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2015 Toyota Camry Hybrid SE – a good looking stealth hybrid

We drive the new 2015 Camry SE hybrid and discover a sharp looking body over a drivetrain that seems entirely normal aside from the exceptional mileage.

Toyota is introducing two new trim levels this model year on the 2015 Camry. The first is the top of the line Camry XSE which we have written about quite a bit here at Torque News and drove last week. The second is the 2015 Camry Hybrid SE. This is the trusted hybrid Camry drivetrain in the cooler-looking 2015 Camry SE body.

2015 Camry Hybrid SE Details
The Toyota Camry Hybrid SE is not a difficult trim level to understand. The SE for some time has been the most popular body style and would have pretty much dominated all Camry sales had it been offered with both the lower trim content, and the higher. Toyota is going to leave the lower trims looking a bit plain, but now the Hybrid as well as the XSE can look good. Camry SEs look a bit more bold, and a bit sharper than other trims. Does this stylish make sense on a green-car. Hell-yah.

The Camry Hybrid SE has 200 total hp. Mileage is 40 MPG city and 38 MPG highway. Although this is not remarkable for the segment anymore, what is notable is that Toyota has decided to offer the hybrid at a much more attractive price point than Honda is pricing the Accord Hybrid. This is according to my Toyota media contact. In the past the Camry Hybrid was for a time the only mainstream sedan in town that could be had as a hybrid. Now every automaker worth its salt has one. I should say except Mazda. The Mazda6 is an amazingly efficient car without full hybrid gear. According to my source, the Camry Hybrid SE may soon be found on dealer lots with good content under $30K. In the past, most of the Camry Hybrids I spotted on dealer lots were fully loaded and priced much higher. And they had the boring body.

Driving the 2015 Camry Hybrid SE
The 2015 Camry Hybrid drives like any other car. You would not know it was a hybrid if Toyota chose to disguise the electric part of the drivetrain. There is almost no noticeable brake power regeneration. Acceleration is brisk, quicker-feeling than the 4-cylinder base Camry. The dash of course is all set up to show you how much energy you are saving, and where the propulsion is coming from, but if Toyota deleted all that stuff you’d swear this was just a nice-driving sedan.

Toyota is not at all afraid to take its own green-car path. Right now forceful regenerative braking in which the car ‘regens so strongly brakes are rarely needed are all the rage. Toyota, on the Camry at least, has decided to make the hybrid drive all but invisible unless you want to look at the information screens. If Toyota hadn’t just passed 7 million hybrids sold we might think going against the grain was a mistake. The truth is the rest of the field combined does not match Toyota’s green car sales, so perhaps it is they who are going against the grain.


John (not verified)    October 26, 2014 - 9:15AM

The Camry hybrid is an all out excellent car. Quick car, really it is quick off the line. My brother bought the 2015. Different feel than the Prius; more like a traditional car. I don't think you give up anything by buying the hybrid and gain a whole bunch of fuel economy. Not sure I would buy any hybrid right now but might be a consideration down the road. I like the styling, especially the front end, nice design. Toyota did a nice job on this one.

This car makes the Malibu look boring.

Al D (not verified)    October 31, 2014 - 3:10PM

I almost bought a 2012 Camry hybrid, but settled on the LE 2.5 due to the price difference. After driving a 2014 SE 2.5, I decided on a 2015 SE 2.5, not the hybrid. The 4-cylinder SE is lighter, handles better, steers and brakes better than the hybrid. I'm not sure I'd like the hybrid's CVT. If I drove 20k miles a year or got stuck in heavy traffic several days a week, I'd get the hybrid. Hybrids make the most sense in congested city driving. if the next Camry Hybrid gets an honest 50 mpg and is better all around, that might be enough to convert me - especially if gas prices start going crazy again.