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First drive Toyota Camry Hybrid

image In the US Camry Hybrid comes with a 33kW electric motor, 110kW, 2.4 litre petrol engine and Constantly Variable Transmission. Photo Gallery

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.

Find cheap fuel: you can search by suburb or postcode

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.

Is the price of petrol hurting you?  Tell us how ...

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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Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 35 comments

  • Why isn’t the Aussie spec Camry Hybrid tested in Aussie conditions? I’m sure Toyota will make quite a few changes to the Aussie spec machine to cope with our different conditions.

    Grumpy Sandgroper of Perth (WA) Posted on 11 January 2011 7:38pm
  • VW TDI is of course better, but again an Australian Ford Falcon, anything from around AU series III to a BA-BF and all the way to the FG, anything from a VZ Commodore to the current VE &Toyota; Aurion are the true western type of a LARGE car. So think about it, is it better to have a ~190kW Falcon BA that has over 380Nm of torque on tap at all times or a 110kW hybrid? that does not even properly combine those 33kW of electric power with its 110kW to effectively make 143kW, it only couples the TORQUE but not power. Even if we were to compare the Torqueless Aurion V6, yet the only thing that would save it is a 6 speed auto “close ratio gearbox” and its peaky 200kW at high 6400rpm, versus Falcons 182-190 at just 5000rpm and massive 383+ Nm of torque at just 2500-3250rpm versus Aurion’s poor 336Nm at too high for every day cruising and driving 4700rpm.I see this hybrid as poor as Aurion V6 performance wise, economy wise and driveability wise, stick with a Falcon 4.0L or a Commodore 3.6L, particularly with a new SIDI 3.6 a very sweet 210kW V6,but don’t ignore the big 4.0L Ford Falcon for its superior driveability, reliability, economy and TORQUE the engine makes that no V6 can deliver!

    Daryl Lee of nsw Posted on 27 February 2010 12:42am
  • Our 2004 Toyota Sportivo does betetr than that at V6 3litres. I drove a Camry hire care recently and was horrified to find a foot operated hand brake. Try reversing back up a car park ramp using that system. The engine couldnt hold the car and I have no idea how one does a hill start, let alone a reverse hill start.
    Very very disappointing indeed.
    I went to be green and environmental but also want a good looking car that performs. Possible ?

    John Andrews of Perth WA Posted on 24 January 2010 1:46pm
  • Who killed the electric car,consumeris did !! fossil fuels including LPG are only going to rise as you use more (a simple supply/demand scenario),diesels put out more particulates than petrols so the fuel economy is at the expense of the environment and possibly our health if driven in cities, think ahead people,the future is coming wether you winge and cry about it or not !

    forward planner of outside city limits Posted on 22 January 2010 2:28am
  • 9 litters per 100KM,,that is big figure, VW TDI is much better than this

    Sean of Sydney Posted on 16 January 2010 8:11am
  • My holden does that. My ford does that. Stick to your aussie cars. Toyota doesnt need closed minds such as yourselves.

    Davo Dinkem Posted on 05 January 2010 6:55pm
  • The fuel consumption is crap, my 1991 holden vn ss 5.0 v8 gets better fuel consumption

    JEFFEREY NELSON of CAMDEN Posted on 24 December 2009 5:37pm
  • Why bother , completely pointless.

    Pedro Pinto of NSW Posted on 14 June 2009 3:47pm
  • For crying out loud, this was a highway run and the electric motor is not at work there.In town, where I think the car wasn’t tested, it would get 5-6 Liters. You also DO NOT HAVE TO CHANGE THE BATTERY AT ALL. Please get your facts right, people.

    Eddy W Posted on 06 January 2009 4:02pm
  • I am assuming that this ISN’T the hybrid Camry which Rudd has invested in…is it? Anyone know?

    alex of brisbane Posted on 29 July 2008 8:46pm
  • This car’s stupid! - 1) it still has a 2.4L engine - no saving in fuel there. 2) only 110 kws from a 2.4? The 2002 camry (with a 2.4L) manages 118kw. Proves how to make this car still affordable they had to skimp on the efficency of the engine.

    alex of brisbane Posted on 28 July 2008 8:58pm
  • 9 l/100km may be reasonable fuel consumption for the average petrol engined family sedan, however this is not the average family sedan, this is a hybrid. It would need to give much better fuel consumption figures to justify buying one. In any case the way to acheive better fuel economy and also better performance is through decreasing a cars weight, not adding to it with useless things such as battery packs.

