2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid gets style, still sips fuel

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It wasn’t too long ago hybrid car buyers sacrificed exterior and interior design and cargo space to get superior fuel economy. The updated 2015 Toyota Camry provides another example how the segment has vastly improved.

The new Toyota Camry looks like a luxury sedan and has an attractive interior. And it’s a fuel-efficient hybrid without any compromise of earlier hybrid offerings.

The Weekly Driver’s Test Drive

The 2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid has a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor that generate 200 horsepower combined and it’s matched with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The base Camry Hybrid LE gets an EPA-estimated 43/39 mpg city/highway. The Camry SE and XLE models earn 40/38 mpg.

The 2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid has been restyled inside and outside.
The 2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid has been restyled inside and outside.

Beyond its vast upgrades, the 2015 Toyota Camry has a long list of standard features: rearview camera, push-button start, proximity key, automatic headlights, dual-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth, a USB port and Toyota’s Entune audio system with a 6.1-inch touchscreen.

My SE model, the middle grade trim, also had a new grille, black headlight surrounds, 17-inch alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, a rear spoiler, sport fabric seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and silver interior accents.

The optional features on my weekly driver featured a $1,300 addition: sunroof, upgraded Entune system with navigation and smartphone app integration, a JBL audio system, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, forward collision warning and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. And there were several stand-alone upgrades: power tilt/slide moonroof ($915), remote start ($499), illuminated door sills ($299), the carpet and trunk mat set ($225) and wireless charging ($75).

With its $825 destination fee, the out-the-door price was $32,133, and that about the $2,000 more than the age average price of a new car in the United States. And that seems like a fair price for a good-performing hybrid that gets a combined 40 mpg.

The new Toyota Camry Hybrid accelerated better than I expected and it arrived a highway speeds surprisingly well. There’s some wind rush at 50 mph of faster and the new Camry isn’t the quietest sedan. My only other concern was a similar issue to other hybrids. Braking is soft.

Likes:

Smooth, quiet ride (under 50 mph).

Overall comfort.

Superior gas mileage.

Intuitive infotainment center.

Dislikes:

Soft braking. Be prepared.

Slight engine noise at freeway speeds.

Facts & Figures: 2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid

Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 7.2 seconds
Airbags: 10.
Fuel economy: 40 mpg (city), 38 mpg (highway), 40 mpg (combined).
Horsepower: 200.
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $27,995.00
Manufacturer’s Website: www.toyota.com.
Price As Tested: $32,133.00.
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 5 years/60,000 miles; Powertrain, 10 years/100,000 miles; Corrosion, 5 years/100,000 miles; Free Schedule Maintenance 3 years/37,500 miles; Roadside Assistance, 5 years/60,000 miles.

What Others Say:

“It looks better, it’s more comfortable, and it rides better. It’s just a shame Toyota didn’t also take the opportunity to make some small but meaningful improvements to the powertrain and brakes. Still, if you’re in the market for a Camry Hybrid, you’ll find plenty to like about this one.” — Motor Trend.

“Newly invigorated, the 2015 Camry Hybrid merits strong consideration from shoppers looking for a comfortable, gas-sipping family car.” — Edmunds.

“It’s no sports sedan, but it’s a better car to drive than it was.” — Motor Trend.

The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:

“It’s no secret the Toyota Camry has been a top-selling sedan for years. The Camry Hybrid, from great gas mileage to comforts, provides another superior example of the carmaker’s enduring legacy for value and reliability.”

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