The 2013 Camry Hybrid takes the core Camry attributes to another level of sophistication and brilliance. Put simply, there are a thousand reasons why buying a new Camry has become a reflexive behavior for millions of Americans. Then again, there are more than a few nasty traits about the new Camry Hybrid, but none of them are deal-breakers for typical car shoppers.
So how has this Kentucky-bred Toyota dominated the sales charts for so long? It can’t simply be the bulletproof reliability, but that certainly helps. There are legendary mechanic’s anecdotes about running Camry engines that have never had an oil change in ten years, but keep humming along. For every whine about the Buick -style ride and handling, there are a million drivers who appreciate its anodyne driving style.
For 2013, the Camry Hybrid receives some interior enhancements, like softer plastics just a year after going on sale. With sales numbers above 350,000 units a year - every year - more than 50 new Camry’s will roll off the assembly line in just the next hour.
Please hit the jump for the full review of the 2013 Toyota Camry Hybrid.
Redesigned for the 2012 model year, the Camry has some good features buried in one of the more conservative bodies ever seen. There are more sheer, nearly-flat planes in the design of the front end, and the entire car appears less bulbous than the previous Camry . The style looks closest to the rounded but flat sides of the 2002 to 2006 model .
Therein lays the biggest style obstacle for the Camry: the last three generations are virtually interchangeable. None looks more modern than the other, something that cannot be said for many automakers. The last three generations of BMW 5-series models, for example, could never be misplaced when sorting by chronology. Each builds on the previous style pretty constructively even though the end results are different.
The Hybrid Camry is a mid-range sedan, below the SE models that get larger wheels, a better-looking front bumper and some mild sportiness at the back. Alternatively, the Hybrid sticks with the smaller wheels and chrome embellishments of the low-range models, but does have blue-tinted Toyota emblems and Hybrid badges on the front fenders and trunk to set it apart.
The Camry Hybrid’s style is not a total black hole. In profile, there is a cleanly defined flow line at the corner of the nose and the glasshouse perfectly matches the roofline without any blanked-off areas in the rear C-pillar region. The glass is extremely flush to the body itself, and the under-floor features additional aerodynamic panels to help achieve a 0.27 cD, which is downright impressive.
|Overall length||189.2 in.|
|Overall width||71.7 in.|
|Overall height||57.9 in.|
|Track||62 inches (front) / 61.6 inches (rear)|
|Curb weight||3,441 pounds|
Standard Exterior Features:
- P205/65 R16 tires with 16-inch steel wheels and covers
- Temporary spare tire
- Projector beam headlamps with auto on/off feature
- Daytime Running Lights (DRL) with off mode
- Color-keyed folding power outside mirrors
- Side rocker panels with chrome inserts
- Variable intermittent wipers
XLE Hybrid (In addition to or in place of LE Hybrid)
- P215/55 R17 tires on 17-inch alloy wheels
- Chrome exhaust tip
- Chrome garnish on trunk
- Chrome-tipped exhaust
- Integrated Chrome Trimmed Fog Lamps
- Heated outer mirrors
- Attitude Black Metallic
- Clearwater Blue Metallic
- Cosmic Gray Mica
- Cypress Pearl
- Barcelona Red Metallic
- Sandy Beach Metallic
- Magnetic Gray Metallic
- Classic Silver Metallic
- Super White
The revised Camry Hybrid’s interior is actually pretty good, for a Toyota. There’s little stunning beauty or tactile materials, but then again this is a $27k family sedan and not a Range Rover .
Overall, it is a three-layer dashboard design with strong horizontal elements for the vinyl-wrapped and stitched top panel and silver trim piece ahead of the front passenger. A strong vertical element is added to the design with the central control panel resting atop the horizontal surfaces and pillars to define the edge of the wide center console.
