The Toyota Camry has been the best-selling car in the United States for the past 12 years - and for the 2015 model year, Toyota has given the Camry a significant refresh. Rather than give the Camry a modest facelift, Toyota went back to the drawing board and restyled, revamped and improved some 2,000 out of the 6,000 parts that make up the Camry. The goal driving all those changes: more emotion. Toyota’s main goal for vehicle was to create a more emotional and stylish Camry - including the greenest version, the Camry Hybrid. Toyota invited us out to Hawaii to see how much more exciting the 2015 Camry Hybrid is - read on for a first look!
The current generation Camry was all-new in 2012, so Toyota surprised everyone when it announced a significant refresh for its best-selling model. Toyota sent its engineers back to the drawing board to inject more emotion into the Camry, which meant ditching nearly everything that you see on the outside. Every body panel (with the exception of the roof) is new. The new Camry is more sculpted, and its wider stance makes it look more planted to the road.
The Camry’s interior has been revamped with more soft touch materials, more technology and an updated design that makes it more comfortable and user friendly. Toyota also boasted several small changes that will make the Camry’s interior quieter. On our drive we noticed how quiet the Camry Hybrid’s interior actually was compared to many of its competitors. New features like the small info screen between the gauges and the cell phone wireless charging system were also nice additions.
Under the skin, the changes to the 2015 Camry lineup are smaller with only some updates to its suspension and brakes, which make the Camry more engaging to drive. Toyota also didn’t make any changes to the Camry’s powertrain options, which means that the Camry Hybrid is still powered by the same 200 horsepower 2.5L four-cylinder hybrid system.
How did it drive? The Camry Hybrid excels at hiding the fact that it is powered by a hybrid system – especially compared to competitors like the Kia Optima and Hyundai Sonata. The switch between electric and gas motor operation is seamless. There’s also an EV button that forces it drive in electric-only mode only and an ECO button that helps you achieve the best possible fuel efficiency. Unfortunately the Camry Hybrid can’t travel at high speeds in EV mode, so that setting was only appropriate for slower speeds, like in traffic. It also suffered, since it only has enough juice to power the Camry Hybrid up to 1.6 miles before the gas engine kicks on.
Electric mode issues aside, the Camry Hybrid reaches 0-60 mph in the mid-seven second range, which is a bit quicker than the standard four-cylinder Camry. While the Camry Hybrid may be a bit faster than the four-cylinder Camry, it’s let down by numb steering and floaty handling. Toyota offers a sportier suspension setup in the Camry XSE trim, but unfortunately it isn’t offered on the Camry Hybrid.
The Camry Hybrid is rated at 43 mpg city and 39 mpg highway in the LE trim and 40 mpg city and 38 mpg highway in the SE and XLE trims. On a 40 mile trip that included a few hills, our Camry Hybrid averaged in the mid-40 mpg range.
Overall, the 2015 Camry Hybrid is an improvement over the 2012-2014 model with its more stylish exterior and more comfortable and quieter interior. It’s exterior styling brings it closer to sportier models like the Ford Fusion Hybrid and Kia Optima Hybrid, and it was great that it was easy to achieve the posted mpg specs – something that some other hybrids fail at.
The 2015 Camry Hybrid is available now and pricing starts at $27,995.