By on March 13, 2018

Image: Toyota

I spent a good chunk of Monday evening tooling around the city in a new, mainstream midsize sedan, but let’s park that jealousy at the door right now, folks.

This car was a modern twist on the “sensible sedan with a sport package that’s nearly all appearance flourishes” we’ve all become used to. The Camry SE Hybrid takes most of the standard SE’s looks — spoiler, side sills, complex grille and all — then throws in a few optional goodies as standard kit for good measure. It also makes the “sporty” Camry arguably sportier.

A Twitter discussion broke out later that night, centered around a question that nagged me my entire time behind the wheel. Who buys this particular trim?

Not this former Camry owner, that’s for sure. It’s no secret I’m drawn to sedans that fall on the conservative side of the styling spectrum, and would happily choose a compliant ride over a sport-tuned experience in anotherwise mainstream car. We’re not talking Lexus IS or Audi A4 here. It’s Camry Time.

While the SE Hybrid allows Toyota to carve out a new Camry trim level in the midst of its hybrid range, the car’s drivetrain and its image remain at odds with each other. At its very core, a mainstream hybrid’s role is saving the owner money at the pumps, thus rationalizing a pricier window sticker. In this case, it’s quite a jump — a 14 mpg improvement on the combined cycle, according to the EPA.

Cool, fantastic. Achieving 46 mpg in a 3,500-pound car sounds like a good tradeoff for the $4,300 price bump. And there’s extra convenience and comfort features to sweeten the pot. The issue is this: the standard quartet of drive modes (unavailable on the SE) contains a Sport setting, encouraging sudden weight gain in the driver’s right foot.

Suddenly, this model becomes much thirstier than the cheaper LE Hybrid, retailing for 1,700 fewer dollars. Of course, that’s if buyers actually choose to leave a fingerprint on the Sport button. Maybe it’s a big if.

I’m not sure about you, B&B, but I have a hard time imagining a speed-obsessed buyer lying awake in bed, driving gloves on, Dramamine tablets ready to go, counting down the hours until his four-cylinder, CVT-equipped Camry hybrid arrives. Is this a sedan for faux environmentalists who love the tree-hugging social capital a hybrid bestows on its driver but hate garnering attention from suspicious cops? Or, is this a commuter carriage for timid motorists looking for a smidge of visual aggression and a few added luxuries from their economy car? Does the first buyer even exist?

Would you shell out for one?

[Image: Toyota]

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75 Comments on “QOTD: Who Buys a Mainstream ‘Sport’ Hybrid?...”


  • avatar
    Vulpine

    I wouldn’t shell out for a Camry of any trim. I just don’t like the looks.

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    I am that dude. I would love to have a Mazda 6 diesel/hybrid. Besides by now everyone knows that Mazda’s are about driving “feel” and not necessarily driving.

  • avatar
    Big3trucks

    The Camry just isn’t an exciting car in any way. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad car, but Toyota’s marketing campaign really doesn’t do it for me. Plus the non-“sporty” models are hideous.

    • 0 avatar
      MoparRocker74

      I would argue that the Camry’s total lack of excitement does in fact make it a ‘bad car’. It’s a good ‘appliance’ or ‘transportation module’.

      A vehicle is usually a person’s second largest expense. For the money laid out, it makes zero sense to invest in a private possession that does nothing that can’t be accomplished with rideshare or public transportation.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        “the Camry’s total lack of excitement…that does nothing that can’t be accomplished with rideshare or public transportation”

        You’ve made a Barrancas del Cobre sized leap in logic there that doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. My house doesn’t have granite counters, a view of the ocean, or a home automation app, so I may as well live in a hostel, right?

        • 0 avatar
          MoparRocker74

          The whole granite/hostel thing doesn’t really relate here. BUT, to your point, maybe people who are unwilling or unable to learn how to upkeep their property (my parents’ idiot neighbors come to mind), then maybe they should stick to apartment living instead of running a nice house down into a termite infested overgrown dump. Much the same as how if someone is so disinterested in cars/driving that they pick a total nothing of a car such as a Camry, Id rather they were on the bus or light rail doing their texting and social media browsing where its safe. Rolling novacain pods like this are usually—not always, but usually the choice of morons who would rather be updating a Facebook status than being engaged in driving a vehicle. That caliber of ‘driver’ is better served by a transportation mode that’s less engaging, and real drivers would be far better off as well.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            You moved your goalposts. Your original hyperbole had nothing to do with the willingness of the owner to maintain the car. Your original comment is still up there if you want to remember what you typed.

