Best medium car under $50,000

A host of improvements has resulted in the second generation Toyota Camry Hybrid H being promoted to medium car winner in 2012.

The numb steering, hard ride and inherent understeer that blighted the first generation are gone, replaced with dynamics and poise.

An extra 46mm of legroom has been added to the back, while the boot has more space thanks to the relocation of the DC converter to the front and the battery being moved forward 100mm.

The volume-selling H model is also priced sharper than last year’s Hybrid 4 (down $2,000), and is covered by Toyota’s capped price servicing.

Performance from the Atkinson118 kW, 213 Nm 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine - coupled to an electric motor via Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system - is now brisker (0-100 km/h in eight seconds).

Drivers can choose from three driving modes: Normal; Eco; and EV. Normal provides full power; Eco softens throttle response and reduces power losses through air-conditioning; and EV mode enables the car to be driven for a short distance on the silent-running electric motor.

Fuel economy has been improved to 5.2 litres/100 km and emissions lowered to 121 g/km, earning the Camry Hybrid five out of five stars in the government's Green Vehicle Guide to match its five-star ANCAP safety rating.

Australia's Best Cars Best Medium Car under $50,000 Toyota Camry Hybrid H

Manufacturer’s List Price: $34,990

Toyota Camry Hybrid H - Criteria out of 10

Value for Money   Rating 
Pricing  7C
Depreciation  6M
Running Costs  10M
Fuel Consumption  9C
Warranty and dealer access   5H
Insurance  7L
Standard Features  5H

Design and Function   Rating 
Safety  10C
Environment  10C
Comfort  9M
Space  8M
Practicality  9M
Ergonomics  7M
Build and Finish  8H

On the Road   Rating 
Performance  9M
Ride  9M
Handling  7H
Braking  9H
Smoothness and Quietness   9M

Note: Level of weighting importance for each score: L = Low, M = Medium, H = High, C = Critical.