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2024 Toyota Camry SE Hybrid Nightshade: Review, Specs & Price – The Toyota Camry Hybrid is probably going to be known as one of those peculiar transitional vehicles with two tires for the world of internal combustion engines and the other two for the world of all-electric propulsion. It’s almost certain to serve as a transitory vehicle in another sense as well, as it was one of Toyota’s final models with a conventional hybrid powertrain before the company decided to completely embrace the inherent sportiness of full electric.
Currently, Toyota is making a daring attempt at freshening up its midrange hybrid vehicle by introducing the 2024 Toyota Camry SE Hybrid Nightshade Edition. This is a step in the right direction. It has been painted in a stunning deep blue hue, which is set off by golden TRD wheels and details in black along the external ornamentation. The Camry SE model is intended to be a little bit livelier than the conventional LE version, thanks to the inclusion of sport-tuned shock absorbers and springs, as well as front strut tower stiffening, and it even comes with manual switches that are attached to the steering column. Due to the fact that it has been upgraded, we determined that the best way to determine whether or not the Camry SE Hybrid Nightshade is as much a joy to drive as it is economical is by running it through our testing routine.
The eighth-generation model of the Camry debuted for the 2018 model year, but the cabin is already displaying signs of its advanced age. Our test vehicle was entirely composed of hard polymers, with the exception of a few areas that featured soft-touch surfaces. These areas were located in the traditional resting positions for the hands, shoulders, and arms. Additionally, the infotainment display was only 7.0 inches in size and appeared to be out of date. The good news is that Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both included as standard features, and the six-speaker system that is included as part of the SE price level is sufficient for a fundamental configuration.
We also discovered some errors in the seats of the Camry. The seats have brief bottom padding, which caused our posteriors to become uncomfortable after approximately two hours of driving in the vehicle. Despite having a range of more than 600 miles, it is likely that people will need to halt quite frequently in order to exercise their legs. One aspect of the Camry’s cabin that gets it right is the abundance of stowage compartments and cupholders for various items, including mobile phones, refreshments, and other items of stuff.
The 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and electric generator found in the Camry Hybrid work together to generate a total system output of 208 horsepower. This is slightly more horsepower than the 203 hp that is produced by the 2.5-liter gas-powered version of the Camry. The Camry SE Hybrid finished our 0-60 mph test in 7.4 seconds, which was one-hundredth of a second faster than the gasoline-only version of the car. This is most likely attributable to the additional low-end torque boost supplied by the hybrid’s electric engine. (The gasoline-only model develops its peak power at 6,600 rpm and peak torque at 5,000 rpm.)
Despite the fact that the paddle switches are a fine piece of window decoration, they were found to be nearly useless both during testing and in actual driving in the real world. Because a continuously variable transmission (CVT) delivers power to the front wheels of the Camry Hybrid, selecting its synthetic ratios does not significantly contribute to producing a dynamic driving experience. When you press on the gas pedal in a vehicle with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), you will be subjected to the infamously loud engine drone that is characteristic of these vehicles. However, we enjoyed the way its brake lever felt because it did a good job of combining conventional and regenerative stopping while bringing the vehicle from 60 miles per hour to a stop at a steady 121 feet. This was a very impressive feat.
During our at-the-limit evaluation, we noticed a whiff of understeer, significant tire howling, and lifeless steering from the car as we lapped our compact circuit. However, our test drivers found that the Camry Hybrid Nightshade did a good job of maintaining its power output, which allowed it to breeze through the middle of our figure-eight test circuit in 26.6 seconds at 0.65 g average rather quickly for a car in this segment. Although we found the handling balance and tire traction of the Camry Hybrid to be satisfactory during our testing, which lent some believability to the vehicle’s athletic pretensions, we eventually found it to be wanting in overall driving involvement.
During a weekend journey out of Los Angeles, our already complex emotions were only exacerbated. to San Diego and then back again. The ride quality was only reasonably comfortable on the highway, despite the fact that its sport-tuned suspension provided some advantages on the test track. There were times when the Camry Hybrid crashed and rattled its way over misaligned joints in the concrete, and there were other times when the vehicle became uncomfortable at highway speeds over poor road surfaces. The commotion from the road proved to be bothersome, and the breeze seemed to shake the door panels. We expected to see excellent fuel economy, and we did, with well over 40 mpg suggested. However, the Camry SE Hybrid’s lack of smoothness would cause us to hesitate before recommending it to a potential buyer looking for an everyday vehicle, regardless of whether or not it came in Nightshade.
There are a few facets in which the Camry Hybrid shines brighter than its competitors. The EPA estimates that it achieves an outstanding 44/47 mpg city/highway fuel economy, which is the first impressive feature. When we were traveling around town or on the interstate, we had no trouble achieving an average fuel economy of close to 40 miles per gallon (mpg), but as soon as we started to place a little more pressure on the accelerator, that number fell precipitously into the mid-to upper-30s. Still, getting over 35 miles per gallon after traveling with some pep in your step is not something to be sneered at.
The worth of the Camry Hybrid is also bolstered by an extensive collection of advanced safety features. Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+ is standard on all equipment levels of the 2024 model lineup and comes standard on every vehicle. This package includes automated emergency braking with pedestrian recognition and intersection assistance, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, and road sign monitoring. In addition, our vehicle was equipped with a blind-spot monitoring system that also included a cross-traffic warning. This feature is part of the optional $900 Convenience package that Toyota offers. It is strange that the Camry SE Hybrid Nightshade cannot be outfitted with a camera that provides a view in all directions or parking sensors, which seems like a bit of a letdown for a vehicle that has most other forms of contemporary safety technology.
To sum it all up, the base price of the 2024 Toyota Camry SE Hybrid Nightshade Edition is $31,710, while the MSRP of the test vehicle was a more reasonable $33,209. That is on par with the price of the redesigned Hyundai Sonata Hybrid 2023 and should be in line with what we anticipate Honda will charge for the redesigned Accord Hybrid. The Camry Nightshade isn’t a terrible choice if you’re looking for a vehicle that combines reasonable gas mileage with a modicum of added flair.
In spite of the fact that the performance of the Camry SE Hybrid Nightshade isn’t quite up to par with its outgoing aesthetics, we respect Toyota’s attempt to dress up its hybrid version of the midrange sedan. The progression of the Camry has been trending in a favorable direction since the current model was introduced, so eccentric variations like this augur well for the future of the vehicle. In addition, customers who want a Camry that is genuinely athletic can still get their hands on the daring TRD variant.