If considering a hybrid sedan, think about this. Who knows more about hybrid technology than Toyota? They were first with their Prius then came others like their top selling Camry sedan, which is offered in hybrid mode and the one we tested.
Camry is offered in LE, SE and top-shelf XLE that we tested. For 2020, this perennial best seller now offers AWD as it did back in 1988-1991 when it was named AllTrac. However at this time, AWD is not available in the hybrid model.
In this its eighth generation, Camry, and in particular the XLE hybrid, combines proven hybrid technology with a 2.4L, 206 net horsepower four-cylinder gasoline engine. Coupled to an eCVT (Continuously Variable Transmission), the Camry Hybrid has EPA mileage ratings of 44 city, 47-highway mpg.
Camry Hybrid offers four driving modes of Normal, Eco, EV (electric only propulsion) and Sport, all selectable by switches on the console. In Sport, it livens acceleration whereas in Normal mode, it’s a linear application of power. It moves Camry’s 3,572-pound curb weight with spirit and does so ever so quietly.
Camry Hybrid’s interior has a swoopy design with Tiger Eye wood trim and with major controls nicely positioned on a slanted vertical stack that has an eye-grabbing 10-inch touchscreen. The voice recognition display offers all the desired features of rearview camera with surround view, JBL audio, Wi-Fi Connect, Entune apps, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, satellite radio and more.
Enhancing the interior are two-tone, heated/cooled leather front seats with perforated inserts that are mildly bolstered, but comfy over the long haul.
All HVAC controls are easy to use and see at a glance. And below them at the base of the stack, is a convenient wireless phone charger.
The gauge cluster has a 4.2-inch, color, driver-information-display providing a host of driver functions, features and alerts. And all 2020 Camry’s come standard with Toyota’s Safety Sense-P safety systems that include Pre-Collision with Pedestrian Detection; Dynamic Radar Cruise Control; Lane Departure Alert w/Steering Assist; and Automatic High Beams that switch on/off when needed.
Overall, Camry’s interior is probably the best to date. Toyota engineers did a great job in the re-design. Our only complaints were with the heater fan that seemed to be weak even at its highest setting. And the heated seats, perhaps because of the thick leather used for their covering, didn’t get very warm. Otherwise, Camry Hybrid’s cockpit was nicely and ergonomically designed.
The back seat can accommodate three youngsters with decent leg room provided the fronts aren’t racked well rearward. Headroom is generous.
Camry’s trunk space is also surprisingly good. It’s rated at 15.1 cubic feet that can hold two large rollie luggage’s, and then some. Flip the seatbacks and two golf bags will easily fit.
Shod with 18-inch Hankook tires, Camry road smoothly and exceptionally quietly with its MacPherson strut front suspension with stabilizer bar and multi-link rear suspension with stabilizer bar. It also handled nicely absorbing most road imperfections and tar strips while keeping the car stable in sharp turns. Camry also parked easily with its short 192-inch overall length.
Added to this, the 2020 Camry is one snazzy looking hybrid sedan with its chiseled styling lines.
Price wise, Camry Hybrid carries a base of $32,550, about the average cost of a new car these days. And that’s with a good amount of standard fare. To that was added a Driver Assist Package ($2,375) that included the color display, rearview camera, intelligent sonar with rear cross traffic braking, ventilated front seats; adaptive headlights ($415); navigation/audio package ($1,810); moonroof ($860); carpeted trunk mat ($259); paint protection film ($395) and delivery ($955) that took the bottom line to $39,619.
Camry comes with a 3/36K comprehensive warranty; 5/60K powertrain; 5/unlimited corrosion perforation; 8/100K hybrid components coverage; Toyota Care that provides 2 years or 25K comp maintenance plan; and 24/7 roadside assistance. But that’s not all.
The Camry Hybrid scored a perfect five overall safety stars in government crash tests; five for driver/passenger frontal crash; five for front/rear seat side crash; and five for rollover. Wow! Now that’s impressive, and it’s rare to see cars with all those perfect scores. These numbers alone make Camry Hybrid a good buying choice.
We would also like to commend Toyota’s CEO when he recently announced that the company will not be introducing an all electric vehicle any time soon. Why should they as they already have good, impressive, economical hybrid vehicles? Total electric’s still have infra-structure and other problems. I spoke to one recent Tesla owner who said when he uses the heater, the car eats up more battery power that lessens range. Almost the same for A/C, but a bit less.
So Toyota can, IMHO, remain a fine hybrid carmaker.