2014 Toyota Camry hybrid review

It has long since been the way to deliver different powertrain technologies: Include a huge amount of kit to partly justify the boost in price for a hybrid or a diesel car.

What Toyota has done, in a similar fashion to that of the Prius, is essentially de-content the Camry to lower the price. In this and the Prius’ case, it works against it especially as the competition offers or makes available much of the bells and whistles that everyone wants.

The 2014 Toyota Camry Hybrid is a very decent car to drive, comfortable and quiet and with appreciable road manners. As a daily driver it works, but in its current state there are numerous arguments against it and for its rivals. I expect, though, that the 2015 Camry will address all issues and send the competition looking to improve upon their products in time.

What is a Toyota Camry hybrid?
The Toyota Camry is another in the long list of go-to cars. As one of Toyota’s superstars, they’ve made sure that it offers something for almost everyone. With three powertrains on tap, the Camry remains a very popular midsize sedan.

2014 Toyota Camry Hybrid Price and Specs
Getting into a new 2014 Toyota Camry is easier than one might think. At $23,750, the base LE features everything the average car user needs. The Camry Hybrid piles on more technology on top of the base LE and rings in at $27,760.

The XLE trimmed Toyota Camry Hybrid starts at $29,615 and as tested, with the Moonroof package, retails for $32,115. I might repeat this but at this price, the car doesn’t have heated seats. Repeat: does not.

The hybrid synergy drive powertrain consists of an Atkinson Cycle 2.5L 4-cylinder engine mated to a permanent magnet AC synchronous motor, which stores and takes its juice from a sealed Nickel-Metal Hydride battery pack. System output is rated at 200 horsepower. This is a gain of 22 hp over the regular 2.5L and we all know about electricity and its effect on torque.

The only available transmission is a CVT and it drives the front wheels. Fuel consumption numbers are rated at 4.5 / 4.9 / 4.7 (City / Highway / Combined) litres per 100km.

Driving the 2014 Toyota Camry hybrid
How about I begin by telling you about how this car behaves on the road by declaring that this thing is fast? If you occasionally read up on hybrids, you’ll likely have read that these green things are surprisingly fast.

Although the Camry hybrid is quick on its feet it is, without a doubt, efficient. At least, it is on paper or on the screen for that matter. My returned average was closer to 7L/100km. As always, this was in part due to the cold weather, the defrosting and some wheel spinning. In reality, you should expect to average around 6L or more or less what you would get from a VW Passat TDI.

The Camry is pleasant to drive with few flaws. Of all the Camrys I’ve tested over the last 15 years, this latest car, introduced in 2012, is the best handling, sharpest in fact, by comparison. It remains smooth and very comfortable even during spring-thaw pothole season.

Steering and brakes equally operate as expected. The regenerative brakes require a short adjustment period, but are quickly assimilated as part of the daily commute. You’ll not discover a car that you can point and shoot around a bend as steering is light, but you’ll never be wanting any extra sharpness.

As Toyota are essentially royalty where hybrids are concerned, the Camry Hybrid functions nearly flawlessly. From EV to gas or any combination of both, passengers will likely never notice the changes unless throttle is highly solicited.

Inside and Out of the 2014 Toyota Camry Hybrid
The 2014 Toyota Camry Hybrid is a Camry. I’m no fan of the car’s overall design especially where the odd fang-shaped taillights are concerned. As for the Clearwater Blue Metallic colour, I could also do without.

Be that as it may, the Camry Hybrid is instantly recognizable as what it is… A Camry. Thankfully, the 2015 Toyota Camry is fully revised and looks far more contemporary (in other words: attractive).

The cabin also does little for me. In an age where subtle elegance and class are a must, Toyota prefers the chunky, boxy and multi-layered and colour approach. I’m no fan. Same thing goes for the new Corolla. Although not to my taste, every control falls well in hand.

The issue I have has to do with too few controls falling under hand. At this price, the Camry does not have front heated seats or auto up-down front windows (should be all four) and no satellite radio. These are three huge fails in my books.

Comparing the 2014 Toyota Camry Hybrid
The 2014 Toyota Camry Hybrid is a tough contender in a segment where it plays against its own brethren, the Prius, and the likes of the Accord and Sonata hybrids.

Content is important in the latter two cars as are a contemporary design that is far more pleasing to the eye.

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