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Toyota Camry Hybrid Review

Friday, May 8th, 2009 — 8:00am PDT
Comments 17

A little while ago Toyota Canada signed on to Twitter and began following me. I followed them back and sent them an update about how I like the Yaris (we had the chance to rent one last year, and drive one as a Zip Car). Within a few minutes I was communicating with Toyota about trying out their 2010 Camry Hybrid and we arranged something for Earth Day as well as my recent trip to Harrison.

Camry Hybrid for Earth Day

Camry Hybrid for Earth Day

Camry Hybrid for Earth Day

Basics: 2.5-litre, four cylinder engine, six speed powertrain, Hybrid Synergy Drive, 185 horsepower (268-horsepower 3.5-litre V6 is also available), 5.7L/100 km rating.

Features: I don’t know what “psychoacoustics” or “plasmaclusters” are or what they do but here’s a personalized list…

Things I liked about the Toyota Camry:

  • Great visibility in the driver’s seat
  • Smooth handling, extremely quiet drive
  • Important feature for my mom: It was blue
  • The safety of being in a vehicle that size yet knowing its emissions were low
  • The trunk still had space for backpacks, bags, jackets and umbrellas
  • The staff of the press fleet were so nice and accommodating (even though I left my home parking pass in the car & have yet to go get it back)
  • Display settings that showed much more than simply the odometer or trip counter
  • Fully loaded with XM radio, Bluetooth-enabled, CD, mp3 streaming, and a volume knob (which I prefer to a button) — seriously these are important features
  • 16-inch alloy wheels, they just look slick
  • Power moonroof, power windows
  • Temperature controls from the steering wheel
  • I looked into what the “Fraichir” tag on the seats meant, which turns out to be a combination of silk protein and synthetic fibre that does not irritate the skin
  • Eco air conditioning, meaning it’s electric-powered
  • “Dual Zone” auto climate control for the driver and passenger
  • Push-button start and some very cool key-less technology
  • Camry Hybrid for Earth Day

    Camry Hybrid for Earth Day

    I’ve been able to get some input from friends and family as well. For my sister, the car is a great size with decent trunk space (even with the battery back there) and has a huge glove box. However, she said you’d never be able to get three car seats across the back since there’s a bit of a hump in the rear-middle seat. Being a busy mom, something like that is a key feature for her. My husband on the other hand, was pretty much sold on the car when he saw the media inputs and USB slot — where you can plug-in, charge, and play your iPod.

    Camry Hybrid for Earth Day

    Camry Hybrid for Earth Day

    Camry Hybrid for Earth Day

    It was an incredibly smooth ride and when that engine shuts off, when you idle or pop it into reverse, it just feels so cool — and good to know you’re not spewing emissions. When accelerating from a complete stop there is a bit of a shudder, but that’s simply the engine kicking in. Being someone who used to drive a manual transmission, it scared me at first since I thought I had stalled the car but I soon got used to it.

    The Camry

    When returning the Toyota Camry to the press fleet after my trip out to Harrison and Agassiz (about 360-400 kms round trip) I topped it off with about $18 of premium gas. I did a bit of city driving throughout that time (doing the carpool thing) and some short trips while away, but I think that’s pretty darn good all things considered.

    You can check the website to find out how much one of these will run ($24,650 MSRP) and if you’d like updates, follow @ToyotaCanada on Twitter.

    I wasn’t paid to write this review but I was given the car on two occasions for this very purpose, thanks to a connection on Twitter.

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    1. Lisa says:

      Interesting, looks like you got about 4.5-5L/100k (estimating price of gas at $1/L.

      Is there a list of things you didn’t like about the car?

    2. Miss604 says:

      @Lisa Well, there’s not much I didn’t like really. I used to own an Acura so I like a a good four-door sedan and the Camry was a good size.

      As mentioned, the trunk space was good (for 3 bags, jackets and umbrellas) although being a snowboarder or someone who shops at Ikea it’s a shame that they back seats don’t fold down to make for more trunk space. The trade-off for this of course is the location of the fuel cells – so a roof rack would be recommended.

    3. Tyler says:

      Wow the seats arent folding nor split in the Camry? Weird!

      I love Robyn’s Yaris. It’s so much fun to drive and accommodates us nicely. We have a roof rack though for our ski and snowboards. That comes in handy when we need to carry more people.

      I would love to try around in a hybrid Camry though, and really love what they have done with their Synergy Drive! But now knowing that the rear seats do not fold down, just put a damper on me wanting a Camry.

