2017 Toyota Camry Hybrid Review
Edmunds expert review
Shopping for a midsize hybrid sedan once meant deciding between the Honda Accord or the Toyota Camry. Strong alternatives from Ford and Hyundai have made this segment more competitive than ever, but the 2017 Toyota Camry has kept pace with the competition.
Toyota gave the Camry a thorough update two years ago, and the 2017 model carries over those new features and adds a few extras. Top-trim level XLE models now come standard with a wireless smartphone charging pad; it's also available as an option on SE trims. XLE models also now come standard with a premium JBL audio system and a navigation app that operates through your smartphone rather than as a system integrated into the infotainment system. (A factory navigation system remains an option, however.)
The Camry has long been known for its smooth ride and quiet, roomy interior, but the earlier overhaul added nicer materials and improved controls to the mix. Toyota's engineers also tightened up the handling, making the sport-tuned SE the most athletic Camry Hybrid yet. Fuel economy remains the car's strong point, checking in at an EPA-estimated 40 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 comfortable cabin make an appealing combination, but there are multiple rivals that match or better the Toyota in certain ways. The 2017 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 2017 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, which matches the Ford's efficiency and entices with its sharp styling and modern-looking, high-tech interior.
The 2017 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 Camry Hybrid earned 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.
What's new for 2017
Trim levels & features
The 2017 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, and Toyota's Entune Audio interface. The latter includes a 6.1-inch touchscreen display, voice controls, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, 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, wireless smartphone charging, and Entune Audio Plus, which adds a 7-inch touchscreen, a smartphone-based navigation app, and a 10-speaker JBL audio system with satellite radio and HD radio.
Entune Audio Plus is optional on the LE and SE. The SE can also be had with a sunroof, wireless smartphone charging, a navigation system and smartphone app integration. The XLE offers those SE options as well, plus an integrated navigation 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.
The 2017 Toyota Camry Hybrid teams a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with an electric motor that together deliver up to 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 is40 mpg combined (42 city/38 highway). The XLE is rated at 38 mpg combined (40 city/37 highway), likely due to the increased rolling resistance of its larger wheels and tires.
Drivers can select an available Eco mode that optimizes accelerator response and air-conditioning to improve fuel economy, as well as an EV mode, which enables the Camry to travel up to 1.6 miles (below 25 mph) on the electric motor alone.
The 2017 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. The Hybrid SE isn't the sportiest hybrid out there, but Toyota's engineers have done an impressive job of turning this Camry into a rather engaging car to drive.
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 power 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 2017 Toyota Camry Hybrid offers one of the most comfortable and roomy cabins in its class. There's plenty of headroom and legroom up front and nearly as much in back. A rear-facing child seat will fit in back with ease, but fixed rear headrests make it difficult to properly secure a front-facing child seat.
Trunk space is respectable at 13.1 cubic feet, although that's 2.3 fewer cubic feet than the non-hybrid Camry. The rear seatback 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 in cold weather. The sensibly designed climate controls deserve special praise for 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 straightforward and easy to use.
Edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.