Pros Gas Mileage, Quiet Ride, Improved Exterior Design
Cons Power Lungung at Highway Speeds, Limited Trunk Space, Cheap Interior Materials, Expensive
Summary After taking a 30 minute test drive in the new Camry Hybrid I must admit that I was quite disappointed. Initially I was very excited with Toyota's new design for the Camry. Introducing Hybrid technology to the masses is a great idea, and one that is long over-due. I was excited to see my Camry waiting for me at the dealer (I had pre-ordered one several weeks ago). Although the exterior design is a vast improvement over previous Camry, it does have some strange visual elements. One that sticks out is its bulbous nose. Yes, as you look at the car from the side it looks as if it actually has a nose on the front.
Upon entering the car I was immediately struck with the amount of cheap plastic that permeated throughout. Although I had ordered the leather interior upgrade, the amount of plastic still created a very "un-luxury" feel. Buttons looked and felt cheap. The high doors and small side windows also give the car a confining feeling when sitting inside. The headliner is made of a cheap felt-like material that reminded me of the cheapest economy autos of the 1980's.
The driving experience is best described as "interesting". I had previously driven a Prius and enjoyed the way it handled. I did enjoy how the Camry drove in stop and go traffic. The transition from battery power to the engine was silky smooth. The new Camry certainly had a great deal of power when pulling away from an intersection, or upon entering a highway. Unfortunately once the car reaches full highway speed, there is a terrible lunging when settling into a cruising speed. At 70MPH the car would repeatedly jerk forward then relax... it seemed impossible to maintain a constant speed. I had seen this before in the Road and Track Magazine Test Drive, and I experienced it myself today. This was one of the deal-killers for me as the car felt unsteady and difficult to control at highway speeds.
Finally, I was greatly disappointed at the reduced trunk space. Yes, the rear seats do unlatch and flip down, but there is a huge hump between the rear seats and the trunk that holds the batteries. This creates a wall that forbids you from sliding anything larger than a set of skis into the back seat. Why Toyota did not locate the batteries under the seats, like they did on the Prius, is beyond me. The batteries not only prevent you from loading long items in the trunk, it also reduces the overall volume of luggage.
This, along with the speed problems, and the cheap materials used for a $30,000 automobile, made my decision very easy. Believe me, I was hoping this car would be terrific, but Road and Track is right. If you really want a good buy on a Camry, go for the regular four cylinder. It has a great gas mileage, is $8,000 cheaper, has a huge trunk, is 750lbs lighter, and is almost as quick. Let's hope that Toyota improves its design and the quality of the interior materials on their future cars.
Pros Fuel Economy, Quality, Value
Cons Materials (ok though for price range)
Summary Most poor reviews are from people that test drove or had a quote well over MSRP. I'm an owner! I "traded down" from an Infiniti FX45 for this and am not disappointed in the quality or materials. I would have liked less plastic, but this is a mid priced, mid size mainstream model.
The BAD: The trunk is smaller than most, but only by about the size of 1 large suitcase. Would suit most needs 95% of the time I'm sure. There is plastic in the interior, but this is a car that you can get in the $26,000 range if you want and that's acceptable.
The Good: I'm averaging 38.5MPG overall. It's comfortable. Mine has moonroof, leather, navigation and 440 watt stereo. All for $31,589 MSRP. That may seem high to some but I was looking at cars in the $37 to $45K range as alternatives and this one satisfies me just as much and it's going to save me a lot. If you're the type that would be satisfied with a 4c stripped Camry then you probably don't want this. But if you normally would buy a $30,000 type of car this won't dissapoint you. In addition to great gas Milage, I will get a $2600 Fed Tax Credit, and expect somewhere around a $3000+ State Tax Credit. That puts this in the $26,000 range. For that price and 38mpg, I consider this the ultimate luxury economy car. Corolla economy, Lexus styling, Toyota quality wrapped up into one vehicle.
A short test drive can't adequately describe the advantages of this car. Talk to someone who's living with it and see if they have any complaints.
Pros Another car option, a normal looking car
Cons not all that great on MPG, too expensive for the fuel savings
Summary Eventually, all cars should be available in a more efficient HYBRID version, but buyers need to stop expecting the same performance as a standard car. This CAMRY would perform much better on MPG if Toyota didn’t need to make it go 0-60 in 8 sec.
The major problem with cars like the new CAMRY is that they are too expensive for the fuel economy. If you were to do the math, the money you save in fuel cost would not counter the additional $2,500 sticker price for nearly 7 years. That’s a long time to break even on the supposed “savings of hybrid technology”.
If car makers and the government want to encourage better sales of the HYBRID technology there needs to be a price incentive to do it. A hybrid car should cost less then the “gas guzzling” counterpart. Consumers should feel the savings when they drive off the lot, not 7 years in the future.
