When I was learning to drive, I logged a lot of my required hours in the family Toyota Camry. For me it was a comfortable ride, and it’s a car that is still in the family today. I was excited and intrigued when Toyota dropped off their 2016 Camry Hybrid XLE to review. The newer Camry is smaller than the model I learned to drive in, but inside it was packed with the features we expect but all while under the Hybrid label.
Most of my driving in town is local, or we’re stuck in rush hour for a hours a week. That means most of the gas we’re burning, we’re not even going anywhere at all. It’s because of this, we’ve actually considered looking at a hybrid for our next vehicle. And while we’d love a higher fuel economy, we aren’t willing to give up some of the luxuries we love.
The new Camry Hybrid XLE came with full leather interiors, and fit five people comfortably. Features included satellite radio, hands free calling, paddle shifting, heated seats, blind spot monitor, backup camera, lane departure alert, direct TPMS, dynamic radar cruise control, ten airbags, safety connect, whiplash-injury, lessening seats, pre-collision system, star safety system, sports handling and an impressive V6 power. What you wont find is an under powered vehicle with a fancy green label on it.
When I hear label hybrid stuck on a car, the first thing I think of is more gas mileage. But not all hybrids are build equally, some give you a bit of a mileage boost but still run off fuel the whole time. The Camry Hybrid XLE actually switches into power mode under 20 miles an hour, and helps recharge it’s battery each time you break. You can’t feel a heavy jerk when it switches mode, but you can hear a bit of a winding up sound of the electronics in between. It almost seems like there’s a bit of a whine in between the two modes, but you wont feel the car lurch as it goes from power to gas.
During my week with the Camry, our weather went from 60’s to snowing and back to 60’s again. That meant some time out shoveling and like I would with my car – I left the Camry on to warm it up and help melt the snow and ice on top. While I was shoveling I noticed the car actually got quiet and I thought it had turned itself off. Instead, while I was working the car switched to a power saving mode and continued to keep the inside warm and ready for me to leave when I was done.
We only had the Camry for a week, but for some reason it felt like I had the vehicle for much longer time period. I did not notice a huge gas suck from warming the car or our time waiting in traffic, and actually with all of our travels that week we didn’t even take the gas tank down to half. The comfortable ride plus the major fuel economy made the Camry Hybrid XLE a huge win for us and put it on a short list of cars we’re considering when we start shopping for a new one.
The 2016 Camry Hybrid XLE starts at $26,790 and boasts 42 mpg city and 39 highway.