2023 Toyota Camry SE Hybrid Nightshade - Hybrids Rule!


I am a convert. I like EVs but the charging situation drives me nuts (although it seems like every day there is a new announcement about a new, quick charge system). What is the answer? Hybrids! Take the 2023 Toyota Camry Hybrid as a perfect example.

In my world the Camry is a big car (US EPA says it is midsize). It seats five comfortable, has luggage room to spare, and here's the kicker-the hybrid is thrifty.

By the numbers the Camry EV is 192.7" long, 72.4" wide, 56.9" high, on a wheelbase of 111.2". It has 15.1 cubic feet of cargo volume. 

I spent a week with the Camry SE Hybrid Nightshade. It is not supposed to be a rocket ship but it more than holds its own. Zero to sixty in under six seconds is darn good for a family car.

How does it accomplish that acceleration? The 2.5-litre 4-cylinger has 176 hp and the electric motor adds 118 horsepower. The power is delivered to the front wheels via a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). The Camry Hybrid weighs about 3,535 lbs. I think Toyota mixes in a little magic. 

What amazed me more was the fuel economy. It is rated at 47-mpg highway and 44-mpg around town. Now before you scoff at that I came darn close to those numbers without really trying. With its 13.2 gallon fuel tank, assuming you don't run it dry, you could drive from my home to Disneyland (about 350 miles) without stopping, and still have a little left over. And even if you did stop there would be no need to hunt for a recharging station that worked!

For the most part the test Camry was Toyota-esque (meaning it was near perfect in its fit and finish). I did hear a slight rattle when I shut the driver's door on a cold morning (that's California cold - 45 degrees). 

The interior was nice, not plush, but comfortable. Two seats up from, and room for three in the rear. The rear seats fold down for extra storage if you need it.

The Nightshade edition is kind of a special edition that to me wasn't that special. It has nice looking, gold color aluminum wheels. I'd probably go up one step to XLE, it's just a little nicer and I see no need for gold wheels. 

If outright economy is what you're looking for but you need the room of a Camry you might want to go down to the base LE; it gets up to 53-mpg on the highway. 

I enjoyed my week with the '23 Camry SE Hybrid Nightshade. It's probably more car than I need most of the time but out there on the highways it felt right-not too small, and not too big.

Cars in general are getting darn expensive. For what you get with a Camry, any Camry, their price is still reasonable. The least expensive Camry LE Hybrid starts at $28,080, and the most expensive XSE starts at $33,250. The test SE Nightshade Hybrid lists for $30,615 plus $1,199 in options, plus $1,025 destination fee, for a grand total of $32,839.

So in my opinion hybrids are the way to go at the present time, and the Camry Hybrid should be on your list.


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