You Put Your Hybrid In My Camry SE!
The last time we talked about a Camry SE on these [s]less-than[/s] distinguished pages, the resulting article upset one of our contributors (a certain “Nurburgring race instructor”) so much that he quit the site in protest. That certainly wasn’t my intention. But I know that our hearts will go on.
Of all the comments that particular test attracted, both on and off this website, I don’t recall any of them having anything to do with a desire for hybrid power. Presumably, however, there is someone out there who wants the sportier appearance of the Camry SE and the now-legendary economy and durability of the Hybrid Synergy Drive, because now it’s possible to combine the two.
The resulting “2014.5 Camry Hybrid SE Limited Edition” will be limited to five thousand units at a price of $27,845. This represents something under two percent of Camry production for the year, so they should be an easy sell. If you have money to blow like Birdman, an additional $2215 will get you a moonroof and Display Audio.
Overall it seems like a pretty sound idea, although the virtues we discovered when running the plain-Jane SE around Shenandoah Road Course probably aren’t quite as apparent here. If any TTACers step up and buy one, we’d sure like to hear about it.
Since they're trying to be all things to all people, this gives me a related idea: GM might have been able to save Pontiac if only they had introduced hybrid models of the Pontiac G6 coupe and convertible.
So is this car more "grounded to the ground" than the regular hybrid?
While dinning after Cleveland Auto show with the GF's Toyota-loving parents I asked them what was the memorable car we sat in over the last 2.5 hours kicking tires and slamming doors? Her Mom's response were none of them as they see a car as a transportation source. Bingo! I've heard of these people who like earthtone colors like sand granules and want a low base MSRP. We did sit in the Camry, which no one was crowded around and pointed out how airy and how well the visibility the windows offered today which disappearing in modern cars. Nope, none of their kids drive Toyotas today but grew up in the 1990's with Tercel's and Corollas through college. Her Dad did like the Impala and really like the styling along with the base engine offering a 4-cylinder which is all they need in 25-35 mph surbubia.
I'm a little late replying to this, but I pick my red one up tonight. My wife and I commute together about 100km per day 3 days per week and put about 30,000 km per year each on two cars. The fuel economy of this model was certainly a factor, and it doesn't look as much like grandpa's car as the XLE models.