      How did you find it when the car was idle at a stop light? Did you know it was still running? I heard when the Prius first came out people had to check because it made virtually no noise! Now the new Prius with the newly design Synergy Drive… I’ve love to take that for a weekened spin!

      Though a Tacoma, quad-cab, 4×4… That’s what I want!

    4. Miss604 says:

      @Tyler The thing is that the fuel cells are between the back seats and the trunk so that kind of makes it impossible to fold them down – you can kind of see where it goes in that trunk photo above.

      But yes the engine completely shuts off when you stop or idle (or pop it in reverse) it’s totally silent, kinda trippy.

    5. Cam C. says:

      Hate to nitpick but as a car geek, I have to mention that what’s taking up trunk space is not “fuel cells”, it’s batteries. A fuel cell is similar to a battery in that it creates electricity from an electrochemical reaction, but unlike batteries, fuel cells have to constantly be filled with fuel (hydrogen, etc) when they’re empty. There are no mass-production fuel cell cars available yet.

    6. Jeremy says:

      @Lisa Regarding the mileage calculation – she mentioned premium gas, so best to add $0.20/litre. So the mileage was probably better than you figured.

    7. Miss604 says:

      @Cam C Yes, it’s the battery but I was told it contains seperate little batteries or cells (or whatever the technical name is) so if one needs replacing you can do that instead of scrapping the entire thing. I’m no car-geek so those are just the words I used ๐Ÿ˜›

    8. Cam C. says:

      BTW, how many litres of gas did it take for your fill up? I know the Camry hybrid’s mileage isn’t that hot compared to a Prius or the new Ford Fusion Hybrid but it sounds like you did fairly well.

    9. Duane Storey says:

      Yah a fuel cell is typically something that combines hydrogen and oxygen to make water and electricity. Probably individual battery cells.

      What’s the name of that type of gear shift? Isn’t is some type of hybrid between an automatic and a manual? Nice car though, and yah, I agree with your mom. Blue is in.

    10. Rob says:

      Thanks, I have a 2008 Camry Hybrid. Sounds like the 2010 might have a few extra goodies, but you have described the Camry Hybrid very well. It is a pleasure to drive, especially in electric mode. When on cruise control, if you come to an incline the electric seamlessly kicks in to assist the gas so you don’t use extra gas. Glad you got this gig from your Twittering! Your photos are very helpful. Future hints you can provide about the driving the Toyota Camry Hybrid would be appreciated. Toyota should give you one for a longer period of time as you seem like an “average” consumer who has an ability to communicate; that’s very valuable.

    11. Kevin Myrmel says:

      I teach snowboarding and can fit my snowboard throught the fold down rear seat on my 2008 Camry Hybrid, it’s tight but it works.

      The battery pack is a bunch of nickel metal hydride cells at 1.5 volt each, the pack can be rebuilt with new cells, someone will most likely start a company doing this when they start going out.

      I have 33,000 miles on it and can average 40 MPG (USA) driving both in town and 70 on the freeways. It has a CVT (constant variable transmittion) It’s all in the way you drive it. I actually accelerate normal but do a lot more gental driving espicallyin town.

    12. Toyota says:

      Nice article, tnx

    13. Mike says:

      I bought a 2010 Camry Hybrid the end of September which was my first “import” I have bought many NA cars over the course of 35+ years. This car is a nightmare! The braking system has failed 4 times in 5 weeks and the first within 24 hours after taking delivery. It has been in the shop a week and half of the 5 weeks and the last time they failed was yesterday. When this happens the warning lights appear to the dash and when you touch the brake pedal it feels like you have no brakes and then within a split second they lockup. I can not trust this car as there isn’t any warning until the lights on the dash come on and that is too late.

    14. Derek says:

      I’m looking at buying a 2007 so thanks for the review… but
      * Isn’t the MSRP $30,900?
      * From Rear Seat Adjustments: Fold Down Seat (60/40)

    15. […] Disabilities Association, speaking at the inaugural Tech Valley Social Club meetup, doing my first car (hybrid) review for Earth Day, having an amazing getaway to the Island with Keira (as she brought Jordy home for […]

    16. cars fan says:

      I ain’t planning to buy another car by toyota after getting my car to the garage 2 times!!!

    17. jasa seo says:

      “hanks, I have a 2008 Camry Hybrid. Sounds like the 2010 might have a few extra goodies, but you have described the Camry Hybrid very well. It is a pleasure to drive”

      i think so,but why the price is still very expensive???

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