens the seat belts in advance of contact.

2016 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE Sedan

The Camry will never qualify as a sports sedan, no matter how much Toyota stiffens the suspension with the XSE option. But you could definitely improve its handling by replacing its mediocre Bridgestone Turanza EL400 tires (215/55R17) with the 18 inch rims and higher performance rubber which Toyota makes available on the XSE model. Also available at your dealer are the splendid looking 10 spoke, 18 inch rims which Toyota bolted to the limited production (only 12,000 examples) 2016 Camry Special Edition (SE). In any event, the Camry is a workhorse, not a racehorse. But its styling update, administered in 2015, still looks fresh enough to entice more buyers into Toyota showrooms than any other manufacturer. One of the explanations for this continuing phenomenon is reliability. Consumer Reports slaps a “Recommended” check mark on the Camry model range in large measure because this sedan scores a “Much better than average” rating in the all important “New Car Prediction” category.

2016 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE Sedan

If you’re on blood thinning medication, you’ll be relieved to know that the Camry Hybrid will never threaten to raise your blood pressure. While it won’t unduly excite you, it will also never unexpectedly disappoint you. The odds of getting stuck due to a mechanical malfunction are so remote that you can let your AAA membership lapse without so much as a pang of anxiety.

2016 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE Sedan

  • Engine: 2.5 liter inline 4, DOHC, 16 Valves with VVT-i plus Electric Motor
  • Horsepower: 200hp
  • Torque: N/A
  • Fuel Consumption: 40 MPG City/38 MPG HIGHWAY
  • Price as Tested: $35,800
  • Star Rating: 8 out of 10 Stars

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Review: 2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid SE Sedan

Tuesday March 31st, 2015 at 11:33 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid SE Sedan

By David Colman

Hypes: Phenomenal range, Spiffy New Looks and Interior
Gripes: Unpredictable Brake Engagement Point

Toyota has reinvigorated its top selling product, the Camry, with new styling for the 2015 model year that verges on revolutionary for this once staid sedan. You will not confuse the bold look of the latest Camry with that of its timid predecessor. Every panel save the roof is changed for this mid-cycle makeover. Underneath the sleek new skin, however, mechanical components remain largely unchanged. At the front, a gaping black grill snorkels air into the engine room. The upper surface of the grill features a chrome strip that feeds into new projector beam headlamps with striking black sport trim bezels. On either side of the grill, indented crescent shaped amber running lights compliment the trapezoidal air opening. The Camry’s new face makes a far more successful impression than the overwrought frontal design big brother Lexus has adopted across its model line.

2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid SE Sedan

Inside, Toyota has really jazzed up the look of the cabin to match the athletic stance of the exterior. The dashboard and door panels are trimmed out with contrasting stitching that looks more expensive than the Camry’s modest $32,133 cost would seem to justify. Similarly breaking new ground is the choice of seat fabric, an unexpectedly flamboyant looking “Sport Fabric SofTex” which would look at home decorating a Zoot Suit. Imagine the interlocking, shimmering diamond pattern produced by a kaleidoscope and you have a clear picture of the material trimming the SE Camry’s seating surface. The seats offer good long distance comfort, and the driver’s position provides 8 way power adjustment.

2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid SE Sedan

Toyota has focused a great deal of corporate design energy on making the latest Camry gizmo friendly. For example, if you ante up $1,300 for the “EE” Navigation and App Suite Package,” the central dash stack includes a separate button labeled “APPS” for access to the extensive Entune App Suite while stationary. The navigation system plays through a 7 inch wide high resolution touch screen display that also doubles as a projector for the standard backup camera. You will never do without tunes in this EE Package Camry thanks to a 6 speaker AM/FM CD player capable of MP3/WMA playback. An auxiliary audio jack, and a USB 2.0 port with iPad connectivity augments your wide range of media selection. We settled on the included SiriusXM radio for entertainment, but found the tuning process rather convoluted.

