Camry + Prius = Camry Hybrid

Aussies can now buy a locally-built hybrid car, the Camry Hybrid . We take a look under the skin to see what makes it tick and the numerous subtle differences that differentiate it from standard Camry vehicles.

It doesn't shout "I'm a hybrid driver" like the Prius does, but there are plenty of visual cues for trainspotters and other Camry drivers.

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Photo by: Derek Fung/CNET Australia / Caption by:

Same, same but different, part I

At the front the hybrid Camry has a unique, more aerodynamic bumper and grille arrangement.

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Same, same but different, part II

The unique grille and front bumper makes the Camry look almost sporty.

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Same, same but different, part III

The Camry Hybrid comes fitted with 16-inch alloy wheels and low rolling resistance tyres.

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Same, same but different, part IV

Blue-tinted headlight lenses are a Toyota/Lexus hybrid-styling trait.

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Same, same but different, part V

It's harder to tell the Hybrid from normal Camrys from the rear.

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Same, same but different, part VI

Clear indicator lenses are present on both models.

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Same, same but different, part VII

The satin chrome bits are a really nice touch.

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Same, same but different, part VIII

Just in case you're unsure, there are plenty of Hybrid badges everywhere

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Same, same but different, part IX

The subtle boot lip spoiler is only present on the Luxury model.

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Innards

The interior's pretty radical, for a Camry.

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Sat nav

Go for the option pack, and you'll get Toyota's sat nav system married to a 7-inch touchscreen monitor.

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Energy monitor

For the driver, there's a simplified energy monitor nestled in the speedometer.

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Brake it

The continuously variable transmission features an engine braking mode for steep hills.

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Hiding place

This cubby hole is perfectly sized for holding CDs, but they'll obstruct the power and auxiliary ports.

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Trickle down

The instrument pack's Optitron lighting is both beautiful and easy on the eye.

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My eyes!

This concave section reflects in the windscreen on bright, sunny days.

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Stretch it out

There's plenty of space for five people.

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Scuff it

Yes, it's a hybrid, we get it.

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Airy

Rear-seat passengers have their own air-conditioning vents, but no controls.

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Drivetrain layout

Up front are the petrol and electric engines, while out the back is the electric motor's battery pack.

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Collaboration

Together the petrol and electric motors can deliver up to 140kW of power to the front wheels.

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Power

Lithium-ion batteries store more power in less space, but they're also more expensive, so Toyota's sticking with nickel-metal hydride batteries for the moment.

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Back it up

All Camry Hybrids come with a reversing camera, as well as rear parking sensors.

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Woot, woot

The plipper allows for keyless entry and start, although we did mistake the emergency alarm for the boot release on more than one occasion.

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Flip it

The rear seats flip down via this little release in the boot.

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Battery boot

The 12V battery that powers the car's accessories is also located in the boot.

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Country friendly

A full-size spare wheel resides underneath the boot.

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Reduction

Not only does the battery pack reduce boot space, it reduces the usefulness of the fold-down rear seats.

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Vent it out

Heat from the battery pack is vented into the cabin.

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Speak to me

Bluetooth hands-free is standard, but voice control on option-packed models is limited.

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Turn it up

The steering wheel audio controls are handy and lit at night.

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More info please

Cruise control is a standard fit, but we wish the dashboard light would glow different colours when the system's on and when it's actually regulating the car's speed.

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Drama

The 7-inch touchscreen theatrically folds down to reveal the loading slot for the four-disc CD stacker.

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No glare

The Luxury model features a rear-vision mirror that automatically dims itself at night.

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Wheeee

Electric front seats for Luxury model owners, but there's no heating/cooling element, nor memory.

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