CROWNED AT IMPERIAL COURT OF FAMILY CAR : Over the course of traditional human governance an elaborate headdress has been typically worn by the leaders. In the Japanese Imperial Court that royal headdress worn on commemorative occasions is the “Kanmuri,” a cap with chin strap topped by a tall textile pennon or banner dating back to the 8th Century Heian Period. 冠 is properly pronounced with long emphasis on the first syllable, Kan, followed by a Moor-ee. A rapid recitation rolls off the tongue with a name recognized world over and in this English speaking land as a “Crown” among mid size family cars.
Thirty-five years after Americans first pronounced it “Kanmuri” resonates as America’s favorite family car, even as the derived RAV4 crossover wins on the tally sheets. The latest eighth interpretation of Toyota family sedan, riding on a potion of continued high reliability, greater cabin comfort and newfound sprinkling of seriously sinewy silhouette has even won over many family taxi driver converts.
Like apples, Toyota Camry’s broad popularity can be traced to the varietals: there’s a Kanmuri for the price conscious, a Kanmuri for all seasons, even a Kanmuri for hastening heartbeat. However, the Kanmuri headdress for heir to the first volume family sedan to clear the air with battery electrification is worn by the 2023 Toyota Camry Hybrid .
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WHAT: 2023 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE XV70 TNGA-K platform mid-size family sedan. It is the eighth generation of most successful mid size family sedan sold in America, succeeding the XV50 redesign. It is third Camry to be offered with a variant of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy powertrain.
Standard Power: 2487 cc Atkinson cycle, dual VVT-i DOHC 24V start-stop idle I-4 cylinder A25A-FXS gasoline engine: 176 hp/ 163 lb-ft @ 5200 r.p.m.; 208 hp (153 kW) NET HYBRID + parallel shaft gearset coupled Continuously Variable Transaxle, arranged parallel to
Standard Gas Battery Electric Hybrid Power: 208 Net Hybrid Horsepower (153 kW), 149 lb-ft @ 5200 r.p.m.
- A25A-FXS, Atkinson Cycle capable transverse 2.5L DOHC 16V DI SFI gas I-4 engine = 176 hp (131 kW) / 163 lb-ft @ 5200 rpm parallel to:
- 1 x 650 V Motor Generator 2, front axle, permanent magnet, synchronous, regenerative coasting = 88 kW (118 hp), 149 lb-ft
- Lithium Ion high voltage battery: 650 V – 259.7 V, 70 cells, 6500 mAh, 1.6 kWh capacity
- 1 1 x 650V synchronous AC Hybrid Starter Motor Generator1: 8 kW, coaxially mounted to MG 2
- Parallel shaft gearset coupled Continuously variable + planetary gear power split transaxle
- Drive Modes = Eco, Normal, Sport
WHAT (A) STYLING DIFFERENCE: No less than it did in its 2018 showroom debut the eighth generation Toyota Camry continues to elicit “Oohs and Aahs” from its sensuous sinewy silhouette. Generations from now this paradigm of tasteful oblique will be recognized as a timeless recent classic unlike any other mass people mover.
Front: Tandem crease roll-off outboard valley hood converges into a point. The upper grille is a simple darkened “V” with stretched arms splitting the thin gap. Wrap-around front inboard lateral boomerang housings light up the road. Inboard DRLs are layered hockeysticks. Less slim is a car application the brands widening descending trapezoid spaced by six darkened laterals bars of which five bend into a chrome banded vertical inboard boomerang of a corner crease.
Body: The beltline descends from the windshield for a large greenhouse to ground proportion. An upper lateral crease spans from the upper front wheel arch rising to mid rear quarter panel height. Lower spats are integral. Wing mirrors are door mounted, door handles are body colored, and the only chrome bands the glassware. A descending C-pillar crease joining the upper trunk deck reveals sloped backlight glass curving at the sides. Upper quarter panel flaring for wide hips traces beneath.
Rear: The upper rear deck includes a duckbill style lip, tapering outboard to something reminiscent of an Infiniti Q70 sedan. The outboard gap in the boomerang wrap around taillamps are filled by inboard facing directionals. A hexagonal license plate valley fills the brunt of the cinched lower trunklid. Scooped rear body corners make a layered bumper cover effect. The lower rear fascia is part folded in dark cladding with a single left side elliptical slant cut exhaust outlet.
WHY: Quenching thirst for electrified fuel frugal version of America’s best selling family sedan.
WHEN: On-Sale (in the U.S.) since Autumn 2022
WHERE: Toyota new vehicle dealers
WHERE MADE: Georgetown, Kentucky, U.S.A.
HOW ROADWORTHY: By the numbers the 2023 Toyota Camry Hybrid advances the case for the touring full family car experience while delivering the maximum fuel efficiency short of plug-in battery electrification. Casual excursions ooze seamless gentleness. Under heavy load a narrower spread of band and pulley CVT ratios takes more time to wind out engine speed to the meat of the available torque. Selectable sport drive mode mimics a shorter ratio sufficient to make relatively easy work of freeway entry.
The 2023 Camry Hybrid‘s chassis has solid touring composure genetics as the front double wishbone arrangement emits solid grip and the rear multi-links subdue untoward axle inertia. Damping is masterfully compliant, not far off what a related & pricier Lexus ES 300h offers. Limits to nimbleness are uttered on the highway, revealed by the vastly softer than TRD springing. Steer weighting bears a premium winding heft but utterly mutes the directional inputs. Disc brake area is plentiful but pedal response seems content with progressive slowing rather than hard bite. Neither any driver or occupant should find the vault tight structure and cabin isolation bothersome.
