Car reviews - Toyota - Camry - Hybrid sedan range
A price cut on the entry model has the all-new Camry Hybrid in the medium-car hunt
14 Mar 2012
THE second chapter in Toyota's 2012 Camry story has unfolded with the local launch of the second-generation hybrid version, three months after the standard petrol model hit the shelves. Boasting more power, even lower fuel consumption and a more refined driving experience, the new Camry Hybrid is not just the most abstemious mid-sized car around, but one of the most practical and affordable. The price of the base Camry H (for Hybrid) has been cut $2000 over the previous generation, while it gets more equipment and all the general improvements of the new generation Camry. At $34,990, it begs the question: why would anyone buy a thirstier, slower standard petrol Camry?
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THE first Camry Hybrid joined the Camry range belatedly in 2010, becoming Australia’s first domestically-built hybrid vehicle. Returning official fuel consumption of 6.0L/100km, it was more efficient than any other locally produced vehicle. The Camry Hybrid was also significantly more efficient than the petrol-only Camry, which had an official fuel economy rating and also produced less exhaust pipe CO2, with an official rating of 142g/km. All Camry Hybrid models came standard with electronic stability control, six airbags, a rear-view camera, audible rear parking sensors, 16-inch alloy wheels with a full-sized spare, dual-zone air-conditioning and keyless entry and start. They also scored a unique front-end with new-look headlights, grille, front bumper, foglights and unique rear lights, as well as a noise-reducing windscreen, Optitron instrument cluster and Hybrid-branded front-door scuff plates.
Stepping up to the Luxury model added different seat and door trim with leather accents, four-way electrically adjustable driver and passenger seats, rain-sensing wipers, an electro-chromatic rear-view mirror and a rear lip spoiler. A 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol Atkinson Cycle engine was supplemented by an electric motor fed by a boot-mounted nickel metal hydride battery pack. The petrol engine delivered 110kW at 6000rpm and 187Nm of torque at 4400rpm, while the electric motor could produce 105kW and 270Nm. Those figures suggest the Camry Hybrid would be quite a fast machine, but it was tuned for economy, recording a claimed a 8.9-second 0-100km/h time (0.9 seconds faster than the regular petrol model). Importantly, the Camry Hybrid could take off and travel at low speed in electric-only mode for up to 2km. The petrol engine, mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission, also switched off at idle and when the vehicle was coasting. The Camry Hybrid’s steering and air-conditioning were electrically assisted and the brake control was also electric to reduce the vehicle’s fuel consumption and enable operation when the petrol engine was deactivated.
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