2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid

Performance


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2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.6

The 2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid is one of the most fuel-efficient cars on the road. It has more horsepower than many hybrids, and it delivers a smooth ride even when road conditions aren’t great. And while this is no sport sedan, the Camry Hybrid is athletic enough that you won’t be bored driving it.

  • "The 2018 Camry isn't an evolution of the outgoing car, but rather a completely different and much-improved sedan that drives like no Camry before." -- Cars.com
  • "Even with my brief time in the car I was very impressed. Let's hope Toyota brings this new sporty drive to other models in the lineup, and soon." -- CNET
  • "First, having driven a 2017 Prius Prime to the Camry event, we can say that the new Camry Hybrid is a substantially more comfortable and engaging car to drive." -- Autoblog

Acceleration and Power

The Camry Hybrid features a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and an electric motor that combine to produce 208 horsepower. It’s paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). There are four driving modes to choose from (EV, Eco, Normal, and Sport) that affect driving dynamics and fuel consumption. 

This Toyota has good power for a hybrid, as many others don’t crack the 200 hp barrier. Power delivery is smooth, and acceleration is adequate. The CVT is a bit of a sore spot, as it responds slowly at times.

The highlight of any hybrid is fuel economy, and this Camry is no exception. It stepped up its game as part of the redesign and now boasts some of the best mpg ratings of any vehicle on the road. The Camry Hybrid LE earns an EPA-estimated 51 mpg in the city and 53 mpg on the highway, ratings that rival those of that eco-friendly mascot, the Toyota Prius. The Camry Hybrid SE and XLE aren’t quite as efficient, but they still return 44 mpg in the city and 47 mpg on the highway, which are excellent ratings even for a hybrid vehicle.

  • "Through the miracle of inscrutable hybrid math, total system output somehow still rises 8 hp to 208, and EPA economy leaps … to 44-51/47-53 city/highway (with the LE earning the higher numbers, thanks to a battery chemistry upgrade to lithium-ion). Oh, and a new four-point mounting system better isolates engine vibrations." -- Motor Trend
  • "Next we got in an SE Hybrid. Here the CVT is trying hard to be sporty and responsive but feels neither. A gander at the spec sheet lists mileage at an impressive 52 mpg combined for an LE Hybrid. This might be worth the loss of road feel, especially if you can't really feel the road anyway, depending on how you drive. The SE and XLE Hybrids are rated at 46 combined, which is also outstanding. If gas mileage is more important to you than sportiness, this is your ride." -- Autoweek
  • "The best balance, however, is actually found in the 2018 Camry Hybrid thanks to its battery pack being relocated from the trunk to underneath the back seat. It also lowers the center of gravity. … Nevertheless, its thriftiness is still what stands out: 51 mpg city, 53 mpg highway, and 52 mpg combined, or essentially the same as most Prius trim levels." -- Autoblog

Handling and Braking

Like most midsize sedans, the Camry Hybrid comes standard with front-wheel drive. It’s a great commuter car because it provides a smooth ride, even over uneven pavement. This Camry Hybrid also delivers a more engaging driving experience than previous models. It’s still not among the best-handling cars in the class, but it’s now within shouting distance of sporty rivals like the Ford Fusion and Mazda6.

The Camry Hybrid’s regenerative brakes blend smoothly with the hydraulic brakes, but they can feel a little spongy at first. The brakes have ample stopping power, but the feel may take some getting used to.

  • "The Camry is lower and wider than the outgoing model, with about a 2-inch-longer wheelbase, and it features a more sophisticated rear suspension. That new suspension, along with tight, well-weighted steering, translates into better handling. The Camry feels light on its feet and takes turns easily, although it's still not at Ford Fusion levels of agility and precision." -- Consumer Reports
  • "In any version, the Camry rides over rough roads with a solid, unified motion rather than the old car's way of hitting bumps as if each wheel was seemingly flailing uncontrollably under the car." -- Cars.com
  • "On a twisty mountain road the Camry willingly dug into corners, but exit speeds were hampered a bit by a confused transmission. Switching to manual shifting solved that problem and the Camry suddenly became nearly Mazda-like in its handling. Toyota didn't have competitor vehicles on hand for us to drive, but the folks behind the Mazda6, one of the best-handling sedans in this price range, should be very worried." -- CNET
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