Special feature: Enjoying the scenic Jaipur in the Toyota Camry Hybrid
Back in time when the world did not have any traces of civilisation, it was clean, pure, fresh and unadulterated. Of course a lot has changed since then as we humans took giant strides in advancement of technology where our lives have become easier and more convenient than before but at the same time has affected the environment as well. Among all the inventions that you can possibly think of, it is the automobile that comes to our mind as one of the greatest ones made by mankind. The present-day automobile is much more than just a basic mode of transportation for it is expected to offer the best in terms of design, features, and performance without taking a toll on the environment. While the search for an ideal automobile that fulfils all of these traits is still on, we experienced something that is fairly close to the new-generation Toyota Camry Hybrid.
While automobiles started their life with gasoline or a petrol powertrail, followed by diesel which provided the necessary momentum, it was the introduction of the hybrid that was marked as an invention as important as that of the automobile itself. With the largest number of hybrids in its global portfolio and also being one of the largest hybrid manufacturers in the world, Toyota has carved a niche in itself as the pioneers of the hybrid movement. Toyota launched the world's first widely available hybrid in 1997 and has sold more than 4.4 million units since then in close to 80 countries worldwide.
Coming to the Toyota Camry, the premium sedan has evolved into a luxurious offering laden with features along with offering the merits of hybrid technology. Leaving a small carbon footprint and a large impact in the direction of sustainability and environment is the 2.5-litre petrol engine working in tandem with a self-charging electric motor. Unlike pure EVs that come with range anxiety and hassles of charging, the hybrid tech makes use of the petrol engine and regenerative braking to charge the electric motor, which in turns powers the wheels individually or in conjunction with the petrol motor to offer dynamic performance without the guilt of affecting nature.
The rear seat of the Camry Hybrid is no less than a business class with loads of legroom and headroom for those short and long journeys. Cozied up in this space, I was taken to one of the finest palatial stays of the princely state in Rajasthan, the Narain Niwas Palace. The purpose for our visit to this century-old palace situated at the heart of Jaipur was to experience the vintage architecture and rich legacy, something that can also be related to the Camry. Once you are inside the palace, it disconnects you from the city outside with its calm and serene arrangement. Similarly, when you step inside the cabin of the Camry, the well-insulated cabin, the new-generation TNGA platform and the electric motor lets you forget the world outside that's battling traffic and congestion with their conventional engines.
Even in terms of design, there is a similarity. Much like the distinct vintage architecture, the regal lines on the Camry Hybrid make it a timeless design that has not fallen prey to the trends but has inspired one. Doesn't matter which profile you focus on, the Camry looks elegant from all angles with its bold and elegant design along with the premium cabin trim. However, don't assume the Camry Hybrid to only offer luxury and comfort, for this sedan can do much more. And that is what I experienced when I shifted from the rear to the front and from Normal mode to Sport mode with paddle shifts coming to play. Up shift and one can hear the impressive grunt of the 2.5-litre petrol engine working with the electric motor to combinely produce 218PS, that lets you command the road with great confidence. To get a proper feel of the dynamic side of the Camry Hybrid and also to challenge the claims by Toyota, we took the premium sedan to a location that offers acres and acres of salt flats, the Sambhar Lake, one of the most beautiful well kept secrets of Rajasthan. The robust suspension set-up of the Camry made sure it swallowed the disturbances and undulations with great ease, letting the cabin be totally inert to the harsh surface.
Come to think of it, the Toyota Camry Hybrid is pretty close to what you would expect from a modern-day automobile. A design that screams elegance, a cabin that can make your journeys to the office, home and highways an experience to look forward to and then the hybrid tech with no range anxiety, making for a clean and enjoyable driving and driven experience.