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2023 Toyota Camry SE Hybrid Nightshade Edition First Test: If Looks Could Thrill

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The Toyota Camry Hybrid will be remembered as one of those strange middle-of-the-road cars that had two tires in the internal combustion engine section and two others in the future of fully electric vehicles. That it would be a transitional car in other ways as one of the last traditional hybrids Toyota produced before deciding to rely entirely on the inherent sportiness of fully electrified vehicles. is almost certain.

Now, Toyota is making a bold attempt to revamp its midsize hybrid sedan with the 2023 Toyota Camry SE Hybrid Nightshade Edition. It's spray-painted in a gorgeous dark blue hue that's offset by bronze TRD wheels and black exterior trim accents. The Camry SE model is said to be a little sportier than his LE trim on the mainstream with the addition of sport-tuned shocks and springs and front strut tower bracing. With that upgrade in mind, we decided to put the Camry SE Hybrid Nightshade through our test program to see if it was not only fun but fuel efficient.

His 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and the electric motor in the Camry Hybrid work together to produce a total system power output of 208 horsepower, which is just above the 203 horsepower of the 2.5-liter petrol Camry. The Camry SE Hybrid beat his petrol-only counterpart by ten minutes in his 0-60mph test with a 7.4-second run. This is likely due to the additional low-end torque boost provided by the hybrid's electric motor. (Petrol-only models make maximum power at 6,600 rpm and maximum torque at 5,000 rpm.)

Paddle shifters are a bit of window dressing, but they proved pointless in testing and real driving. Given that the CVT feeds the Camry Hybrid's front wheels, the simulated gear selection doesn't do much for delivering a sporting experience. In addition, stepping into the throttle means being forced to endure the noisy engine drone that CVT-equipped cars are notorious for. We liked its brake pedal feel, however, as it did a good job of blending mechanical and regenerative braking while slowing the car down from 60 mph to 0 in a solid 121 feet.

During our at-the-limit evaluation, we noted a whiff of understeer, significant tire howling, and lifeless steering from the car as we lapped our compact circuit, though our test drivers found the Camry Hybrid Nightshade did a good job of maintaining its power output, allowing it to breeze through the middle of our figure-eight test circuit (26.6 seconds at 0.65 g average) rather quickly for a car in this segment. Overall, although we found the Camry Hybrid's chassis balance and tire grip to be acceptable during our testing—lending some credibility to its sporting pretensions—ultimately we found it lacking in overall driver engagement.

Our mixed feelings were compounded during a weekend trip from L.A. to San Diego and back. Its sporty chassis offered some advantages on the test track, but handling was reasonably comfortable on the highway. It bumped and occasionally shuddered at highway speeds on rough roads. The street noise was loud and the wind seemed to shake the door panels. As expected, it showed great gas mileage, well over 40mpg, but it's unrefined and I'd be well advised before recommending the Camry SE Hybrid to any prospect who needs a daily driver, nightshade or not You have to think.

what about the cabin?

Camry's eighth-generation model arrives for the model year 2018, and its interior already feels dated. Apart from the soft-touch surfaces where hands, elbows, and arms typically rest, it's everywhere in our test car. Its tiny 7.0-inch infotainment display looked dated. Thankfully, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard and are part of the SE trim level 6 The speaker setup is sufficient for basic layouts.

Also, a defect was found in the seat of the Camry. It has a short lower bolster that caused the rear end to aching after about two hours of gripping the steering wheel. It has a range of over 600 miles but needs to stop frequently to stretch out. The only thing that makes the Camry's interior right is abundant storage compartments and cup holders for cell phones, drinks, and other gear.

Is the Camry Hybrid a bargain?

There are some areas where the Camry Hybrid really excels. The first is impressive fuel economy which the EPA rates him at 44/47 mpg in city/highway. Average gas mileage was fine in the 40 mpg range when cruising around town and on the highway. Still, his over 35mpg after driving briskly is nothing to scoff at.

A powerful suite of aggressive safety equipment also enhances the Camry's hybrid value. All 2023 models are equipped with Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+, regardless of trim level. The package includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection and intersection assistance, traffic sign monitoring, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and automatic high beams. Our car also had blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alerts, which Toyota bundles in the convenience package as a $900 option. I can't attach the sensor. This feels like the failure of most other cars with modern safety technology.

All told, the 2023 Camry SE Hybrid Nightshade Edition starts at $31,710, and our test car stickered at a still modest $33,209. That's competitive with the 2023 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and should align with how we anticipate Honda will price the redesigned Accord Hybrid. If fuel economy and a little extra style are the goals, the Camry Nightshade isn't a bad way to go.

Although the Camry SE Hybrid Nightshade's performance doesn't quite measure up to its extroverted styling, in the end, we appreciate Toyota's attempt to glam up its hybrid midsize sedan. The Camry's trajectory has been trending in a positive direction since the current model was introduced, so quirky variants like this bode well for its future. Besides, those looking for a truly sporty Camry can still purchase the racy TRD model.

Content created and supplied by: CarsUpdate (via Opera News )

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