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2013 Toyota Camry Hybrid Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2013 Toyota Camry Hybrid was new.


Performance: 7.6

Though reviewers say it’s not the most exciting car in the class to drive, auto critics like the 2013 Toyota Camry Hybrid’s acceleration and handling, and they note that the transition between power sources is nearly undetectable. Many reviewers say the Camry Hybrid’s competent ride is comparable to many gas-only midsize cars, which is a compliment.

  • "Without a doubt, the biggest beneficiary of Camry's recent remake is the Hybrid. With major mass reduction, handling dynamics on par with its conventional kin, and a redone Hybrid Synergy Drive system that finally has the engine/motor/transmission triumvirate speaking far more directly to each other, the most fuel-efficient Camry variant has far greater consumer appeal regardless of the price of gasoline." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Powertrain integration is honestly among the best of any hybrid vehicle out there." -- Motor Trend (2012)

Acceleration and Power

The 2013 Toyota Camry Hybrid has a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and electric motor that create a total output of 200 horsepower. The Camry Hybrid uses an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission (ECVT) to direct power to the front wheels. The EPA estimates the LE model will achieve 43/39 mpg city/highway and the XLE model should earn 40/38 mpg.

Auto critics are happy with the Camry Hybrid's power. Most say the transition between the gas engine and electric motor is excellent, and that the powertrain has plenty of strength for highway passing and stop-and-go driving. One test driver was annoyed when he pushed the gas engine hard, saying it was too loud. Reviewers think the Camry Hybrid’s ECVT is smooth.

  • "Taking a much-needed next step in the greener arena, the 2013 Toyota Camry Hybrid features Toyota's most technologically advanced HSD [hybrid synergy drive] system to date. Light, tight and impressively integrated, the new system yields spirited performance under all conditions and an eye-popping set of fuel economy numbers." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The Hybrid is leisurely on takeoff but builds speed quickly to provide peppy acceleration. Mid-range throttle response is surprisingly immediate, especially for a hybrid. CVT provides smooth power delivery." -- Consumer Guide (2012)
  • "The very first thing I noticed was that the transition between the electric motor and the gasoline motor was seamless - I was not able to detect when the gasoline motor powered on and off." -- Forbes (2012)
  • "Perhaps it was the stark contrast with the silence of the hybrid system when stopped or operating under electric power, but when the gasoline engine kicked over, we noticed it audibly. And during hard acceleration, the engine noise is downright obnoxious. Perhaps this is Toyota's way of discouraging lead-footed drivers. Treat the go pedal like an eggshell and you'll be rewarded with a smooth, near-silent ride." -- CNET (2012)
  • "But Camry Hybrid genuinely impressed us with the relative mountain of torque available just after the throttle is stabbed. For the first few seconds off the line, Camry Hybrid will dust some performance cars, let alone any other hybrid you might encounter, especially if you really dig at the throttle to convince the gas engine to turn over." -- Left Lane News (2012)

Handling and Braking

Test drivers report that the 2013 Toyota Camry Hybrid’s handling is composed and slightly nimble. It’s not the most athletic car in the class, but reviewers are happy with the way the Camry Hybrid handles a winding road. The Camry Hybrid’s regenerative brakes get mixed reviews, with some saying they don’t inspire much confidence and others saying they feel natural and provide good stopping power.

  • "Revised chassis components and new geometry give all Camrys a more confident feel with better ride compliance and body control, changes that are particularly noticeable when the going gets twisty." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "In fact, the Camry Hybrid only suffers from one stereotypically hybrid problem - its brakes. The regenerative stoppers still aren't very linear. While not as grabby as less refined systems, there's still the sense that coming to a stop requires more effort and distance than the non-hybrid Camry. That could be a product of the extra weight, however." -- AutoblogGreen (2012)
  • "Toyota gets my nod for best regenerative brakes, too. Where other hybrid brakes often feel inconsistent or even bricklike, the Camry Hybrid's pedal is almost as linear as a non-hybrid car's." -- Cars.com (2012)
  • "The electric steering has positive, linear weighting and the firm brake pedal offers a surprisingly short stroke with little of the grabbiness anticipated from a braking system with regenerative functions. And speaking of regenerative braking, it has also been optimized, per Toyota. Golly, is there anything the Camry Hybrid can't do?" -- Motor Trend (2012)
  • "Suspension improvements have also enlivened the Camry Hybrid's handling dynamics. That's not to say the new hybrid is particularly sporty, but it does infuse slightly more enthusiasm into a rock-solid legacy of cushy, comfortable ride quality." -- Edmunds (2012)

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