Toyota expends a lot of energy on the Camry’s connectivity assets, but somewhat less time on the sedan’s mechanical underpinnings. The base motor for America’s best selling mid-size sedan remains the 2.5 liter inline four (173hp). A Hybrid Synergy Drive System propels the 200hp version we tested for this report. This model is remarkable for its tremendous range of over 500 miles per tank of fuel. A solid week of driving barely lowered the predicted range to 400 miles. The Hybrid makes good, useful power thanks to the added torque of its electric motor, but what you’ll love most about this combo is the EPA combined city/highway MPG rating of 40. One notch up from the Hybrid in cost and power output is the V6 Camry SE which makes a stout 268hp and 248lb.-ft. of torque. In addition to our week with the Hybrid, we had the opportunity to sample the V6 SE for an extended drive, and found it to be fast, secure and verging on sports sedan stardom. The Hybrid, on the other hand, is more softly sprung than the V6, and makes do with rather uninspiring, hard compound tires (215/55R17 Bridgestone Turanza EL400). But the biggest difference between the Hybrid and the V6 comes in the braking department. Good short stops are never a problem with the V6, but the Hybrid’s regenerative brakes, which feed heat energy back into the Hybrid system, are never predictable enough to inspire confidence. The engagement point on the pedal varies all over the map depending on speed, terrain and pressure applied.

2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid SE Sedan

After a couple of days with our handsome “Blue Crush Metallic” Toyota we had become rather accustomed to its revised new look. But a worker at the local Ace Hardware, who helped load some 8 foot neon tubes into the Camry’s trunk, was so taken with the interior and exterior improvements that it reopened our eyes to just how much better looking this car really is than its predecessor. Combine that upgrade with remarkable range and fuel economy, and the Hybrid SE stands taller than ever in the Mid-Size segment.

2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid SE Sedan

  • Engine: 2.5 liter inline 4 cylinder plus electric motor generator and self charging battery pack
  • Horsepower: 200hp
  • Fuel Consumption: 40MPG City/38 MPG HIGHWAY
  • Price as Tested: $32,133
  • Star Rating: 7.5 out of 10 Stars

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Redesigned 2012 Toyota Camry Launched Today – First driving impressions, more power and better fuel economy

Tuesday August 23rd, 2011 at 2:88 PM
Posted by: ponycargirl

2012 Toyota Camry SE

Toyota’s redesigned 2012 Camry mid-size sedan was launched today simultaneously in Los Angeles, Detroit, New York City and the Toyota- owned plant in Georgetown, Kentucky, where the Camry is being manufactured.

At first look, the exterior shape is fairly close to the 2011 Camry. The change is more in the details – the headlights reshaped to curve around the front horizontally, integrating with a more subtle and simplified honeycomb grille. The entire front end is beefier and is seated lower, the fog lights tied into the design with chrome detailing. The windows are a bit more squared at the A pillar and C pillar than the previous model, adding to the sharper, boxier appearance.

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2010 Toyota Camry Review

Monday May 24th, 2010 at 1:55 PM
Posted by: Derek

2010 Toyota Camry

by Derek Mau

Pros:

  • A much needed bump in power of 11 hp
  • Resale value and reliability make Camry a safer investment than the S&P 500
  • Auto up/down for ALL four window switches

Cons:

  • Missing iPod and iPhone interface
  • Hard plastic steering wheel and too many interior hard plastic surfaces
  • Driving excitement on the same level as doing your laundry

Toyota has had its share of ups and downs lately, but popularity of their #1 sedan remains strong. The Toyota Camry has been America’s best-selling car for seven consecutive years and 11 of the past 12 years.

For 2010, the Camry receives a midcycle rejuvenation. Most notably, the base four-cylinder engine increases in size from 2.4 to 2.5 liters, with a corresponding 11-hp bump (21 hp on the SE). Now, both the manual and automatic transmissions have six speeds instead of five. Other changes include a restyled grille and taillights, a new optional audio system with satellite radio and Bluetooth® for base and LE models, and auto up/down windows all around. Finally, stability control is now standard across the model range for improved safety.

