The 2016 Toyota Camry Hybrid is essentially unchanged from its 2015 refresh. During a week- long test drive, this hybrid-electric midsize sedan showcased an exceedingly fast-cooling air conditioning system, a cabin with snazzy accents (like red stitching on the steering wheel, gear shift boot, and seats), and a comfortable ride for front and rear occupants. The front wheel drive Camry Hybrid operates in ECO, EV, or normal (which is the default mode). ECO mode elicits energy-saving tactics, like reduced A/C fan output. The EV mode uses the electric motor only for speeds up to 25 mph for a finite range. (ECO and EV buttons are located on the center floor console.)
Camry Hybrid achieves a net 200 horsepower output via a 2.5-liter Atkinson cycle 4-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor (a permanent magnet AC synchronous motor). The electric motor works as a generator during braking, and that captured kinetic energy is stored in a nickel- metal hydride battery pack. (Camry Hybrid’s battery pack has 204 cells at 1.2 volts per cell.) The powertrain mates with an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission. For cargo hauling, the trunk provides 13.1 cubic feet of volume. The test driven 109.3-inch wheelbase Camry Hybrid SE carried a base MSRP of $27,995 and collected estimated mpg of 40 city/37 highway.