Judders under load give way to a free spirit.
The silent Toyota Camry Hybrid starts with a slight judder, the electric motor maybe deciding if it needs help to get away.
This hesitation is sometimes felt at freeway speeds on our US test drive, where the Camry has cruised quietly at 120km/h, running electric before needing more power to overtake.
In the US the Prius's bigger brother Toyota Camry Hybrid comes with a 33kW electric motor, 110kW, 2.4 litre petrol engine and Constantly Variable Transmission.
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For the most part, aside from those occasional judders under heavy load, it is a quiet and comfortable sedan.
The front end on this one was a touch doughy, and not as responsive at the steering wheel as Australian petrol Camrys.
Whether the different feel was down to the Hybrids' steering and suspension or North American specifications, we're not sure.
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Yet the electric-petrol-CVT powertrain and a soft front end did not stop this Camry Hybrid from a couple of free-spirited runs, one behind a pack of bikers on the twisting, turning Highway One north of San Francisco.
And through all of this — climbing steep city streets, running with the pack down freeways and mixing it on country roads — the car returned just under nine litres per 100km. That's not bad for a fair-sized family sedan.
Luggage space is more limited than in a normal Camry, but it is a usable sedan not lacking any traditional passenger car attributes.
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