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    The Toyota Camry hybrid, with a seamless drive experience, well-appointed cabin, and bonafide green credentials, makes a compelling case for itself

    Published On May 17, 2024 12:47:00 PM

    31,879 Views

    Sometimes, all it takes is a lovely, long drive to change the way we view things. Take Wayanad, for example. Despite having had numerous opportunities in the past to head there, we never quite made the effort — until last month. And immediately regretted not getting acquainted with the place sooner. Wayanad is misty, green, lush, and, as importantly, full of rolling hills, with winding roads curving around them. The car we were in was the irrepressible Toyota Camry hybrid. We could have used several adjectives to describe the Camry — ‘legendary’, ‘bestseller’, ‘iconic’ come to mind. But, while the Camry is all of that, it is also, in the right hands, a fun vehicle to drive, and this became evident as we left the plains of Kozhikode behind and pointed the car’s noble nose at the mountains.

    Twisties in the tale

    One of the Camry’s biggest pluses is its hybrid powertrain that combines the capabilities of a 178hp, 221Nm, 2.5-litre petrol engine and a 120hp and 202Nm motor generator. Combined, the two units produce 218hp. What’s remarkable about the setup is that at city speeds, one can drive the Camry in full EV mode (as long as the battery is charged) and that translates into instant torque and a quiet, comfortable drive in urban settings — just what the proverbial doctor ordered. Plus, there’s also this compelling number for you to ponder over: according to the International Centre for Automotive Technology, the Camry hybrid uses 80% less fuel than an equivalent petrol engine in city driving. Since we live in a world that is staring at a clear and present danger called climate change, what’s even better is that the Camry’s advanced regenerative braking system also works when you are slowing down or braking on a steep incline. That means that besides saving tons of fuel, Toyota’s flagship sedan in India also emits very low emissions overall. And then there’s the icing on the cake: the low cost of ownership.

    When you floor the pedal, especially in Sport mode, the petrol motor, which also recharges the battery, kicks in, and then, things begin to happen. The alacrity with which the Camry takes to mountain roads and the seamless transition from between the EV and petrol modes are not the only things that stand out. Under hard acceleration and on twisty roads, the Camry exhibits remarkable responsiveness and impeccable poise. Other highlights include a fantastic, supple suspension that absorbs anything Indian roads can throw at it. This, ladies and gentlemen, is a car that rarely loses its composure.

    Cabin Crew

    The person behind the wheel gets electric front seats with memory, but the Camry is not just oriented towards the driver. Years of being at the top of its game has taught Toyota — the company has built over 16 million hybrid vehicles since the launch of the Prius, the world’s first mass-produced hybrid vehicle —what it takes to build a complete automobile. An impressively long wheelbase liberates space inside the cabin and Toyota have kitted out their bestseller with a range of features and given it the full luxury treatment.

    Rear seat passengers get, among other things, electric reclining seats, and plus, there’s a slick 9-inch freestanding infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity; warm faux wood trim; ventilated front seats, a crisp 9-speaker JBL sound system, three-zone climate control and, yes, of course, a sunroof. All of which means that you don’t have to drive the Camry to enjoy it. Our crew emerged from the journey between Kozhikode to Wayanad fresh as fillies, and nearly everyone agreed that the Camry was a fantastic blend of thrilling performance and tasteful luxury.
    Combine that with the Camry hybrid’s contemporary looks — shaped by Toyota’s modern design philosophy — and you have a car that both looks the part and walks the talk. What about safety, you ask? The Camry hybrid has it covered with nine airbags, including the dual-stage SRS driver and passenger airbags, and front and rear side curtain airbags; Vehicle Stability Control, Hill Start Assist, and Electronic Parking Brake with brake hold function. For those tight spots you might find yourself in and around India’s megacities, there’s also the very handy Park Assist feature. Add to that Toyota’s legendary reliability and hassle-free aftersales service and the equally compelling warranty (8 years/1,60,000km on hybrid battery), and the Camry makes a very strong case for itself.

    Mood Elevator


    Our eco-friendly destination, Banasura Resorts, is spread across 35 acres of verdant terrain and has been constructed using mud excavated from the very site it stands on. It is quiet, and despite the advent of summer, pleasantly cool. It is also a place that feels just right for the Camry hybrid. The Camry has just deposited us at the resort without any fuss, delivered loads of fun on the road, and kept our usually finicky crew pleasantly content. As we sit back and relive the drive, we realise that the Toyota Camry hybrid can be many things to many people. It can offer a spirited drive to young and ambitious executives; it can also be an ideal family car for a young couple with kids, and then, it also fits nicely into the slot for people who want the best but who prefer flying below the radar. Obviously, these are all folks with an eco-conscience who believe in doing their bit to save the Earth, and in the Toyota Camry hybrid, they have a car that thinks alike.

    Also see:

    New Toyota Camry makes global debut

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