2016 Toyota Camry Hybrid Review
Pros & Cons
- Comfortable and spacious interior
- strong acceleration
- good visibility
- user-friendly interior controls.
- Competitors are more engaging to drive.
Edmunds' Expert Review
With its recently improved cabin quality and handling, the 2016 Toyota Camry Hybrid is a compelling and competitive midsize hybrid sedan.
Extensively updated last year, the 2016 Toyota Camry Hybrid is a midsize hybrid sedan in midseason form. Good thing, too, because there's more competition than ever. The Camry Hybrid used to be the obvious choice in this segment, but these days you've got a number of reasonably priced hybrid sedans to choose from. Faced with this sudden onslaught, Toyota had no choice but to step up its game.
That doesn't mean everyone else is once again playing for second, but the Camry Hybrid certainly has a lot going for it. The Camry has long been known for its smooth ride and quiet, roomy interior, but last year's overhaul added nicer materials and improved controls to the mix. Toyota's engineers also tightened up the handling as part of the overhaul, making the sport-tuned SE the most athletic Camry Hybrid yet. As ever, though, fuel economy is the car's strong point, checking in at an EPA-estimated 40-41 mpg in mixed driving. Moreover, the Camry Hybrid is actually quicker than the regular four-cylinder Camry, so when you need a little extra power, you've got it in reserve.
The Camry Hybrid's high fuel economy and invigorated personality is an appealing combination, but there are multiple rivals that match or best the Toyota in certain ways. The 2016 Ford Fusion Hybrid gets incrementally better fuel economy and also feels a little more responsive from behind the wheel, while the Honda Accord Hybrid boasts segment-leading fuel economy and spirited driving dynamics of its own. Then there's the reinvented 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, which matches the Ford's efficiency and entices with its sharp styling and modern-looking, high-tech interior. You might also consider the Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid, a smaller alternative that's nimbler and more frugal. But the Edmunds "A"-rated 2016 Toyota Camry Hybrid still has what it takes to lead the charge.
2016 Toyota Camry Hybrid models
The 2016 Toyota Camry Hybrid is offered in base LE, sporty SE and luxurious XLE trim levels.
The LE Hybrid features 16-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, heated exterior mirrors, keyless ignition and entry, a rearview camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, full power accessories, an eight-way power driver seat (with power lumbar), cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a color driver information display, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 6.1-inch touchscreen with Toyota's Entune technology interface, voice controls, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, Siri Eyes Free and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB interface.
The SE Hybrid adds 17-inch alloy wheels, sport-themed styling details, a sport-tuned suspension, a rear spoiler, sport fabric seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
The XLE Hybrid includes the LE Hybrid's features along with its own 17-inch alloy wheels, LED running lights, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a four-way power passenger seat and Entune Audio Plus, which adds a 7-inch touchscreen, satellite radio and HD radio.
Entune Audio Plus is optional on the LE and SE. The SE can also be had with a sunroof, a Qi wireless cell phone charger, a navigation system and smartphone app integration.
The XLE offers those SE options as well. Also optional on the XLE is a 10-speaker JBL audio system, a Technology package (automatic high beam headlights, adaptive cruise control, a forward collision warning system and lane departure warning), a Safety Connect package (see Safety, below) and a blind spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert.
Performance & mpg
The 2016 Toyota Camry Hybrid teams a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with an electric motor and a battery pack. Combined output is a healthy 200 horsepower. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) delivers that power to the front wheels.
In Edmunds testing, a Camry Hybrid SE accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds, a quick time for a hybrid midsize sedan.
EPA-estimated fuel economy for the Camry Hybrid LE is 41 mpg combined (43 city/39 highway). The XLE achieves 40 mpg combined (40 city/38 highway), likely due to the increased rolling resistance of its larger wheels and tires.
The 2016 Toyota Camry Hybrid comes with antilock brakes, stability and traction control, a rearview camera, front and rear side airbags, front knee airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. On the XLE you can also get a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert, a lane-departure warning system and a frontal collision warning system.
Additionally, the XLE's optional Safety Connect telematics system includes an emergency assistance button, stolen-vehicle notification and automatic collision notification.
In Edmunds brake testing, a Camry Hybrid SE stopped from 60 mph in 126 feet, an average showing for a midsize hybrid sedan.
In government crash tests, the 2016 Toyota Camry Hybrid received the top five-star rating overall, with four stars for total frontal impact protection and five stars for total side impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the standard (non-hybrid) Camry the best possible rating of "Good" in its moderate-overlap and small-overlap frontal-offset impact tests. The Camry also earned a "Good" score in the side-impact, roof strength and head restraint (whiplash protection) tests.
The 2016 Toyota Camry Hybrid has a confident driving character. It holds the road well, especially in sport-tuned SE trim, yet the cabin remains quiet and mostly undisturbed by bumps and ruts. Most drivers should find the steering to be reasonably precise. The Hybrid SE isn't the sportiest entrant in the segment, but Toyota's engineers have done an impressive job of turning this erstwhile snooze-fest into a rather engaging car.
In the engine room, Toyota's hybrid drivetrain is one of the most sophisticated and refined systems of its kind. The transition from all-electric mode to the gasoline engine is smooth and unobtrusive. Acceleration is strong for a midsize hybrid sedan as well, slotting in between the regular Camry four-cylinder and the Camry V6 in terms of quickness. The Hybrid's CVT behaves differently than the regular Camry's traditional automatic, of course, holding revs at a constant high level during full-acceleration bursts, but it's easy to get used to.
The 2016 Toyota Camry Hybrid provides one of the most comfortable and spacious cabins in its class. There's plenty of headroom and legroom up front and not much less in back, where even taller adults will be content to ride for extended periods. Moreover, a rear-facing child seat will fit in back with ease. The fixed rear headrests make it difficult to properly secure a front-facing child seat, though.
Trunk space is respectable at 13.1 cubic feet, giving up 2.3 cubes to the non-hybrid Camry. The rear seatback also folds down for added cargo capacity.
From the driver's vantage point, most of the physical buttons are large, easy to understand at a glance and glove-friendly. The sensibly designed climate controls deserve special praise for their simple, intuitive operation. On the electronics front, the LE and SE get a standard 6.1-inch version of Toyota's Entune touchscreen infotainment system, with an upgraded 7-inch touchscreen standard on the XLE. The graphics aren't as crisp as the segment's best, but like the Camry Hybrid's other control interfaces, these screens are relatively straightforward and easy to use.