I gratefully accept the car makers who are trying to roll out more HYBRID cars, but there is no point in offering a higher priced vehicle that saves a negligible amount of fuel. Before this technology will truly take off, consumers must feel a greater value through ownership.
"I "traded down""on by mlieber1
Pros Good looking, lots of tech toys, mileage
Cons Occasional rattle
Summary I had a hard time going for a Camry. What a stodgy car. Something you buy your kid used for their first car, and they wish they had something better. The new body styling changes a lot of that. OK, I'm a car snob. My last car, a Q45. Done the Jaguar already, yep Beemer, too. Hard to go to the Camry. I was seriously considering buying an M35 (the 35 instead of the 45 for the mileage).
Then I decided that I don't want my son to get drafted to fight for oil for my gas guzzler. The Camry was perfect. I paid list after waiting about 10 days. Got it loaded: leather, moonroof, NAV, yep, even seat heaters. I fell in love with it on the way home from the dealer. It drives well, the tech toys are great, it looks good. Even the hybrid is a new tow to play with. On my first tank I've done over 34 mpg. Good enough acceleration (okay not in the league of the M35). This car is fabulous. What is it missing? Coming from the Q45 I miss the burl finishes, leather wheel, extra vibration dampening. The stereo sound seems to leave something to be desired. Occasionally I have heard some squeaks that I can't identify, but some may be the garbage I've already strewn around the cabin. After driving the Camry for 3 days, I drove my Q again since I still own it. I like the Camry better! You will be happy with this car.Updated
My second tank is averaging 38 mpg, 100% better than the Q. The hybrid system is fun to play with and I love all the gadgets. I am really glad I bought this instead of the M35.Updated
So far so good. Over 11000 miles. 2 $40 maintenance stops at the dealer. Only repair was blown fuse ($11 but covered by warranty). Waiting for my $2600 income tax rebate! The unexpected pleasure is the long time between fill ups--usually 500 miles. You can tell the difference. When I pass an M35 I don't regret the decision.
Pros 38-40 MPG AVERAGE with comfort for four people.
Cons Trunk space a bit small due to battery.
Summary After reading a number of reviews that complained about the fuel economy of the Camry, I decided to share my experience. I've driven about 1400 miles, and can say objectively that it doesn't do as well on it's first tank of gas, and high city mileages require getting to know the vehicle better than a typical test drive experience.
This is my favorite car ever. I enjoy great performance, and when I was shopping, I was comparing this car to the Honda Accord hybrid. I was told by the salesman that the Camry Hybrid would perform more like the Camry 4 cylinder, but I think it's more like the V6 in acceleration. The combined horsepower of the two engines really does make a difference when you need to pass or accelerate quickly. I liked the Accord's performance, and test drove it two different times before deciding that it's average fuel economy would likely NOT reach its stated 34-36 MPG, but the Camry would. In reality, I was wrong about the Camry, as it has exceeded expectations on the highway. So far, I've been getting closer to 45 mpg with typical highway driving, but more like 38 around town (It's hard to know for sure, because unlike the Accord, the Camry trip meter only records to around 40 MPG for individual trips.)
So far my tank averages are running 38-40 MPG as advertized, but the first tank was only 34.5 MPG. I have learned that it is more difficult to get the higher mileages around town, and I can understand why many are frustrated with this vehicle because it seems to do lousy in city driving. It's a matter of learning how to drive the car to get the mileages. When the battery for the electric engine is charged well, I have found you can drive a couple of miles at up to 35 miles per hour completely on battery, or you can drive the same distance at the same approximate speed getting 20 MPG or less. The trick is to quickly accelerate to 35, and set the cruise. (You'll never find a quieter ride!) If you don't want the gas engine to kick in at all, you have to start VERY slowly, and gradually build up to 35 or so.
I can't tell that the fuel economy suffers at different highway speeds. Whether running 50 or 70, I still get over 40 MPG as long as the speed is constant (not a lot of passing/braking, etc.)
I like everything about this car as far as comfort and performance is concerned. I ordered one with nearly all options, including nav system, but since I think the wood grain look in the premium package looks cheap, and preferred not to have it, I discovered that getting the car without that option cost the sliding arm rest being dropped as well. YUK! I complained to my dealer, and they added a sliding arm rest for NO CHARGE! Toyota really is big on customer service and satisfaction.
If I didn't drive 40k miles per year, I probably wouldn't buy this car, but since I do, and carry one or more passengers rather often as well, I expect it will be economical in the long run. I have been driving a Chevy Impala before this. I really like the Impala for trunk space and passenger room, but with gas prices the way they are now, I think over time the Camry will be better for my needs. It's not as quick as the Honda, but certainly above average performance with unusually good fuel economy.