Driven: Greening the Planet in a 2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid [Video]

2018 toyota camry hybrid
2018 toyota camry hybrid

Toyota has stood tall in the world of hybrids and the 2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid is a worthy vehicle to look up to. Not because it does anything new, it’s because this car feels familiar. In many ways it feels like its non-hybrid brethren, unless you go crazy and push it real hard. Even then, the 2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid behaves nicely.

Part of that good driving behavior comes from the use of a double wishbone rear suspension. Yep, the hybrid has the same rear-end setup as the fun-to-drive Camrys. Toyota moved the batteries from the rear bulkhead, which sat between the rear seats and trunk, to below the rear seats. This freed-up trunk space, which is 15,1 cu-ft, just like the other non-hybrids, and lowered the center of gravity.

All this new engineering makes for a much more balanced hybrid with fairly good cornering performance despite the extra weight and electrically controlled continuously variable transmission, it’s a great driver. Its ride is soft and compliant with little noise, yet, power through a corner and it adheres. The tires on the hybrid are the same as the ones used on some of the regular Camrys.

Combining the 2.5-liter engine with the electric motor gets you 176 horsepower and 163 lb-ft of torque. The LE model gets better mileage and lithium ion batteries. On the other hand, the SE and XLE get nickle-metal hydride. No one explained the two options for batteries.

Most importantly, the 2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid LE is capable of 51 mpg city, 53 mpg highway and 52 mpg combined. Get the slightly more aggressive SE and XLE, you’ll get an estimated 44 mpg city 47 mpg highway and 46 mpg combined. Remember: this is not a “plug-in” hybrid. Those numbers are nearly in Prius territory.

The interior is just about the same as the other Camrys. In fact, if it weren’t for the badging, you would have a hard time telling the 2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid apart from the regular ones.

Maybe that’s the point?

Check out this in-car video interview!