            And I’ve seen some real idiots behind the wheels of LX platforms. They run the gamut from overly aggressive + under-skilled to phone fiddlers.

            If you want all these uninterested drivers off the road, I’m with you there. I’ll gladly zip my Camry down the road while maintaining lane discipline, situational awareness, and cornering speeds well above the recommended limit.

          • 0 avatar
            MoparRocker74

            Nope, same goalposts. Boring, uninspiring = waste of money. I clarified my opinion and bias. But at the end of the day, theres no point in spending the kind of money asked for a new car and end up with something that doesn’t truly MOVE you. And if exciting cars aren’t your thing, that’s cool too. But why not spend $5K on a good used blandmobile and pocket the savings?

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            “And if exciting cars aren’t your thing, that’s cool too. But why not spend $5K on a good used blandmobile and pocket the savings?”

            Huh? By the same logic, if you like excitement why not sack up and buy a REAL 1960s era muscle car for the same $25-30k ish as a modern Charger?

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        My dad would have loved the Camry; he always believed a car was “just transportation.” However, because it is Japanese, he would have never bought one… not even used. He never forgave Japan for Pearl Harbor, even though the Third Reich did the same thing to Poland and most of the rest of Europe. Why? Because he believed the Germans somehow did a formal declaration of war BEFORE those attacks.

        Do I agree with him? No. I’m far enough removed from that war to understand what happened and, to some extent, why. I do believe Germany, Italy and Japan made some serious mistakes in that war but I also believe they’ve learned from them. We’re all allies now, against a regime that may end up taking over without any shooting–well, formal shooting, anyway. The economic war now taking place will be far more bloody in its way. It’s only a matter of time.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    I suspect that first person is actually lying awake wondering when their Model 3 will finally be built.

  • avatar
    tallguy130

    Look at it from this angle: I’m a white collar middle class family man with two young kids, a mortgage, and lingering student loan bills. I like cars, I like to drive and want something fun. I can’t teally afford or justify the weekend sports car, or really the fun toy car of any kind. So my daily driver has to be something that makes me not want to kill my self. It also has to be responsible enough to move two young kids and do the normal commuting duties.

    Lot of roles to fill, likely nothing does it all perfect. But something like this would at least get close to checking all those boxes without going north of 30k. There is a certain logic to it I can see.

    Now the better question is how many buyers fit the situation above and don’t have a wife hen pecking them into a cuv?

    • 0 avatar
      ernest

      “Now the better question is how many buyers fit the situation above and don’t have a wife hen pecking them into a cuv?”

      That was the easy part. The Rav4 was about $6000 more for what is functionally a smaller vehicle, back in ’16. I struggle with the hybrid part of the equation- $4300 upcharge for a car that, in standard form, barely costs $75/mo to keep in fuel. I don’t know where the breakeven point is, but it’ll be long after she’s in her next new car.

      The SE trim was a no brainer.

      Wife- looking out over a sea of Black, White, and Gray Camry’s. “What’s that pretty Blue one over there?”

      Salesman: “That’s called Blue Crush. It’s probably a SE model.”

      Me: “It’s a Camry, and she likes the color. What’s not to like?”

      It was in our garage about an hour later. Wife does not know, or care, about suspension and tire upgrades the SE has. What she does know is she loves the car, and that makes for a very peaceful house.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        ernest you’ve nailed the typical “SE” buying experience perfectly.

        Now that I’m thinking about it, given that they have the “XSE” trim, isn’t the suspension tuning on SE been toned back down to hit more of that value/appearance package spot better?

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Happy wife, happy life, I am told by my shackled, er, I mean MARRIED friends.

        Here’s my take on Toyota hybrids. You might as well buy one, if you are buying a Toyota anyway. If you keep the thing for 5 years, you break even on the gas savings. The Hybrid drive train really is just stupendously reliable – keep the thing forever. It saves on brakes, and the resale value is higher. It’s not like the non-Hybrid is fun to drive, and you are more likely to have the regular automatic go bang than the Synergy drive, which while continuously variable, is not a “CVT” per se in that it is not belt driven. My Mother’s Prius-V is a fantastic transportation appliance and will probably outlive me if she stops running into things with it (minor damage only, thankfully)…

    • 0 avatar
      MoparRocker74

      If you’re a true ‘car guy’ and not contemplate offing yourself is a factor, why would ANY Toyota not co-developed with Subaru or any hybrid electric even enter the discussion?

