The fuel-economy leader once again
When the first Camry Hybrid was launched back in the summer of 2006, it offered all the qualities of a conventional Camry, but with fuel economy ratings yet unheard of in the midsize sedan segment. It basically consumed less fuel than a subcompact Yaris.
In order to get that low fuel economy, a sacrifice had to be made: price. The Camry Hybrid cost over $6,000 more than the base LE trim, albeit with some added features. Even in 2011, the price gap is still six grand.
For 2012, the Camry was totally redesigned; the 7th generation sedan is much improved over the outgoing model, and every non-hybrid version of the Camry gets a lower price and added content. All this poses an even tougher challenge for the hybrid model.
Yet Toyota is confident that their gas-electric sedan will continue to sell well in Canada. So far, more than 95,000 6th-generation Camrys have been sold, and of that number almost 18,500 of them were hybrids, or just under 20%. This year, two trim levels will be available: the lightly equipped, fleet sweetheart LE and the loaded XLE.
What’s changed inside
Since the 2012 Camry has been thoroughly reworked, the hybrid model benefits from an interior redesign that is most welcome. The cheap-looking, ill-fitting plastic dash components have been replaced by a tasteful new appearance with an assembly quality that is beyond reproach.
The dash gets a soft-touch surface with a stitched crease that runs over the instrument panel and above the glove box, while the centre stack is finished with subtle chrome and silver-painted trim. In typical Toyota fashion, the switchgear is straightforward and easy to use while driving.
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