As half of a bigger group of automotive publications, TTAC has entry to a wide range of content material. We needed to carry you among the distinctive content material we expect lives as much as TTAC’s requirements and presents official perception or a correctly crucial viewpoint to automobile analysis. This story, by Hybrid Vehicles writer Evan Williams, showcases the 2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid.
Toyota’s alternative for its widespread hybrid sedan – gross sales of which have been falling off this yr – comes together with the thorough overhaul of its total Camry line. After years of vehicles that had been dependable, environment friendly, and perceived by some to be boring, Toyota needs the brand new mannequin to be dependable, environment friendly, and enjoyable to drive. No, actually.
Toyota is promoting the brand new Camry as being an emotional alternative, not only a rational one. Chief Engineer Masato Katsumata known as it “visceral.” A robust phrase for a household sedan.
The all-new automobile is the primary to fully embrace Toyota’s new world structure, or TNGA. The platform was first seen below the 2016 Prius, however the Camry is the primary to make use of the brand new engines, transmissions, and double wishbone rear suspension that make up the ethos of TNGA.
With the brand new Camry Hybrid comes a brand new hybrid system. This makes use of the brand new Toyota Hybrid System II, the successor to the Hybrid Synergy Drive system. The engine is a 2.5-liter inline 4 that has variable valve timing, runs on the Atkinson cycle, and has a near-diesel 14.zero:1 compression ratio. It additionally makes use of a brand new tremendous light-weight 0w16 grade oil that additional reduces inner friction and losses. Toyota touts higher than 40-percent thermal effectivity for the brand new engine.
By itself, the gasoline engine generates 176 horsepower and produces 163 lb-ft of torque over a variety from three,600 to five,200 rpm. The electrical motor makes 188 horsepower and 149 lb-ft, for a complete system output of 208 horsepower.
Just like the Prius, it makes use of both a four.zero amp-hour, 259-volt lithium-ion or 6.5 Ah 245-volt nickel-metal hydride battery pack, relying on trim. However the place the Prius makes use of the li-ion battery on the dearer Eco trim, the Camry places the lithium battery on the bottom LE trim.
Toyota thinks that the folks most involved with gas financial system and worth will probably be shopping for the bottom trim. The SE and XLE are dearer and heavier, so eking out each final tenth of a mile per gallon isn’t the precedence. Placing the lighter li-ion battery in what’s already the lightest automobile makes a huge impact on gas financial system.
The Camry Hybrid LE has a Prius-beating EPA-rated 53 miles per gallon freeway. The town quantity is spectacular too, at 51, with 51 mpg mixed. Sportier SE and luxurious XLE fashions get 44 metropolis, 47 freeway, 44 mixed. In my drive loop in an SE mannequin, the pc reported 53 mpg on largely rural highways. That was sustaining the velocity restrict, however not likely making an attempt to hypermile. Driving it like I needed to empty the tank nonetheless achieved round 43 mpg.
Each battery packs are new, and smaller than earlier than. Mixed with the brand new platform, the packs go below the seat as an alternative of within the trunk. The Camry hybrid has the identical 15.1 cubic toes of trunk house because the gas-only automobile, and has a full-size opening when the rear seats are folded.
Toyota is providing the Camry Hybrid within the sporty SE trim, along with the LE and XLE luxurious fashions. The SE is the place I spent most of my day, and it’s good to see a hybrid alternative that has a sport trim out there.
Not like Camrys of the previous, this SE actually is sporty. It seems the half, with a brand new distinctive nostril, 18-inch alloys, and vents on the rear. It additionally has a firmer suspension, one that really makes this (as promised) a enjoyable automobile to drive. The Camry is nicely damped, not floaty.
It can roll in corners, however it’s gentle years forward of the previous one. In my admittedly brief drive, I believed it felt higher than the 2017 Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima hybrids. I’d put it in the identical class because the Mazda 6 for fun-to-drive.
The hybrid system is now fully seamless. The on/off of the gasoline engine is just noticeable at full throttle, after which solely as a result of you’ll be able to hear it. The change from regenerative to hydraulic braking is felt with a barely extra cosy seize from the brakes, however it’s nonetheless clean.
The electrical motor can propel the automobile at larger speeds than earlier than, and presents a terrific shove of torque for merging and passing. Really feel of the CVT is tremendously improved, and it responds shortly. It now presents among the finest CVT experiences in the marketplace.
Toyota has additionally eliminated all the unusual noises the previous Camry Hybrid made. No extra symphony of whirrs, hums, and clicks whereas driving. It doesn’t make unusual noises after you shut it off anymore both.
The LE and XLE trims supply a barely softer experience, and a special nostril, however nonetheless experience and deal with nicely. The brand new Camry is steady, composed, and strong.
Inside, the inside is a large enchancment in design and supplies from the final technology. The asymmetrical middle stack could also be polarizing to have a look at, however it’s nicely laid out and straightforward to make use of. Seats are comfy, and regardless of the 1-inch decrease roofline, there’s nonetheless a number of house for passengers – even with the out there panoramic roof.
The infotainment system makes use of Toyota’s latest Entune software program. It doesn’t have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, however Toyota says that’s to assist defend person data and privateness. If demand is there, then Toyota can add these apps in later. At launch, it has Scout GPS, NPR, Slacker radio, and Yelp. It additionally has a brand new out there Security Join system that offers emergency help very like GM’s OnStar system.
Toyota steps up the Camry in each manner for 2018. It’s higher to drive, higher to have a look at, and higher to make use of. Most significantly for hybrid patrons, it’s extra environment friendly, too. It’s a win for what has been the best-selling automobile in America for 15 consecutive years.
The 2018 Camry is on sale now. The hybrid begins at $28,685 USD (together with supply) for the LE, $30,385 for SE and $31,135 for the XLE mannequin.
[Images: © Evan Williams]
(An authentic model of this overview appeared in Hybrid Vehicles.)