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2017 Toyota Camry Hybrid Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Toyota Camry Hybrid was new.


Performance: 8.0

The 2017 Toyota Camry Hybrid is an easy-to-drive commuter car. It has quick acceleration from a stop, and it gets good fuel economy for a midsize car. It uses more fuel than other midsize hybrids, however. It gives you a comfortable and mostly quiet ride, and it has composed handling through turns.

  • "The Hybrid SE isn't the sportiest hybrid out there, but Toyota's engineers have done an impressive job of turning this Camry into a rather engaging car to drive." -- Edmunds
  • "The Camry Hybrid drives a lot like the standard Camry, and that's a good thing. It offers a smooth, comfortable ride, a roomy interior and a surprisingly noise-free experience, all with minimal intrusion from the car's hybrid system. We suspect you might not realize you're driving a hybrid until you arrive at the pump and discover how much money the Camry Hybrid is saving you." -- AutoTrader (2016)
  • It's no sports sedan, but it's a better car to drive than it was." -- Motor Trend (2015)

Acceleration and Power

The 2017 Camry Hybrid comes standard with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor. Together they generate 200 horsepower, giving the Camry Hybrid one of the most powerful hybrid powertrains in the class. Only the Honda Accord Hybrid's impressive 212 horsepower beats the Camry Hybrid.

When driving in city traffic, the Camry Hybrid feels surprisingly spry thanks to the immediate power you get from the electric motor when pulling away from a stop. You should have little trouble getting up to highway speeds. When the gasoline engine's power isn't required, it will shut off, like when driving at low speeds, then it fires back up as needed. While you're on the move, the transition from electric to gas power is unobtrusive, but there's a noticeable vibration that you'll feel when the engine starts after a complete stop.

An automatic transmission (CVT) is standard. Under hard acceleration, the CVT makes an unpleasant, high-pitched whining sound. It will fade into the background after you spend some time driving the Camry Hybrid.

Getting 42 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway, the base Camry Hybrid LE gets excellent fuel economy estimates for the class. It doesn't compare as favorably to other hybrids, however. The Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid gets 47 mpg in the city and 46 on the highway, while the Honda Accord Hybrid gets an even better 49/47 mpg city/highway. Stepping up to the Camry Hybrid SE or XLE will cost you even more fuel, with both trims only getting 40 mpg in the city and 37 on the highway.

  • "Toyota's hybrid drivetrain is one of the most sophisticated and refined systems of its kind. The transition from all-electric mode to the gasoline power is smooth and unobtrusive. Acceleration is strong for a midsize hybrid sedan as well, slotting in between the regular Camry four-cylinder and the Camry V6 in terms of quickness." -- Edmunds
  • When you're moving, the gasoline engine's engagement is smooth and seamless. If you happen to be sitting at a long red light when the gasoline engine restarts, you'll feel an unmistakable shaking in the chassis." -- Motor Trend (2015)
  • "… Toyota says it launches to 60 mph in just 7.6 seconds - I'd consider that conservative, as it feels a bit quicker. Acceleration like that puts it easily more than a half-second quicker than its four-cylinder sibling in the same sprint. More importantly, the hybrid's power delivery is more useable around town (e.g., pulling out in traffic) when its hybrid drive system is operating in its sweet spot." -- Autoblog (2015)

Handling and Braking

The front-wheel drive Camry Hybrid's cushioned ride makes it a great car for daily driving, as it rides smoothly over bumpy patches of pavement. It's not so soft that it wallows around corners, though. In fact, it stays composed. If you buy an SE model, you'll get sport-tuned suspension that makes its handling even sharper.

Hybrids have regenerative brakes that help recharge the battery. They also have traditional brakes to apply extra braking force when needed. When you push the brake pedal hard, the abrupt change from regenerative to friction braking may make it feel like you slammed on the brakes. Fortunately, after spending some time driving a hybrid, most drivers usually become accustomed to how much force is needed to brake smoothly. If you decide you can't tolerate the Camry Hybrid's brake feel after taking a test drive, but still want a hybrid, you should consider the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid. Its brakes function much more smoothly.

  • "Thanks to revised suspension tuning that came with the 2015 revamp, the latest Camry sedan delivers a slightly livelier driving experience. But don't confuse the Camry for a corner-carver: Its emphasis remains quiet and comfortable road manners." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The 2017 Toyota Camry Hybrid has a confident driving character. It holds the road well, especially in sport-tuned SE trim, yet the cabin remains quiet and mostly undisturbed by bumps and ruts." -- Edmunds
  • "The Camry Hybrid's brakes still need improvement. They're very grabby, throwing [you] forward against the seat belt if you give them anything but a gentle squeeze. Once they're engaged, the pedal feel is strange and completely unrelated to the stopping power." -- Motor Trend (2015)

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