Toyota’s Camry was revised as an all-new vehicle for the 2012 model year, with several versions to choose from. It was the seventh generation of the iconic Toyota Camry, which was first introduced in 1983 and has since sold over 15 million units worldwide.
We’ll deal here with the 2016 Toyota Camry XLE Hybrid. The latest Camry continues to display a bold, athletic design persona that provides a spacious interior, admirable driving characteristics and a comfortable ride quality. It continues to improve and is literally the best Camry built to date, leading its class in terms of safety equipment and features, fuel economy and state-of-the-art multi-media technology. The Camry was designed to deliver a more appealing and stylish form along with a more rewarding driving experience while striving to maintain its long-standing class leadership.
The 2016 Toyota Camry Hybrid still draws its motive force from a revised version of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain, which includes an enhanced 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with improved fuel economy.
Through its unique transaxle, the Hybrid Synergy Drive system combines output from the four-cylinder engine with a small high-torque electric motor. The system produces a combined 200 horsepower and varies power between the gas engine and electric motor, or combines both, as needed. The 2.5-liter engine, utilizes the Atkinson cycle principle. An electric water pump, a roller-rocker type valvetrain and a variable-output oil pump contribute in helping to reduce internal friction, thereby boosting economy.
The 2016 Camry Hybrid meets AT-PZEV (Advanced Technology Partial-credit Zero Emissions Vehicle) standards, and because there are scenarios in which the Camry Hybrid’s gas engine shuts off, air conditioning and power steering systems are electrically driven.
The proven nickel-metal-hydride battery is positioned in the luggage compartment behind the rear seats featuring enhanced air-cooling. Its compact size, along with relocating the DC/DC converter to the engine compartment, resulted in an increase in trunk space.
The vehicle’s light overall vehicle weight contributes to the improvements in performance and fuel economy. Its 7.6-second zero-to-60 acceleration time places the Camry Hybrid between other four-cylinder and V6 model Camrys. Lower rolling resistance tires, available in 17-inch size, also aid in boosting fuel economy.
The 2016 Toyota Camry XLE Hybrid, comes with an EV Drive mode that allows the driver to operate the car on the electric motor alone for up to 1.6 miles at lower speeds (below approximately 25 mph). The EV indicator illuminates when the vehicle is being propelled solely by the electric motor.
An ECO mode optimizes throttle response and air conditioning output to prioritize maximum fuel economy. A Hybrid-exclusive instrument cluster with Hybrid System Indicator and fuel consumption indicator helps the driver to
monitor the car’s economic operation. Instantaneous fuel economy is indicated by LEDs around the outside of the average fuel economy gauge. The car’s multi-information display graphically displays fuel economy in real time and can also depict energy flow, and cruising range information.
Application of the brake converts the motor to a generator that captures kinetic energy from the vehicle wheels, storing it in the hybrid battery pack. Placing the shifter into “B” uses regenerative braking as a form of engine braking for enhanced control on steep descents, while the Hill-Start Assist control prevents the vehicle from rolling backward for a short period when starting off on an incline when the brake pedal is released.
The gas powered Camry is available in six different model grades: a value-driven LE grade, and premium XLE, a sporty SE grades; and an XSE trim, all powered by a 4-cylinder mated to a 6-speed ECTi transmission. The XSE and XLE come with a V6 gas engine and the same ECTi transmission. The Camry Hybrid is offered in LE, XLE and SE grades with the Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive System linked to a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)
In terms of its styling, the 2016 Camry Hybrid stable showcases the same styling language as the balance of the Toyota Camry clan, making an “architectural statement” via crisp, precise character lines, while a more strongly curved door cross-section and more defined rocker panel molding (chrome accented on LE and XLE) give the car a more expressive appearance. Headlights showcase a more dynamic shape, with a pronounced curvature of the main-beam unit merging into the bumper cover. Rear lamp clusters wrap tightly into the body sides, with their top sections extending into the trunk panel.
My test 2016 Toyota Camry was the Hybrid model in XLE trim, with the base price set at $30,140. The exterior was finished in Ruby Flare Pearl metallic, while the interior was done in Black. The final sticker was elevated to $35,800 after adding: the Safety Connect Package, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert, the Convenience Package; Power Tilt/Slide Moonroof; special paint finish, Toyota’s Entune Premium infotainment connectivity suite, Advanced Technology Package, wireless charging and the delivery handling and processing fee.
The front-wheel drive 2016 Camry Hybrid XLE posts EPA fuel economy estimates at 40 mpg city and 38 mpg highway. It is loaded with an impressive inventory of standard equipment and features, while offering an extensive array of optional equipment and feature packages for individual personalization as evidenced by my test vehicle’s Monroney sticker.
Driving the Camry Hybrid is actually no different from piloting a conventionally gas-fueled Camry, other than the notably improved fuel economy and the fact that the gasoline engine shuts off when it’s not needed.
Acceleration off the line in pure EV mode is rapid and most impressive, but otherwise is not really any different from any other 4-cylinder Camry, and the ride quality and handling characteristics are nearly identical. Braking feels totally normal, except that it is regenerative, and restores energy to the battery cells when applying brake pressure or when coasting.
Up to date safety technology is fully in evidence in this latest Camry Hybrid, making it a secure and desirable family sedan for the discerning consumer, and the Entune Multimedia System keeps one in touch while on the road with entertainment, and useful information.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2016 Toyota Camry XLE Hybrid
Base Price: $30,140.
Price as Tested: $35,880.
Hybrid Synergy Drive System includes:
Engine Type and Size: 2.5-liter, DOHC, 16-valve with Dual VVTi and electronic fuel injection.
Horsepower (bhp): 156 @ 5,700 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 156 @ 4,500 rpm
Permanent Magnet AC Synchronous Motor: 105kW/4,500 rpm / 199 lb.-ft. torque @ 0-1,500 rpm. Sealed Nickel-Metal Hydride (Ni-MH) battery pack – 244.8 V (204 cells @1.2 V) – 6.5 ampere hour / 650 volts maximum.
Transmission: Electronically controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).
Drive Train: Front mounted engine and motor / Front-wheel drive.
Suspension: Front – Independent MacPherson strut with stabilizer bar.
Rear – Independent dual link with stabilizer bar.
Brakes: Electronically controlled four-wheel disc brake system (vented front), with ABS, BA and integrated regenerative brake system.
Tires: Bridgestone Turanza EL400 – P215/60 R17 All-season, mounted on 5-“V”–spoke alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 109.3 inches
Length Overall: 190.9 inches
Width: 71.7 inches
Height: 57.9 inches
Curb Weight: 3,441 lbs.
Turning Circle: 36.7 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 17.0 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 40 mpg city / 38 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: 0.27
0 – 60 mph: 7.6 seconds