The last time I drove this generation of the Toyota Camry was three years ago. Time flies and the executive sedan is already due for a refresh. I liked the pre-facelift model for its cushy ride and refined driving dynamics. However, that model was let down by a horrible infotainment system and a lack of any form of driver-assistance tech. This is the facelifted 2022 Toyota Camry Hybrid, and it’s now better than ever based on my first impressions.
First and foremost, let’s take a look at its design. Changes for the 2022 model year are quite minor but noticeable nonetheless. The current XV60 generation of the Camry certainly aged well, and it still looks fresh even to this day. Still, Toyota gave their executive midsize sedan a wider, more defined lower grille and new 18-inch alloy wheels. The LED lighting elements, side profile, and rear-end remain unchanged, though it’s no bad thing as these elements still look modern and fresh.
Take a look at some of its badging, and you’ll see that it’s rocking a set of “hybrid” badges. Yes, for the first time, the new Camry is now available as a hybrid, and that’s your only powertrain choice this time around. As a matter of fact, only one variant is now offered, and it’s this 2.5 V Hybrid that’s fully loaded to the brim with features.
But before we head into its features, let’s take a look at its interior design. As ever, the Camry’s interior is posh and luxurious. There’s plenty of soft-touch plastics and plush leather surfaces, though the lower parts of the interior don’t feel as plush as a Mazda 6. One thing I always loved in the Camry is its generous electric adjustment for the steering, which also tilts up and retracts back when you turn off the car for easy entry and exit. You can’t even get this feature in a BMW 3 Series.
Perhaps its biggest improvement is its multimedia system. Gone is the horrible locally-sourced infotainment system from the pre-facelift model that I hated to bits. Instead, it’s finally rocking a 9-inch touch screen infotainment that’s now Toyota’s own design and interface. As a result, it’s now well integrated into the vehicle’s functions and settings. Plus it’s far more user-friendly than the previous infotainment. Additionally, it’s now hooked up to a 9-speaker JBL sound system, which sounds amazingly good.
Whereas a Mazda 6 or a Honda Accord are mainly driver’s executive cars, the Camry has often catered to those who want to be driven in. This new model is no exception, as rear occupants benefit from manual side and rear powered sunshades, power-adjustable executive rear seats, and rear climate control. It also helps that there are stacks of room, which is aided by the fact that the front passenger seat can be moved forward electronically by the right rear passenger.
As mentioned, the Camry is now exclusively being offered as a hybrid, and this consists of Toyota’s newest 2.5-liter Dynamic Force inline-4 gasoline engine that produces 178 hp and 221 Nm and an electric motor that makes 120 hp and 202 Nm. The total system output of this powertrain is 215 horsepower (though no total torque figures have been provided), which is a healthy number for a midsize executive sedan. This drives the front wheels via an e-CVT, while Toyota’s European division quotes a 0-100 kph acceleration time of just 8.1 seconds.
Because this is a pre-launch drive, we were only able to drive the 2022 Toyota Camry Hybrid around Bonifacio Global City, so all I can give you, for now, are my first impressions. Just like the Corolla Altis Hybrid, the powertrain aggressively tries to cut the engine in favor of electric propulsion at city speeds. This, no doubt will mean excellent city fuel economy. I was not able to record a proper fuel economy figure, but a fuel-sipping 18 km/l should be its realistic real-world fuel economy.
Thanks to it primarily driving in pure electric mode, the Camry’s already quiet driving experience is further improved. It’s practically the closest thing now to a Lexus in terms of refinement. Acceleration from a stop is also excellent, thanks to the electric motors providing assistance to the gasoline engine. Its e-CVT, however, is not what you’d call sporty, since it tends to hold revs as you build speed and drones the cabin with engine noise (albeit a muted tone at that).
As for the rest of the driving experience, I obviously was not able to test its handling, considering that I was mostly crossing through intersections. Toyota did not retune any of its chassis or suspension components, so its ride is still as comfortable and relaxed as ever. One thing that the TNGA-K platform provided the Camry with is a degree of sportiness. It’s still not as fun as a Honda Accord, let alone a Mazda 6, but the platform has potential. Body roll is well controlled and there’s a good amount of grip through corners. It’s the steering that robs its sporting intentions since it’s not as responsive nor provides as much road feel as the Accord or Mazda 6.
For the first time in a Camry, Toyota Safety Sense is also now being offered. This adds full-speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Tracing Assist, Lane Departure Warning, Automatic High Beams, Pre-Collision System, Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Brake, just to name a few. This comes on top of a 360-degree camera system, front and rear parking sensors, and a tire pressure monitoring system.
The 2022 Toyota Camry Hybrid is now in its best form yet. Its refined and balanced driving experience should satisfy the presidents and executives that are expected to be driving or being driven inside the Camry. And with now a more refined hybrid powertrain and generous features, shuttling through different business meetings is now more relaxing than ever.
Camry 2.5 V Hybrid: P2,335,000