Toyota Camry Hybrid is a sensible choice

Sedan is fuel-efficient, but not exhilarating.

Remember when the Toyota Camry used to be the darling of the auto industry. It regularly held the title of best-selling car in America. Well, in this era of crossovers and EVs, sedans like the Camry are more passé. But that doesn’t mean the Camry can’t remain relevant in such a world.

One easy solution to keeping the Camry relevant is adding a hybrid powertrain to it. Now Toyota has had a hybrid Camry for several years, but Toyota is also one of the automakers that led the way in hybrid technology. So, it stands to reason that those who might’ve been averse to buying a Prius, would still consider buying a Camry Hybrid.

With that said, and in case you can’t tell, this week’s tester is the 2023 Toyota Camry Hybrid. This is mostly a carryover from the previous model year, but I didn’t get behind the wheel of the 2022 Camry Hybrid so it felt new to me.

I still like sedans like the Camry. I’d consider one before some small crossover. And the looks, although nothing changed from model year to model year, remain appealing. The highly stylized front end has distinction. A smaller, downplayed grille tones down the entire front end. It’s a less aggressive look that works for the Camry. Although the black grille with sports mesh insert does add some personality to the Camry.

On the back side, the single exhaust with dual chrome tips adds some style to the back. Additionally, the two-toned black metallic roof and rear spoiler add pizzazz to the Camry. This comes at an additional $500 cost, but really adds an attractive look to this hybrid sedan.

From a performance standpoint, the Camry Hybrid doesn’t disappoint, but also doesn’t excite. Such is the case with most hybrids. The 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine has an electric motor assist. It makes for a combined 208 horsepower and 149 pound-feet of torque. Those numbers are pretty pedestrian, although incredibly fuel-efficient.

Add in a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and you get a dull, sluggish vehicle. Yes, it has excellent fuel economy at 44 mpg/city and 47 mpg/highway; and it’s important to keep that in mind when the CVT seems to drone on, and the Camry goes sluggish off the line. I always try to review vehicles for what they are and not for what I want them to be. As a hybrid, I want and expect the Camry to be a fuel sipper and it is. I don’t expect it to be exhilarating, and it’s not.

The interior of the Camry impresses in that it feels bigger than other hybrids and even feels bigger than some small crossovers. The interior dimensions tell the tale as the five-passenger Camry Hybrid has 38 inches of rear legroom and 37.6 inches of rear head room. There’s a 15.1 cubic foot trunk, which is adequate. Some hybrids lose cargo or interior space on account of the battery placement, but that’s not the case here with the Camry. The EPA rating for passenger volume is 99.9 cubic feet.

Leather upholstery was nice, and the seats were comfortable. My tester had the “cold weather package,” which includes heated front seats. Those come in nicely this time of year.

A seven-inch touchscreen is standard, which seems a little small, although wouldn’t overwhelm the dashboard. My tester had the Navigation Package, which upgrades the touchscreen to nine inches, and also has the JBL advanced sound system with navigation system. The system itself is fine, but unspectacular and seems hardly worth the additional $1,760.

The technology inside the Camry is somewhat dated when compared other competitors. The best way to describe it is adequate.

My tester was the XSE trim, which is the top-of-the-line offering. New for this year is the Nightshade Package that adds aesthetics and niceties to trims. My tester had a base price of $33,520. With all of the add-on features and packages, my tester had a final MSRP of $40,312.

Hybrids are not overly exciting. And according to the car companies and the consumer, sedans are no longer popular. Yet it makes perfectly good sense for Toyota to continue to make the Camry as a hybrid. As such, the 2023 Toyota Camry Hybrid is quite sensible.

Jimmy Dinsmore is a freelance automotive journalist. Email him at Follow him on Twitter @driversside

2023 Toyota Camry Hybrid XSE

Price/As tested price................................................ $33,520/$40,312

Mileage.......................................... 44 mpg/city; 47 mpg/hwy

Engine............................................. 2.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder hybrid

Horsepower................................. 149 hp/208 lbs./ft.

Transmission................................. CVT

Drive Wheels................ Front-wheel drive

Final Assembly Point................ Georgetown, KY

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