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2017 Toyota Camry Hybrid: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader June 2017

If you're looking for the best Toyota hybrid fuel economy, get a Prius. But if that's a bit too weird for you, why not consider the 2017 Toyota Camry Hybrid? It adds Toyota's familiar gasoline-electric powertrain to its best-selling family sedan, returning superior fuel efficiency in a familiar package. Going green doesn't have to be a sacrifice. Even its price premium is reasonable.

Having said that, there are reasons to think twice. For starters, the latest Prius is far more comfortable and refined than ever before (although it's also weirder looking than ever before). The Camry Hybrid also has a number of compelling hybrid competitors, including the Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord and Hyundai Sonata, which all get better fuel economy. They've also been redesigned more recently than the Camry, which brings us to our final think-twice point: The Camry Hybrid will be completely redesigned next year. So although we think it's still a fine, fuel-efficient family choice, shopping around or waiting a few months might be a good idea.

 What's New for 2017?

There will be an all-new Camry Hybrid next year, but until then, 2017 sees the addition of wireless smartphone charging and an improved touchscreen interface on top trim levels.

 What We Like

Roomy interior; smooth and quiet ride; unique comfort (LE) and sport (SE) trim levels; plentiful standard features

 What We Don't

Rivals have better mileage; driving experience could be more engaging

 How Much?

$26,800-$30,200

 Fuel Economy

The Camry Hybrid powertrain consists of a 200-horsepower 2.5-liter hybrid 4-cylinder mated to an electric motor and a trunk-mounted battery pack. Fuel economy does differ slightly by trim level, as the LE achieves 42 miles per gallon in the city, 38 mpg on the highway and 40 mpg in combined driving. The XLE and SE have bigger wheels and thus return 40 mpg city/ 37 mpg hwy/ 38 combined.

 Standard Features & Options

The 2017 Toyota Camry Hybrid is offered in three trim levels: base-level LE, sportier SE and upscale XLE.

The LE ($26,800) comes standard with 16-in steel wheels, automatic headlights, keyless passive entry and push-button start, a rearview camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, an 8-way power driver seat, Bluetooth, a 6.1-in Toyota Entune touchscreen and a 6-speaker sound system that includes a CD player and a USB port.

The SE ($28,000) gets retuned suspension and steering to provide a more connected feel when driving. It also gets bolder styling, 17-in alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and different seat fabric.

Topping the range is the Camry Hybrid XLE ($30,140). It reverts to the LE's suspension and steering tuning, but adds its own 17-in wheels plus leather upholstery, heated front seats, a power passenger seat, wireless smartphone charging, a 7-in Entune touchscreen upgrade (Entune Audio Plus), a variety of smartphone-based apps and a 10-speaker JBL sound system with HD and satellite radios.

Entune Audio Plus can be added to the other trims. The SE and XLE can be equipped with a sunroof and a navigation system, while only the XLE can be had with extra safety features like emergency communications and remote vehicle controls (Safety Connect), adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning, blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic warning.

 Safety

All Camry Hybrid models are equipped with anti-lock brakes, traction and stability control, front and rear side airbags, full-length side-curtain airbags, front knee airbags and a rearview camera. Camry Hybrid models also feature front knee airbags and rear side airbags. The XLE can be equipped with extra equipment. Its Safety Connect package adds such features as automatic collision notification, an SOS button and stolen vehicle location assistance. The Technology package adds lane-departure warning and forward collision warning with automatic braking. Blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning systems are available.

In government crash tests, the 2017 Camry earned a perfect 5-star overall rating, a score comprised of 4-star frontal and rollover ratings along with a 5-star side-impact rating. The Camry earned the coveted Top Safety Pick+ rating from the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

 Behind the Wheel

The Camry Hybrid drives a lot like the standard Camry, and that's a good thing. It offers a smooth and comfortable ride, a roomy interior and a surprisingly noise-free experience, all with minimal intrusion from the car's hybrid system.

However, we would definitely recommend test driving the LE, SE and XLE versions as they will drive differently. The SE has sharper steering and a tauter suspension tuning, which makes it feel more like other midsize sedans. Sporty it isn't, but many will prefer it. The LE and XLE are more comfort-tuned with lighter-effort steering and a soft suspension.

Other Cars to Consider

2017 Toyota Prius Prime -- The recently redesigned Prius is quieter, comfier and more refined than ever before, removing key reasons why someone might prefer the Camry Hybrid. The plug-in hybrid Prime is the best choice of the bunch.

2017 Ford Fusion Hybrid -- The Fusion Hybrid is a little cheaper than the Camry Hybrid and offers slightly better gas mileage. It's also better to drive and looks better too.

2017 Honda Accord Hybrid -- The Accord Hybrid is more expensive than the Camry Hybrid, but its 50 mpg is unrivaled in the midsize-sedan segment. It has more equipment, too. If we were buying, the Accord Hybrid would be near the top of our list.

Used Toyota Avalon Hybrid -- Although the Avalon Hybrid only recently went on sale, used models are starting to make their way into the marketplace. Consider one if you don't think the Camry Hybrid offers enough room or luxury.

 Autotrader's Advice

We'd go for a Camry Hybrid SE -- it is pleasantly more responsive to drive while still being very comfortable. We think it looks better, too, and appreciate its key extra features beyond the base LE.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2017 Toyota Camry Hybrid: New Car Review - Autotrader