Why the Camry Hybrid is the Best in Class

Some of us may think it’s not that exciting to look at so why is Camry the best-selling Hybrid powered vehicle in the world?

Why have other manufacturers like Honda struggled to perfect the hybrid technology that even BMW is partnering with Toyota to help it perfect its own Hybrid vehicles? It’s because Toyota is recognised as the world’s leader in Hybrid technology and have never look like losing that achievement for a long time to come.

With Honda being the only other Australia manufacture to have a history of hybrid we’ll compare the latest Honda hybrid to Toyota’s. The other big players like Mazda, Ford & Holden have yet to introduce hybrid and it may be years before they do.

Camry's Hybrid Synergy Engine
Camry's Hybrid Synergy Engine

Although Honda was the first manufacturer to produce a hybrid or petrol-electric production vehicle (Honda Insight) in Australia in 2001, it was not popular or efficient and sold very few units. When Toyota followed Honda and introduced the Prius in Australia less than a year later, Toyota had already been perfecting & developing its Hybrid Synergy Drive technology for 16 years (since 1985).

Toyota’s Synergy Drive’s technology is known as a Power Split or Series Parallel hybrid where the engine can be driven on just the electric motor alone on battery power (for a limited distance).

This type of hybrid knows when the car is stationary and switches the petrol engine off to save fuel, and then switches on again during acceleration. The hybrid captures and recycles energy, which other cars lose in braking and deceleration and squeeze every single meter possible out of every drop of fuel.

With Hybrid the petrol engine charges the battery and when the car brakes, energy that most cars waste as heat lost during braking, is stored as electricity for the car to use later.

Unlike an electric car Hybrids charge their batteries from the petrol engine when coasting and from  the regenerative braking system when slowing down so they don’t need to be plugged in for charging.

You will be amazed at the smooth acceleration from the Camry’s electric engines before the petrol engine kicks in. It’s quite formidable too, taking only 8.7 seconds to reach 100kms!

Until recently Honda only produced hybrids that assisted their petrol engines - sort of like a turbo boost – this I known as Parallel Hybrid. Ironically 4 models that featured hybrid have disappeared from the market and only the Honda Accord Sport remains.

Today Toyota still leads with Hybrid technology although Honda has now switched their technology to the Series Parallel version with its new Multi-Mode Drive (i-MMD) allowing the car to operate for a while solely on electric motors.

Camry Hybrid Display Hud
The Camry Hybrid Display Hud which displays the Hybrid status.

So lets’ talk comparisons with respect to a Hybrid family sedan. After releasing smaller hybrid vehicles like the Jazz and Civic Honda have now decided to offer only one model. Similar size to the Camry Hybrid is the new Honda Accord Sport Hybrid which one could argue has a lot more premium features but at a costs of $24,000 more! The Camry Hybrid begins at around $33,000 (as at Sept 2015) for full driveaway.  The Honda is aimed at the luxury demographic but when you compare what’s on offer against the top of the range Camry Altise SL at only $42,990 driveaway, the additional cost of the Accord Sport beginning at $58,990 driveway is hard to justify for some extra refinements.

WIth respect to its enviromental impact  the Green Vehicle Guide rates the emissions from the Camry and Prius ahead of other hybrid vehicles. Depite this, performance is not sacrified with the total power of Toyota’s Atkinson engine producing 5Kw more than the Honda Sport!

Combined with the amazing array of new features in the all-new Camrys, the new Camry Hybrid is now available across all grades as the petrol model except the premium Altise SX. Fixed price service costs are the same for the Hybrid as the petrol variants and to this day only 2 batteries of the 500,000 in production have needed to be replaced (on Prius) for faults. The batteries will last the life of the vehicle as can be seen by some of the huge distances covered by the Taxi industry. Many Hybrid Camrys have travelled over 3 million Kms with no need to replace batteries. 

Toyota guarantees its hybrid batteries for 180,000 kilometres or 8 years.

With the excellent fuel efficiency of 5.2L/100km and the reduced carbon emissions of 121 grams per Km the Camry is well within the range of the government emission targets for vehicles. According the National Transport Commission (NTC) the average C02 emissions of new Australia vehicles in 2013 was 198 grams per Km.

Together with the new 2015 all-new Camry facelift and refinements, the hybrid Camry offers more than any other manufacturer when it comes to fuel efficiency and hybrid technology in a family sedan.

The Altise SL Hybrid features

  • Satellite Navigation with SUNA™ Traffic Monitoring Service
  • JBL 10 Speaker Premium Audio with 7” Touchscreen
  • Leather Accented Seats
  • Pre-Collision Safety System
  • Active Cruise Control
  • Automatic High Beam
  • Lane Departure Alert
  • Blind Spot Monitor
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert
  • Front Parking Sensors