Pros Toyota design, quality and resale value
Cons Cheap materials, higher price
Summary I'm not buying this car for its geo-political impact though I appreciate that it uses minimal fuel. I traded my SUV for this car and am getting about 35 mpg combined--almost twice the mpg that I was getting before. That makes me feel good.
The car is beautifully designed and drives well though it does lurch at highway speeds. My biggest complaint? The small trunk and tiny pass-through hinder capacity. The cheap headliner and questionable use of ugly, bland cloth on nthe seats.
The positives? Great mpg, nice styling overall, boy-toys like bluetooth (cell-phone access), navigation, smartkey (leave the key in your pocket--you can start the car without it as long as you carry it--it senses it). The cost was high--$28,000 for mine at full MSRP. But remember, until September 30th, 2006 there is a $2600 federal hybrid tax credit that you will receive [on the Camry] when you file your taxes. Many states offer additional incentives. In Oregon where I live, there is an additional $1500 tax rebate. So next year I will get $4100 back which clearly helps the higher hybrid initial cost.
At $3.09 a gallon now, I am saving $150 a month for fuel compared with my SUV. My insurance is lower and I feel better about driving alone. The Prius offers even better tax rebates, $3150 federal.
"Fantastic Car!"on by ohrgg1
Pros Great Mileage, Great new Looks, Smooth Ride
Cons Reduced Trunk Space and no Seat Memory.
Summary We've had our Camry Hybrid for a little over a week and have put just over 500 miles on it. This is our first Hybrid vehicle the the experience has been excellent overall. Obtaining good mileage in this car required some modification to our driving technique, but the car has a ton of information available to assist you in this quest, especially if you have the NAV equipped model.
We use this as our work car and take turns during the week. The ride is smooth and I've found the interrior to excellent with comfortable seats. The leather is a nice touch and the sunroof is huge. Back seat room is ample and should be enough for even taller adults. With just a little practice in the beginning, we were soon besting the EPA mileage estimates, with my best trip to work ( 18 mile mix of city and hwy) averaging just over 43 mpg. The average for our first tank was 39 mpg, right in the middle of the 38 Hwy / 40 City ratings.
I only have two cons that I can think of at this time, neither of which had I noticed before I bought the car would have made a difference. The first is that the batteries take up a good bit of trunk space compared to the standard Camry. It would have been nice if they could have tucked them under the seats or off to one side of the trunk. The second is that since my wife and I share this car, a seat memory feature would have been great.
Overall this car offers a substantial mileage improvement over the standard Camry for only about $1800 more if you compare similarly equiped models, great looks and a very comfortable ride. This is going to make a huge impact on my monthly gas bills when you consider that my other two vehicles are a Mercury Mountaineer ( V8, averaging 16 mpg ) and a Dodge Charger R/T ( Hemi V8 averaging 15 mpg ). When you look at the premium for the Hybrid and consider the $2600 Federal Tax Credit, you would be foolish not to give this car a serious look.
Pros MPG, Ride, Features
Cons Price, Availability
Summary Background: I purchased my vehicle 3 days ago after a several month wait and wanted to publish a 'Quick Hit' review. I'll do another in a month of so if allowed, once the car is more familiar.
The car: 2007 Camry Hybrid, Metallic Gray with Moonroof, Cloth Interior, DVD system to be added later (backordered).
Accessories Added: Mudguards (worth it). Body Side Moldings (worth it). XM Radio (Worth It) Lojack (Jury is out) Cargo Net (could have skipped).
Driving: I test drove the conventional camry before this one, and I can't find any difference in the ride. I do notice a tiny shudder as the transmission engages coming off a full stop, but none of the transitional issues some people have noted as the power source shifts. If I am not looking at the MPG meter or don't have the eco-drive display on, only the sound of the car allows me to tell what I am using.
Steering is reasonably tight, I came from a Nissan Sentra so I find it a little heavy, but that's more a factor of going up a car size. Braking is also a little odd, the additional drag of the regenerative braking takes a bit of getting used to, plus the car is much heavier than my old one, so I still need to adjust my driving style.
