Toyota Camry Hybrid makes shock return as cheapest big hybrid sedan in Singapore

Starting at S$133k with COE, the Toyota Camry Hybrid is one of the more affordable big sedans in Singapore thanks to hybrid tech and a VES A2 rating

First published: July 3, 2021
Updated: July 7, 2021 with Mazda 6 mention

SINGAPORE – The hybrid version of the eighth-generation Toyota Camry has made its debut in Singapore at Toyota showrooms. 

The car’s debut is not unexpected, but it’s a pleasant surprise with the car’s VES (Vehicular Emissions Scheme) rebate now pitching its price to a very competitive S$132,888 with COE for the Standard model, and S$148,888 for the sportier-looking, higher-spec Elegance model. 

In fact, that makes the Camry Hybrid the least expensive big sedan least expensive hybrid big sedan, and one of the least expensive big sedans overall, on the market today – and even less expensive than parallel import listings.

UPDATE: Our mistake: The Mazda 6 2.0 Standard retails at S$120,888 with COE which makes it the least expensive big sedan on the market today. That doesn’t lessen the Camry Hybrid’s impressive price though – it’s the only hybrid in the segment for now, and it’s cheaper than many gasoline models.

Both Kia and Hyundai have ditched their respective Optima and Sonata sedans, leaving the sole East Asian competitor as the Honda Accord 1.5 Turbo at S$170k with COE. On the European side there’s plenty of competition in the newly-launched Peugeot 508 at $159k with COE, the Volkswagen Passat at S$190k. The previous value leader is the Skoda Superb, which starts at S$156k with COE. 

The Camry Hybrid retains the same styling and overall dimensions as its petrol counterparts, but of course the petrol-electric tech is the big draw. It’s all familiar Toyota hybrid tech, which we saw in the Harrier SUV hybrid, with a 2.5-litre Atkinson cycle engine (A25A-FXS Dynamic Force) that makes 175hp, paired with an electric motor that makes 118hp, the latter powered by a nickel metal hydride battery pack under the seats. Total system output is 207hp. 

Here’s our verdict on the current-gen Camry 2.5 from our Singapore test drive

0-100km/h is a decent 8.5 seconds on to a very Japanese 180km/h top speed, and we expect the car to cleave closely to its claimed 4.4L/100km in real life. The important bit here is a VES A2 rating, which helps shave S$15,000 off the price (already computed in the quoted prices here). 

The equipment list looks well populated and what we would expect from a big sedan in 2021. 

Both models have driving modes (Eco, Normal, Sport, EV), keyless entry and start, a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Android Auto/Apple CarPlay connectivity, a six-speaker sound system, two USB ports, and a wireless device charger. 

Toyota Safety System (TSS), the brand’s suite of active safety systems, is standard on both cars and that includes the forward collision mitigation/alert/avoidance system – what Toyota calls the Pre-Collision System, which also includes intersection assist and Emergency Steering Assist. There’s also radar cruise control, lane keeping, lane departure alerts, and automatic high beams.

Elegance spec gets a mean-looking body kit – but no black roof option like this pic

The Elegance model gets a blind spot indicator and HUD as extras. But the S$16k top-up for the Elegance trim is most obvious in the exterior, which packs an extra-sporty looking bodykit, rear lip spoiler, 18-inch dark-alloy wheels and dual tailpipes, compared to the Standard car, which has no body kit and 17-inch rollers. The Elegance model also has full LED lights all around, with the Standard having halogen projectors. 

Note that the Elegance spec depicted here is not Singapore’s exact spec as our cars lack contrast black roof option. That’s a pity as we think it looks pretty cool – like the Camry XSE spec in the USA shown below.

Inside the Elegance has real leather on the steering wheel, seats, and gearshifter, an electric steering wheel adjuster, ventilated front seats, auto dimming rearview mirror and auto wipers, scuff plates, electrically-adjustable driver’s seat 

Red upholstery is a very sporty choice – but you can choose less fiery colours

It also looks like another case of hybrid versions making petrol ones obsolete: In late May, the Camry 2.0 and Camry 2.4 retailed here for S$155k and S$180k respectively – and the hybrid easily undercuts both. What’s telling is that the Camry Hybrid has more power than the 2.5 – 207hp versus 206hp – but is far more frugal – 4.4L/100km against 6.5L/100km. 

The eighth-gen Camry debuted here in 2019 with a 2.5-litre petrol engine, and later a 2.0-litre petrol engine. But the hybrid advantage is what could help claw back sales for the big sedans, which have been squeezed out of the market by competition from both smaller and similarly-sized SUVs. 

Sixth-gen 2011 Camry Hybrid

This is not the first Camry Hybrid to make it here: CarBuyer tested the sixth-gen Camry Hybrid in 2011 and amazingly the spec of that car is very similar: 0-100km/h in 8.6 seconds, with 206hp total, though it’s a little less frugal at 5.8L/100km – and a lot more frumpy looking. 

about the author

Derryn Wong
CarBuyer's chief editor has a keen interest in all things mechanical, technological, animal and mineral. He's particularly fascinated by eco-cars and cars which make no logical sense. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he also enjoys cats. Follow him on Instagram @werryndong