For the past fifteen years, the Toyota Camry has been the best-selling car in the country, with good reason. The Camry is reliable, comfortable, affordable, well equipped, and in the case of the Hybrid variants, fuel efficient as well. The 2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid has improved in those categories and more, and will likely remain one of the best hybrid mid-sized sedan you can buy in 2018.
What's New for 2018
The Toyota Camry Hybrid has been completely redesigned for 2018.
Choosing Your Toyota Camry Hybrid
The Toyota Camry is the best selling car in America year after year, but it has always had an Achilles heel: it was not the most exciting car to drive. It still isn't, but at least for 2018 Toyota has drastically improved the Camry's ride and handling characteristics with a new, lighter platform. This weight decrease combined with a more powerful hybrid powertrain has also translated to a big increase in fuel efficiency, up to 51 MPG in the city and 53 MPG on the highway for the LE models according to the EPA.
The Camry Hybrid is also well equipped at all trims with dual-zone automatic climate control, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, and lane departure warning with steering assist. There’s even a switch that allows you to select your driving style from four options: Normal, Sport, Eco, and an EV option that allows you to travel up to a half mile on battery alone. The Camry Hybrid also receives a standard seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Bluetooth connectivity, navigation, and pairing functionality with both Apple and Android devices.
The LE Is the base trim of the Toyota Camry Hybrid, starting at $28,695 (including an $895 destination fee). The LE receives all the standard features mentioned above, along with fabric upholstery. The only option available, called the "Audio Package with Options," costs $2,905 and includes blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alerts, an auto-dimming mirror with compass, a moonroof, and a wireless phone charging rig.
Interestingly, the LE features a completely different hybrid battery pack than the other two trims. The LE receives a high-voltage lithium-ion pack, compared to the nickel-metal hydride (Ni-MH) batteries available in the more expensive SE or XLE trims. The lithium-ion packs weigh less too, making the LE both the cheapest and most fuel-efficient trim available.
Toyota frames the SE trim as the sporty option in the Camry Hybrid line up, although it is mostly a cosmetic upgrade. For $30,395, you get a sporty looking black grille and rocker panels, a rear spoiler, larger black wheels, and dual-tipped chrome exhaust pipes. Inside, you get a sporty looking steering wheel with paddle shifters. Otherwise, the SE has the exact same power and handling characteristics as the other Camry Hybrid trims.
Outside of aesthetics, the most significant upgrade are the seats. The SE comes trimmed in Toyota’s SofTex synthetic leather that feel noticeably more premium – the SE also adds front seat heaters. There are also two very similar color choices for the interior: black or ash. The SE is also offered with the same "Audio Package with Options" package as the LE for $2,905.
As previously mentioned, the SE receives the Ni-MH battery, and therefore has a much lower estimated fuel economy rating than the LE trim at 44 city and 47 highway.
If you're looking for a Camry with extra comfort features, then the XLE trim is for you. For $33,145, the XLE gets leather seats, Tiger Eye wood trim, two extra USB ports, LED headlights and taillights, a fancy metallic grille, a larger seven-inch display between the gauges, and a 10-inch color head-up display.
The XLE offers two option packages. The first is also called the "Audio Package with Options" but it costs $3,695 and includes a 360-degree camera for parking assistance, a moonroof, and upgraded audio. The second package, is also named the "Audio Package with Options" and costs $4,110. It includes everything in the first package, along with adaptive headlights and a driver assistance package. Like the SE, the XLE comes with the heavier and lower voltage Ni-MH hybrid battery pack, which gets significantly lower mileage than the base LE model.
While the XLE comes with great features, the sweet spot for the Camry Hybrid lies with the LE trim. If you are going to buy a hybrid, you might as well get the one with the most advanced battery pack and the highest fuel efficiency rating. The LE is also well equipped for the price point, so you won't be left with a spartan driving experience.
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