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Drives, Hybrid/EV, Toyota — December 10, 2012 at 11:11 am

2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE: First Look

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Here’s a first look at the latest Ride of the Week, the 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE.

You may already know that the Toyota Camry has for years been the best-selling car in the U.S. It’s combination of practicality, reliability, affordability and overall quality have helped it to keep this coveted position for more than a decade. Toyota introduced a completely redesigned Camry for the 2012 model year, including a base four-cylinder model, a V6-powered version and, of course, a Camry with Toyota’s lauded Hybrid Synergy Drive setup.

Both the base four-cylinder Camry and the Camry Hybrid share a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, but the conventional version uses a traditional six-speed automatic transmission while the hybrid uses a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Compared with the base Camry (or most other midsize sedans), the Camry Hybrid delivers impressive fuel economy. It’s EPA-rated at 40 mpg city and 38 mpg highway. On the highway, that’s only 3 mpg better than the Camry with the base engine. But in the city, the Camry Hybrid has a 15-mpg advantage over the base model.

What about price? Compared with the similarly equipped, conventionally powered 2012 Toyota Camry XLE we recently drove, this hybrid version commands a $2,725 price premium. Although 2013 Camry models have not yet arrived in dealers’ showrooms, that premium will grow slightly in the coming year to $2,815. That’s because the prices of both the base Camry XLE and the Camry Hybrid XLE will increase to $24,855 and $27,670 respectively. The upshot is that Toyota will include its display audio system as standard equipment on the 2013 model. The automaker charges $1,050 for the option on the 2012 Camry.

Including that option, the Clearwater Blue Metallic test vehicle is equipped with a $695 Convenience package that brings a backup camera, an alarm and a universal garage door opener. This example also has the $915 moonroof option and a set of carpeted mats for $225. The bottom line for this 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE is $31,045, including Toyota’s $760 destination charge.

Quick Specs: 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE

body type4-door, 5-passenger sedan
as-tested price$31,045
engine size/configuration2.5-liter/4-cylinder gasoline motor; 105 kW electric motor
horsepower/torque (hp/lb-ft)156/156 gas motor; 141/199 electric motor; 200 horsepower net combined output
transmissionCVT
fuelregular unleaded
EPA city fuel economy rating (mpg)40
EPA highway fuel economy rating (mpg)38
optionsdisplay audio; convenience package; carpeted mats