Its friday evening now and I am stuck in rush hour traffic in Gurgaon so at this moment I would not care whether the car I am driving 'handles like it's on rails' or has a supercar like top speed. What I need is peace and quietness after a hard day at work and staring at a long, traffic infested journey back to home it is here I realise why the Camry Hybrid makes so much sense.
First of all the refinement and the silence really hits you (especially if you stepped in from a diesel hatch!) which makes it miles ahead in terms of refinement from other diesel and petrol luxury sedans. Coupled with the sublime ride quality and the Camry Hybrid just puts you in a different world- ideal when you are stuck in traffic.
The Camry Hybrid which is India’s first ever locally manufactured hybrid has a 2.5L petrol engine with an electric motor having a combined output of 202 bhp. The petrol engine in insolation is less powerful than the petrol only Camry but the electric motor adds the extra power.
The Hybrid Synergy Drive senses when to switch between the two power sources – petrol engine and electric motor and the motor also works as a generator to convert the moving vehicle’s kinetic energy into electricity. Then the generated electricity charges the battery during decelerating and braking and which you all know is called regenerative braking.
Enough gyaan. When you drive it in EV mode you use only electric power till 40 kmph which means in traffic you get instant torque and absolute quietness. Lovely. There are two more modes and the electric motor along with the petrol engine work brilliantly as you are not even aware when the petrol engine comes on.
While the Camry Hybrid impressed me during that day in traffic conditions, next morning the drive revealed that the Camry Hybrid is also quite quick. Yes the E-CVT has the usual CVT shortcomings but this big luxury sedan in Normal mode feels fast using the full power and at throttle response at its best.
Of course in no ways its 'sporty' as the car is tuned for comfort and thats what it excels at. Oh and being a hybrid it's a lot more efficient also beating other petrol powered sedans easily and something which will be appreciated by many. The Camry Hybrid has an efficiency of 19.16 kmpl which is just fantastic though in real world conditions expect 12-13 kmpl.
In order to make look different the Camry Hybrid has some design changes which makes it look sportier and more aggressive than its petrol only sibling. It gets a new grille, bumper and fog lamp bezel along with LED Headlamps, 17” Alloy Wheels and Hybrid Emblem and HSD Logo.
The interior is luxurious and has lots of space to really stretch out at the back. Toyota have also stuffed it with features like power reclining rear seat, 3 Zone Air-Conditioner, seat ventilation system front seats, power sunshade rear window, manual sunshade for rear door windows etc
Priced at Rs 29.2 lakh the Camry Hybrid is not cheap but it does make more sense than previous hybrid cars launched in India. It's luxurious, refined, comfortable, good looking and also efficient for a luxury car. Forget that diesel luxury car that you are eyeing, check this one out!