The whole car is pretty roomy, and having some space between the passengers up front means room for jumbo cup holder wells beside the gear selector. The Camry Hybrid is available in two trim levels, the LE and up-level XLE. Both get the base Camry’s four-spoke wheel versus the SE’s sportier three-spoke setup, but the wheel and gearlever are only leather-wrapped in the XLE model. This makes a big difference in feel versus the vile urethane plastic on the LE’s steering wheel. After all, your hands will have to touch it for years to come. Besides the cheap plastic, the wheel is nicely designed with tons of functionality, via duplicate radio and info control pads on the steering wheel.
The latest updates to the Camry Hybrid’s standard interior features do not include Toyota Entune, which is optional only on XLE models - as shown in these interior photos. The standard stereos are a more basic design but still have a display screen plus Bluetooth and iPod integration capabilities. On the XLE, the Camry Hybrid will stream audio from a smartphone wirelessly as standard.
A choice of ivory or gray is available for the wide and comfy cloth seating surfaces, with leather optional on the XLE. The trunk loses a few cubic feet of capacity to the Hybrid Synergy Drive’s battery pack, but still offers a decent 13.1 cubic-feet of luggage capacity.
|Headroom (Front/Rear)||38.8/38.1 in.; 37.9/38.0 in. (w/moonroof)|
|Legroom (Front/Rear)||41.6/38.9 in.|
|Shoulder Room (Front/Rear)||58.0/56.6 in.|
|Hip Room (Front/Rear)||54.5/54.5 in.|
|EPA Passenger Volume||102.7 cu. ft.; 101.3 cu. ft. (w/moonroof)|
|EPA Cargo Volume||13.1 cu. ft.|
- Display Audio with 6.1” touch screen, AM/FM/CD Player w/ MP3/WMA Capability, Six Speakers, Aux Audio Jack & USB w/ iPod Connectivity, and Bluetooth wireless technology.
- Multi-information Display
- Dual-zone auto climate control
- Smart Key System with push button start
- Optitron meters
- Power door locks with anti-lockout feature
- Power windows with auto up/down (driver’s side only)
- Cruise control
- Manual tilt/telescopic steering wheel with audio controls
- 4 cup holders and 6 in-door bottle holders
- Courtesy lamp
- Maintenance indicator
- Rear center headrest
- Bluetooth hands-free phone capability
- One 12V auxiliary power outlet
- Overhead console with map lights and sunglasses holder
- Lockable illuminated glove box
- Metallic tech-grained interior trim
- 60/40 split fold-down rear seat
- Fold down rear center armrest with dual cup holders
- Illuminated entry
- Manual day/night rearview mirror
- Urethane steering wheel and shift knob
- Six-way manual driver’s seat and four-way manual passenger seat
Camry Hybrid XLE Interior Features
- Display Audio - includes 6.1” touch screen, AM/FM CD player with MP3/WMA playback capability, 6 speakers, auxiliary audio jack, USB port with iPod connectivity and control, vehicle information, hands-free phone capability, phone book access and music streaming via Bluetooth wireless technology
- Eight-way power adjustable driver seat and four-way manual passenger seat
- Auto-dimming EC mirror with compass
- Rear air vents
- Leather-wrapped steering wheel with integrated audio and Bluetooth® controls
- Two 12V auxiliary power outlets
Optional Interior Features (XLE only)
- Convenience Package: Includes Integrated Backup Camera, HomeLink Universal Transceiver, and Anti-Theft System with Alarm
- Leather Package: Includes Leather-Trimmed Ultrasuede Seats and Leather Door Trim with Integrated Armrests and seatback pockets, Multi-stage Heated Driver and Passenger Front Seats, and four-way Power Adjustable Front Passenger Seat
- Display Audio with Navigation and Entune - Includes 6.1-inch Touch Screen, AM/FM CD Player with MP3/WMA Playback Capability, six speakers, SiriusXM Satellite Radio (Includes 90-Day Trial Subscription to XM Select Package), HD Radio with iTunes Tagging, Auxiliary Audio Jack, USB Port with iPod Connectivity and Control, Vehicle Information, Hands-Free Phone Capability, Phonebook Access, Advanced Voice Recognition, Text-to-Speech with Programmed and Customizable Text Responses, and Music Streaming Via Bluetooth Wireless Technology. See Toyota.com/Entune for details.
