Full 2014 Toyota Camry Hybrid Review
What's New for 2014
For 2014, the Toyota Camry Hybrid sees no changes.
Given the popularity of the Prius model line, it's easy to forget that Toyota makes other hybrid vehicles, too. That would be a shame, though, because the 2014 Toyota Camry Hybrid has the same refined powertrain characteristics and small appetite for fuel, along with the added space and comfort of the traditional Camry sedan.
The sedan body style is a plus for consumers who prefer the Camry Hybrid's more formal look over the Prius' hatchback body style. But Toyota's hybrid family sedan also has something you might not expect ? energetic acceleration. With a 0-60-mph time of 7.4 seconds, the Toyota Camry Hybrid is downright quick for a four-cylinder midsize sedan, let alone one that also puts up an impressive EPA combined rating of 41 mpg.
Like other Camrys, the Hybrid also boasts comfortable seating front and rear, good outward visibility and an ideal balance between a smooth, quiet ride and responsive handling. The few downsides include overly light steering that offers little feedback and an occasionally finicky touchscreen with a complicated setup process for smartphone integration. The Camry Hybrid also comes up a little short in the mpg bragging rights department, as the LE's 41 mpg EPA-rated combined fuel economy trails the mpg ratings of some rivals.
Still, the 2014 Toyota Camry Hybrid makes a good showing in this class. Compared to the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, the Toyota offers a smoother-operating hybrid system and better fuel economy. There's also the Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid, which offers far less interior room.
We do recommend checking out the 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid and the new 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid. Both earn higher EPA numbers (47 mpg combined) and are a little more engaging to drive. But overall, the 2014 Camry Hybrid maintains its standing as one of the top picks for a well-rounded, gas-sipping family car.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2014 Toyota Camry Hybrid is offered in LE and XLE trim levels.
The LE features 16-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, keyless ignition/entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, full power accessories, cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a trip computer, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 6.1-inch display and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, an auxiliary input and a USB/iPod interface.
The XLE adds 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, heated exterior mirrors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar), an auto-dimming rearview mirror and rear seat air vents.
Additional options are available for the XLE but can vary depending on the region of the country in which you live. These include a sunroof, a rearview camera, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a four-way power passenger seat, Entune smartphone integration (includes Bing search engine, Internet radio, concierge services and traffic, sports and stock information), blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alerts, the Safety Connect telematics system, a premium 10-speaker JBL audio system and a hard-drive-based navigation system (includes a larger 7-inch touchscreen display, the Entune system, satellite radio and HD radio).
Powertrains and Performance
The 2014 Toyota Camry Hybrid pairs a 156-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with an electric motor and battery pack. At low speeds, the car can be propelled solely by the electric motor, which is why the Camry Hybrid is so fuel-efficient in city driving. Working together, the two power sources crank out a combined output of 200 hp. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) delivers power to the front wheels.
In Edmunds performance testing, a Camry Hybrid XLE accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 7.4 seconds. That's the swiftest acceleration we've recorded in this admittedly small class of hybrid midsize sedans.
EPA-estimated fuel economy for the Camry Hybrid LE is 41 mpg combined (43 city/39 highway). Interestingly, the XLE achieves 40 mpg combined (40 city/38 highway), likely due to the increased rolling resistance of its larger wheels and tires.
The 2014 Toyota Camry Hybrid comes with antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front- and rear-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags, and knee airbags for both driver and passenger. A blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alerts is available on the XLE, as is the optional Safety Connect telematics system that includes roadside assistance, stolen vehicle location and automatic collision notification.
In Edmunds brake testing, the Camry Hybrid came to a stop from 60 mph in 116 feet, an excellent result.
In government crash testing, the non-hybrid Toyota Camry received a top five-star score for overall crash protection, with four stars for overall frontal protection and five stars for overall side protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Camry the best possible rating of "Good" in its moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests. The car scored a "Poor" (the worst rating) in that agency's new "small overlap" frontal impact crash test, but only a handful of cars have been subjected to it so far, and most also have earned low scores.
Interior Design and Special Features
The interior of the 2014 Toyota Camry Hybrid feels roomy, and its thin front roof pillars provide good outward visibility from the driver seat. What the cabin design lacks in cohesiveness it makes up for with generally good materials quality, especially the handsome stitching on the dash and door panels of XLE models. The spacious rear seat is enhanced by a nicely reclined seatback angle that makes it easy to sit back there on long trips. Along with the Honda Accord, the Camry is tops in the midsize sedan class for backseat comfort.
The Camry Hybrid's upgraded audio system includes Entune, a suite of smartphone-connected services that includes features like the Bing search engine, Pandora streaming radio, traffic updates and sports and stock information. Getting started with Entune can be a hassle, though, since you have to install an app on your phone and register for an account, plus you always need an active data connection to use Entune's functions. The touchscreen interface has straightforward menus, but it's sometimes unresponsive to user touch.
With 13.1 cubic feet, the trunk offers respectable capacity for a hybrid sedan (hybrids typically sacrifice some space to their under-floor battery packs).
The 2014 Toyota Camry Hybrid is dynamically well-rounded. Thanks to careful suspension tuning, it grips the road well and the ride is mostly undisturbed by bumps and ruts. Most drivers will find the steering precise, but if you're more demanding, you might be annoyed by its lack of feel or its overly light effort level. In that case we'd steer you toward the Fusion Hybrid, which has crisper, more direct steering.
That said, Toyota's hybrid drivetrain remains the most sophisticated and refined system on the market. The transition from all-electric mode to the gasoline engine is less noticeable in the Camry Hybrid than in the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, for example. All the while, acceleration is surprisingly strong for a midsize, non-premium-brand hybrid sedan.
Braking is another Camry Hybrid strength. Not only are stopping distances short, the car's brake pedal feel is more natural than in most rivals, mainly because Toyota has managed to make the transitions between the hybrid regenerative braking system and the car's conventional brakes far less obvious to the driver in normal traffic situations. The upshot is that the 2014 Toyota Camry Hybrid drives much like any other Toyota Camry.