As we previously posted, the Toyota Camry Hybrid got a slight price hike for model year 2013 along with the Prius c hatchback and mid-size Highlander Hybrid SUV. So what, exactly, do we get for the extra $130?
The bulk of the changes can be found in the Camry Hybrid’s interior. Toyota replaced the hard plastics used on the front interior door panels with more soft-touch plastics. In the base Camry Hybrid LE, Toyota ditched the black interior armrest and matched it to the rest of the available interior colors (Ivory or Ash). The LE gets a standard display audio screen as well. Finally, buyers opting for the ultra-suede option for the top-of-the-line Camry Hybrid XLE will now get some nice stitching accents on their seats.
Otherwise, the 2013 Toyota Camry Hybrid carries unchanged into the new model year. Power continues to be provided by a lone 2.5 – liter four-cylinder engine and electric motor powertrain which generate a respectable 200 ponies. While the 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid is currently the mpg champ with its EPA-estimated 47 mpg city, 47 mpg highway, and 47 mpg combined, the Camry Hybrid figures are nothing to sneeze at: 43 mpg city, 39 mpg highway, and 41 mpg combined. On the other hand, the Ford Fusion Hybrid is under investigation by the EPA for its “47/47/47″ claims. (The EPA does not test every vehicle in an automaker’s lineup. Instead, it provides guidelines for the automakers, who then provide the federal agency with the final mileage figures.)
The 2013 Toyota Camry Hybrid can travel up to 1.6 miles strictly on battery power at speeds up to 25 mph. It also meets California‘s strict Advanced Technology Partial-credit Zero Emissions Vehicle test. Other hybrid sedans currently available include the 2013 Hyundai Sonata hybrid, Kia Optima Hybrid, and the all-new Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid. Note both Hyundai and Kia are also under investigation by the EPA for so-called “misleading” mpg claims. Hyundai has since then settled with the government.
Other automakers have hybrids in the works. The Honda Accord Hybrid returns later this year and will be sold as a 2014 model. Honda’s luxury line Acura now offers a hybrid model for sale with its NSX hybrid super car to go on sale either in late 2014 or 2015.
General Motors’ “eAssist” offerings for its Chevrolet and Buick models are considered mild hybrids and not included with the above vehicles. Mild hybrids just use their electric motors to provide extra power to the gasoline engine and cannot power the car independently as a full hybrid like the Toyota Camry Hybrid.