2016 Toyota Camry Hybrid SE – Abundant Power and 5 Cents Per Mile
Hybrids earned a bad reputation as slow and underpowered versions of mainstream cars when they first debuted. However, the current 2016 Toyota Camry Hybrid is more powerful and has much more torque at low RPMs than the base Camry, and just about every base engine found in popular models in the midsize sedan class. The Camry even has more power than the base versions of many premium sedans, such as the 2017 Audi A4 Ultra.
We tested the 2016 Camry Hybrid SE in typical driving. It became immediately clear that the Camry Hybrid SE had an abundance of torque when it screeched its tires pulling away from a stop sign as we turned into traffic. The sound, paired with a strong feeling of torque was coupled with drivetrain silence that morphed into the sound of a muted gasoline engine working in tandem with the very quiet electric drive. This pairing is why the Camry Hybrid SE has more oomph than almost all of the vehicles in its size class at its $32,217 price point.
The strong feeling of power and torque are also felt when under way, and one toes the accelerator. For example when merging onto the highway or when on the highway and one wishes to pass. The Camry Hybrid SE’s gasoline drivetrain has a peak rating of 200 hp. Coupled to an ultra-smooth CVT the transmission can instantly put the engine into its power band. There is no hesitation, and there is no shifting to wait for. The power accounts for the speed, but there is more to the story.
The Camry Hybrid SE’s electric motor has a torque rating of 199 lb-ft from 0 to 1,500 RPMs. No gasoline or diesel-powered midsize affordable car has more torque than the Camry Hybrid at low RMPs. The combination of the torque from the electric motor and the power from the gasoline engine produces a feeling one can only find in other similar cars, like the Ford Fusion Hybrid.
What is even more amazing is the fuel economy and fuel efficiency of the Camry Hybrid SE. The EPA rates the car at 40 MPG City, 38 Highway and 40 MPG combined. Like the Toyota Prius Eco our own Patrick Rall recently tested, our Camry Hybrid SE exceeded its rated fuel economy during our testing, despite most of our miles being highway (and zero being in the city), using the air conditioning almost constantly, and while hauling a load of over 300 pounds. We covered 232 miles with just 5.4 gallons of regular unleaded fuel, which equals 43 MPG. With gasoline at $2.15 nationally, according to AAA, and just $2.01 locally where our test took place, the Camry had a cost per mile of energy of just five cents. With electricity priced over 20 cents per kWh here in our area, the Camry Hybrid SE is as inexpensive to operate as a battery electric vehicle.