Friends are always excited to hear what car I’m testing next, but the mention of a hybrid is met with a chuckle.
But this is undeservedly so if the Toyota Camry Ascent Sport Hybrid is anything to go by.
I was thoroughly impressed by this amazing car from its looks to its drive.
Fresh and dynamic, the outside of the Camry Hybrid is bold and striking and pleasing to the eye.
It dispels the idea of a dull Toyota Camry while the blue of the particular vehicle I had was rather handsome.
The exterior possesses aggressive lines, a modern grille, highlights and a nice overall body shape.
The dashboard is on par with most current fitouts of the leading brands and is unexpectedly unique.
Made up of interesting panel arrangements, neat material combinations and chrome lines that run from the left to the centre intersecting with one that crosses over the centre cubby.
This favours the driver’s position but does make it harder for passengers to access say, a phone and the USB input.
Front powered seats are soft and cushy, covered in a thin material with a grey insert making it more inviting. Headrests blend into the seat back forming a nice shape.
It’s spacious all around and the rear seats are just as comfortable with ISOFIX ports covered with removable caps.
On the centre console is a big touchscreen bordered by thin buttons and possessing sat-nav and digital radio.
A colour info display with nice graphics provides battery and engine use info, safety feedback, fuel economy, drive assist radio for the driver.
The Camry Ascent Sport is enabled with Siri Eyes Free/Google Now, Miracast and voice recognition.
Drive and Engine
The Toyota Camry Hybrid is really up there with stability, quietness, direct steering, and punchy acceleration.
And of course being a hybrid vehicle the economy is a standout at just a touch under 5.0L/100km!
The transition between the motor at slower speeds and the engine is smooth and seamless and works well in tandem with the continuously variable transmission.
The left gauge on instrument panel clearly indicates when the car moves from Eco to Power as you step on the throttle and when the battery is recharging under regenerative braking.
Only problem is that the brake is in a sense sensitive or not well tuned.
At low speeds it tends to bite down hard and suddenly even with conscious control, causing car to jerk.
All the important driver assist safety features are included in the Ascent Sport.
Lane departure, active cruise control, auto high beam and the essential autonomous emergency braking are on the list coming under the heading of Toyota Safety Sense.
No blind spot or rear cross traffic alert (only in the top spec model).
- Drivetrain transition
- Features and tech
- Cabin design
Not so good bits
- Jerky braking
Well-presented inside and out, the Toyota Camry Hybrid is electrifying (no pun intended) doing away with any notion of being humdrum or lacking verve.
Complete with features, comfort and safety it saves on fuel and would serve well as a loyal family car.
Most would be impressed by the interior and exterior styling and starting from only $31,990 it’s even more attractive.
Facts and Figures: 2018 Toyota Camry Ascent Sport Hybrid
- Engine: 2.5L petrol/hybrid engine 131kW/221Nm
- Transmission: CVT
- Warranty: 3 Yrs/100,000km
- Safety: Five Stars
- Origin: Japan
- Price: From $31,990