Ah, the hybrid. Here’s what I think the fascination with hybrids is these days: We want to keep money in our pockets, not trees on the planet. That’s not a bad thing, but not something we’d all admit to, that’s for sure.
So, in the spirit of saving money at the pumps so we can buy more Starbucks and iPhone accessories: enter the 2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid. With an updated exterior look, and plenty of comfort inside, the Camry Hybrid is the ideal blend of fuel efficiency and comfortable motoring.
What is the Toyota Camry Hybrid?
A more fuel-efficient version of the gas-powered Camry, the Hybrid version features Hybrid Synergy Drive that means better fuel consumption. First introduced to North America mid-2000s, the Camry Hybrid featured Toyota’s renowned hybrid system already made popular by the Prius.
The Camry Hybrid offers everything the standard Camry does with the added value of fewer trips to the pumps and “green” driving when you’re in EV mode.
2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE Price and Specs
At the top of the Camry Hybrid pack sits the XLE, which means it’s also the priciest. With a starting price in the mid-$30k range, it comes very well equipped with all the creature comforts you’d hope to find in a car of this price.
From an 8-way adjustable driver seat (with lumbar support!) to a backup camera, heated front seats, and a host of other high-tech bits that’ll keep you connected and on the move, the Camry Hybrid XLE is worth its price, in my opinion. Because along with all the amenities you get a trusted hybrid powertrain that’s known for giving you the results you want from just such a mill: low fuel numbers and easy driving.
Speaking of its engine, the 2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE comes equipped with a 2.5L 4-cyl Hybrid Synergy Drive engine that produces 200 horsepower (net). A Continuously Variable Transmission controls the power sent to the front wheels. The Camry Hybrid features EV mode and ECO mode settings selectable by the driver to ensure optimal hybrid performance. EV mode puts the Camry Hybrid in full battery mode, while ECO mode turns the throttle response into molasses and is for super uber hybrid driving results.
Driving the 2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE
While I’ve already touched on it a bit, let’s look at driving this hybrid a bit more closely. No, it’s not exciting, but then it’s not meant to be.
The CVT is functional, if only slightly irritating, but it works nicely with the Hybrid Synergy Drive engine and I never felt like it was straining or underperforming.
While I didn’t use the ECO or EV mode buttons often, I did appreciate the switch to full battery mode while I was sitting in stop-and-go traffic, and I know it definitely helped diminish my final gas bill at the end of the week. I did more highway than city driving in the Camry Hybrid, and as an open-road warrior it was perfect.
I also appreciated the near flawless switch from gas to battery power. While the Accord Hybrid Plug-In I had a few weeks ago was much more shuddery (to the point where my son asked me why the car was shaking when it switched from battery to gas), the Camry was seamless. I received nary a comment from the peanut gallery in the backseat about it. Success.
Inside and Out of the 2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE
I really like the new look Toyota’s got going across their lineup. It’s modern, aggressive had has just the right amount of attitude -- something Toyota’s been sorely missing for quite some time now. Of course, this isn’t a car that’s in need of “aggressiveness” on the road; however, it’s nice to see it there as it adds some personality to an otherwise dull vehicle.
My son eloquently pointed out that the Camry was exactly the same car as the Corolla, just bigger. And he’s not wrong. Even inside he was sure to ask me about 943 times why I was driving the same car because it was Monday and I always change my car on Monday. For mothers of 3-year-olds everywhere, Toyota, consider making something different in the centre stack next time, maybe?
Regardless of similarities, the Camry Hybrid XLE is extremely comfortable inside. For long hauls or short trips, there’s plenty of room up front and the rear seats are very accommodating for a baby seat and an adult passenger. The trunk is also sizeable, with the perfect load height (no need to soil my jeans on a dirty bumper when I reach in).
Comparing the 2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE
I can see the attraction to the Toyota Hybrid family. It’s flawless as a hybrid and very comfortable and easy to drive. Plus, there’s the added security of purchasing a vehicle from the company that pioneered the hybrid movement and has essentially perfected it over the years. As far as competition goes, there’s the Accord Hybrid, the Fusion Hybrid, and on the more luxurious side there’s the likes of the BMW ActiveHybrid3. However, I really think the Camry Hybrid takes a huge portion of the cake and will win out more often than not.