2014 Camry Hybrid New Car Test Drive
The Toyota Camry is America's best-selling midsize sedan. Toyota claims the Camry is the safest, quietest, most fuel-efficient car in its class, and we have no reason to doubt those claims.
Camry was completely redesigned for the 2012 model year and carries into the 2013 model largely unchanged, though the 2013 Camry does benefit from some additional equipment upgrades. Bluetooth wireless phone connectivity is standard across the 2013 Camry line. The Blind Spot Monitor adds a rear cross traffic alert function and is available on more models for 2013. 2013 Camry Hybrid models now sport the same soft-touch inner door panels as the non-hybrid Camry models. Leather-equipped 2013 Camrys feature accent stitching on the inner doors.
This seventh-generation Toyota Camry is an attractive car, with clean sides and nice edges. It's about the same size as the 2007-11 models. Benefitting from the latest impact energy management engineering, it's built on a rigid chassis using a lot of high-strength steel and ultra high-strength steel.
The interior is nice, the leather dashboard neat and stylish, the instrument panel pretty and functional. Storage spaces are well thought-out, and a 60/40 split rear seat is standard.
Five models of the 2013 Camry range from the stripped-down Camry L to the sport-tuned Camry SE to the environmentally friendly Camry Hybrid.
Camry offers a choice of four-cylinder, V6 or hybrid power. The standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder makes 178 horsepower. The 3.5-liter V6 produces 268 horsepower. Fuel economy is an EPA-estimated City/Highway 25/35 mpg with the four-cylinder, 21/30 mpg with the V6.
We were impressed with the smooth and responsive acceleration from the four-cylinder as well as the fuel economy. Toyota boasts a range of almost 600 miles.
The tuned suspension in the sporty Camry SE might be too firm for some; we didn't find the Camry SE uncomfortable, but we did find the softer Camry XLE more relaxing around town. We preferred the SE's tighter steering in all circumstances.
The Camry Hybrid uses a 2.5-liter Atkinson Cycle engine, with more horsepower and electric power than in previous generations. It feels like a totally different car than other models, as it slows everything down and makes the vehicle feel bigger. The Environmental Protection Agency rates the 2013 Camry Hybrid LE at 43/39 mpg City/Highway, Camry Hybrid XLE at 40/38 mpg.
The 2013 Toyota Camry comes in five models. The base-model Camry L ($22,235) comes standard with air conditioning with filter, fabric-trimmed front seats with seatback pockets, six-way adjustable driver's seat; four-way adjustable front-passenger seat, Bluetooth phone connectivity, 6.1-inch Display Audio screen, power windows and door locks, AM/FM/CD/MP3/WMA audio with USB port and iPod adapter, cruise control, 60/40 rear folding seats, overhead console, projector beam headlamps, manual front seat adjustment, 12-volt power outlet, 16-inch steel wheels with wheel covers. The 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and 6-speed automatic transmission are standard.
Camry LE ($22,680) upgrades with steering wheel audio and Bluetooth controls, remote keyless entry, an additional 12-volt power point, auto on/off headlights, and variable-intermittent wipers. Rocker panels get a chrome insert, and armrests are color-keyed, not black as on the Camry L. Camry Hybrid LE ($26,140) is equipped similarly.
Camry XLE ($24,855) upgrades further with dual-zone automatic climate control, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, power front seats, wood-style interior trim, lighted vanity mirrors, rear reading lamps, rear air outlets, power moonroof, foglamps, heated outside mirrors, more chrome trim, 17-inch alloy wheels. Camry Hybrid XLE ($27,670) is equipped similarly. A power sunroof ($915) is available on the Camry Hybrid XLE.
Camry XLE V6 ($30,465) comes with the 3.5-liter V6 engine, and adds leather seats with heated front seats, auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass and HomeLink, a rearview camera, and dual chrome exhaust tips, with touch-screen navigation; SiriusXM and HD radio; Toyota Entune, which encompasses a range of mobile applications and data services.
Camry SE ($23,400) and SE V6 ($27,260) start with standard LE features but feature a sport-tuned suspension, sport mesh body-colored front grille, halogen headlamps with black bezels, rocker panel extensions, rear and underbody spoilers, SofTex-trimmed sport seats, paddle shifters, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift know, silver-grain interior trim; 18-inch alloy wheels on the V6, 17-inch on the I4. Camry SE V6 also comes with touch-screen navigation; SiriusXM and HD radio; and Toyota Entune.
Safety equipment standard on all models includes 10 airbags, electronic stability control with traction control, ABS with Brake Assist and Brake Force Distribution, and a tire pressure monitoring system. Rearview camera is optional; Blind Spot Monitor System with Rear Cross Traffic Alert is optional.