    Jason Scott of Sydney Posted on 22 July 2008 2:06am
  • toyotas hybrid battery is not 5000.$ and if you check with dealer batt will last 10 years easy

    john mcmillan of melbourne Posted on 26 June 2008 8:23pm
  • forget about all other types of fuel….......hydrogen is the best way to go. Jamo.

    j jamo Posted on 23 June 2008 12:10pm
  • 9L per 100 KM travelled. Thats amazing, cough spit. My wifes petrol Focus does better then that. And my XR8, on a long highway stint gets down under 10! Just. But even then my cars average is currently 13.6 per 100 KM (the mathematic’s proves my on board trip meters statement). I drive the car daily to work and on most weekends travel at least 160 KM between my work town and home town. And at times i’m not that gentle on the throttle so this hybrid’s 9L per 100 is not that much of an improvement for fuel economy. It might get down to under 6 on long highway stints but who cares? Regardless does anybody know what colour brown cardigan you get from Toyota to go with your new hybrid camry?

    david Posted on 22 June 2008 7:49pm
  • Having recently driven a Prius in England, they are only good for urban areas where there’s plenty of stop/start driving.  On the open road when there’s little braking, they are a waste of technology.  In fact, going up hills, they have to rev the guts out of that little engine.  On down hill stretches, there’s no engine braking and we kept catching up with cars in front and having to brake continually.

    Tony Wells of N.S.W. Posted on 22 June 2008 10:23am
  • Oh what a joke Toyota.
    My 10yo Astra does 7 litres per 100km day in, day out.

    Oh what a joke Posted on 21 June 2008 1:46am
  • The comments here are based on the urrent cost of fuel, it is getting more expensive and it wont last forever. The sooner we develop alternatives to diesel and petrol vehicles the better off we will be. Diesel users will continue to pay high prices as it cannot be manufactured from Australian crude oil. Petrol and LPG from our own shores should not be increasing in price at the same rate as imported fuels.

    John of Colac Posted on 19 June 2008 7:17pm
  • My dad owns a 1993 HSV Senator with a 5ltr V8with 200kw. On a trip it, fully loaded it averages 8-9.5 litres per 100km. There is no way that we would buy a camry that cost more in outlay and you have to pay $5000 for a battery every 5 yrs. And it is only a little better on fuel economy and half the power.
    And speaking of diesel powered commodores has anyone seen the $1.75/litre cost of diesel at the moment.

    jayson Posted on 19 June 2008 12:05pm
  • To Scott who writes: “Wow, 9 litres per 100 Km’s - sorry I just don’t see the point when any diesel will do better”. When you click on the link to another part of the story you will see this quote:-  Where a regular four-cylinder Camry consumes 9.9 litres of fuel per 100km. The Camry hybrid slashes that to 5.7 litres. Besides NT, where are the 120km/H speed limits in Oz. At 100 or 110km/H effeciency will improve slightly, not to mention our better quality ULP over here

    Who looks cool driving an XR anything really really gentle? It just looks like you can’t afford the fuel.

    Aaron of Perth Posted on 18 June 2008 10:05pm
  • Instead of swapping their Statesman and other luxury models for Prius’ and using $75 million of public money to promote a Camry hybrid, the Federal Government would have been better launching an investigation into the price of LPG in Australia or setting up outlets to sell natural gas if the oil companies will not. Promotion of clean gas burning cars is the best interim solution until a better new power source is found. We are currently being ripped off on gas prices but the advantages are still huge - ask any taxi owner.

    lionel hurst of Brisbane Posted on 18 June 2008 2:57pm
  • I drive a 2.5 diesel 5spd tiptronic style automatic KIA Sorento 4 wheel drive which weighs 2.2 tonnes.  On paper it has about 126kw and 400nm of torque.  When you put your foot down it has real verve.  It is capable of towing 2.8 tonnes around Australia.  It has a part time 4 WD system with a low range gearbox and normally drives through the back wheels.  This rear wheel drive arrangement and a very small turning circle allows it be parked in spots normally unavailable to large cars. Parking and narrow street u-turns are a breeze.
    Non-towing Brisbane suburban driving with occasional forays to the Sunshine or Gold Coasts, consistently yields about 8.5 to 9 litres per 100klm.  Please explain how a Toyota hybrid, no doubt costing more than my KIA , has any advantages whatsoever.  By the way even servicing the KIA is cheap because service intervals are 15,000 klm apart.
    My only bugbear is getting ripped off when I buy diesel and Government blind-Freddy attitude in allowing this monumental rip-off to continue.

    Steve Mahoney of REDCLIFFE QLD Posted on 18 June 2008 2:15pm
  • What a joke!!  9litres/100kms is NOT fuel efficient and our beaut government are investing $30million in this - are they serious?  Small turbo diesels run at +/-5-6litres/100km, thats where the real savings are plus no expensive battery to replace.

    solar man of Toowoomba Posted on 18 June 2008 10:15am
  • Wow, 9 litres per 100 Km’s - sorry I just don’t see the point when any diesel will do better. A hybrid taxi makes sense as they do all city driving where the hybrid works at its best but otherwise…

    What we need is a diesel Commodore/Ford, decent diesel fuel (as per Europe), better LPG systems but not hybrids.

