2019 Toyota Camry Hybrid Review — The Sporty Eco-Warrior

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In 2017, Japanese carmaker Toyota unveiled the eighth-generation Camry at the North American Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan. Now, more than two years later, the new Toyota Camry is finally here in India. Priced at Rs 36.95 lakh (ex-showroom), the new Camry like before remains exclusively hybrid for India.

2019 toyota camry hybrid review

Toyota claims the new Camry is more driver-focused than ever and its aggressive looks support the claim. So is the new Toyota Camry everything it promises it will be or is it a step too off the beaten path from the Japanese carmaker? We got behind the wheel of the new 8th-gen Toyota Camry in the City of Nizams, Hyderabad, to find the answers.

Design And Styling

2019 toyota camry front three quarter profile

The new Toyota Camry is a big upgrade from the earlier generations of the luxury executive sedan we've seen before in terms of design. While earlier-gen Camrys including the last iteration have had their own distinctive styling, Toyota kept its design department on a short leash. This time though the shackles have been taken off and the changes are there for everyone to see.

The 8th-gen Toyota Camry is an aggressive looking executive sedan with sharp lines and angles giving the car a rather sporty look. Up front, the sharpness of the design can be seen in the sleek new full-LED dusk-sensing headlamps. The units themselves are projectors and feature integrated daytime running lights.

2019 toyota camry front profile

Bridging the gap between the headlamps is a V-shaped chrome grille that features a rather iridescent blue Toyota badge at its centre. The front bumper too is brand new and features a massive air dam along with integrated fog lamps on either edge. On top, the sculpted bonnet looks quite muscular which adds to the sporty look of the car.

2019 toyota camry side profile

From the sides, the all-new 2019 Camry is calmer with regards to styling. The roof flows smoothly into the boot and there are small character lines that connect the beltline to the front and rear ends of the Camry.

Another, much more prominent character line starts under the Hybrid badging on the flanks and runs across the doors, through the door handles. This along with flared wheel arches with the snazzy new alloy wheels and the ORVMs mounted onto the doors are the major design points that catch your eye if you approach the new Camry from the sides.

2019 toyota camry rear profile

Move to the rear, and the new Camry's design seems to be an evolution of the back end of the previous car. The boot lid is raised above the back end and features a spoiler element. The wraparound taillights are sleeker and are full LED units as well and are connected by a strip of chrome bearing the Camry name underneath which sits the rear-camera.

Other features at the rear include the blue Toyota badge, the hybrid logo at the bottom right corner of the boot lid and the new bumper with the chrome exhaust tip popping out of the left corner.

The Cockpit

2019 toyota camry dashboard


Move inside the new Camry and you'll be greeted by a mostly beige interior with a few black elements on the dash and the doors. The biggest change in the new Camry interior compared to the previous car is the Y-shaped tri-layered dashboard.

The top section of the dashboard is a blacked out soft-touch plastic section and is separated from the next onyx garnish (stone-grain and metallic finish) section by a metallic separator that wraps around the a/c vent on the left-hand corner of the dash. Underneath the onyx section sits the final raised part of the tri-layer dash which is draped in leather. Underneath this is the glove box on the front passenger's side of the dash.

2019 toyota camry steering wheel


The Camry features a brand new steering wheel which features controls for the cruise control setup, infotainment system and the multi-function display. Also seen are the new paddle shifters that allow drivers to manually 'shift' gears on the e-CVT gearbox.

The instrument binnacle features a dial on the left with Charge (blue), Eco (green), Power (white) sections along with an analogue speedometer. In between the dials is a multi-function display, which shows everything from the trip computer to the tyre pressure sensor readings.

2019 toyota camry front cup holders and gear lever


The centre section which hosts the cup holders, gear shifter and an array of assorted buttons is draped in the new Onyx garnish, which may not gel well with the tastes of every owner. The centre section between the front seats features buttons for the different driving modes (Eco, Normal and Sport) behind which are more of the same for the EV mode and brake hold along with a switch for the electronic parking brake. Also seen are controls for the ventilated front seats.

Stereo And Infotainment

2019 toyota camry infotainment


The infotainment system for the all-new Toyota Camry is a mix of a touchscreen display and control buttons on either side all of which are set in a piano black section in the centre of the Y-shaped dash. The touchscreen is easy to use and quite responsive.

The infotainment system supports Bluetooth, USB and aux inputs and can be controlled through voice controls. Unfortunately for those looking for Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, Toyota currently doesn't seem to be in any hurry to bring either smartphone interface to its infotainment systems. The Camry's infotainment setup is paired with a 9-speaker audio setup from JBL which is good for anything from Beethoven to Bullet For My Valentine.

2019 toyota camry jbl speakers

While the button and touch mix for the infotainment setup works quite well, we've seen in it numerous times before on other Toyotas and the interface is starting to feel quite dated now. However, the heads-up display for the driver makes those behind the wheel forget about any issues from the infotainment setup.

Practicality, Comfort And Boot

2019 toyota camry front seats


The seats on the new Camry were designed for massive American frames which is evident in the size of the large front chairs. The front seats are heavily bolstered and are ventilated as well which means that you can keep your rear-end and back cool or hot depending on your tastes and the weather.

The seats are extremely comfortable and are perfect for long drives and can be adjusted electrically in 10 different ways. However, the front passenger seat doesn't feature a memory function. The tilt and slide sunroof above the cabin is controlled using the roof-mounted control panel.

