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The FREE Complete Bay Area Auto Enthusiast Guide
FORGET THOSE FILL-IT-UP STOPS IN REVAMPED CAMRY HYBRID

By NITISH S. RELE - motoringtampabay@gmail.com
Like the regular 2018 Toyota Camry, which we reviewed last month, the hybrid version gets a similar re-do – 2-inch wheelbase increase and 1½ inch length but width and height decrease by an inch. And the midsize hybrid sedan may retain the 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder and an electric motor but it puts out a total of 208 horsepower (up by 8 from predecessor). And fuel economy figures also step up. That makes your 500-mile trip before a refill stop a safe bet.
The 244.8-volt nickel-metal hydride battery is recharged by energy captured as the driver applies the brakes or coasts. Also, the electronically controlled Continuous Variable Transmission-equipped sedan boasts a regenerative braking system. When the car is coasting or the brakes are applied, the electric motor functions as a generator, capturing kinetic energy that would normally be lost as heat through the brakes. Instead, it converts the energy into useable electricity for recharging the battery pack.
The Camry operates in four modes: normal; EV, which is electric at lower speeds of up to 25 mph; ECO, an efficient mode where the driver can control the throttle opening; and Sport for spirited driving.
Dual front and side airbags, side curtain airbag and front knee airbags are standard along with side-impact door beams, four-wheel antilock brakes, electronic brake distribution and brake assist, traction and stability control, rearview camera, blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert, and front and rear crumple zones. The standard Toyota Safety Sense translates into a pre-collision system that detects pedestrians, lane departure assist and dynamic cruise control.
A blue-tinted Toyota insignia is flanked by a two-piece bright metallic mesh grille enclosed by LED headlights with smoke tint and an aggressive bumper. Metallic wood and silver accents deck up the center stack, and a 7-inch TFT screen between the hybrid system power meter and the speedometer. Standard amenities include 8-way power driver and front-passenger seats, dual auto a/c, tilt/telescopic steering column, 10-inch head-up display, leather seats, push-button start and a 7-inch touchscreen for navigation, audio, phone controls.
The Toyota hybrid vehicle lineup keeps getting better. The hot-seller Prius began the game, sort of, but its larger, powerful and slightly-higher priced sibling is definitely worth a look. Besides, substantial passenger/cargo room should entice families with little ones to sign on the dotted line of this fuel-sipper.

CAMRY HYBRID (XLE)
Tires: P235/45R18
Wheelbase: 111.2 inches
Length: 192.1 inches
Width: 72.4 inches
Height: 56.9 inches
Suspension: independent MacPherson strut front; double-wishbone rear
Steering: electric power rack and pinion
Fuel capacity: 13 gallons
Mileage: city 44, highway 47
Weight: 3,571 pounds
Base price: $32,250
Web site: www.toyota.com

CALLING ALL TOYOTA DEALERS IN THE WEST CENTRAL AREA: if you would like to be listed here as one of the test-drive dealerships, e-mail us at motoringtampabay@gmail.com