Honda Accord V6 2013 review
The ninth generation Honda Accord has been introduced at a special event in Auckland, New Zealand...
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As well as providing plenty of performance, the Camry Hybrid provides interior comfort and very good ride and handling.
Importantly, Toyota has reduced the price of Camry Hybrid H to $34,990 - a significant $2000 under the superseded model. The upmarket Camry Hybrid HL carries a recommended retail price of $41,990. This is a $1500 increase, but includes $4500 in equipment gains over the old model.
The Hybrid uses about a third less fuel than the petrol powered Camry. Let’s do some financial calculations: if it uses unleaded petrol at $1.50 a litre and is driven 20,000 km a year for three years the fuel saving would be $2340, placing the Camry Hybrid within the same economic ball park as the regular Camry petrol.
Arguably the best feature of the new Camry Hybrid is that it feels like a normal car. It has lots of lovely torque right off the line due to the assistance provided by the electric motor that produces full grunt right at the bottom end of the rev range.
Which is something that will appeal to Aussie drivers during their unofficial traffic light Grands Prix. OK not many Camry owners drive like that, but who knows, this Hybrid may well lift the enthusiasts’ impression of Toyota’s Camry and increase sales by a substantial amount.
There’s a 10-speaker premium audio system including CD/DVD player and live traffic updates along with digital radio. Camry interior is particularly spacious for both front and rear seat passengers.
More realistically, the Toyota hybrid has superb acceleration particularly in the critical passing range between 80 km/h and 120 km/h. Thus making of ease of overtaking and therefore added safety.
The official combined consumption is 5.2 litres per 100 km (down by 13 per cent on the superseded Hybrid), with a city cycle of 5.7 litres/100 km and highway cycle of just 4.9 litres/100 km.
At the heart of the Camry Hybrid is a new 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and high torque electric motor. Power is delivered to the front wheels via an electronic continuously variable transmission. It is a potent, yet seamless, combination.
Toyota has enlarged the boot and giving the car light towing ability. Though in both of these often-important areas it does lag behind the standard petrol Camry. The outgoing Hybrid Camry (note the reversal of the words in the car’s name) had no tow rating. This new generation has been rated at a modest 300 kg tow rate, enough to get a tinny to the boat ramp or a box trailer to the tip. The Camry petrol has a tow rating of 1300 kg.
Boot space has been increased by eight per cent to 421 litres as a result of the hybrid battery being moved slightly forward. There is a large hatch allowing for long items to be placed in the boot, but the seat backrests can’t be folded down.
Toyota has deliberately kept styling changes to the Camry Hybrid to a minimum, again to keep the ‘normal’ appearance we spoke of a moment ago. The radiator grille has a chromed upper section and a 'hybrid blue' Toyota badge. The headlights are framed by blue accented extensions. The rear end has a hybrid blue Toyota badge and the upmarket Hybrid HL gets a boot spoiler and chrome garnish.
All cars have a power operated driver's seat with lumbar adjustment, the topline HL also gets power controls for the passenger seat. The Camry Hybrid HL has a blind spot monitor in the external mirrors as well as automatically dipping high beam.
Camry Hybrid gets all the same safety equipment as the petrol model: vehicle stability control, traction control, ABS brakes with brake assist, reversing camera. There is now a driver's knee airbag, taking the SRS airbag count to seven. All five seats have seatbelt warnings. It comes as no surprise it has a five-star Australasian NCAP rating.
As well as the improved drivetrain, Toyota has also made significant changes to Camry Hybrid aimed at improving fuel consumption and lowering emissions. There are no belt drives on the engine for the water pump, air-conditioning and power steering. These are all now driven electrically, so only consume power when they are in use.
There’s an EV button which, if the battery has sufficient charge, allows the Camry Hybrid to be an all-electric car for up to two kilometres. Handy in covered carparks, as there are no exhaust fumes. The steering is much lighter than the current model but still offers good driver feedback.
Toyota believes its all-new Camry Hybrid for 2012 will make hybrid cars part of the norm in buyers’ minds. After living with one for a week we have certainly come away impressed.
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