- Display Audio with Navigation, Entune and JBL- Includes 6.1-inch Touch Screen, AM/FM CD Player with MP3/WMA Playback Capability, 10 JBL GreenEdge Speakers Including Subwoofer, Amplifier, SiriusXM Satellite Radio (Includes 90-Day Trial Subscription to XM Select Package), HD Radio with iTunes Tagging, Auxiliary Audio Jack, USB Port with iPod Connectivity and Control, Vehicle Information, Hands-Free Phone Capability, Phonebook Access, Advanced Voice Recognition, Text-to-Speech with Programmed and Customizable Text Responses, and Music Streaming Via Bluetooth Wireless Technology. See Toyota.com/Entune for details.
- Premium HDD Navigation with Entune and JBL - Includes 7-inch Touch Screen with Spilt-Screen functionality, AM/FM CD Player with MP3/WMA Playback Capability, 10 JBL GreenEdge Speakers Including Subwoofer Amplifier, SiriusXM Satellite Radio (Includes 90-Day Trial Subscription to XM Select Package); HD Radio with iTunes Tagging, Auxiliary Audio Jack, USB Port with iPod Connectivity and Control, Vehicle Information, Hands-Free Phone Capability, Phonebook Access, Advanced Voice Recognition, Text-to-Speech with Programmed and Customizable Text Responses, and Music Streaming Via Bluetooth Wireless Technology. See Toyota.com/Entune for details.
- Safety Connect®- includes Emergency Assistance, Stolen Vehicle Locator, Roadside Assistance and Automatic Collision Notification. Available by subscription. [Complimentary 1-year trial subscription]
- Blind Spot Monitor
- Power tilt/slide moonroof with rear personal lamp and dual illuminated visor vanity mirrors
The Toyota Camry is an IIHS Top Safety Pick for 2013 and also comes highly rated by the NHTSA. Despite these accolades in the established testing procedures, the 2013 Camry scored next-to-last in the new Small Offset Frontal Collision, a test that caught many other leading automakers with their proverbial “pants” down. Even the BMW 3-series did poorly in the new test, but not as bad as the Camry’s “Poor” official rating.
Wow, that is a tough crash test to watch. Despite drama in the IIHS Small Offset lab, the Camry Hybrid offers a comprehensive safety package that includes ten airbags as standard equipment and a variety of other safety solutions.
- Star Safety System - includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA) and Smart Stop Technology (SST)
- 10 Airbags - Driver and front passenger advanced airbag system, driver and front passenger knee airbags, driver and front passenger seat-mounted side airbags, front and rear seat side curtain airbags, and rear seat-mounted side airbags
- Side-impact door beams
- Three-point seatbelts for all seating positions, Emergency Locking Retractors (ELR) on driver’s belt, Automatic/Emergency Locking Retractors (ALR/ELR) on all passenger seatbelts; three-point front seatbelts with adjustable shoulder anchors
- Whiplash-Injury-Lessening (WIL) front seats
- Child protector rear door locks
- Daytime Running Lights (DRL) with off mode
- Direct Tire Pressure Monitoring System
- Engine immobilizer
Drivetrain, Suspension and Brakes
The Camry Hybrid is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder making 156 horsepower and 156 pound-feet of torque to deliver a 0-to-60 mph time of 7.9 seconds. The gasoline engine is paired with an electric motor developing 199 pound-feet of torque from its Nickel-metal hydride battery pack.
The top speed is electronically governed at 117 mph because that’s the max speed rating for the low-rolling-resistance tires. The XLE Camry handles better than the LE, thanks to 17-inch wheels with wider tires, but neither is able to confidently drive fast mountain roads. There’s big wallow up front and some unusual see-sawing around corners under power thanks to the cautious stability-control’s abrupt intrusions.
