Review : 2018 Toyota Camry Ascent Sport Hybrid

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An improvement on the ever-reliable midsize sedan.

I am not ashamed to say it. I love Toyota vehicles and I especially love the tech poured into their hybrid range so it should come as no surprise that I jumped at the chance to take the latest Camry Hybrid from City Toyota for a spin.

The Camry is the largest passenger sedan before you make the move up to SUV or Offroad-capable vehicle. Often the choice for small families, Uber drivers and accountants the Camry has been the staple for the rational motorist. It is comfortable, reliable, economical and the 2018 hybrid is no different.

The exterior design has had a bit of a revamp with a slightly more aggressive styling. Angular headlights and a sharper design overall give the car a slightly refreshed look. The Camry although known for being rather vanilla has been tweaked a little.

The platform is 50mm longer in the wheelbase than last years model, which translates to more space inside for the passengers. It does not feel at all cramped and the battery has been moved from the boot to under the rear seat and like the Corolla gives it a more planted feel with more weight slung low and inside the wheelbase.

The hybrid system is the same that powers the Corolla and Prius so it works a little harder to move the larger car around but coupled with the 2.5l 4 cylinder engine it does quite happily. When pushed to catch a gap in traffic there is enough torque to have the front wheel drive scratching for traction. When not pushed you can get around silently for most of the time sipping the claimed 4.2l/100km which is extremely close to the 4.1l/100km for the Corolla.

The interior is well laid out with everything you need at your fingertips and everything you don’t (mobile phone and other distractions) tucked away. The center console is a 8 inch touch display that gives access to important controls and useful information complete with GPS navigation, audio and feedback on the hybrid systems performance and between the speedo and tachometer the driver has a supplemental Multi Information Display for more information at a glance.

Keyless entry that is now standard on most Toyota vehicles is effortless and there is heaps of room in the boot. The adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist makes the car easy to drive safely and gives a glimpse at the autonomous driving that is bound to make an appearance in future models.

At $45,912 driveaway the premium for the hybrid option is less than $1000 and considering it burns almost half as much as the 7.8l/100km petrol only 4 cylinder or the 8.7l/100km V6 you could expect to have this upgrade to pay for itself very quickly.

I would give this a solid 4.5/5 with the half point coming off for not including Apple Carplay or Android Auto as an option and for the lack of Lane Tracing Assist that you get in the Corolla. These are now major features that all cars should have and in a vehicle like the Camry a very noticeable omission.

This vehicle is ideal for the average family, corporate fleets, Uber and Taxi operators and anyone looking to start making the transition away from petrol-only motoring in an easy to drive package.

A big thanks to Phil Eades at City Toyota for letting me get my hands on the 2018 Camry Hybrid.

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