2023 Toyota Camry SE Hybrid Nightsade new car reviews

Photography Credit: David S. Wallens

What makes the Nightshade version of the Camry Hybrid so special? Just think of it as a normal hybrid Camry, but wearing a really cool leather jacket.

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David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

It simply looks terrific. Is this a Camry? Heck, yeah.

It’s just aggressive enough–think Civic Si vs. Type R and you’re in the right ballpark.

Bronze factory wheels? On a hybrid sedan? Heck, yeah, once again. It’s like the GRM team specced out this one.

But it’s a little less zoomy once behind the wheel. I found the seat backs a little flat and the bottom cushions a bit short. The steering wheel is too thin. The turn signal stalk feels a bit light.

Likewise, the buttons feel antiquated. I’m all for buttons, but think more like a current Hyundai than a 15-year-old sedan. The gauges, likewise, also felt dated.

Where the Korean companies have come so far and done such a masterful job of blending classic feel with contemporary styling, this one just felt a bit dated to me. It just felt more old Camry than a new Camry, and I feel weird saying that as a fan of traditional touches.

It goes down the road as smoothly as expected. Full throttle from a deal stop seems to elicit a tiny bit of drivetrain jutter off the line, but once moving, it’s full steam ahead. The CVT is smooth and, yes, you can manually “shift” it via the paddles.

Should the slightly dated interior bits knock this one off your list? As Toyota sells a boatload of Camrys, I’m going to assume that they know their audience way better than I do.

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