2009 Toyota Camry Hybrid

Practical People Mover

2009 Toyota Camry Hybrid

While practically every irritable commuter complains about the price of fuel, most are not willing to pay an up-front premium for the fuel-efficiency and peace-of-mind that come standard with Hybrid ownership. That is slowly changing as the technology is constantly improving and the initial price of ownership is decreasing.

FAST FACTS

1. The Camry Hybrid bests the Malibu and Aura Hybrids with a 33/34 (city/highway) mpg rating.

2. The Hybrid Synergy Drive in the Camry features a 2.4-liter engine with 147 hp at 6000 rpm and 138 ft-lbs at 4400 rpm. The electric motor then adds 40 hp.

Within the Hybrid market, perhaps the most competitive class is that of the family sedan. They may not be as powerful and/or enticing for some as, say, a premium SUV, but they are far more common. While hardly the most exciting vehicle in the parking lot, the Camry has found a home in hearts and driveways of millions of Americans over the years, thanks to it’s reputation for quality and reliability.

CAMRY: FROM DOMINATING THE SEDAN MARKET TO DOMINATING THE HYBRID SEDAN MARKET

For two decades now Japanese manufacturers like Toyota and Honda have had a stranglehold on the family sedan market and while recently vehicles like the Saturn Aura, Ford Fusion and Chevrolet Malibu have recently garnered critical acclaim, the Camry is still consistently on the top of car buyer’s wish lists. The fact that Toyota offers a Hybrid alternative only helps that cause, especially now as Ford and Chevrolet offer Hybrid versions of their family sedans.

When Chevrolet introduced the new Malibu, they used Camry as the. After driving the Malibu Hybrid, I figured a back to back comparison was necessary to see how the two cars faired. While I feel the Malibu is superior in terms of styling, ergonomics and handling, the Camry has more than a few things going for it, most importantly fuel-economy.

SLOW BUT FUEL-EFFICIENT

Recently I had the opportunity to drive both the Hybrid and regular gasoline powered XLE models of the Camry, which were very similar in many ways but differed in regards to their performance and fuel economy. The Hybrid powerplant offers a 2.4L gas engine, Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) and Electronic Throttle Control System with Intelligence (ETCS-i). While the 2.4L four-cylinder Hybrid engine offers estimated fuel mileage of 33/34 mpg (city/highway), it’s hardly sprightly – but then again, neither are any of the Hybrids in this category. The car weighs in at 3,483 lbs offering 147 hp at 6000 rpm and 138 ft-lbs at 4400 rpm. The electric motor adds 40 horses brining the total power output to 187, which is adequate but it certainly won’t give you goose bumps. These specs, along with the Camry Hybrid’s Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) did make for a more spirited drive than the Malibu, in addition to the fact that the Toyota is a true Hybrid – meaning that the electric motor can actually propel the vehicle under certain conditions.

More important than all this for Hybrid customers are those EPA fuel ratings and while the Malibu and Camry hybrids both rate at 34 mpg on the highway, the Malibu gets just 26 mpg in the city, compared to the Camry’s 33 mpg rating.

As a result of its numbers the Camry Hybrid is classified as both a ULEV (Ultra Low Emission Vehicle) and an AT-PZEV (Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emission Vehicle).

V-6 XLE MODEL OFFERS POWER

If power is what you are after, Toyota also offers the 3.5L DOHC VVT-i V6 in the XLE version, which boasts 268 hp at 6200 rpm and 248 ft-lbs of torque at 4700 rpm. Unfortunately it doesn’t feel as fast as 268hp sounds.

Still, the V6 offers ample power for a family sedan, which can easily accommodate lane changing and highway passing. In addition to this added power, the V-6 has (obviously) poorer fuel economy than the Hybrid, as well as an abundance of torque steer. Handling in both models felt stable but not as smooth and precise as the in Malibu. Who would have thought?

Price for the Camry Hybrid starts at $26,150, which is ever so slightly cheaper than the Malibu Hybrid – $75 cheaper to be exact. As for the V-6-powered Camry XLE, it retails for $25,575. As for the Ford Fusion Hybrid, an MSRP has yet to be released although the EPA rating puts it ahead of the Camry in the fuel-economy wars.

CLASSIC TOYOTA INTERIOR

The interior of the Camry is no different than what buyers have come to expect from Toyota; no fancy tricks or flashy gimmicks with just the basics in place – nothing more, nothing less. While interior space is well organized and materials do not feel cheap, they did look and feel rather drab. The XLE unit I drove had an easily operated navigation screen as well as HVAC and music controls. The Hybrid tester, however, utilized small buttons with tiny printing on them that I found unnecessarily complex. Not only were they difficult to operate with gloves on, they took my eyes away from where they should be focused- the road.

THE VERDICT

While I admit that the current Camry offers drastically improved aesthetics over past models, I feel that it still falls short in the styling department when compared to direct rivals such as Accord, Aura and Malibu. Neither the Hybrid nor the XLE models offered a negative driving experience, nor did they offer a memorable one. For all intents and purposes, the Camry offers a great well rounded package that customers find appealing to both their best judgment and pocketbook. Having the option of a class-leading Hybrid should only add to that appeal.

PLUS

Excellent fuel-economy Above average four-cylinder performance Abundance of interior space

MINUS

Torque steer Lacks passion and panache Poor layout of dash controls on models without navigation

« Back
SWEEPSTAKES – OFFICIAL RULES, TERMS AND CONDITIONS

AutoGuide.com’s Monthly Overlay Newsletter Signup – By subscribing to our email newsletter, Entrants are eligible to win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (value of $100.00 USD). One (1) winner will be chosen every month at random and contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. *Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ("GCs") cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.

1. NO PURCHASE OR PAYMENT OF ANY KIND IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN THIS SWEEPSTAKES. AGE/RESIDENCY RESTRICTIONS, VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.

2. PRIZE: One (1) Winner will be randomly selected every month to each receive: one (1) $100.00 Amazon.com Gift Card (the “Prize Supplier”). Total approximate retail value of all prizes is approximately $100.00 USD. Prizes are not transferable and no cash or prize substitution is allowed. Prize package is awarded "as is" with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied.

3. ELIGIBILITY: From the time of entry through the final date of prize fulfillment, each contest entrant and selected entrant must be a permanent lawful citizen and resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia or in Canada, and be twenty one (21) years of age or older. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, IN ALL FOREIGN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ALL OTHER U.S. TERRITORIES OR CANADA AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives, of the Sponsor and the Prize Supplier and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, promotion partners and any entity involved in the development, production, implementation, administration or fulfillment of this Sweepstakes, and the immediate family members (e.g., spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, grandparent, in-law, daughter and son, regardless of where they live) and persons living in the same household (whether or not related) of such individuals are not eligible to participate or win. Only one selected entrant per household. All decisions of the Sponsor with respect to this sweepstakes are final. The Sponsor shall have the right at any time to require proof of identity and failure to provide such proof may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes.

4. ENTER BY INTERNET: You may enter this sweepstakes via the Internet by logging onto AutoGuide.com and subscribing to our email newsletter via the pop-up overlay.

5. SELECTION OF WINNER: One (1) Entrant will be selected by random selection who have subscribed to our email newsletter. The winner may be announced publicly on AutoGuide.com and will be contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. The winner will be required to provide a mailing address (that is not a P.O. box) to receive the prize which will be shipped free of charge.

6. ODDS OF WINNING: Odds of winning a prize are determined by the total number of eligible entries received.

7. RESTRICTIONS: The prize package consists of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card with an approximate value of $100.00 USD. If prize cannot be awarded due to circumstances beyond the control of the Sponsor or Prize Supplier, no substitute prize will be awarded due to the unique nature of the prize. Sponsor and Prize Supplier shall not be liable to the winner or any person claiming through winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulations(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, utility failure, internet failure, terrorist acts, threatened terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Sponsor's or Prize Supplier's control (collectively, "Force Majeure Event"). Sponsor shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions or substitutions or any act or omissions whatsoever by the performers/events, other transportation companies or any other persons providing any of these services and accommodations to passengers including any results thereof such as changes in services or accommodations necessitated by same.

8. CONDITIONS: By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and that Sponsor has the irrevocable right to use in perpetuity entrants' names, user names, likenesses, photographs, voices, home mailing address, biographical and prize information, and entry materials, without notice to entrants and without compensation or obligation, in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world, in any manner whatsoever, to advertise and promote Sponsor, its products and services, the Sweepstakes, and for any other purpose except where prohibited by law. Entrant waives the right to assert as a cost of winning a prize any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to redeem said prize and any liability which might arise from redeeming or seeking to redeem said prize. Sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent calls or emails made to entrants not by the Sponsor. If the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned by reason of damage by computer viruses, worms or bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical limitations or failures, any Force Majeure Event or any other cause which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, could corrupt, compromise, undermine or otherwise affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, viability or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend all or any part of the Sweepstakes, and to select a winner from among all eligible entries received by Sponsor up until the time of such cancellation, termination, modification or suspension, as applicable. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual that (i) tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operations of this Sweepstakes in any manner, (ii) violates the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions or (iii) acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK CIVIL AND/OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND/OR DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Any expenses and receipt and use of the prize and federal, state and local taxes and fees applicable in connection with the prize awarded are the sole responsibility of the winner. An IRS Form 1099 will be issued in the name of the winner for the actual value of the prize received. This Sweepstakes is subject to all federal, state and local laws of the United States. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sponsor, Prize Supplier, and their respective officers, directors, parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies, employees, representatives and agents are not responsible for and shall not be liable for (i) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by a prize resulting from acceptance, possession or usage of the prize, or (ii) printing, distribution or production errors. Sponsor or its affiliates may rescind any promotion found to contain such errors without liability at its or their sole discretion.

9. SPONSOR: The Sponsor of this contest is VerticalScope Inc. (the owner and operator of AutoGuide.com), 111 Peter Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2H1.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and automatically be entered to win.
*Restrictions apply. See offer for details

Get Breaking Automotive News, Reviews and Video in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked