Toyota expanded its hybrid lineup with the introduction Tuesday evening of the new, ninth-generation Camry and the all-new Crown Signia crossover. Both new vehicles will only be sold with hybrid engines.
The new Camry, as before, will be available with either front-wheel or all-wheel drive. The current generation of the mid-sized Camry sedan can be bought either with a hybrid motor or with all-wheel drive, but not both.
Hybrid “is the one technology where you get the payback within the first ownership period of the car,” said Toyota Canada vice-president Stephen Beatty. “We found that whenever people could opt for one of our hybrid vehicles, they would choose the hybrid over the conventional car.” Toyota plans to phase out all of its gas-only vehicle options as the various models are replaced by new generations.
The 2.5-litre gasoline engine of the current, Kentucky-built Camry Hybrid, which is priced between about $34,000 and $44,000 depending on the trim level, is basically unchanged for the new car. The hybrid motor, however, is Toyota’s fifth generation of the technology, introduced here in Malibu, Calif., for the first time on the eve of the 2023 Los Angeles auto show. It uses two electric motors that are lighter and more compact than before to produce 232 horsepower, which is 30 more than the previous all-wheel drive, all-gas car.
The new Camry will also be built in Kentucky, at Toyota’s plant in Georgetown, which will become the company’s largest manufacturing facility in the world with about 10,000 employees. The car has a retuned suspension for more agile handling and its two sport grades will be sold with a sport-tuned suspension. There will be four trim levels available and the look has been redesigned to make the car appear sleeker and more athletic. One significant change is the seating, in which engineers changed the shape, density and length of the seat cushions to make them more comfortable for longer periods of time.
All new Camrys will come standard with Toyota’s Safety Sense 3.0 technology, which includes automatic high beams, dynamic radar cruise control and steering assistance. They will also have standard blind-spot monitors and rear cross-traffic alert, while more complicated technology such as lane-change assistance and parking assistance will be an option for the more expensive trims.
The new Toyota Crown Signia, however, will only be sold in one fully loaded version. It will replace the Venza that will be discontinued after this year. Toyota calls the Crown Signia an SUV, but “this is really a crossover,” says Beatty. “Its hip-point [the height of the seated driver’s hips above the ground] meets a happy medium between a true SUV and a crossover.” Its seating position is about five centimetres higher than the Crown sedan, making entry and exit easier.
The luxurious Crown, made in Japan, is supposed to be the equivalent of the traditional town doctor’s car: a vehicle that’s comfortable and well-equipped without being flashy and in-your-face. The current sedan is priced between about $55,000 to $65,000 for its two trim levels.
The crossover is powered by the same 2.5-litre engine and hybrid motor system that is found under the hood of the Highlander Hybrid and creates 243 horsepower, and it will be sold only as an all-wheel-drive vehicle.
Both cars will be available next spring. Pricing will be announced closer to their release date.
The writer was a guest of the automaker. Content was not subject to approval.