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Toyota Camry Hybrid 2022 review: Ascent

The Camry looks the same but has a new hybrid system.

Toyota is on quite the hybrid roll. They’re rolling out hybrids across their range and seem to be the one of the most forward thinking companies in the industry.

Take the Camry for instance. It used to have a 3.5L V6 engine. Now? A 2.5L hybrid is available across the range. You can also opt for the straight petrol version, but only if you want to pay more for fuel. 

I test drove the Camry Ascent Hybrid which is the base model and costs $33,490 (minus $3000 for the petrol version). It competes with cars like the Mazda6, Skoda Octavia and Volkswagen Passat. I drove it for a week with my family to see how it feels to be a non-SUV family for a while.

Toyota is on quite the hybrid roll. Toyota is on quite the hybrid roll.

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How does it look? 

There’s something super reliable about the Camry exterior. It looks like it always has, so instantly makes you feel at home.

There’s nothing flash or fancy about it, but it speaks volumes about the nature of the car and instantly makes you feel comfortable. 

There’s nothing flash or fancy about the Camry. There’s nothing flash or fancy about the Camry.

The interior has been redesigned with the multimedia screen now set into the dash, and a one-sided curved border around the centre console area that makes the Camry feel fresh and modern.

The multimedia screen is set into the dash now. The multimedia screen is set into the dash now.

Being the base model it has fabric seats that are smooth and comfortable, and it has a lot of man-made plastic-y bits around dash and doors that makes it feel quite basic. 

How easy is it to use every day? 

The main thing about the Camry is that it’s a sedan and not an SUV, so for families that’s the first consideration.

If you’ve got young children that you’re constantly taking in and out of car seats, bending down to pick children up can get tiresome and heavy. If your kids are older then that won’t matter at all. 

The seats are manually adjustable and most other things in the car are also manually operated, including the boot and the key ignition start.

For storage there are two cupholders in the front. For storage there are two cupholders in the front.

For storage there are two cupholders in the front that will fit a bottle, a large centre storage bin/armrest, and a storage shelf for keys and a phone. The air conditioning has wide outlets and it’s breezy through the cabin. 

Rear passengers will get their own directional air vents, two cupholders in the centre armrest and there are bottle holders in all doors. 

Rear passengers will get their own directional air vents. Rear passengers will get their own directional air vents.

How spacious is it? 

The great thing about the Camry is the interior space. There’s lots of room in the front seats with all the legroom that comes with the joy of a sedan shape, and you can lounge in the front seats.

There’s also a good amount of space in between driver and front passenger, so it feels airy. 

There’s lots of room in the front. There’s lots of room in the front.

The rear is spacious also. My kids fit in easily, they’re aged eight and 10, with enough legroom they could only just kick the seat in front of them.

I’m also comfortable in the back seat at 161cm with plenty of leg space, and taller adults and teenagers will have the wiggle room to sit straight without cramping knees.

The rear is spacious also. The rear is spacious also.

You’ll be able to get three child seats in the back though it will depend on your child seats of course, I did it with two boosters and a baby capsule.

There’s not a lot of room for that but they do fit better than small SUVs for example. 

The Camry gives you 524L of boot space. The Camry gives you 524L of boot space.

I’m always surprised by how much boot space sedans have and the Camry is no exception. The boot is large! Yes it’s flat and long rather than high but it gives you 524L of space which is comparable to a lot of mid-size SUVs.

Again, being a sedan you’ll have to bend down to get things out rather than have the height of an SUV. 

Boot space is comparable to a lot of mid-size SUVs. Boot space is comparable to a lot of mid-size SUVs.

How does it drive?

Here’s the lovely bit about the new Camry. It's a hybrid. So while it still feels like a regular Toyota, and looks like a regular Toyota, you have the joy of a silent start (I had to remind myself the car was on), and it cruises along beautifully using the electric motor at low speeds. 

The Camry cruises along beautifully using the electric motor at low speeds.  The Camry cruises along beautifully using the electric motor at low speeds. 

Toyota has a long hybrid history, and they’ve nailed it with this car. The electric motor to petrol engine transition is seamless, and there’s a lot of power behind it still for those used to the old V6 engine.

With a 2.5L hybrid you’ll still get up hills quickly and zoom along highways. The handling is good and the car feels solid. 

Toyota has a long hybrid history, and they’ve nailed it with this car. Toyota has a long hybrid history, and they’ve nailed it with this car.

Parking is also good in a sedan, while it’s a long car as long as you have the space for it, it’s light to manoeuvre with a steering wheel that turns easily and a good reverse parking camera. 

With a 2.5L hybrid you’ll still get up hills quickly and zoom along highways. With a 2.5L hybrid you’ll still get up hills quickly and zoom along highways.

How safe is it?

The new Camry has introduced a lot more advanced safety even to this base model, with auto emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane keep assist and lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control. For blind spot monitoring you’ll have to go up a level.

It comes with airbags that cover driver and front passenger and side curtain airbags that cover both rows. You’ll get two ISOFIX points and three top tether points across the back seat for kids car seats. 

Toyota have introduced a lot more advanced safety even to this base model. Toyota have introduced a lot more advanced safety even to this base model.

What’s the tech like?

The new Camry comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, which is great as it wasn’t that long ago you couldn’t get these on any Toyota, and now they are across the range.

This tech means even the standard Toyota multimedia looks slick with your phone’s interface across the 7.0-inch touchscreen. That’s a small screen for this size car, though it gets bigger if you go up a few grades. 

The Camry comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. The Camry comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

How much does it cost to own? 

The Toyota Camry Ascent Hybrid costs $33,490, before on road costs and extras. The official combined fuel consumption figure is 4.7L/100km - a big plus when you think it costs an extra $3K upfront but how much you’d save in fuel over the years.

The official combined fuel consumption figure is 4.7L/100km. The official combined fuel consumption figure is 4.7L/100km.

I averaged 5.2L/100km doing a mix of suburban and highway driving over the seven days. 

It’s covered by Toyota’s five year/unlimited km warranty, and services are required every 12 months or 15,000km, with capped price servicing meaning the annual service cost for the first five years is $220.


The Wrap

While it’s not a typical family car, the Camry is still a solid family option, with lots of interior room and boot space comparable with many mid-size SUVs.

The exterior doesn’t look like it’s been made over but the interior is certainly a bit more modern. The most exciting thing about the Camry is the hybrid tech which instantly takes it ahead of the competition. 

I gave it a family rating of 7.7 out of 10 and my kids gave it an 8.0 - purely for the hybrid factor. 

Likes

Hybrid tech
New interior
Advanced safety

Dislikes

Exterior not revamped
Small media screen
Not easy to put kids in (and take them out)

Scores

Nedahl:

3.9

The Kids:

4

$33,490

Based on new car retail price

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