Auto Review: 2019 Toyota Camry Ascent Sport (hybrid)

THOUGHTS are a curious thing. One might be led to think that because he’d been handed the keys to the 2019 Toyota Camry Ascent Sport (hybrid), that he’d been stiffed, especially when there was a Lamborghini Urus being tested by our team as well.

But instead of what could have been a boring car (at least in the mind of this writer), we discovered a cool family sedan, with an incredible shape. You see the new Camry hybrid has more body lines than Kim Kardashian, and packs a punch harder than Mike Tyson.

We hear you, loud and clear, how can this be, right. We’ll get to that. Lesson one though was to learn that hybrids make no noise when you first start them. Don’t judge. Yours truly had never driven one in the past and had a small brain fart, and so forgot this fact.

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Inside the Camry has what might best be described as a futuristic looking dash, that feels a bit like it’s been influenced by NASA, with a mix of hard black and silver plastic, with some soft elements. The combination flows, but we don’t really know why.

It’s one of those ‘it grows on you’ things, we reckon. Once you get used to it, it’s really quite funky. The seats are very comfortable too, offering plenty of range to adjust them and find the right spot. They’d certainly stand up to a long haul drive too.

It is also filled with a long list of standard features that includes four unique driving modes (EV, Sport, Eco and Normal), a 7-inch infotainment system, SatNav, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, a bunch of airbags, and plenty more.

Just as impressive is the fact that Toyota are throwing in a 10-year unlimited kilometre warranty on the hybrid battery.

While the Camry doesn’t scream look at me or shout it from its exhaust, it certainly has style. From the huge gills in the front bumper to the almost smile like face plate adorning the front end, it has a aggressive look.

Sure, not everyone will love it, but it’s different, and that’s what’s appealing about it. That front end also hides the 2.5-litre dual VVT-i petrol engine and Toyota hybrid system, with a combined output of 160kW.

It’s enough to offer some pretty solid performance, but if you seek more power, Toyota pulled the V6 back on board the Camry range when it dropped the Aurion, with their SX and SL offerings pushing out 224kW.

Refinement hasn’t gone unnoticed either, with the 2019 Toyota Camry Ascent Sport hybrid providing a real feeling of stability on the road. It’s front-wheel drive though, so be aware that if you try and tramp it off the line, you’ll get plenty of torque steer back in return.

Overall though, it’s a solid performer with a pretty decent bucket load of grunt. It kind of feels like the Camry is the little devil sitting on your right shoulder, talking to you, old school cartoon style.

You know the one, sitting there, saying “you could have hit that apex a bit harder with a bit more speed, and I would have thrown an extra large smile on your face”. It’s a bloody good family car, it’s as simple as that.

The boot space is massive too, with some 524-litres on offer. This writer even went so far as to climb in the boot with a pillow and could easily have dozed off in there. Of course we should say, don’t try that at home, but it was roomy enough to have a nap in.

Best described as a fun and slightly quirky family sedan, our hybrid Toyota Camry Ascent Sport hits the road at around $36,000 drive away.

It’s available in eight colours including Frosted White, Glacier White, Silver (as tested), Eclipse Black, Steel Blonde, Blacksmith Bronze, Lunar Blue and Feverish Red, and all of them come with a black fabric interior.

Our test vehicle was provided by Toyota Australia. To find out more about the 2019 Toyota Camry Ascent Sport (hybrid), contact your local Toyota dealer. Pictures courtesy of Cameron Cooke Photography.


Driving experience
Exterior styling
Interior look and feel
Technology and connectivity
Family friendliness
Value for money


Pros -sexy body lines; hybrid engine combo is punchy; unique looking dash.
Cons - plain Jane wheels; aesthetic gills are not functional; lack of a decent exhaust note; torque steer.
Cameron Cooke
Cameron Cooke
Cameron Cooke is a professional photographer and writer with extensive automotive industry experience. He's living the dream as far as he's concerned, working in a career in digital photography and penning automotive content.


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<strong>Pros -</strong>sexy body lines; hybrid engine combo is punchy; unique looking dash.<br> <strong>Cons -</strong> plain Jane wheels; aesthetic gills are not functional; lack of a decent exhaust note; torque steer.Auto Review: 2019 Toyota Camry Ascent Sport (hybrid)