Sportier and more upscale and expressive than the outgoing model, the new Camry Hybrid is an inch lower as well as slightly longer and wider. Up front, LED-enhanced headlight enclosures bracket a narrow upper air intake and sit above a massive lower grille containing six horizontal bars that wrap around the fascia. Along the sides, smartly executed lines include an upper crease that begins just aft of the front wheel well, bisects both door handles, and finishes just forward of the gas filler door. In back, narrow horizontal LED taillights sit just below the gently sloping, coupe-like, roofline.
This more aggressive-looking exterior is wrapped around an interior with changes that are evident everywhere, but especially across the dashboard and center console that borrow a number of their asymmetric styling cues from the stunning Lexus LC 500. The lower front seats were entirely redesigned, now more rounded and deeply dished with firmer bolsters for additional comfort on long trips. In addition, a new, larger seven-inch touch-screen dominates the center dashboard, while a mix of bold colors and soft-touch materials gives everything a premium feel – even echoing some Lexus models from a generation or two earlier.
Four can sit comfortably, but a fifth in back can manage. We like that Toyota placed the battery pack under the rear seat, giving this sedan 15.1 cubic feet of cargo space, as well as a split rear seat – the same as the gasoline-only Camry. Like the regular Camry, however, the pass-through opening between the trunk and the back seat is on the small side and we were barely able to load a 52cm road bike between the two, even though there was plenty of overall room to spare.
Drawbacks are few and include a lower seating position in both front and back that clashes with the raised hip point of increasingly popular crossovers, while the gap between the rear door pillar and the front edge of the rear seat cushion is narrow and could present a problem for older or less mobile rear seat passengers.