In India, the Toyota brand is famous for the MPV and SUV lineup in the top-end range. The Fortuner and the Innova are benchmarks, marketing studies, and something people try to create and get close to, but never over these two. However, the Toyota Camry is the car that gets similar attention worldwide and not in India. This is also a sedan in a similar price bracket as the Fortuner, but people don’t tend to buy them more than they should.
There was a shocking moment when Toyota used to sell a normal Camry and a Camry Hybrid together. To its surprise, the Hybrid sold out the normal one by a long shot which forced Toyota to keep only the Hybrid since then. Hybrid is also the talk of the town for the right reasons. A big gap between electric and ICE is easily filled by this and can significantly save fuel costs and lower emissions dramatically too. How good is it in its latest avatar, we find out!
On the outside, the grille size is surprisingly big in size and with the V-Shape look, it matches the interior dashboard desing too. This does make it look befitting with the spectacularly well-done headlamps. The LED DRL layout along with the headlamps is clearly very eye catchy. The silver color on our test car is just stunning with the 18-inch alloy wheels adding more bling and subtly to the package. We have never seen a Toyota turn heads as much as a sports car! The build quality on the outside seems and sounds great and it scores high on crash tests like any other Toyota. The elements of the car, such as the grille, LED lights on both ends, the almost 5-meter length along with a sizeable wheelbase, make the Camry Hybrid the best-looking mid-size sedan on the market.
On the inside, the build and quality are good and so is the expansive feature list we have explained time and again in our launch report. The dashboard design is a good-looking V-shaped unit. The various element with an aluminum strip running below it adds to the luxury quotient. You get automatic lights and wipers to reversing cameras, front and rear parking sensors, and projector lamps, the car has a sunroof, wired Apple car play, And Android Auto are now here. Ambient lighting is also on offer.
The instrument cluster area has navigation and all fuel economy indicators and other bits can be seen with a touch of the toggle button on the steering wheel. The graphics and fonts chosen are a bit old school even today with the new Camry Hybrid. A fantastic sound system makes the experience good enough. Space is sufficient with enough shoulder and knee room you expect, is here. Leg and headroom continue to be in good supply but as always it is a strict four-seater. The rear set gets control for A/c, rear sunshade and volume and radio control are on offer through a touch screen over the buttoned layout of the past.
The boot space is good enough that a battery is there under the boot. Road and wind noise inside the cabin is also well-controlled thanks to surprisingly good insulation all around. Clearly much better than the previous version. Toyota has made the cabin a pleasant place to be and feels very high quality of its SUV and MPV. Safety kit continues to be high with electronic stability control and nine airbags, Hill Hold Assist, ABS and EBD, and more come as standard.
All Toyota engines are smooth, free-revving, and low on NVH and the one on the Camry Hybrid is no different. Be it in any part of the rev range. Low and mid-range are good on the petrol that makes 218 PS and 221 Nm of torque going through the E-CVT automatic. The engine is flexible and powerful at the same time. The electric motor delivers 120 PS and 202 Nm separately. Hence electric motor and IC engine numbers cannot be combined. EV mode is on offer but only if the battery is charged sufficiently. The car coasts a lot and hence it delivers spectacular fuel economy. The throttle has to be at 20-30% to get the car into EV mode at any given speed. Another reason for its high fuel economy.
Eco mode and sports mode are on offer which makes a lot of difference in their power delivery respectively. Still, 0-100 km/hr under 8 seconds is quick and it can reach 180 km/h easily, as we saw in our testing. Top-end is good enough for 120 km/hr kick downs and it cruises at legal speeds and higher than that, quite easily. This makes it good enough for city and highway duties and makes driving comfortable enough thanks to the precision in every driving mode. A massive 14 km/l for in the city and 19 km/l on the highway is what we got in our Mumbai-Pune run and those numbers resemble a sub-four meter car which makes it stunning. A 50-litre fuel tank can return over 600 kms easily. Our testing with a bit of heavy foot resulted in 550 km.
The ride quality is good at all speeds and it feels slightly stiffer than its previous version. We found ourselves to be comfortable all the time going through the various types of roads Mumbai can offer. High-speed stability is spot on surprisingly given the stiffness and compliance balance. Body roll exists while changing lanes at high speeds but it is a confidence-inspiring car to drive at any given speed.
Steering is light, precise in the city, and has just about enough feedback on offer which makes the car just about fun in the corners. Despite the length and weight, it is still easy to live with thanks to the clever tuning of the steering lock-to-lock ratio. The brakes with regeneration can rob it of confidence while driving hard and fast despite the pedal bite is good, not great. Overall, very easy-to-drive car despite its size while being extremely comfortable at all corners.
2022 Toyota Camry Hybrid Review, First Drive
The Hybrid era has always been strengthed with the arrival of the Camry Hybrid and in its latest avatar, it impresses even more. With the cabin quality being top-notch, the feature list is high, and so is the fuel economy, which makes the Camry Hybrid a great car to live with if you do inter-city travel a lot. The comfort and convenience, the ease of use, and the lack of stress of driving along with emissions, just make it a guilt-free car to drive. Sure, it is not stupendous fun to drive, but if your idea of fun is simple and calm driving with occasional right foot flexing, the Camry Hybrid also delights quite a bit. Pricing can be a bit higher but don’t forget, the value is even higher, in the short and long term.
2022 Toyota Camry Review, First Drive