Even Camry‘s back end treatment was given an uplift with wrap-around tailights and a sporty rear spoiler
For 13 consecutive years, Toyota’s Camry still holds the title of America’s bests-selling car. And according to a Cars.com study, Camry has claimed the most American-Made car in 2015 title based on the percentage of domestic parts under federal regulations, which has to be above 75 percent.
Inline with this, Toyota’s Camry Hybrid model offers an all-new exterior look, better handling and a classier interior for 2015. With the success of the Prius Hybrid, similar and proven technology is also used in the Camry Hybrid.
Camry Hybrid SE we tested is powered by a 2.5L, four-cylinder that when combined with an electric motor and battery pack, put out 200-hp that couples to a CVT transmission. The pairing gets EPA mileage ratings of 40 city, 38-highway mpg. Some owner reviews put these figures lower and some higher. And it’s somewhat below that of Honda’s Accord Hybrid that boasts 50 city, 45-highway mpg, with the Accord generating 196-hp.
As with many midsize hybrids, Camry’s acceleration is quick from a standing stop – almost like an electric golf cart. But more potent in that it has been 0-60 timed at 7.6 seconds. Its quiet take-off is spirited as is passing power when the gasoline engine kicks in. The transition from electric to gasoline power is subtly noticeable.
Camry designers did a nice job on the interior combining Softex longwearing cloth seat inserts set between leatherette sides. The soft cloth material is strikingly different for cloth seats and a look you’ve probably never seen before. It’s almost like a quilted texture. And LED interior lights give the car a swanky nightclub sensation.
The doors and dash have an upscale appearance and feel. HVAC controls are easy to use as are other operating controls and switches. An 8-inch display (optional; a 6.1 is standard) is used for GPS nav, rearview camera and if optionally ordered, Toyota Entune touchscreen infotainment system.
Dash gauges are flanked by an information display for a variety of notes to the driver including average fuel economy and current fuel economy. On the left side is a power gauge that shows an EV mode and Eco mode, both selected via a switch on the console. Included is a status display showing if the engine is in Charge, Eco or Power mode. The EV drive mode is essentially electric power that is supplied by the battery and electric motor with the traction motor driving the vehicle.
In selecting Eco drive mode, its use is intended to help achieve low fuel consumption during trips that involve frequent accelerating. It only works efficiently for up to city driving speeds like stop and go traffic. Otherwise, a message pops up on the driver’s information display that says you’re driving too fast for Eco mode and it cancels out.
Camry’s soft and comfy backseat is spacious for two adults or three children. Ingress/egress is easy and there’s ample leg and headroom even for tall folks.
Back in the trunk area that also houses the battery pack, there’s 13.1 cubic feet of space with an under floor bin for small item storage. Unlike some hybrids where the battery takes up a good bit of trunk space, Camry’s is surprisingly large. Enough for one large and one small roll-a-long or one hoofer golf bag with the long clubs pulled and stacked atop the bag. There’s a 15×6.5-inch pass through to carry long items.
Camry drives like a full-size car with full size handling and comfort. Offered in base LE, sporty SE and luxury XLE models, the SE tested had better than average handling due to a sporty suspension tuning. It gripped the road well and had negligible body lean in sharp turns. Ride quality is good with most road imperfections smoothed to a mere ripple. Parking in tight spots is also easy thanks to a relatively tight turning radius.
Camry carries a base price of $30,190, but after adding the Ultimate Package for $4,500 that includes a host of goodies including a panoramic sunroof, lane departure/forward collision warnings, rear parking assist, smart cruise with start/stop capability, nav system, satellite radio, automatic high beam (a pain) and more. Floor mats, first aid kit, wheel locks plus delivery take the bottom line to $35,765. This is about the same price ($35,768) for a non-hybrid Camry XSE we previously tested.
Camry’s 2015 Hybrid received a full five stars in government safety tests; five for frontal crash, five for side crash and four for rollover. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also gave it its best possible “Good” rating, so the Camry comes through with impressive safety numbers.