|Toyota’s spacious Camry continues to evolve while remaining at the fore of the Hybrid movement.|
As this competitive segment of forward-thinking 4-door sedans further entrenches itself into automotive normalcy, both the consumer and the environment benefit.
Updated exterior styling
It’s subtle but some styling revision has taken place, mostly around the front bumper and grille of the Camry Hybrid. I see a more bulbous look combined with a sharpening of the fender lines as they intersect with the front bumper.
A similar design was applied to the Prius for 2010. As I understand it, this particular re-shaping of the nose and front fender extensions reduce the vehicles’ co-efficient of drag in support of enhanced fuel efficiency.
While I don’t find the nose particularly handsome I’m certainly supportive of its purpose. The remainder of the Camry is attractive yet slightly yawn-inducing but not so with the Camry’s cabin.
Premium cabin soothes the senses
The cloth-upholstered cabin in my tester was finished in light hues highlighted by a deep brown upper dashboard along with satin accents and glass appliques. Assembly quality was superb while the materials in use were predominantly pleasing to the touch.
Leg and headroom in all five seating positions is more than adequate but the same doesn’t hold true for the seat cushion length in the front perches. They were a little too short to provide my stilts with the degree of support I prefer. A small matter yes, but well worth mentioning.
Apart from the seat quibble, I was highly impressed with the Camry’s interior architecture.
Also worth mentioning is the impressive array of comfort and convenience amenities supplied as standard equipment; this included smart-key technology, push button start and a powerful JBL audio system.
|Assembly quality was superb while the materials in use were predominantly pleasing to the touch.|
Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive
The hybrid technology powering the Camry Hybrid is a “full hybrid” system, meaning that the vehicle can operate exclusively on electrical power or on a combination of battery and gas generated propulsion.
|In the 2010 Camry Hybrid, a 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine serves as the heart of the hybrid system.|
Toyota refers to its hybrid technology as Synergy Drive, which is now in place in excess of one million hybrid vehicles since its introduction in 1997.
In the 2010 Camry Hybrid, a 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine serves as the heart of the hybrid system, which also includes a high-torque electric motor and a powerful storage battery.
These two power sources meld to produce 187 horsepower and up to 138 pound-feet of torque while achieving a California-happy Tier 2, Bin 3 emissions rating.
In fact, the eco-conscious Camry Hybrid exceeds California’s Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle regulations.
Power from the hybrid plant is funneled through an automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT) prior to finding its way to the front wheels.
Behind the Camry’s wheel – hybrid style
First of all, the Camry Hybrid is tomb-like quiet - and I enjoy that immensely. Under acceleration about all that’s audible is a muted purr emitted by the gas engine.
Road and wind noise are both effectively eradicated as are all other forms of irritation, except for the smog-generating less “green” rides that clog our streets.
Power in the Camry Hybrid builds in a measured, conservative manner intended to assist the driver in achieving the best possible results from a litre of liquid gold. Yet when the need for hustle presents itself, the Camry Hybrid can deliver.
Acceleration is brisk, with highway passing performance that exceeds expectations – well at least my expectations. Also exceeding expectations, and not in a particularly good way, is brake response.
|First of all, the Camry Hybrid is tomb-like quiet - and I enjoy that immensely.|
Ride, handling and braking
Probably due to their dual role of regenerative charging and stopping the vehicle, the 4-wheel antilock disc brake setup tends to over respond to input, especially when that input is clumsily applied.
I’m certain that with exposure, one would easily adapt to this particular braking characteristic and as such, smooth rather than abrupt brake action would be the norm but it’s something to be mindful of in the early days of ownership.
Toyota has struck a pleasing balance between ride quality and handling prowess. If anything, the balance tips slightly in favour of ride comfort, and why not? The Camry Hybrid isn’t intended to attract the “tuner” crowd.
When things do turn dicey on the icy, Toyota’s Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) system combined with their Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Traction Control (TRAC) programs will intervene to assist in maintaining vehicle control, and likely human composure.
Should a collision occur, the Camry Hybrid will protect occupants with a comprehensive array of airbags.
|The 2010 Camry Hybrid rolls silently out the showroom door for a reasonable $30,900.|
Occupant protection a Toyota priority
The Camry Hybrid is stocked with frontal airbags, front seat side-mounted airbags, front and rear side curtain airbags and an airbag for the driver’s knees; bravo Toyota for including this suite of important equipment as standard fare.
Pricing delivers value but economy narrowly misses the target
Although the Camry Hybrid is Canada EnerGuide rated at an impressive 5.7L/100km for city and highway driving, the best I could manage based on readings supplied by the onboard computer was 6.4L/100km.
Still, 6.4L/100km is impressive for such a spacious, comfortable car while mired in city traffic.
The 2010 Camry Hybrid rolls silently out the showroom door for a reasonable $30,900. That coin nets you everything except a sunroof, leather upholstery, heated front seats, fog lights and a navigation system with a backup camera plus some vanity lighting and rear seat reading lights.
At a shade under $31K, the Camry Hybrid delivers cutting-edge “green” technology along with premium-level surroundings and ride comfort, not to mention guilt-reduced motoring.