Roadshow Video Reviews
2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid rocks massive fuel economyBut Toyota wants you to think of it as a fun road machine, too.
[MUSIC] This is the first U.S. built Toyota, and that's a lot of Toyotas, to be built on something called the TNGA. Toyota's new global architecture. It actually makes this Camry a bit of a cousin to the Lexus LC. For you it means one thing in particular, a car that's more fun to drive. Toyota's not stupid. They know Camrys have been appliances, but they've sold real well so there wasn't a whole lot of pressure to make them fun to drive. But in this competitive market, they're doing exactly that. They want this car to at least be enjoyable and engaging on the road. The road. Also under here is a new engine, a new transmission, and in our case a new hybrid power train, there's a lot going on here. [MUSIC] The battery is no longer in the trunk on these new TNGA cars. It's fully underneath the rear seat. And even with that, the seats are lower in the car, the car is lower to the ground and the roof os lower from the sky. It all adds up to the least utilitarian looking CAMAY yet. [MUSIC] On the road, the Camry hybrid begins as two stories, EPA mpg is up either 20 or 30% over last year's model. The difference is because it will vary depending on the trim level you buy. The LE has a lithium ion battery and 52 mpg average. The SE and the XLE have a [UNKNOWN] high drive battery and 46 MPG average. Now, note here, the lowest price car is the one that has the highest claimed MPG. The guts of the system are a 2.5L inline four with the electric motors attached 208 total system horsepower, 163 pound feet of torque from the engine, another 149 from the motor. Though it's not a simple summing exercise. Front wheel drive of course. A CVT gearbox with six synthetic shift points 0 to 60 in about 6 seconds for a car that weighs 3,500 pounds. Now a lot of that's been engineered by more efficient power transfer and conversion electronics that get the batteries juiced and do some Something with it, more efficiently and also with an intelligent coasting mode. That's interesting for a hybrid because usually these cars are always into heavy region dragging you back whenever you lift off. This car will sometimes a skew that and say no, I actually am gonna be more efficient if I take out the power train drag. So it's an interesting algorithm. Another impression you get with this car right away is great ride quality. It's really smooth and well modulated. None of this porposing nonsense I sometimes get in hybrids because of that heavy battery. We're in Lexus quality territory on this car. The handling is tight. I wouldn't call it sport, but it's definitely tiny and nothing feels like it's out of shape or out of place. Now, a caveat to that great ride quality is I'm getting some weird noises out of the power train. I hear a lot of whining and sort of electric sounds in some cases, and if I'm not hearing those, I'm hearing not a great-sounding fourth cylinder. Ditto for the braking. Sometimes, around town, you'll feel that nice, soft breaking of regen. And then all of a sudden it feels like the service breaks will jump in and grab. It's kind of annoying in day to day driving. [MUSIC] Now controlling all that powertrain is a bunch of modes. We got modes. It's an electric car, and no car maker can seem to get away from being drunk on buttons. I've got my eco, my sport, my normal, my EV mode. Why do I have to make those choices? Especially a Camry driver. I'm not in this thing for high engagement, no matter how much better they make it drive. I'm in this for D and go, and I think this is a lot of noise that is just not appropriate here. Ditto for this giant eco and power gauge that tells me next to nothing, and I've got more gauges like it on the LCD. I'd like to see that cleaned up. All Camry hybrids come with Toyota's Safety Sense which they tout as part of a progression to zero fatalities in their cars one day, that includes pre collision with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, active lane departure technology which I found very well calibrated by the way, automatic high beams, rear camera with guidance line, and optionally you can get some blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert. [MUSIC] So summary is Toyota is telling you they've got a more engaging exciting Camry here to drive here. I would say partly, but this is not gonna be complete change of what Camry feels like. And that's gotta be by design. There's nothing about this car that makes me feel like I'm driving a refrigerator tipped over on its sides and given some casters. And some of the older Camry's [MUSIC] Kinda went there. [MUSIC] Okay an 18 Camry hybrid SE, that's the middle trim is $30 thousand three delivered. There's only one option to take or not and I'd take it. It's called the Audio Package for about $3,000, only part of it's audio. You get an audio upgrade with that clarify technology, you also get this power moon roof. Rear cross traffic alert tech, and blind spot monitoring technology. It's a weird grab bag, but I would take it because it's well priced. Now you're at $33,300, road show style. I like the handling and the ride quality of this Camry more than I like The powertrain responsiveness, but I'll tell you what, nearly 50 MPG real world, that soothes a lot of concerns. [MUSIC]