2011 Toyota Camry Hybrid Review

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Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
June 28, 2011
Yes, you can have an ordinary looking, ordinary driving mid-size sedan with a high-mileage hybrid powertrain. Toyota has for many years now offered its Camry Hybrid, which earns an EPA Combined rating of 33 mpg without many other sacrifices in drivability, performance, or usability.

Just as the rest of the Camry lineup, the 2011 Camry Hybrid is one of the most blandly styled vehicles in its competitive set. The Hybrid gets just a few very minor cues that signal it to those in the know; other than badging, it has its own unique, distinctive grille, as well as cool-blue instrument-panel lighting inside.

In the Camry Hybrid, there's a more fuel-efficient, Atkinson-cycle version of the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, combined with an electric motor-generator system, in a variation of Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive, to produce 187 hp altogether. Toyota's experience with hybrids shows here in the Camry Hybrid; its powertrain is so smooth and unobtrusive that you probably won't be able to identify the transitions in power (an instrument-panel display will tell you). Among the few thing we don't find as agreeable in the Camry Hybrid are that handling is a little less capable than in other Camry models, and steady speeds are hard to maintain when not using cruise control. But the 2011 Camry Hybrid gets an excellent EPA-rated 31 mpg city, 35 highway; that's no longer particularly noteworthy on the highway, but far better in the city than any of its non-hybrid peers.

The Hybrid, as other Camry models, has space for up to five adults, including decent headroom and legroom in back. The battery pack is mounted just behind the back seat, so trunk space has been cut by about a third versus the non-hybrid versions. Ride quality is on the soft side, and while that's to the detriment of handling it's good for long-distance comfort.

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Equipment on the Camry Hybrid is comparable to top XLE trims of the standard Camry, with dual-zone automatic climate control, a smart-key system, a power glass moonroof, leather upholstery, and a 440-watt JBL system with Bluetooth all included. A navigationi system, heated front seats, and heated outside mirrors are among the options.

We tend to like the way that Ford has implemented its Fusion Hybrid, so take a look at that model, too; the Ford not only has significantly better gas mileage than the Camry Hybrid (41/36), but it handles more responsively.

For more information about the 2011 Toyota Camry Hybrid, see our full review of the 2011 Toyota Camry lineup, where you'll find more photos, related news, and curated highlights from other review sources.

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