Toyota Camry Hybrid : First Drive
Two of the greatest model names in the Toyota portfolio are without an iota of doubt the Corolla and the Camry and while the former is an accomplished performer and seller here in India, the bigger and larger not to mention more upscale Camry has been lagging behind its smaller sibling. Not for anything but for the fact that the onus to push it strongly in the marketplace was tempered by Toyota’s measured approach to doing just so much and no further.
Have things changed therefore with the launch of the Camry Hybrid was the question on our lips when we got to grips with the new luxo-saloon flagship of TKML’s range last month. In fact, given a probably bare cupboard of offerings new within TKML, the Camry Hybrid is a techno tour de force and while it is remarkable for being so simply understated, almost unremarkable if you should know up front, and that is probably where TKML and potential buyers do it the disservice of not getting to have it on their short list of prestige saloons in the sub-Rs 30-lakh range.
This is the car the Camry should have been from 2012 but then Toyota’s rigid step-by-step movements have infuriated its loyal band. But in this lies the global giant’s mantra to keep on adding incrementally and push the essence in a class where it still sees itself lacking the charisma to take on the Europeans at their own game.
However, and this is huge, the new Camry Hybrid is a big step up and into a whole new universe where Toyota has invariably reigned supreme. The outward silhouette and form does retain the same chiseled look while sporting the same large proportions with ample glazed surfaces to denote a spacious cabin with typical Toyota accouterments but it is all about what resides under the ample bonnet which makes this Camry so special and also the harbinger of change. Let me explain.
It is without an iota of a doubt that the first name which springs to mind whenever one speaks hybrid automobiles is Toyota. Thanks to the path breaking work done in this vein with the Prius, Toyota is the acknowledged leader in hybrids but then it hasn't let this technology stay exclusive to the Prius, letting it proliferate across the range, to even more mainstream best-sellers like the Camry. No wonder then till June 2013 the Japanese numero uno had managed to sell over 5,423,168 hybrid cars all over the world!