New 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid Unveiled (41 MPG)


Photo: Toyota

7th Generation Camry, 2nd Generation Camry Hybrid
The Toyota Camry is a perennial best-seller in the US, ranking #1 in number of units sold for 13 of the past 14 years. Since 2006, Toyota has been offering a hybrid version of its best-seller for those looking for better fuel-efficiency (especially in city driving, though you're still better off with a Prius) and cleaner tailpipe emissions. I've always been critical of it because I don't think they pushed the fuel-saving far enough; it only gets a combined MPG of 33, which is eclipsed by its closest direct competitor, the Ford Fusion hybrid (39 MPG combined). Let's see if the all-new 2012 Camry hybrid has been improved enough to become competitive.


Photo: Toyota

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I can't say that I find the new Camry very attractive, especially compared to its direct competition, but I'll let you be the judge of whether Toyota designers have done a good job. Let's dive straight under the hood to see what the new Camry hybrid has to offer.


Photo: Toyota

Under the Hood: 2012 Camry Powertrain Technical Specification
There are three engines available: The 4-cylinder 2.5-liter (178 hp, 25 mpg city/35 highway), the V6 3.5-liter (268 hp, 21 mpg city/30 mpg highway) and the one that interests us most, the hybrid, which is powered by a combination of the 2.5-liter engine, but tuned for the more efficient Atkinson cycle, and an electric motor.

This new hybrid powertrain produces 200 horsepower (so more powerful than the 4-cylinder) and should have an fuel economy of 43 mpg city/39 mpg highway/41 mpg combined, according to EPA estimates. This is a "30 percent boost in fuel economy in the EPA city and combined driving cycles, compared to the previous generation."

This surpasses the Fusion Hybrid's 41 MPG city/36 MPG highway/39 MPG combined and the Sonata hybrid's 37/39, so on that front, Toyota can say "Mission accomplished"...

As for smog-forming emissions: The 2012 Camry Hybrid meets AT-PZEV (Advanced Technology Partial-credit Zero Emissions Vehicle) standards.


Photo: Toyota

Unfortunately, the battery is still using the nickel-metal-hydride chemistry. I wish Toyota would upgrade to lithium-ion soon for better MPG and improved EV range.

The 2012 Camry hybrid will have an all-electric 'EV mode', but the electric range is only 1.6 mile and the top speed is 25 mph. This is still lagging behind the Ford Fusion hybrid...


Photo: Toyota

One impressive achievement is making the car extremely 'slippery' through the air. The 2012 Camry's drag coefficient (CD) is 0.27. The 2010 Prius beats it with a CD of 0.25, but it's still pretty good.

Looking ahead, Toyota executives have said that they expect the Prius family to eventually outsell the Camry...

See also: Toyota & Ford to Partner on Next Generation Light Truck and SUV Hybrid Drivetrain

Via Toyota
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Tags: Hybrid Cars | Transportation

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