HOW FAR: 39 combined miles per gallon*; 580 miles highway range w/ 87 AKI unleaded fuel
- -1 Only school zone speeds available in driver selected pure battery electric mode, though EV mode will auto engage beyond that limit.
- -1 * Switch to the new Lithium Ion battery clips cold weather fuel economy by -13% (compared to 2020 Lexus ES 300h equipped with Nickel Metal hydride high voltage battery.
HOW BIG/ LITTLE: Nearly as spacious as Lexus’ largest sedan by cabin volume [the ES]. America’s favorite 2 + 3 family sedan because it fits American sized families.
- Wheelbase / Row 2 Legroom: 111.2″ inches / 38.0″ = +1.9″ / -0.9″ vs. XV50 2016 Toyota Camry XSE
- -0.2″ / -2.4″ vs. Honda Accord Sport; -0.2″ / -2.4″ vs. Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
HOW USEFUL: √ Deep, wide aperture, roomy trunk space; √ Shopping bag trunk hooks x 2 √ Center-stack sliding rectracing lid covered electronics phone bin = 2 devices; √ Wide front center armrest, shallow felt bottom bin;
- +1 Cupholders x 4, Bottle holders x 4 (each door), Overhead sunglasses bin, Dual extending sunvisors, Front center console forward connected device bin with deploying lid
- -1 Modest door pockets; –1 Narrow trunk load aperture; -1 No trunk lid grab handle
HOW SAFE: √ 10 airbags; √ IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus; √ Rear camera; √ STANDARD Toyota SafetySense P 2.5 = √ Pedestrian + cyclist + oncoming vehicle detection braking; √ Forward collision avoidance braking; √ Blind spot warning; √ Rear cross traffic detection; √ Lane Departure Warning w/ steering assist (effective only on High Sensitivity) + Lane Trace; √ Full adaptive cruise control w/ auto hold; LED headlamps; √ Automatic high beam headlamps;
Available (incl. on XLE tester): 360 surround camera, front + rear park assist warning, Perimeter Scan; 10.0″-inch Heads Up Display; Rear cross traffic & blind spot avoidance braking. Swiveling segmented LED headlamps;
HOW PEOPLE FRIENDLY: XLE trim among 2023 Toyota Camry Hybrids exudes a near luxury level of premium content. Cabin panel fit is accomplished, colors complement each other, components exhibit pleasing deftness in arrangement and action. Blindfolded seasoned journalists could be fooled by the Camry Hybrid XLE for a Lexus ES 300h. The jury is in that Toyota has mastered detailed pebbling of plastic surfaces. An inverted triangle shaped center stack control bezel is attention grabbing though it gets busy with Chiclet climate buttons. Doors close with a solid thud formerly only exhibited in Stuttgart.
√ Front leather, Row 2 Softex leatherette perforated seats; √ Heated & cooled 8-way, power lumbar power front seats + driver + wing mirror position memory x 2; √ 4 power windows w/ full up/ down express; √ Heated tilt / telescoping leather steering wheel; √ 2-zone automatic climate control + center console aft Row 2 ventilation registers; √ Power tilt + sliding moonroof; √ Auto dimming rear view mirror w/ remote door transmitter; √ Smart Key approach access + pushbutton ignition. +1 seat comfort; -1 seat hip support
Cool Gizmo(s): √ TFT color twin dial instrument cluster + 7.0″ inch color multi-function display; √ Color power flow chart in instrument cluster + infotainment display; Perimeter Scan surround camera vehicle check;
Details Done Right: √ Tailored contrast leatherette mid- dashboard & door panels w/ contrast stitching + matching color pillars; √ Brushed metallic dash, door, climate vents central console accents; √ Damped action storage compartment lids; √ Refined grain pebbled plastic surfaces; √ A-Pillar mount JBL audio high frequency horn driver modules; Brushed aluminum “CAMRY lettered aluminum door sill plates w/ front illumination
Nearly Non-Descript: -1 Dim instrument cluster MFI text; 2nd Row trunk cable release pulls
HOW “APP” -LICABLE: √ 9.0″ -inch dash-top tablet mount tri-pane touch LCD infotainment screen; √ Voice recognition command hands-free communications; √ GPS to Cloud native Navigation w/ enhanced voice search; +1 voice to text SMS Messaging; √ 9 speaker, 800 Watt, 8-channel DTS JBL premium audio + HD radio streaming radio; √ Android Auto & Apple Car Play USB device projection; √ Siri Eyes; USB-A x 2, 12V x 1, Qi inductive charging pad x 1 (front center console fore bin deploying lid).
√ Entune Apps: Amazon Alexa, Traffic, Weather
- By Subscription: √ Sirius XM radio (90 days trial); √ Wi-Fi 4G LTE (by Verizon) 2GB within 90 days trial
- Toyota Connected Services w/ S.O.S. ♦ Service Connect 10 yrs. trial; ♦ Safety Connect + Remote Connect 1 yr. trial
HOW MUCH: $40,232 = as tested 2022 Toyota Camry XLE Hybrid.
WHAT’S MISSING: Less loopy lane keep assist; Trunk lid liner grab handle; No rear seat USB power ports, No rear seat heating
ANY COMPETITION: 2023 Honda Accord Hybrid: +1 enthusiast’s hybrid; Hyundai Sonata Hybrid: +1 fuel economy, driver assistance, ambience infotainment
FINAL WORD: Who Could Ask for Anything More in a fuel frugal, stylin’ solid family sedan?
Contributing Editor: S. Frissell