2019 toyota camry rear seats


The new Toyota Camry's wheelbase is around 50mm longer than before and most of this extra space can be seen at the back, which is further enhanced by the fact that the rear seats can be reclined.

The headroom at the rear on the new Camry has gone down slightly to the previous-gen car due to the fact that Toyota has moved the battery pack for the electric motor under the rear seats. However, there is more than enough head, knee and legroom at the rear for passengers to travel in comfort.

2019 toyota camry rear armrest controls


The rear seats and the rear zone of the three-zone climate control system can be controlled through the touch panel on the central armrest. The panel can also control the infotainment system as well.
2019 toyota camry boot


The Camry also features quite a few places to store items inside the cabin with large door bins and a sizeable storage space under the front armrest. The Camry's boot is quite large at litres and can easily hold quite a large amount of luggage with ease. However, the raised loading lip can make getting things in and out of the boot a bit of a chore. The rear seats fold down in a 60:40 split if you need to carry larger loads. However, the seats do not fold down flat due to the new position of the battery pack.

Engine, Performance And Driving Impressions

2019 toyota camry front three quarter running shot


The 8th-Generation Toyota Camry is powered by a petrol-electric hybrid powertrain. The 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine is on the Atkinson cycle and produces 175.5bhp and 221Nm of torque.

Aiding the engine is an electric motor that cranks out 118.3bhp and 202Nm of torque and a 245V Nickel-metal hydride battery. Toyota limits the final combined power output of the Camry's hybrid setup to 215bhp which is sent to the front wheels via an e-CVT automatic gearbox.

2019 toyota camry mileage


The four-cylinder engine and the electric motor combine for a more energetic and enthusiastic feel off the line while still ensuring that the Camry remains fuel efficient. We averaged 23.1 km/l after driving in both the city and on the highway.

The only major issue are the new paddle shifters fitted to the car. While we don't have a problem with the units themselves, the CVT gearbox setup just doesn't give the feel of shifting on the paddles that you would get with other transmissions. In the end, the CVT makes the paddles seem like something that Toyota forgot to remove in the switch to the hybrid setup.

2019 toyota camry action shot front

In earlier times, the Toyota Camry wasn't a car that you usually associated with the word agility. However, the new Camry changes all that. The hybrid setup allows the Camry hybrid to get off the line quickly thanks to the electric motor getting to work instantly.
The precise steering gives you the confidence to push the new Camry into a corner. The Camry remains composed even if you do hoof the loud pedal a bit too far when pushing the sedan through turns. Braking performance has also improved and the Camry now comes to a halt a lot quicker than before.

2019 toyota camry action shot

However, the newfound handling characteristics of the new Camry doesn't mean it has a harsher ride. In fact, the new 2019 Camry offers a plusher ride than before and the suspension setup easily soaks up the bumps and ruts of Indian roads.

Key Specifications

Dimensions

Overall L x W x H 4.885m x 1.840m x 1.455m
Wheel Base 2.825m
Minimum Turning Radius 5.8m
Fuel Tank Capacity 50 litre
Seating Capacity 5-seater
Kerb Weight 1,665 kg
Gross Weight 2,100 kg

Powertrain

Type 4 Cylinders, Gasoline-Hybrid
Displacement 2,487 cc
Max. Output 175.5bhp @ 5,700 rpm
Max. Torque 221 Nm @ 3,600-5,200 rpm
Total Max. Output 215 bhp
Battery Type Nickel-metal hydride
Voltage (Nominal) 245V
Motor Type Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor
Max. Output 118.3 bhp
Max. Torque 202 Nm

Safety And Key Features

2019 toyota camry airbag


Toyota has packed the all-new 2019 Camry with a host of safety features for India. These include 9 airbags, ABS with EBD and brake assist, brake hold function, Vehicle Stability Control and traction control (which can be turned off thanks to a switch placed on the right side of the steering wheel). Other safety features include impact-sensing fuel cut-off, rear parking camera & sensors, parking assist and the ISOFIX and top tether anchors for child seats among many others.

DriveSpark Thinks!

2019 toyota camry side running shot


The Toyota Camry is still the practical option in the mid-size car class-for proof, just look at its extraordinary set of standard safety features. The 2019 redesign changes the game for this sedan though. Now, it is also a fun option. Drivers enjoy a much more animated experience behind the wheel, thanks to the peppy four-cylinder engine and electric motor hybrid powertrain along with the much-improved driving dynamics.

What We Liked

  • New Design
  • An impressive list of standard safety features
  • Peppy yet fuel-efficient hybrid setup
  • Improved Driving Dynamics

What We Didn't Like

  • Lack of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
  • The number of buttons around
2019 toyota camry rear

What You Need To Know

The Toyota Camry Hybrid is currently on sale in India for Rs 36.95 lakh (ex-showroom).

Rivals

The Toyota Camry's main rival in India is the Honda Accord Hybrid which retails at Rs 43.21 lakh ex-showroom (Delhi). The Accord Hybrid is powered by a 2.0-litre Atkinson cycle i-VTEC petrol engine and two electric motors which combine to produce 212bhp and return a mileage of 23.1km/l.

Reporting by Promeet Ghosh; Writing by Dennis James; Editing by Jobo Kuruvilla

English
Read more on: #toyota #review
Article Published On: Saturday, January 26, 2019, 14:29 [IST]
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