      If a car you actually like is a requirement, yet you have to consider the responsible adult stuff with a budget of $30k…forget this lame POS. For one, a hybrid camry ain’t happening under $30K. Get the Charger SXT and be done with it. Starts under $30K, you get a real honest car guy’s car that has all the practicality you could want, a trunk that can swallow whatever you can load. 300 hp, 30 mpg, rear wheel drive and a great powertrain. And it actually looks like something you WANT in your driveway. The LX cars are solid, reliable, and a proven platform. I have several friends who are on their 2nd or 3rd LX and those of us on our first (myself included) would buy another in a hot second.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        RWD-> not great in the snow without some snow tires for many casual car owners

        solid,reliable-> not crap heaps, but they have a smattering of classic Chrysler issues that one does not see with something like a Camry

        30mpg-> highway yes, more dense mixed urban driving, it’s a not-insignificant difference from a 4cyl midsizer

        I strongly considered one myself, but even for a “car guy” like myself the precipitous drop in retained value and several other compromises added up to a no-sale. I do really like how they go down the road in terms of suspension tuning/solidity and the Pentastar+8spd pairing is a gem.

        • 0 avatar
          MoparRocker74

          They still make AWD Chargers…V6 only.

          Yes they are a little less efficient than a 4 cyl snooze-mobile but the feul consumption isn’t going to sway someone into a Camry who would otherwise buy the Charger. If thats the breaking point, that person is buying used anyway.

          I think the dependability thing is a wash. EVERY make and model has lemons. And every make/model has total gems. I see it like this: even assuming the CR and JDP ratings are 100% unbiased and to be taken as gospel (HUGE stretch, that) all that means is I assume a little more quality risk with the Dodge…no guarantees though.

          However, the Camry, even if its completely flawless and never once has a hiccup is a car Im 100% guaranteed to hate, having driven several examples. Again, based on experience the Dodge has plenty of charm, character and brawn to make me overlook some level of issues, relatively speaking.

          • 0 avatar
            Sub-600

            I’ve got a ‘13 Charger R/T AWD and the only problems I’ve had have been recalls. Knock on wood.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            ” but the feul consumption isn’t going to sway someone into a Camry who would otherwise buy the Charger”

            This is an odd way to look at this IMO. Someone Charger shopping is by default highly unlikely to be looking at Camries anyways. As far as reliability/dependability you’re not wrong, but I’ll point to alja’s experience with his Charger, or my coworker’s low mileage 2010 300C with a smattering of electrical issues and now some front end noise after one spring’s worth of (admittedly horrible) Indy roads and contrast it to my wife’s 75k mile 2012 Camry which has the bejeezus pounded out of it over our downtown roads on a daily basis with nary a whimper aside from a blown out tire last spring.

            Reading this and your comments above, it almost seems like you’re just fishing for an attaboy for buying an LX car and shunning the masses of perfectly competent intelligent people that buy Camries and enjoy driving them. Looking at the buyer demographics of the two models, I’d say you’re barking up the wrong tree lol

          • 0 avatar
            MoparRocker74

            “Reading this and your comments above, it almost seems like you’re just fishing for an attaboy for buying an LX car and shunning the masses of perfectly competent intelligent people that buy Camries and enjoy driving them. Looking at the buyer demographics of the two models, I’d say you’re barking up the wrong tree lol”

            You TOTALLY lost me on that one. No one I know of buys a muscle car for anyone else’s approval…the car itself is rewarding as hell. Approval of the greenies at whole foods, and being able to say ‘look how much I caaarrreee!!!!’ is what the hybrid crowd is looking for.

            I draw the comparison because a Camry is Charger money, and theyre both sedans. Anything a Camry can do, a Charger can do and yet it ups it with a TON of fun and style. That’s a no brainer for me.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Camrys are for Camry buyers. Mopar, you and I are simply not Camry buyers.

            Camry buyers are people who think Accords are too sporty. These people simply do not want ANY fun in their cars. They buy into the “reliable” thing above all else, hook, line and sinker.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            “Mopar, you and I are simply not Camry buyers”

            Thank god for that–well, not so much Mopar, I kind of like his spunk.

            I really like the GTI, but your continual, insufferable arrogance kind of ruins it for me. If you hadn’t already mentioned you were unmarried and childless I’d have easily discerned it from your other comments.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            “Approval of the greenies at whole foods, and being able to say ‘look how much I caaarrreee!!!!’ is what the hybrid crowd is looking for.”

            I’m sure that still happens, but you’re stuck in the early 2000s with that mentality. Among the people I know with hybrids (see my post lower in the comments about my in-laws), it’s simply lower running costs at barely any price premium on the used market.

            You’re still comparing the cars from the lens of a “car guy” that has certain priorities (faster acceleration, rwd dynamics). Can you not appreciate the fact that someone genuinely likes driving a Camry? For many, the Charger with its poor sightlines feels like sitting in a bunker and they’d simply feel uncomfortable and less confident behind the wheel with reduced visibility. Throw in the apprehension of many about RWD in northern climates and not wanting to mess with snow tires, the poor resale, the potentially questionable long term ownership experience, etc.

            I’ll make it even more obvious: my next door neighbor, lovely older woman, leases an automatic Corolla every few years. She genuinely likes her cars and how they drive. Is that impossible to wrap ones’ head around?

            Khrodes1: every time you comment all I can think of is the “smug” episode of South park where people sniff their own farts out of wine glasses. Take that as you will.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            Gtem, you and I simply are not fart sniffers.

            Fart sniffers are people who think incense is too commonplace and boring. These people simply do not recognize ANY of their microbial reek as distasteful. They buy into the “mine smell like roses” thing above all else, hook, line and sinker.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        I like the 300hp rwd thing, but as far as looking at something that I’d want in my driveway, looks are subjective. Its looks are a combination of gangsta styling, “Podunk County got a fleet sale discount on its sheriffs department cars” styling, or “trying too hard” styling.

        Don’t take it personally- I’m glad you like the styling. It’s just that not everybody else does. I happen to like boxy styling; some people think boxy styling is faux-utilitarian and they dislike it. Vive la difference.

        I do gotta call you out on the phrase “real honest car guy’s car.” Let’s be frank: it has “parking assist” and you can’t get it with a manual transmission, man. ;)

        • 0 avatar
          MoparRocker74

          “I do gotta call you out on the phrase “real honest car guy’s car.” Let’s be frank: it has “parking assist” and you can’t get it with a manual transmission, man. ;)”

          No idea if they have park assist or not. I’m sure its optional if they do, but that garbage is on a LOT of vehicles. As to the manual, the Charger IS a sedan. Manuals in sedans always come off kinda goofy to me anyway, since the extra doors are a compromise to practicality in the first place. There’s the Challenger if you want to get hardcore.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Thing is, the Honda Accord does what the Camry does in a much, much, much nicer way, for similar money. I don’t particularly like the Accord, but I LOATH the Camry.

      Camrys were bad enough when they were just boring. Now they are eye-searingly hideous too. All the SE does is make it ride worse.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        Camries traditionally ride better, are quieter, have more durable suspensions, and bigger trunks. Things are getting muddled now with each passing generation as all of the midsizers are converging in specs and design it seems.

        • 0 avatar
          Featherston

          @ gtem – I’ll add that for the “keep it a long time” crowd, dual injection > direct injection and traditional auto > CVT. Those two factors alone would put the Camry ahead of the Accord on my shopping list. I’m interested in how a car will do past 100,000 miles. Auto journalists aren’t even interested in how a car will do past 10,000 miles.

          My primary gripe with the current Camry is how boy racer the SE looks. For the pre-facelift XV50 Camry, I think the SE was the best-looking trim. For the XV70, I think the LE actually is the nicest-looking trim.

  • avatar
    gtem

    Toyota’s SE trims, although they do in fact feature sharper suspension tuning and such, sell mainly to people who want the extra content of “sporty” appearance bits and usually a few extra do-dads in the interior, I suspect most would be happier if they could get LE suspension tuning instead. That was certainly how my wife got her ’12 SE (non hybrid 4cyl). With our roads, quite frankly I wish she had the LE steel wheels and slightly taller sidewalls.

  • avatar
    gtem

    This is a good space to share a few quick impressions of my rental ’18 Camry SE from about a month ago. My reference point here is my wife’s 2012 Camry SE 4cyl with 75k miles.

    The switch to DI is noticeable, and in terms of NVH it is a marked change for the worse. Combined with the 8spd transmission that likes to hunt like mad under certain conditions, it’s just a very un-Camry-like experience. I will say accelerating onto an on-ramp the trans snaps off some very satisfying and positive shifts and the extra horsepower is felt. I really don’t care for the new interior layout. Both design-wise and materials-wise. I’d argue it’s a regression from the 2015+ Camry interior, and arguably worse than even the cheaper ’12-’14 one. I didn’t get enough highway driving in to appreciate the MPG boost but I’m sure it’s very real. I’m just not convinced that it’s worth it. I’d rather get 35mpg highway and get the familiar Camry smoothness than get 41 or whatever and get frustrated by how much they’ve regressed in terms of drivetrain refinement.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      From multiple outlets it looks like Toyota flubbed the drivability of the impressive-on-paper 2.5L + 8spd. Frankly seems to make a case for the smoother hybrid. Shame, the old 2.5 + 6spd before it is very well behaved.

      I had hopes for the current Camry, but after launch it looks like the Accord is the better car. Ugly SOB that it is. The Mazda6 is looking pretty good right now.

      • 0 avatar
        TMA1

        Just replacing that chrome bar on the Honda with something body-colored would go a long way towards fixing its problems. Oh, and the wheels of course.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          “Combined with the 8spd transmission that likes to hunt like mad under certain conditions, it’s just a very un-Camry-like experience.”

          Most of the print rag tests I’ve read indicate that from the 5-speed auto up through the current 8-speed – hunting for gears on FWD Toyotas is an issue.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            My wife’s ’12 definitely aggressively seeks a higher gear as soon as possible when just driving with light throttle in town, but nowhere as much back and forth when under slightly higher loads (such as climbing a light hill). There’s just 2 fewer gears to try and hit some MPG-optimized ideal. It’s simply down to how much they continue to prioritize MPG on the EPA treadmill, increasingly so, it seems.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            We have a used 2016 XSE 2.5 to replace the Altima as my wife’s DD and I pretty much agree with gtem. Rapid upshifts at light throttle but it kicks down readily and doesn’t seem to hunt up and down. Gear ratios seem about right as well. Not sure what benefit more gears provides over a 6spd, you may as well go CVT at that point.

    • 0 avatar
      MrMem0ry

      Regarding the 8-speed ‘hunting’ more, it seems that they have done what others have, mainly add more overdrive gears for better highway mileage. I have a 6-speed SE and as a remedy, I move the shift lever to ‘S’ for sequential shifting; the default there is to operate in gears 1-4; you can go up or down from there. I find this more engaging in local driving when the upper gears would just result in hunting up and down. I have test-driven a 2018 and the trans operates the same way, 1-4, then upward from there; makes for more control/fun when negotiating on-ramps. For pure highway, just put it in Drive.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Wanting a car that is fun to drive and easy on fuel are not mutually exclusive desires. Look at the Miata, Civic Si, GTI etc… fuel economy is one of their big calling cards.

    My G37S averages about 18MPG in mixed driving, and it irks me a bit because there are several cars out that are about as fast that get 30-50% better gas mileage. The 4 banger 3 series is as fast and probably does about 25-28MPG on the same cycle; the 6 banger is faster and still does about 20-30% better. Fuel costs aren’t a big concern for me but value is a psychological and emotional perk… just crappy to overpay in fuel for performance, even with the big NA V6.

    • 0 avatar
      Kendahl

      My 6-speed manual G37S coupe does 5 mpg better than yours. Maybe, you drive harder than I do or your driving is biased more toward city.

      After 10 years, the only unscheduled expense has been to machine warped brake rotors at 30k miles. The independent foreign car mechanic I have patronized for over 30 years tells me about BMWs with major oil consumption issues at 70k miles. You can buy a lot of gas for the price of a rebuilt engine.

      • 0 avatar

        You need to also determine if his is AWD, which makes a big difference.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        I drive harder than normal. Average highway speed is probably about 85-90.

        But if you are going by what’s indicated on the dash you are probably short by ~10%/2-3 MPG. I get a reported 19-21 MPG by the trip computer but it’s consistently short. Weird because my ’04 Z was more accurate. But that was a 6MT whereas my G is a 7AT RWD. Maybe autos are less accurate.

        • 0 avatar

          M35x always estimates too high by a considerable margin. Pretty much every car I’ve had has overestimated MPG in the trip computer.

          The Outback underestimates it.

        • 0 avatar
          cimarron typeR

          I got 22 mixed summer 20 winter on prem. In my G37s 6mt sedan .Midwest fuel grade over 4yrs I owned it.70 -75 mph highway due to traffic.I think the awd negates the extra gear from 6mt to 7spd awd .I actually picked up almost 1mpg switching to K&N drop in filters.I manually calculated mpg and never used the computer est

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Between my VW 5-cylinder and 4.0 V6 4Runner, I’m now used to “overpay(ing) in fuel for performance”. There are some advantages to it though, I’d rather have the linear rush of that proven VQ than a periodically laggy and crappy sounding turbo four. Your Infiniti is Old School done right.

    • 0 avatar
      turbo_awd

      My modified ’05 Legacy GT wagon (5EAT similar to your 7EAT if you’re auto) and AWD gets 15 mpg in mixed driving. 12-13 if I’m only around town. Mind you, with the upgraded turbo, transmission, etc, I beat on it every chance I get. If I drive really smoothly, I can maybe get 22 mpg.. Mind you, car is now 14 years old and nowhere near stock.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    You’re all thinking too hard.

    It starts and stops at the appearance package; the buyers are people who want the 46mpg and also want the different bumper.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    Who buys one? The same people who bought pet rocks.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    It exists to give autojournos something to meet their QOTD quotas with.

    The SE trim is nothing new on the Camry. It exists to keep people who want a practical-to-a-fault car that doesn’t wallow down the road from going straight to the Honda dealership.

    Why does the CVT Accord Sport exist? Similar incongruity.

  • avatar
    Gail Bloxham

    All sound and fury signifying nothing.
    Yawn.
    That bumper is supposed to be good looking?
    Low profile tires. More of those again? When will people rezlyzecwhst a marketing scam they are?

  • avatar
    Dawnrazor

    “Is this a sedan for faux environmentalists who love the tree-hugging social capital a hybrid bestows on its driver but hate garnering attention from suspicious cops?”

    Maybe it’s still too early and my reading comprehension is faulty, but I’m not sure I understand this sentence. Are we asserting that driving a conventional hybrid makes the cops MORE suspicious, but a hybrid which doesn’t immediately telegraph its “green” status and/or looks “sporty” would garner LESS attention? The opposite would seem more intuitive, as I can’t imagine the various dregs of society adopting Priuses and C-MAXes as their vehicles of choice.

    I think the answer for who buys these things boils down to psychology more than anything else. I think they are for the “timid” appliance user who realizes he/she is timid but aspires not to be and doesn’t want to project that image; the racy window dressing and “sport” mode buttons tickle their right brain just enough to appease their desire to avoid feeling or looking stodgy, but at the same time the rational, sensible bones of the vehicle will appease their left brains (which is the top priority for this personality type). Easy to dismiss all of that as “psychobabble”, but it does seem to make some sense (at least to me).

  • avatar
    JimC2

    Some people like hybrids because they’re neat, they save gas, because of the engine auto stop and electric only creeping when you’re stuck in traffic or just backing into a parking spot. But hybrids usually come with un-sporty very low rolling resistance tires and a tuned-for-potholes/calibrated-for-boring suspension. So why not?

    Not all of us car buyers are “look at me, I hug trees” or “look at me, I’m pretending to be a racing car driver.” It’s be nice to have a car that doesn’t have to slow down for a few turns on the highway or with enough get up and go to get around the doofus clogging up the left lane up the hill (whose gas pedal foot forgot about the law of gravity) and be on my way, and do it getting better than 25-30mpg.

    I can see the appeal. We’ll see what the market decides. Remember the 2005 Accord Hybrid? Similar formula, although Honda really punted with the “mild hybrid” drivetrain (I prefer the term “afterthought engineering”). The market didn’t demand very many of those.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      Quick followup because I couldn’t edit anymore- as for the 4cyl+CVT drivetrain, I’m fine if it makes the car go.

      I don’t care about “sporty” sounding exhaust. I don’t get a joygasm out of the sound of a “V8 rumble” or a sport compact (fart can). One is the sound of uneven exhaust pulses fighting each other (and making less horsepower), the other is the sound of trendy poseurism. When other drivers like those things, I wave my fist approvingly because ‘Murrica (since TTAC comments are multinational, insert your preferred freedom-loving country of choice here). I’m just not interested in having that kind of car for myself.

