Start up the Camry Hybrid and the hybrid engine powered sedan rolls smoothly along on its 18-inch rims. Pull it into corners, fling it out on the highway or ease it into a crowded lane and the Camry Hybrid performs like a champ with versatility that just doesn’t quit. The steering-mounted controls that come with paddle-shifters all make the driving experience top of its class. The head-up display throws speed per kilometre details out onto the windshield screen so you don’t have the distraction of taking your eyes off the road while checking if you’re breaking speed limits.
Truth be told, the Camry Hybrid feels more Lexus than Toyota and drivers will swear that its suspension, as also the overall fit and finish both inside and outside the car, is on par with German automobiles. Thank MacPherson struts and double wishbone architecture for that. It’s interesting to note that, internationally, car companies
are taking one of two approaches to hybrids. Volkswagen and General Motors recently announced that they would stop making them. Toyota and Ford, on the other hand, aim to retain hybrids as part of their core lineup, even as the universal spotlight is on all-electric and alternative-power source vehicles here.
So how does a Hybrid Camry work? It runs on standard petrol along with a regenerating nickel metal hydride battery that recycles electric power when the car slows down and the brakes are deployed. The net effect is a power system that works seamlessly, silently and supposedly more efficiently than its gasoline counterparts. Incidentally, the petrol-only Camry has been withdrawn from the market altogether but the company does also sell the Prius Hybrid as part of its alternative product offering.
There are very few cars that exude premium quality while being low-key. The Camry Hybrid is a perfect representative of that motoring aesthetic. And if substantiation of its demographic is useful by way of driving home the point, it’s worth noting that at least two leading managing partners at top-ranked law firms in the nation are owners of the Camry Hybrid.
Trunk space is substantial and can easily accommodate large suitcases, golf sets and multiple grocery bags. The fuel tank’s capacity of 50 litres necessitates very few pit stops to refuel especially given that it also feeds off the electric battery.
From an overall check list in a class of sedans that includes the Honda Accord, Volkswagen Passat, Nissan Altima and Hyundai Sonata, the Camry Hybrid is streets ahead in terms of comfort, reliability, performance and cool quotient. That is, of course, until the all-electric Camry makes it way here.