The 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid LE, with EPA-estimated 43 mpg city/39 mpg highway/41 mpg combined, yields a more-than-30 percent boost in fuel economy in the EPA city and combined driving cycles, compared to the previous generation, thanks largely to the new hybrid powertrain, but also due to lighter vehicle weight and optimized aerodynamics.
Through its unique transaxle, the Hybrid Synergy Drive system combines output from the four-cylinder engine with a small high-torque electric motor. The system produces a combined 200 horsepower and varies power between the gas engine and electric motor, or combines both, as needed.
The new 2.5-liter engine, like the 2.4-liter it replaces, uses the Atkinson cycle (delayed intake-valve closing for an expansion ratio greater than compression ratio) to achieve maximum efficiency. The Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) system on the intake camshaft enhances torque, which is greater than with the previous engine. An electric water pump, a roller-rocker type valvetrain and a variable-output oil pump help to reduce internal friction, boosting economy.
A new water-cooled exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system helps to ensure the lowest possible emissions at all vehicle speeds and helps increase fuel efficiency. By cooling and controlling exhaust gas injected into each cylinder, the system eliminates the need to richen the air-fuel mixture to control cylinder temperatures.
The 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid meets AT-PZEV (Advanced Technology Partial-credit Zero Emissions Vehicle) standards. New sound absorbing materials in the engine compartment, along with more linear control over engine speed, give the 2012 Camry Hybrid a more pleasing sound under acceleration.
New for the 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid, an EV Drive mode allows the driver to operate the car on the electric motor alone for up to 1.6 miles at lower speeds (below approximately 25 mph). The EV indicator illuminates when the vehicle is being propelled solely by the electric motor.
As on the previous Toyota Camry Hybrid, ECO mode optimizes throttle response and air conditioning output to prioritize maximum fuel economy. A Hybrid-exclusive instrument cluster with Hybrid System Indicator and fuel consumption indicator helps the driver to operate the car as economically as possible.
Instantaneous fuel economy is shown with LEDs (light emitting diodes) around the outside of the average fuel economy gauge. The car’s Multi-Information display graphically shows fuel economy in real time and can also show energy flow, and cruising range information.
As before, applying the brake converts the motor to a generator that captures the kinetic energy from the still-spinning vehicle wheels, storing it in the hybrid battery pack. Putting the shifter into “B” uses regenerative braking as a form of engine braking for enhanced control on steep descents. New hill-start assist control helps prevent the vehicle from rolling backward when starting off on an incline when the brake pedal is released.
Exclusive exterior and interior design touches and badging differentiate the 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid from other Camry models. Inside, Hybrid-exclusive trim is found on the instrument panel and door switch bases, upper console panels and shift knob. The Camry Hybrid also features its own exclusive seat fabric in ivory or light gray. An exclusive leather and Ultrasuede is also available. A three-dial Optitron gauge panel with chrome-accented outer rings provides a luxurious appearance.
The Toyota Camry Hybrid will offer six different model grades to choose from. Camry will be available in the entry-level L, value-driven LE, premium XLE and sporty SE grades. The XLE and SE are available with four-cylinder or V6 engines. The Camry Hybrid is offered in LE and XLE grades.
The Toyota Camry Hybrid LE not only delivers the best MPG of any mid-size sedan, achieving manufacturer-estimated 43 city/39 mpg hwy/41mpg combined, but it will also carry a MSRP of $25,900, an impressive decrease of $1,150 compared to the 2011 model. The premium Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE model features a MSRP of $27,400, a decrease of $800 compared to the previous model with upgrade package.
The new Camry models with four-cylinder and V6 engines will begin reaching Toyota dealers in October; Toyota Camry Hybrid models will arrive in November.