Craig Scime: With improved fuel economy and priced well below last year's model, the hybrid version of the redesigned 2012 Toyota Camry has emerged as one of the best Camrys yet.
Amanda Salas: In the past, the Camry Hybrid was only available in the top-of-the-line XLE trim, but with the focus these days on frugality, it can now be had in the mid-grade LE trim, too.
Craig: And both models benefit from the complete 2012 redesign of the Camry. Minus the "hybrid" badging, there's almost no way to tell this car from the rest of the lineup-and for some people, that's actually a good thing.
Amanda: Inside, the LE gets Toyota's BLU Logic hands-free phone and music streaming, USB audio port, remote keyless entry and push-button start as standard equipment.
Craig: And, if you step up to the XLE model, you get Bluetooth controls right on the steering wheel, and you get the color touchscreen display, which allows you to control the premium stereo.
Amanda: Well, sure, if you're stepping up to the XLE, the features step up, too, with heated leather seats, backup camera, navigation and my favorite, Toyota's innovative Entune system.
Craig: The new hybrid Camry handles just as well as the non-hybrid version, if not better, that AutoTrader previously tested.
Amanda: Well, you can thank the rear placement of the battery pack for that. It gives the Camry Hybrid an even weight distribution for good, fun handling.
Craig: And for power, that battery pack really is just one part of the hybrid equation here. There's a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine working with an electric motor.
Amanda: That combination sends 200 horsepower to the front wheels, a 13-horsepower increase from last year. Fuel economy is also up from the previous model, at 43 miles per gallon city, and 39 highway, for the LE. That's an improvement of nearly 30 percent.
Craig: If you opt for the XLE, fuel economy drops a bit to a still impressive 40 city, 38 highway. That's due in part to all the added standard features of the XLE.
Amanda: And although the new Camry Hybrid is more powerful and fuel efficient than the outgoing model, it's actually less expensive. At just under $26,000, the LE trim is more than $1,100 less than last year's hybrid.
Craig: And the XLE is listed at just $27,400. That's $350 more than the outgoing model for a lot more car.
Amanda: Overall, there really isn't much to complain about when it comes to the Camry Hybrid.
Craig: Toyota has really made some nice improvements on the Camry Hybrid. This year's model costs less, has more power and more miles per gallon than, of course, last year's. And one of the other neat things is the LE trim really makes it more affordable for somebody to get into a hybrid family sedan who's on a budget!
Amanda: Definitely. Pop quiz question:
Craig: What is it?
Amanda: Do you like a good car that runs well and is eco-friendly? Answer: Yes. So then, you want to check out the 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid.