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 |  Dec 30 2011, 8:29 AM

3. Toyota Camry Hybrid

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that Toyota delivered an excellent hybrid, but there’s no doubt that the Camry Hybrid is an even more impressive machine than anyone could have predicted – and not just because of the fuel economy either.

For starters, hopes for a new Camry weren’t high (especially after Honda failed to blow away the competition with the new Civic) and the strong new competition from cars like the Sonata. After all, the Sonata Hybrid is rated at 36/40 mpg, well ahead of the previous Camry’s Hybrid’s 33/34 mpg rating, so even a decent improvement wouldn’t put the Camry ahead. So Toyota upped the ante, delivering a 43/39 mpg rating, for a combined 41 mpg, making the Camry Hybrid the first and only real mid-size sedan to offer over 40 mpg average.

As mentioned, that’s not all. With a history of cars like the Prius, one might expect the Camry Hybrid to be a slouch, but using the Hybrid Synergy Drive system mated to a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder there’s 200-hp and it feels like it too, making the Camry Hybrid arguably the best all-around Camry you can buy and perhaps the best mid-size sedan on the market.

Read AutoGuide’s 2012 Toyota Camry Review here