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Driving report Toyota Camry Hybrid (2019): save without diesel?

Toyota
Toyota Camry Hybrid (2019)
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D he diesel is shaping the fate of the Toyota Camry in Europe. That was the case 14 years ago and is the case again now. But first things first.

After the first generation, known as the Toyota Celica Camry, was only sold in Asia from 1980 to 1983, the mid-range model began its career in 1983 as a separate series. In the second, third and fourth generation, the Camry was even available in the estate version that is popular with us. But that didn't change the status of the middle-class alternative. While it was always played an extra role with us, the Toyota Camry celebrated great sales successes internationally, was even the best-selling car on the large US market in the late 1990s and is one of the most successful mid-range sedans worldwide.

Hybrid as an alternative to diesel

As more and more customers turned to diesel, Toyota decided in 2004 to take the Camry off our market. The development of a compression-ignition engine was not sustainable due to the low market presence. While the diesel drove the Camry out of the German showrooms at the time, the eighth generation will be available again from 2019. At a time when private and fleet customers are looking for an alternative to TDI and Co.

The 8th generation of the Camry, which has been available in the USA and Japan since 2017, will come to us in spring 2019 the market. The model planners at Toyota proceed cautiously and are aware of their strengths and weaknesses. You don't just want to offer a mid-range sedan, but take advantage of your own hybrid strategy. The Toyota Camry is only available on the market as a hybrid in Western Europe.

Even now, nine months before the start of sales, we were able to take our first test drive in the new Toyota Camry Hybrid. When getting to know the 4.89 meter long sedan, a few remains of camouflage film were still covered on the front and rear, the fine-tuning of the chassis, infotainment and assistance systems for the European market has not yet been completed.

Ample space in the Toyota Camry

Toyota
The comfortable seats are relatively enthroned high. All controls are easily accessible.

What can no longer be concealed is the spaciousness of the Camry, in the front and especially in the rear. Here you can even loll comfortably as a long Lulatsch, the knees have a lot of distance to the front seat and the incline of your own backrest is even electrically adjustable. It is not yet known whether this will be standard equipment in every Camry for Germany or whether it will be put together with the audio controls in the rear center console as a special equipment line. Toyota has not yet defined any packages.

The front is also comfortable. The somewhat high-mounted seats offer little lateral support and thus define the character of the Toyota Camry Hybrid almost exactly. It is a relaxed glider without any ambitions for dynamism.

After pressing the start button, the limousine rolls away silently. The nickel-metal battery mounted under the rear seat bench allows the Camry to drive out of the residential area electrically when it is ideally (fully charged). When the newly developed 2.5 liter four-cylinder petrol engine is switched on, it usually goes unnoticed by the driver and passengers. No jerking, no sudden increase in the noise level. Only the displays in the cockpit show that the combustion engine is delivering power to the front wheels and charging the battery.

Convenient suspension setup

The Toyota Camry Hybrid glides with its power on country roads and speed-limited motorways two hearts relaxed there, the comfortable coordination of the chassis fits the overall impression. The engineers are sure to drive the Camry out of the body's swaying after slight bumps until the market launch.

You can select additional driving modes by pressing a button on the center console. Eco noticeably constricts the suction gasoline engine, so it is just as negligible as the sports attitude. Here, the continuously variable automatic transmission increases the speed and thus the noise level, which sounds more intentional than skillful. Chasing corners and exaggerated longitudinal dynamics are not the Camry's thing anyway, which is also proven by the maximum speed regulated at 180 km /h.

Hybrid drive with 218 PS system output

Despite the nominally decent system output of the hybrid drive of 160 kW /218 PS (petrol engine133 kW /181 PS, electric motor 88 kW /120 PS), the Toyota Camy Hybrid wants to appeal to calm drivers. Or also score points with customers who move a large limousine primarily in city, short and medium-haul traffic. There is not any? Yes, there is. Taxi operators are a declared target group for product planners in Europe. After the Prius and especially the Prius + were able to make large numbers of passenger conveyors in some cities, they now want to annoy the E-Class in this segment with the Camry.

4,3 to Toyota is promising 4.6 liters of average consumption per 100 kilometers for the Camry Hybrid, which has not yet been fully homologated. Due to the concept, such low values ​​should be achieved above all in city traffic, where the battery can often be charged and accordingly driven electrically. A full hybrid is in its element here, even if it is not charged by an external power source via cable. A plug-in hybrid or a purely electric version of the Camry are not planned.

An alternative for taxi drivers?

Toyota
The bumpers of the pre-production car still wore camouflage film.

Regardless of whether you are a taxi driver or private customer: Will is it financially worthwhile to buy a Toyota Camry Hybrid? That can only be judged when the prices are fixed. There is no information yet, the new model should be priced at 35,000 to 38,000 euros. This makes the Camry Hybrid more expensive than the Avensis, which is currently being phased out, which was previously available as a sedan and station wagon at list prices of around 30,000 euros. Toyota does not see a direct successor to the Avensis in the Camry. The Auris Touring Sports, which will be launched in 2019, together with the RAV4 SUV, is intended to keep customers engaged, while the Camry is a bit higher up.

'The mid-range segment is shrinking significantly,' explains Masato Katsumata, Chief Engineer at Toyota responsible for the Camry. “But we still don't want to give up the segment and will show presence with the Camry.” Sales forecasts cannot yet be elicited from a spokesman for the German importer, but more Camry is to be sold than Corolla. The model with theThe big name appears as a compact notchback sedan in an even smaller segment, but is sold over 1,000 times a year in Germany.

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