As I mentioned in the previous week’s review, fuel efficiency isn’t the only reason why one should consider the Camry Hybrid. It’s a good-looking, roomy, comfortable family car even if you do not consider the fuel savings. However, being a hybrid, frugality is one of the key selling points of the car.  The claimed figures of 4.6 litres per 100km seemed too ambitious to us before we started the test. But right from the first week, the Camry was returning fuel economy of 5.3 litres per 100km. By the third week, this improved to 5.07 litres per 100km. Not only is this pretty close to what the company claims, it’s a great achievement for a mid-size saloon with a 2.5-litre engine under its bonnet. To add more perspective to it, let me point out that when we did a comparative test of the Toyota Prius and the Hyundai Ioniq in 2017, they returned economy figures of 5.1 litres per 100km and 4.6 litres per 100km respectively. When you not that the engines in these cars are 1.8-litre and 1.6-litre in displacement respectively, you’ll realise how thrifty the Camry is.

Toyota employs the same traditional parallel hybrid setup as the Prius’ here. A relatively large battery pack and electric motor lets the Camry Hybrid travel for a few kilometres on electric power alone. Depending on the speed or the throttle input the petrol engine cuts in.  Since this is a standard hybrid, it doesn’t require external charging, with the battery charged by the engine while crusing as well as through regenerative braking and energy recuperation while coasting. Like the Prius, the Camry Hybrid also uses a large screen with colourful display that gives you elaborate information regarding efficiency, range, driving pattern, regenerative braking etc. While it’s good to know what your hybrid is up to when you are driving, getting too engrossed in this could be distracting. .

So if there’s one car that can eat into the iconic Prius’ market share it’s the Camry Hybrid. It’s better looking, more comfortable, and much enjoyable to drive than the Prius. And despite the added power, fuel efficiency is the same. There’s a price difference, but the Camry Hybrid is overall a better car than the Prius.

So, our long-termer has established itself as a viable alternative to the Toyota Prius for those looking to save on fuel and cut carbon emissions without having to drive around in an unconventional looking car. But even if you’re not in the market for a hybrid, or are not particularly interested in fuel savings or environmental impact, the 2019 Toyota Camry Hybrid is still worth considering. Because its economy credentials notwithstanding, the Camry is a solidly built, comfortable and reliable saloon. The nameplate’s dependability record is unbeatable.

Considering the petrol-electric hybrid setup is good for a combined output of over 200 horsepower makes it comparable in power and performance to most of its conventionally powered rivals. So whatever fuel savings you get over these other cars will be a delightfully welcome bonus. However, the cost of entry is a bit steep at Dh133,500.

If you can afford this price tag, then what you get is one of the most dependable models in this class with the added advantage of lower ownership costs. Overall, one of the best packages available in the non-premium family saloon class.

 

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