Despite being a total snooze in the corners, the Camry Hybrid is pretty quick compared with a Prius, which takes two seconds longer to hit 60 mph. A big complaint about Toyota Hybrids is the CVT automatic transmission, which causes the engine to make a loud “Moo” sound at high revs while the CVT slowly gains speed. The latest transmission is still guilty of this, but new programming helps the car behave more like a conventional automatic under acceleration.
|Peak power - gasoline||156 horsepower|
|Peak torque - gasoline||156 pound-feet|
|Peak Torque - Electric||199 pound-feet|
|Top Speed||117 mph|
|EPA Fuel Economy||43 city/ 39 highway|
|Maximum EV Mode Range||2 miles under 25 mph|
The Camry Hybrid LE costs $26,140 and the XLE’s base price is $27,670.
Recalls, Reliability and Residuals
The 2012 to 2013 Camry Hybrid has been the subject of two recalls, one for incorrect weight rating stickers and also for the front passenger side airbags, which may cause injury due to unusual inflation or they may not inflate at all. Buyers have been contacted by Toyota to facilitate the repairs at a local dealer.
Thanks to Toyota’s badly bruised reputation after the runaway Lexus scandal, all new Toyota’s come with a free maintenance package for 2 years or 24,000 miles. This is pretty generous on a costly-to-run BMW or Volvo , but in reality most Camry’s don’t need any maintenance at all during their first 2 years. This program supplements the 3-year/36,000 bumper-to-bumper warranty as well as powertrain, rust and hybrid components warranties, at 5 years, 5 years and 8 years respectively.
The build quality is very good, especially on the Hybrid models. The car retains value very well, reselling after 36 months for 59 percent of the initial purchase price and 42.5 percent of the purchase price after 60 months. The Ford Fusion Hybrid tops these numbers, at 45 percent after 60 months, according to Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com.
What helps the value of the Hybrid sedans over their conventional counterparts is that there are far fewer available. The Fusion Hybrid makes up less than 10% of total sales and the Camry Hybrid takes a similarly small amount.
A $1500 price cut for 2013 has re-energized the stylish Fusion Hybrid after a slow start last year. Packing similar performance and economy to the Camry Hybrid, the Fusion Hybrid’s price grows rapidly from its $28,000 base price to well over $35,000 with MyFord Touch and a few other options.
Gallery Ford Fusion
The Accord Hybrid actually looks pretty different from base-model Accords due to a deep body kit and a garish redesigned grille. It is more expensive and Honda dealers are infamous for not discounting their cars, so real-world prices will be about $5,000 higher on the Accord.
Gallery Honda Accord PHEV
An anagram for “My Car,” the Camry indeed is right at home with millions of Americans. It crosses all racial, geographic and socio-economic lines – just as popular in small farm towns of the South as it is in Manhattan and up in earthy-crunchy Oregon. The Camry Hybrid is therefore a great evolution of a grand-slam sedan. It offers good value and interior space, and the limited number of options and specifications means that it’s easy to buy and re-sell.
With a mechanical package that is impervious to abuse and neglect, plus indestructible CVT and durable Ni-Mh batteries, the Camry Hybrid will soldier on for 250,000 miles before things start to come apart. The same cannot be said for its less-proven competitors, particularly the new Hyundai Sonata Hybrid .
The Camry Hybrid does all this for its buyers – no wonder they are so loyal. Return the favor, Camry drivers: promise to change the oil every few decades.
|Driving||B||Camry Hybrid Is Refined and Quiet Inside|
|Performance||B||Scortching 0-60-mph Time Rare For Eco Hybrids|
|Look||C||The Camry Hybrid Looks Best In Dark Colors|
|Value||A||Good Value base prices but XLE Upgrade is A Must|
|Overall||B||A Solid Buy; Affordable 30% Mileage Increase|
- New turn signals offer one-touch blinkers on highway
- Not ugly; some sharp surfaces freshen the look
- Pretty good value upgrade over standard Camry
- Rear end and taillight design very unappealing
- Entune a pricey optional extra
- Poor handling and intrusive stability control