Economy: Having driven over 300 miles in the past few days, these are early observations based solely on the on board display. The 38 MPG highway rating seems pretty close, I have been fluctuating bewteen 36 and 39 average going 70-75 with the AC and cruise control on. The city rating of 40, I can't see hitting all that much. The best I have done in start/stop driving is around 35-36 (which is still not bad). One note is that I am not sure how the MPG calculations are affected by sitting at lights, since generally no gas is being used. When I fill up this wekeend, I will do a manual calc to see how it stacks up against the 36.4 average per tank the car is reporting.
Instrumentation: Here I have a nit to pick. I understand the focus is on efficiency, but the car really drives it down your throat. I find the real time MPG display more distracting then useful, since it changes so much. The Eco Drive is a much more useful indicator of overall mileage. Also, the fact that the lighting changes tone based on MPG is also more of a distraction than useful in my book. Some of the indicator lights are in odd positions as well.
Controls: On wheel controls are great, no issues. The Eco switch for the AC is in a wierd spot, not hard to reach or anything, just not intuitive. The right side of the audio system is a little bit of a stretch if you need to do something not available through the wheel controls. Cruise control lever location took some getting used to but now that I am, its actually in a good spot. Climate controls are fine as are moonroof. Be careful not to hit the gas cap button looking for the eco AC.
Comfort: The AC system works much better than I expected actually. Even in Eco mode, the car cools relatively quickly, and the auto adjust system keeps the temperature nice and even. Seats are comfy, though it took me quite a while to get the lumbar adjusted right.
Space: Yeah, the trunk takes a hit with the Hybrid battery but its still not tiny, just 'not so huge'. Back seat is spacious and comfy.
Smart Key System: Neat gimmick, how necessary over a wireless remote I don't know. but it really makes for a neat intro to showing off the car.
Road noise: Quiet, except with the moonroof open. I have the moonroof wind deflector on order, hope that will help.
Value: The excellent MPG I get aside, I don't know if I would call this car a great value. The added cost of the hybrid system isn't so bad, its the fact that there are not many options to choose from, which brings the price up considerably. Even given my gas savings, I am not sure that without the tax credit ($2600 if you put the car in service prior to 9/30/3006). I would be able to recoup the difference. That said, I am not in a position where a difference of a few hundred a year is an issue, and I truly like the fact I am using less fuel and producing less emissions. Side note: Given the current prices of hybrid non-warranty parts, the extended warranty is not an optional item.
Overall: I love the car! Most of my issues are minor, like positioning of controls, but the car FEELS solid. You can't beat the list of safety features. If money is not a big issue for you, I don't see where you can go wrong here.Updated
With the first tank of gas used.
On board Calculator 36.6 MPG
My calculations 36.7 MPG
I'll run a few more tanks to verify, but at first glance the onboard system seems pretty reliable.
A couple other notes. On a warm night (82 degrees), the AC can run for about 20 mins on battery (set at 73 ECO Auto) before the battery gauge starts to look a little dicey on the low end (1 bar left).
Trunk space - Full load of groceries, no problem, two huge suitcases took some jiggling.Updated
Well, I have had this car for over 12 months now and my general impression is still the same, not perfect, but close.
A few observations from putting over 20K miles on the car in that year:
1> Unless you really want the phone and extended power displays, skip the Nav system unless you can get one cheap. I have been using my Garmin Nuvi instead, am very happy and it was $2000 less than what I would have paid for the nav.
2> The Average MPG display seems to consistently run about 1 MPG higher than calculated based on fillups. On average, with a lot of highway driving at 75, I seem to stick in the 34-36 mpg bracket. On a week I stayed local I hit 39.
3> The car seems to wear well, there are several scratches in the paint which on the grey is REALLY noticable, but the cloth upholstery still looks pretty new as do the carpets.
All in all, I still love the car and when it hits 100 K or so, will happily upgrade to the next model!
Pros Gas mileage, acceleration, technology, styling, comfort, quiet
Cons Limited trunk space, cannot control Nav if the car is in motion
Summary You can buy a BMW or Mercedes. You can even buy a Premium Japanese car like the Acura, Lexus, or Infinity. However, for the price and features in this car, you can save about $10,000 less and get a lot more car.
The instrumetation includes the basic speedometer with a display toggling the odometer, outside temperature, and trip counter. The center console on the dashboard controls the stereo, CD changer, GPS, and other features such as routine maintenance, calendar, phone book, and other diagnostic system screens. The air conditioning controls are in the center of the console, also.
