Under the hood you will find not one but two sources of momentum – a 2.5-litre 176bhp/221Nm four cylinder petrol engine that’s partially assisted by an electric motor that takes the combined power output to around 220bhp. Not earth-shattering by any means but it’s enough for most situations this luxury sedan is likely to find itself in.
Around town, the Camry Hybrid gets up to speed in an incredibly smooth manner, with ample pace. You have a dedicated EV driving mode which allows you to move forward using electric power alone, however, the battery can run the car for a kilometre or so before it’s out of juice. It works best in stop-and-go traffic wherein you tend to spend a lot of time without covering a whole lot of distance. Now, as you would expect, the Camry is dead silent at slow speeds. In EV mode you could even sneak up on other motorists, it’s that silent. With both the motors working together, performance is strong with a good surge of power around the midrange.
It goes without saying that the Camry gets up to highway speeds with ease. The effortless acceleration, in fact, goes well with the laidback, comforting nature of the car. As for the gearbox, the CVT has been tuned in line with the relaxed nature of the car. As a result, it is a little slow to react and not exactly engaging when you are up for some fun behind the wheel. The engine also becomes a little loud under hard pulls but once you are up to speed, it settles into a quiet hum, barely heard even above triple digit speeds. What’s audible though is the distant rumble from the economy-biased tyres but it’s not bothersome.
Our time with the car was mostly restricted to the wide and smooth tarmac of the Outer Ring Road, Hyderabad. Even so, we found out that it rides in the typical luxury car way – extremely compliant and insulated at slow speeds but wallowy over a highway, especially over dips and elongated humps. Meanwhile, the electrically assisted steering is surprisingly quick, too, but the sensation doesn’t last as it tends to become vague off centre. We have no gripes with the braking performance though – stopping power is strong and the pedal feel is consistent as well despite regenerative braking.