The Toyota Camry Ascent Sport Hybrid has been named Drive Car of the Year in the annual consumer-focused motoring awards.
The Camry hybrid beat 49 other finalists across 14 categories to take out the top award, having already been named Best Family Car in the prestigious awards’ 13th year.
The Camry hybrid won the top accolade after an exhaustive week-long evaluation that included testing on urban and rural roads as well as a series of exercises on a closed circuit to test vehicle safety in a controlled environment.
In making the award, the Drive Network judges praised the Camry hybrid for its spacious cabin, efficient powertrain and engaging yet comfortable on-road manners, and most importantly, its outstanding value for money.
Toyota Australia’s Vice President, National Sales & Marketing, Sean Hanley said winning the award was a testament to the car’s design, packaging, quality, advanced safety technology, and in particular, the performance and economy offered by its hybrid powertrain.
“Toyota is firmly committed to its hybrid technology and winning awards like this reaffirms that we have a great product that not only appeals to customers, but is critically acclaimed by expert judges who drive hundreds of new cars every year,” Mr Hanley said.
‘It also vindicates Toyota’s enormous investment in hybrid drive technology and its determination to deliver it as a mainstream powertrain option where it has been the only carmaker to continuously offer hybrid drive in the Australian market for the past 17 years.
“Toyota’s refined hybrid technology allows it to produce vehicles that offer both smooth, powerful performance and outstanding fuel economy that saves customers money on fuel costs and their whole of life motoring costs.
“These are clearly factors that appeal to our customers with hybrid versions accounting for 48 per cent of Camry orders, making Camry the best-selling hybrid vehicle in Australia.
“With this new-generation Camry, Toyota not only extended its hybrid availability but – being built on the Toyota New Global Architecture – it also delivers new-found dynamic handling, ride comfort, refinement and spaciousness, all attributes noted by the Drive judges.
“Toyota is very proud that all these factors impressed the Drive judges and convinced them to award the Camry Ascent Sport Hybrid the title of Car of the Year,” he said.
The Drive judges – comprising seven expert road testers – assessed the 49 finalists on criteria including value, space, features, cost of ownership, economy and quality.
Drive Network editor-in-chief Andrew Maclean said Toyota had completely transformed the new-generation Camry with five of the seven judges giving it the vote for the Drive Car of the Year.
“The Camry Ascent Sport Hybrid is a car that impresses on so many levels; it’s spacious, comfortable and convenient and loaded with cutting-edge safety,” Mr Maclean said.
“And yet it offers peerless value for money in its class, is affordable to maintain and its seamless petrol-electric powertrain is amazingly economical.
“What surprised the Drive judging panel the most was just how engaging it is to drive. It is an extremely accomplished machine that asks the question: Why you would need anything else? – and is a deserving winner of the 2018 Drive Car of the Year,” he said.