Car Tech: 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid launch

Today in Broadford, Victoria, Toyota held a National Media Launch for their 2012 Camry Hybrid. Presented by television personality and motorsports legend, Neil Crompton Toyota kicked off the event...

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Today in Broadford, Victoria, Toyota held a National Media Launch for their 2012 Camry Hybrid. Presented by television personality and motorsports legend, Neil Crompton Toyota kicked off the event with a presentation of the changes coming the 2012 version of the Camry Hybrid.

While we continue to wait for battery technology to allow us to reach long distances, car manufacturers are choosing to opt for the bridging hybrid technology. In the case of the 2012 Toyota Camry, it uses a 151kw (+7.8%) petrol / electric combination to achieve 0-100kmh in 8 seconds (- 0.9sec). This performance comes while achieving up to 5.2L/100km combined city and highway driving.

This year the Camry Hybrid comes in two varieties, the Camry H (Hybrid) and Camry HL (Hybrid Luxury). Toyota have now sold 15 million Camry branded cars, and 3.5 million Hybrid vehicles internationally.

The car features Acoustic glass in the windscreen which contains a noise prevention layer which is squeezed between two sheets of glass to further reduce road noise. The 2012 version of the Camry provides further sound insulation around the vehicle over previous models.

The Camry HL is the first Australian produced vehicle to include a drivers knee airbag, which is one of 7 in the car. The vehicle also features technologies like Vehicle Stability Control, TRC, ABS, Brake Assist, Electronic Brake force Distribution and Brake override. Reverse park sonar and reverse camera are also present on the 2012 Camry Hybrid.

The Camry HL now has Automatic high beam and blind spot monitor. Using radar sensors located on the tips of the mirrors, the blind spot monitor will detect when another vehicle is in your blind spot and flash an indicator embedded in your side mirrors.

Hill-start assist prevents the vehicle from rolling backwards when taking off on a hill. The Camry now has a towing capability of 300kg, this has been achieved by relocating battery and other electrical components in the vehicle. A bigger boot now has a 421 litre capacity.

Premium Audio package (standard) includes a 10-speaker JBL and live traffic updates on the in-dash screen for major metro areas. Digital Radio is also included although the availability of which is also currently limited to metro areas.

 

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Issues

While you can drive the 2012 Camry Hybrid completely on the electric motor, you’ll only get 1-2km from it and it has to be driven at less than 50km/h. Also that speed has to be achieved vary carefully, if your too aggressive (which doesn’t take much), you’ll be kicked into petrol mode again. Where the electric motor does come in handy is overtaking to add almost a KERS-type power boost.

Price and availability

The 2012 version of the Toyota Camry Hybrid goes on sale today. The entry level model will be priced at $34,990 (-$2,000). If you want the Camry HL model, it’ll set you back $41,490.

Overall

After driving both versions of the Camry Hybrid around the Broadford track and roads, I’m impressed with its handling and performance. Any thoughts you had about Hybrids being slouches can be removed, after the slightest delay after burying the foot, the thing takes off. The technology safety and assistive technologies included in this car are something that should become standard over the coming years.

I had a chance to try out the stability control by pressing the foot to the floor when circling a set of cones on a watered down track. I also had the chance to see the advantage of electronic brake distribution with a 100-0 brake test. The brains inside this car is made up of 15/17 CPUs depending on the model, all working in harmony to keep you and your passengers safe.

The HL model certainly has some advantages like dual-zone climate control and leather seats, but the Camry H is a much better deal at under $35k. The one neat feature you will miss out on is the Blind Spot assist system.

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This post is authored by techAU staffers. Used rarely and sparingly when the source decided to keep their identity secret, or a guest author who isn’t seeking credit.