2014.5 Toyota Camry Hybrid SE
John Goreham's picture

Special Edition Toyota Camry Hybrid SE adds to evidence of 2015 model update

This new Toyota Camry hybrid SE limited edition could be more evidence of a 2015 Camry redesign.

Great news for those shopping for a Toyota Camry Hybrid arrived this week from Toyota. The hybrid is getting an extreme makeover edition to add looks to its environmental pluses. The package will be applied to what Toyota calls the 2014.5 Camry Hybrid. The “.5” indicates other changes that have been made already to the Camry. The popular SE (sports edition) trim will be added to the Camry Hybrid to add good looks to its good gas mileage. In past years we would have said “great gas mileage”, but the Camry Hybrid has now been passed by Honda’s new 2014 Accord Hybrid in terms of fuel efficiency in a big way.

We have been predicting for a while now the Camry will have a new look and maybe more changes in 2015. Special edition cars are almost always rolled out by automakers in advance of a coming model update. This is just more evidence of our prediction.

One important change that was made to the Camry denoting the 2014.5 model designation was an improvement in the front crash structure. Camry had not done well on the new small frontal overlap test conducted by the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety (IIHS). In order to do better on the test and to regain its top safety pick status and Consumer Reports recommended rating Toyota added more crash reinforcement to the Camry and regained the coveted ratings that have helped make it a success in a very competitive segment.

There is no set rule that says hybrids have to look boring. Toyota created the hybrid market in the US (and the world for that matter) with its amazing Prius. However, the Prius was designed for function not fashion and its geek-chic look does not appeal to all buyers. The Camry Hybrid has always looked like a base Camry with a few special labels applied. That changes with the cool-looking Camry SE bits that Toyota will now add.

The list of cosmetic changes are as follows:
- Rear valance, rear spoiler, rear bumper with lower ground effects look
- Front fascia and front Camry SE headlights for a sleeker look
- Side rocker panel extensions that make the car look lower to the ground and sportier
- Sporty, four-spoke leather wrapped steering wheel
- Silver interior trim pieces (much better than wood trim in this author’s opinion)
- Low profile tires on 17 inch alloy rims.

All of these add to the car’s sportier appearance, but we always caution our readers to drive any car fitted with lower than standard profile tires to see if the ride has become too harsh for their tastes.

The MSRP of this package is $27,845 and there is an upgrade package which adds a moon-roof, navigation and better audio that brings the MSRP up to $30K. Given the car’s good fuel economy (40 MPG city) and this reasonable price, the cost of ownership will be competitive with anything in the class. The Accord Hybrid Touring with Navigation costs about $5,000 more by comparison.

The Camry hybrid special edition package will run from February 2014 through June 2014. Toyota is planning “only” 5,000 of these, so if you have been waiting for a fuel efficient and environmentally friendly, 200HP vehicle, with the looks of the sporty V6 model, your car is ready.

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Just get the Accord plug in..or hybrid at least! It's a very cool car and has newer tech.