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Toyota Recalls Could Free Imprisoned Camry Owner

Tuesday March 2nd, 2010 at 8:33 AM
Posted by: michael.leroy

1996 Camry on trialWho is at fault, the driver or Toyota?

In a bizarre turn of events, Toyota’s recent recall problems may free an imprisoned man. Koua Fong Lee, a Hmong immigrant with only a year of driving experience, was involved in a fatal accident in June 2006. Lee claimed his 1996 Toyota Camry would not stop. The alleged out of control Camry struck an Oldsmobile parked at a red light at a speed of approximately 70 to 90 mph. The accident resulted in the death of three people.

A jury did not believe that Lee attempted to stop his vehicle and as a result he was sentenced to eight years in prison. Lee contested he attempted to stop the car, but was unable too. A city mechanic inspected the brakes and testified that they appeared fine. The prosecutor during the trial argued that Lee must of hit the gas by mistake.

Lee is now hoping to get his case reopened and is now claiming that his vehicle must of suffered from the same acceleration problems several Toyota models are being recalled for. Surprisingly, both the prosecutor and the family of the victims are interested in freeing Lee if the Camry was to blame.

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Toyota Halts Sale of 8 Models

Wednesday January 27th, 2010 at 9:11 AM
Posted by: Derek

Toyota logo

Updated Jan. 28

Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc. is telling dealers to suspend sales of eight models, and halting production of those models, after a recall to correct a problem that could cause the accelerator pedal to stick.

The Japanese automaker said the sales suspension includes the following models:

  • 2005-2010 Avalon
  • 2007-2010 Camry
  • 2007-2010 Tundra
  • 2008-2010 Sequoia
  • 2009-2010 Matrix
  • 2009-2010 RAV4
  • 2009-2010 Corolla
  • 2010 Highlander

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CarReview's 2009-2010 Hybrid Buyer's Guide

Monday October 26th, 2009 at 7:1010 AM
Posted by: ggaillard

Honda CR-Z

By Greg Gaillard

Hybrids Come of Age

Just 10 years ago Honda released the Insight as the first US mass market hybrid combustion/electric car.  Its two seat aerodynamic teardrop shape, light weight and focused engineering delivered spectacular fuel economy that generated quite a bit of media attention.  In the real world however, the Insight represented significant compromises in terms of utility, performance and perceived safety.  Launched at the height of the SUV boom alongside inexpensive gasoline, sales weren’t significant and to many people the Insight was another Honda engineering experiment; a car that Honda’s Asimo robot might drive, but not something American families would put in their garage.

What a difference a decade makes.  Last week the EPA released its annual Fuel Economy Guide for 2010 and hybrids swept the podium with 9 out of the top 10 MPG scores.  At least in terms of EPA ratings, hybrids are the drivetrain technology of the moment.  Perhaps more important than MPG is how the technology has evolved into a variety of solutions that can be used across a range of body styles without many of the original Insight’s compromises.

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Posted in Chevrolet, Feature Articles, Ford, GMC, Honda, hybrid, Lexus, Mercury, Toyota |Tags:, , , , , , , , , , , , , || No Comments »


First Impressions: 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid

Friday June 15th, 2007 at 9:66 PM
Posted by: natasha

2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid

By Natasha M.

hybrid synergy driveTest driving the new 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid on a sunny day through downtown streets and on the highway proved to be more pleasant than I expected. The car definitely lived up to its renowned traits of reliability and quality. But what surprised me was the new look Toyota achieved with this hybrid model. On the outside, the new look is actually more refined than the standard Camry design. The dazzling grill surprised me because I don’t believe I’ve seen it on other models and with this much extra chrome. They even carried it through to the lower bumper valance that is usually left behind.
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2007 Toyota Camry Solara

Wednesday June 6th, 2007 at 1:66 AM
Posted by: kevinbfast

Model: 2007 Toyota Camry Solara Sport
Review by Kevin Bowe

2007 Toyota Camry Solara Sport

Pro’s

  • Easy to drive
  • Smooth V6 power
  • Plenty of leg room in rear

Con’s

  • Horrible visibility with the top up
  • Interior not up to expectations of a $30k car
  • Side to side vibrations while driving

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