There are cars in the Indian market available today that are stylish, powerful, luxurious, macho, etc etc etc… But there are also a select few cars available here today that are on the cutting edge of technology. The Toyota Camry Hybrid here is one such car. So is if merely a showcase of technology or is it something every luxury car buyer in India should consider? Well, since this review is going up on World Environment Day, read on to know more…
The 2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid comes with a new face compared to the previous model. The front looks way better now and the Japanese firm has incorporated just the right amount of curves. The headlights are striking and the fog lamps have a good-looking design. The side profile is pretty much bland and that reveals how long the sedan is. The rear is similar to the previous Camry and has only some minor changes. The Toyota logo at the front and rear comes with blue surrounds in the hybrid variant. The multi-spoke alloys look regal and the Japanese automaker couldn’t have chosen a better design. Get Price of Toyota Camry in Carzprice
The Toyota Camry has lots of road presence too. The vehicle has an overdose of lights and chrome at the front. Each headlight unit consists of two projectors, one halogen and one LED DRL strip. The bumper has a fog lamp on both the sides along with turn indicators. The lights do a darn good job of illuminating the road ahead and are very bright. So many lights are quite attention-grabbing on the road and since the Camry is not so popular here, people were quite curious to find out what car it is. The sedan also looks good and imposing while cruising down our roads
The interiors of this sedan have seen an upgrade and are classier than before. Its beige theme dashboard is wide and has a centre console, wood inserts and steering wheel. Other features of the dashboard are air conditioner vents, leather wrapped steering wheel, a large glove box and a redesigned silver instrument panel. Apart from these, it features a digital tachometer, door ajar warning, electronic trip meter, speedometer and seat belt warning notification. The cabin is very spacious and is incorporated with a lot of sophisticated features. The seats are well-cushioned and comfortable, and for more comfort, adjustable head rests and centre arm rest are integrated in the cabin.
A touchscreen stereo system is also embedded in this sedan for the entertainment purpose of passengers. It comes with a lot of features like radio with AM/FM tuner, audio streaming, USB interface, Bluetooth connectivity, CD/MP3 player, Aux-in Port and six speakers. Various options including audio, cruise control and call buttons are mounted on the power steering wheel for ease of access while driving.
ENGINE AND GEARBOX ;
The Toyota Camry hybrid facelift remains the same as the outgoing model in terms of the engine and the underpinnings. In the hybrid version, the 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine has been detuned to produce 160bhp and 213Nm of torque. The Hybrid Synergy System (electric motor and petrol mill working together) as Toyota has dubbed it takes the total output to 205bhp and 270Nm of torque. Power is sent to the front-wheels via a CVT gearbox.
There are three driving modes being offered with this engine- ECO, EV and standard mode. Thumb the starter button in any of the three modes and voila! There is no sound! It took quite a few attempts for all of us to realise that the electric motor had come on and that the vehicle was actually running In the Eco mode, the power delivery is a far more sedate and up to 55kmph or depending on throttle input, the car will travel only in electric mode after which its switches on the petrol motor. In the EV mode the car runs purely on electricity and is limited to a top speed of around 45kmphIn standard mode: unhinge the foot-controlled parking brake as always, press the throttle and you are greeted by an instant wave of torque right from the word go. However, if you mash the throttle, then there is a rubber-band effect commonly associated with the CVTs when it comes to power delivery. The ICE, when running, also charges the batteries as does the process of regenerative braking..There are no paddle shifters or manual shift option offered with the gearbox. The only extra feature you get is a ‘B’ mode to engine braking for some additional stopping power that seems to have been taken away due to the engine braking.
RIDE AND HANDLING ;
Five minutes in the back seat is all it takes to know the focus of the Camry’s dynamics. The Camry isolates you beautifully from even the sharpest of bumps. The suspension is silent, bump-absorption is simply fantastic and the Camry rides like there are pillows between the tyres and the road. It comes with relatively high-profile 215/60 R16 tyres and these play a big part in the way it rides. The best part though is that this soft ride doesn’t come at the expense of stability. Rebound damping is excellent, and the Camry settles down almost immediately after it hits a bump, and it doesn’t bob about. Sure, it’s not as rock solid as a Superb at high speeds, but Toyota has found a very nice compromise nonetheless. Worth mentioning is how little road noise enters the cabin – there’s barely any tyre and wind noise, and the suspension works very silently too.
Show it a set of corners though and the Camry fails to engage. The electrically-assisted steering is numb and there is quite a lot of roll. Turn into a corner enthusiastically and the car will run wide, there’s plenty of tyre squeal and the absence of traction control becomes apparent, as there’s no electronic nanny to cut power and keep the car in line.
As expected, it’s not particularly nimble in town, but the light steering does help, and visibility isn’t too bad either. We just wish a reverse camera was part of the equipment list. It is rather necessary as the Camry’s rear overhang is quite long. The Camry’s 8.2kpl in the city and 12kpl on the highway are really reasonable, considering the size of the car. It is better than most of its rivals and this is partly down to the light weight of the car.
All variants gets 10 airbags as standard as well as Toyota’s Star Safety System, which includes a reversing camera, vehicle stability control (VSC), traction control (TC), electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), brake assist (BA) and anti-lock brakes (ABS). Other features include lane-departure alert with steering assist, radar guided cruise control, automatic high-beams and blind spot detection.
The new Camry will be assembled in Toyota’s plant in Georgetown, Kentucky. With the new model, Toyota will be looking to continue the Camry’s streak as the USA’s best-selling car – a crown it has held for 15 years in a row.
It is very clear that the Toyota Camry Hybrid isn’t receiving the success that it should have got in India. It is a terrific package that offers everything right from visual appeal, features, comfort, space, power and an excellent ride. Also add the fact that Toyota’s service is way better than rivals like Skoda. The only thing that Toyota fails to offer is snob value. With the 2015 model having entered our market, we really hope that the Camry gets its due since it is a very under-rated car. Buyers in this segment think that if they’re spending Rs. 35 lakhs on a Toyota, why wouldn’t they just add a few more lakhs and get something from the Teutonic three. However, the Camry is bigger than the A4, 3-Series or the C-Class and offers much more comfort with a lot of peace of mind and hence we feel that it is the perfect buy for someone desiring back seat comfort as well as mind-boggling power in this price range. Moreover, the Camry Hybrid is entitled to a discount of Rs. 70,000/- under the new FAME scheme by the government.