Road Test: 2023 Toyota Camry SE Hybrid

Toyota has built a solid reputation when it comes to hybrid vehicles – with pretty much every vehicle in its lineup now offered with some form of electrified powertrain.

And they do them all quite well, in my experience.

The 2023 Camry SE Hybrid I drove recently did not disappoint, as the performance was excellent and the sedan looks great, especially with the Nightshade Edition features, new for 2023, added on.

2023 Toyota Camry SE Hybrid

The starting price for the Camry Hybrid SE we tested is $35,230, but it was outfitted with the special Nightshade Edition package available for 2023, for an additional $2,340.

That equipment group adds unique 19-inch bronze coloured alloy wheels, and black trim pieces including the mirror caps, gloss window trim, badging and a rear spoiler.

There are some extras thrown into the interior as well as part of the package, but more on that below.

 Powertrain: Nothing has changed under the hood for the 2023 Camry SE Hybrid. It features a 2.5-litre engine paired to Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive and just like in past tests of this powertrain, its power delivery and performance are top notch.

2023 Toyota Camry SE Hybrid

With 208 horsepower and 168 pound-feet of torque, there’s plenty of muscle needed to move the Camry, but it gets done efficiently. The transition from the hybrid system to gasoline only when needed is imperceptible. The engine is paired to a continuously variable transmission, which does an excellent job.

Estimated fuel economy for the sedan is 5.1 litres per 100 kilometres, while I averaged 6.6 L/100 km.

Exterior: The feature that caught my eye immediately on our test vehicle was the 19-inch bronze alloy wheels. They look like something you would get done as a custom add-on to your ride, but these come straight from the factory and they are very nice.

2023 Toyota Camry SE Hybrid

But while that may draw your attention, the rest of the Camry styling is elegant and quite sporty in spots. A far cry from the Camrys of my youth.

The extra Nightshade features definitely provided some nice pops of contrast against the white exterior, enhancing the overall look.

The blacked-out logo on the trunk lid, black spoiler and the word Camry spelled out in big black letters above the license plate holder give the back end of this sedan a bit of an attitude, capped off by the dual exhaust.

Interior: The cabin on the Camry is spacious and well appointed, with good quality materials throughout.

The layout is quite logical, with all the essential controls falling easily at hand in a simple setup of minimal buttons.

2023 Toyota Camry SE Hybrid

The Camry features heated front seats, an 8-way powered driver seat, with Sport SofTex fabric covering in a two-tone pattern.

As part of the Nightshade package, the Camry SE Hybrid also features a power moonroof.

The sedan has a rather large trunk, with 60/40 split rear seats that can be lowered for longer items.

Infotainment: The 9-inch touchscreen on our tester is powered by Toyota’s Entune 3.0 infotainment system, which I have experienced a few times now and quite like. The menus and functionalities are easy to navigate and operate, and response time is excellent.

2023 Toyota Camry SE Hybrid

The system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, comes with six speakers, satellite radio and wireless charging.

Drive: The Camry hybrid delivers a really enjoyable drive. The powertrain, as mentioned, really provided effortless power that is smooth in all stages of the drive.

The suspension setup keeps occupants well isolated from many of the road imperfections encountered while driving. The steering is nice and responsive, and the Camry handles itself very well.

Conclusion: Once again, a thoroughly enjoyable time behind the wheel of the Camry SE Hybrid. Not because it blows my socks off in any particular way, but because it seems to do everything so well and with little effort.

While sedans seem to be losing favour more and more to CUVs and SUVs, cars like the Camry maintain my belief that there remains a place on the market for this type of vehicle.

2023 Toyota Camry SE Hybrid
Price as tested: $39,563.20
Freight: $1,860.00
Configuration: Front engine/Front-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 2.5-litre 4-cylinder with Hybrid Synergy Drive/ Electronically Controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (ECVT)
Power/torque: 208 horsepower/ 163 lb-ft of torque
Fuel (capacity): Regular (49 L)
Combined fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): 5.1 L/100 km
Observed fuel economy (L/100 km): 6.6 L/100 km
Warranties: 3-years/60,000 km (basic)
Competitors: Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata
Website: Toyota Canada

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