  • avatar
    ajla

    The only Camry trim that exists in my mind is the XSE V6.

  • avatar
    npaladin2000

    There’s no reason a hybrid system can’t also be used for performance gains. Electric motors get mad low-end torque that feels great to use. Just because right now hybrids are the hero car of many of the green groups out there, they get reputations as slow jellybeans. But the LMP1 and LMP2 categories means there’s some playing at the high performance end too. And a hybrid racing series could include some very interesting elements to encourage efficiency in the regenerative parts and aerodynamics, such as only allowing X amount of fuel for each car.

    They’re coming. MINI is trying too. They’re not going to appeal to the same people as a Prius or Niro or Ioniq appeal to, but that’s all to the good.

  • avatar
    turbo_awd

    Well, how about the Q50 hybrid? I believe it’s actually desirable as a sporty model, because it has the highest torque of ANY Q50 model. I’m guessing it gets best mpg of any V6 Q50 (3.7 or 3.0t), although perhaps the 2.0t does better – I don’t have time to compare the numbers right now.

    • 0 avatar

      Well, there’s no more 3.7 Q50, only 2.0t or 3.0t.

      They’ve priced the Hybrid in LUXE trim only on price parity with the RS400. It doesn’t seem like they plan on selling many.

      Interesting the hybrid uses the old VQ35 still. I suspect consolidation is upcoming for this system.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Corey – what was the Q70 before the rename? I had one as a rental last week in Houston. It was – weird. Big and boaty. Oddly tall and narrow and cramped inside. The Q50 3.0t is at least a rocketship, this was definitely not – had to wind it up way too much to make progress.

        Hertz seems to have a zillion Q50s now – easy to get one in the President’s Circle lots but most don’t have butt heat, which irritates me even more than the horrid center console.

        • 0 avatar

          I don’t like the Q70 either.

          The Q70 was the M37/M56, which has its roots in the M35/M45 of 2006.

          2006 debut
          2008 restyling
          2011 starts using 3.7 and 5.6, restyled into current version
          2013 becomes Q70 3.7 and 5.6

          It’s old and it shows, and it has been cost cut considerably over the M versions. Everything in the 2016 I drove felt cheaper and worse than the M. I wouldn’t consider one, even used.

          It does not implement any of the nice new tech available in the cheaper and newer Q50.

          • 0 avatar
            Infiniti-Lover

            My daily driver is a sports-hybrid trim of the Infiniti Q50 – I must say that the negligible mileage gain and slightly better horsepower ratings were appealing to me in 2013. I like the 27mpg I see in the city with enough guts to run with other performance sedans. If only Infiniti had done a better job of the gas/battery switch-off and regen braking it would be my ‘forever’ car.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    When the original Camry Hybrid debuted the only person I knew with one was the wife of an officer of the New Mexico Department of Public Safety (they generally run the scales that the truckers are supposed to stop at on the state boarder lines.)

    He had his cruiser, a Harley Davidson, and a pickup truck. I always wondered if she chose the Camry Hybrid for herself or if he choose it for her.

    • 0 avatar
      Sub-600

      The toughest job for public safety in New Mexico is keeping Big Bill Richardson’s speed under triple digits.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      My in laws have double dipped in that they handed down my sister in law a ’13 Camry XLE Hybrid so then my father in law upgraded to a ’13 ES300h as sort of a retirement gift to himself. He’s very much the “smart money” sort, a person who would have bought a Buick back in the day me-thinks. They’re no environmentalists, he just likes the mpg at negligible price premium (on the 1-3 year old used market).

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    Odd that bemoaning “appliance” cars is typical for motorheads, and then they lose sleep over a sporty hybrid. But they don’t seem to fret about whole lines of sporty performance cars like Porsche’s hybrids, or F1 cars being hybrids. Nor do they seem concerned about all the performance suv’s, which even with their conflicted low profile tires and lowered suspension can never have the handling of performance cars.

  • avatar

    14 mpg for $4,500

    So I’m saving what, $350/year in gas?

    Only 13 years to break even!

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      That depends. How much do you drive? If you only drive 10K – 12K miles per year, you’re right. There are others who drive 4x that much and will break even in roughly 3 years.

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