    Scott of Townsville Posted on 18 June 2008 9:31am
  • the judder may be a sign of CVT wear and tear, rather than the ECU deciding if it needs electric or petrol power.  CVT in theory saves fuel, together with this hybrid battery technology.  however, studies have shown CVT generally have a shorter lifespan than a conventional auto transmission, and car batteries do not last as long as the car itself.  both are big money items to repair/replace.  you could be saving petrol, but monetary wise, you are worse off.

    Pete of melbourne Posted on 18 June 2008 7:39am
  • Let me get this right. The car costs $5000 more to buy. You need to replace the battery pack every 5 years at a cost of around $5000 each and it only saves 1 litre of petrol per 100km of travel. This has got to be the biggest fizzer in history.

    Before the car would repay itself in fuel savings I would need to buy another battery that by the way is really very bad for the environment in itself.

    Why would I buy a hyrid with these kinds of numbers. Another disadvantage is that the car would be a Toyota (not my favourite brand).

    I voted for Kevin Rudd because I thought he had vision. Now that I see him backing such a lame duck I wonder if I have made the right choice.

    On a slightly different note, my BF Falcon XR6 when driven really really gently returns around 9.0l/100km and at least I look cool driving it.

    Sasha of Darwin Posted on 18 June 2008 4:41am
  • To the nay sayers—- hybrid drivetrains max out their efficiency on inner city, rush hour stop and go style driving. Country, non stop go driving does not yield the maximum returns. Of course it needs a mix of the two to recharge, so if you live a bit outside the city and work in the city then this is ideal conditions for the hybrid drivetrain.

    Jorgen of Glenroy Posted on 18 June 2008 4:13am
  • Do yourselves a favour and buy a modern diesel vehicle and not a hybrid. I own a Peugeot 307 2.0 litre HDI diesel, and have averaged 5.3 litres per hundred since new over twelve months ago. This is used in mixed driving, and even in the city I can return figures which make Toyota’ s hybrids look absolutely fuel guzzlers.

    Trevor Posted on 18 June 2008 3:40am
  • i get 8lt per 100 on hwy driving in my 2.5 xtrail i dont think i need to say any more

    richard lawrence of mandurah 6210 Posted on 17 June 2008 8:24pm
  • Toyota is giving ppl a choice with a bigger car than their Prius & ANY improvement over a Conform-odore is to be applauded. This may not be the ultimate solution, but at least they are pointing the way fwd! Hyundai may be onto something better when it releases an LPG/Hybrid shortly, but John; u r WRONG; the hybrid uses the elec.motor more in the city & that is where u will get most gains & advantage over a petrol car!

    yelafella of Melb. Posted on 17 June 2008 5:35pm
  • What a load of rubbish for that sort of fuel economy. In fact the camry is not an economical car in any event and what is clear for Aust at least is that we are now buying more cars of 1.6 ltr engine size or less. A hybrid car with a large engine cannot make a difference where it counts and that is around the city.  If you want to save fuel, get a Getz 1.4 ltr or a Yaris 1.3ltr or similar because that is the only way to keep the fuel bills down.  You just have to settle for a small car with a small engine for around the city, or a diesel engine of up to 2.0ltrs. The rest are not in the long term game.

    John Ralph Posted on 17 June 2008 3:01am
  • Just under 9 litres per 100km just not good enough .
    Toyota cars and Hybrids are overrated.
    I have owned a Toyota my present KIA has proved more reliable.

    Paul Posted on 15 June 2008 2:31pm
  • Just under 9 liters Per hundred k’s isn’t fuel effeient at all!
    My commodore uses about 10 liters per hundred k’s in mixed driving and it’s a bigger and more powerful car, but it gets about 7.3 liters on the freeway.
    This just proves how useless and expensive hybrids are, not to mention the extra toll they take on the environment because of the extra input needed in the manafacturing process.  In the short to medium term, LPG and diesel is the way foward.

    karl Posted on 14 June 2008 4:06pm
  • 9.0 litres per hunded!  Thats no good. 

    My lady friends fossil fuel only focus returns 7.6 its almost as bit as the camry and has a 500 litre boot.  & its magic to drive. 

    & I’m averaging 9.5 out of my 2.5tonne discovery turbo diesel. 

    Again toyota shows hybrid is a triumph of marketing over substance.

    catalyst Posted on 14 June 2008 11:46am
  • The fuel savings and the loss of boot space hardly seem worthwhile when you factor in te $5,000 additional purchase cost and the prospect of replacing batteries after 8 years at over $6,000.  In Australia, it would make more sense to make a dedicated LPG version using the next generation LPG technology, that is, conformable tanks and liquid LPG injection.  This equates to a no-compromise car, same boot space as petrol, no loss of power or economy, and hybrid rivaling fuel costs… oh and there no expensive battery packs to replace or dispose of.

    Nicholas K of Melbourne Posted on 13 June 2008 6:14pm
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