A nice touch is a compartment to connect your MP3 player to the Auxiliary input. There is also a power jack to charge the player.
The steering wheel is wrapped in leather and contains controls for air conditioning, stereo, Bluetooth, CD changer, and voice commands for the GPS.
The center console in between the front seats have a standard bin for personal items and cups.
There is an ECO button for improved fuel economy.
The driver's seat is electronically controlled with lumbar support. The rear seats do not recline but they do fold forward. An air vent in the center of the rear seats gives more ventilation for passengers. Behind the head rests of the rear seat passengers is a vent to cool the battery.
The seats are leather and very comfortable.
Trunk space is about 10.4 cubic feet (1/3 of which is taken up by the battery) - it is just enough for two golf bags.
The windows are large and visibility throughout is very good.
Safety features: Airbags, side curtain airbags and knee airbags. This vehicle also got a 5 star crash rating.
This has a 'black box' that notifies the investigators information about the crash similar to that of aircraft (this could be good or bad).
Daytime running lights work well.
Acceleration is quite surprising for a 4 cylinder hybrid with various testers reporting a 0-60 in 7.7 seconds. Passing and merging on the highway is a breeze. The ride is quite quiet, even with the sunroof open. The bumps are taken and the shocks are firm (more firm than the 'bouncy feeling' Avalon).
Braking sounds like an aircraft slowing down but it works very well. Cornering is good without excessive 'leaning'.
Given the size of the vehicle, it gets excellent gas mileage.
NAVIGATION: The controls for the DVD navigation are easy and intuitive. You cannot control the destinations unless you are stopped which is an inconvenience (especially, if your passenger is pushing the buttons).
BLUETOOTH: Reception is good and the call quality is clear.
KEYLESS OPERATION: With the key in your pocket, you have keyless entry. Just grab the driver's side handle and get in. The car is started by a push button start. The trunk opens with a touch of a button. All of this with the keys in your pocket.
Overall, Motor Trend's Car of the Year is topped by an excellent all around car, powered by the Hybrid Synergy Drive. I highly recommend this car despite the smaller trunk space.
Pros Good acceleration, excellent gas mileage for vehicle size/type, great techie features. high-end feature set
Cons Not quite Lexus feature set; scolding from system for inefficient driving
Summary I have now owned this vehicle for almost a month. I came to this hybrid/fuel efficient car from a history of owning fuel inefficient but high-end vehicles (e.g., Audi, BMW, Lexus). The fuel economy is shockingly close to reported amounts when the car is driven with an eye to fuel economy (e.g., no “flooring” the accelerator, no late braking). I regularly have accomplished 36-40 mpg on a tank of gas. Fuel economy predictably drops off when the car is driven aggressively. Nonetheless, the car is comparable in size with my old Audi A6 and manages to get 16-20 mpg better fuel economy. Since I had somewhat low expectations, this performance is an amazing result.
I purchased the car fully loaded and therefore have the DVD navigation system. From a features standpoint, this car easily has all of the important technological features that the Audi A6 and the BMW 550i that I considered purchasing would have had. Bluetooth, navigation and stereo are first-rate. (I should note that I haven’t tried the voice recognition or satellite radio features.) In fact, I have concluded that the touch screen on the DVD navigation is clearly superior to the MMI and iDrive controllers featured by those two vehicles. This conclusion is somewhat of a surprise to me, since I actually liked both those two systems when I test drove the vehicles.
I would also note that the trunk space issue, which has been highlighted by others, is not nearly the trouble that I had expected. The trunk is significantly wider than my old Audi, and I had no difficulty putting in two fairly large golf bags w/clubs in the trunk. In my prior car, this was also the practical limit because I had to lay the clubs diagonally across the trunk.
The car is so close to “Lexus” standard, I have to say I do notice the absence of some features that you’d get in this car if it were—say—the Lexus ES330h. In particular, you don’t get memory seating, auto up/down windows for all windows, hidden hinge trunks, woodgrain trim, etc.
All in all, though, it’s just a GREAT car. I couldn’t be more pleased with it. I think that this is the near-term future of all automobiles.