Midsize executive sedans continue to be battered by the rise in popularity of SUVs, but that hasn’t stopped the Toyota Camry from continually thriving. As a matter of fact, it accounts for nearly the entire segment’s sales in the Philippines–pushing the Honda Accord and Mazda 6 to the sidelines. This is the 2022 Toyota Camry Hybrid, and as the name implies, it gets a new electrified powertrain along with a host of equipment and aesthetic changes.
From the outside, the 2022 Toyota Camry Hybrid gains a revised front end that gives this vehicle a more assertive look. The grille is now wider, but the rest of the vehicle carries over unchanged. It’s not exactly a bad thing since the Camry always had a regal look–especially when compared to the Honda Accord which looks merely like an enlarged Civic. Of course, full LED lighting is standard in a vehicle from this segment. Combined with the new set of 18-inch wheels, the facelifted Camry manages to perfectly fit in the trendy central business districts of the Philippines.
As for the interior, it’s mostly business as usual. The visuals are mostly carried over from the pre-facelift model, which means you still get an interior that’s loaded with soft-touch materials and leather upholstery. The Mazda 6’s interior still holds more visual interest with its genuine wood trims and plush Nappa leather, but the Camry isn’t too bad, to begin with. The seats are supremely comfortable, and you’re always greeted by a power-adjustable steering column that whirrs to place every time you start the vehicle. It’s the only vehicle in this segment that comes with such a welcoming touch and I like it a lot.
Features and Infotainment
Other features that the 2022 Toyota Camry Hybrid has include a head-up display, a sunroof, a 360-degree camera system with the resolution of a VGA camera, three-zone climate control, and of course its piece de resistance, those powered executive rear seats.
Space and Practicality
Those powered executive rear seats are what make the Camry so popular in the first place. It makes the Camry a very comfortable and luxurious executive sedan due to its powered recline, adjustable headrests, powered rear and manual side sunshades, and a front passenger seat that can be electronically controlled from the back for even more legroom. Rear occupants can even control the infotainment from the rear console, but the functionality is limited. While most of the attention of the Camry is towards its rear seats, I actually would also enjoy driving the new Camry. More on that later.
As for trunk space, it offers 524 liters, which is big enough, but not as spacious as what the Honda Accord offers. Still, if you’re in the market for a Camry, your lifestyle probably doesn’t call for the maximization of its practicality. After all, those powered rear seats mean you can’t fold those down for more space.
The main highlight of the new Camry is its hybrid powertrain. Combining Toyota’s new 2.5-liter Dynamic Force direct-injected four-cylinder gasoline engine and an electric motor, it has a combined output of 211 hp and 221 Nm of torque. These are very healthy numbers, and this drives the front wheels via an e-CVT. The best part about this is how it transforms the Camry in plenty of ways.
Firstly, the Camry is already known for its top-notch refinement, but with the hybrid powertrain aggressively trying its best to run in electric mode, the serenity this car provides is even better than what its competitors can offer. It pretty much is like a budget Lexus ES already. Oh, and even out on the highway, especially when coasting and the engine’s been cut off, the Camry is very hushed and stable. You also wouldn’t believe the fuel economy I had with this vehicle. It’s a given that the Camry Hybrid will be more efficient–as is the case with most hybrids, but overall, I’ve been doing 16-18 km/l. That’s insanely good for a midsize passenger car.
Even better is the fact that this powertrain has made the Camry actually fun to drive. The pre-facelift model had an outdated 2.5-liter engine, and mind you, that isn’t the brand’s newer range of Dynamic Force engines. Thanks to this new powertrain, the Camry feels extremely responsive the moment you put your foot down. This is down to the electric motors filling in the gaps of the gas engine since engines don’t produce their peak power in the entire range. The CVT still holds the engine’s revs and doesn’t try to mimic a traditional automatic, but it’s probably for the better. Because of this, power from the engine is delivered smoothly and very responsively.
Chuck the 2022 Toyota Camry Hybrid into a corner, and you’ll be surprised at its grip levels and how the suspension manages to keep the body stable. Due to the CVT, it won’t have the linearity of having a traditional automatic like in a Mazda 6, nor does this car have the Mazda’s steering feel. The sporty feel is also thanks to how responsive and precise the Camry steers. Basically, all the suspension does is absorb the road imperfections with no added vertical or lateral movements.
The 2022 Toyota Camry Hybrid is more than just a facelift for the Philippine market. The improved looks and equipment make it a much more compelling executive sedan, but with the hybrid powertrain, it effectively makes the Camry feel like a budget Lexus at this point. Sure, at P2,355,000, it’s now the most expensive in its segment, but a Lexus ES 300h costs more than a million more. With that in mind, that amount doesn’t seem too bad after all.
Pricing and Rating
Exterior Design: ★★★★☆
Interior Design: ★★★★☆
Space and Practicality: ★★★★★
Safety and Driver Assistance: ★★★★★
Fuel Efficiency: ★★★★★
Value For Money: ★★★★☆
Overall: 4.6 out of 5
*Pricing is correct and accurate as of this article’s time of writing.