T HE VA N C O U V E R C O U R I E R F R I D AY, A U G U S T 1 3 , 2 0 1 0
2011 model comes with instantaneous fuel economy meter
Camry Hybrid remains gold standard in eco-friendly people mover
davidchao The Toyota Camry Hybrid pioneered the hybridization of the modern mid-sized sedan and it has already outlived a couple of its competitors. Its hybrid-drive system transforms one of our favourite family sedans into an eco-friendly, fuel-sipping people mover. Unlike the Prius, the Camry is not a ground-up hybrid design, so some compromises are inevitable. One is the hybrid battery pack, which takes away a chunk of trunk space. There’s still room for a couple of golf bags, so it’s not a big sacriﬁce.
In both power output and price, Toyota has cleverly positioned the Camry Hybrid between the four-cylinder and V6 gas engine versions of the car. This may partially explain why it has already outlived both the Honda Accord Hybrid and the Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid. These two departed competitors also have another thing in common, motor-assist or mild hybrid systems. Current competitors, the Ford Fusion and Nissan Altima, are both full hybrids, enabling the vehicles to be driven in a pure electric mode without the gas engine. In the bigger picture, however, hybrid vehicle sales are still a fraction of total vehicle sales. Plug-in hybrid and new full-electric vehicle technologies are on the horizon, so it will be interesting to see which technology will be the most popular with consumers. Camry Hybrid has already built a solid reputation for reliability and comes with some minor external styling chang-
The Camry Hybrid’s 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine is mated to an electric motor/generator, which can deliver a combined output that’s equivalent to 187-horsepower. es and new interior features. A new-look front grille and bumper are the most prominent visual changes. To help owners make the most of the hybrid-drive system’s frugal use of fuel, there’s a new instantaneous fuel economy meter. In addition, there are some new convenience features such as power windows with driver’s auto up/down function, a sat-
ellite radio antenna with prewire USB connectivity and an available backup camera. Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system is now in more than one million vehicles worldwide. In the Camry Hybrid, a 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine is mated to an electric motor/generator, which can deliver a combined output that’s equivalent to 187horsepower.
An advantage of the hybrid-drive system is that the high-torque qualities of the electric motor can be utilized at any time for a quick power surge. So it can provide engine response and acceleration that’s normally associated with a larger engine. My test Camry Hybrid came with the moonroof package, which upped the price to $32,400. A leather
and navigation package that contains leather upholstery; a four-way power adjustable passenger seat; heated front seats; a backup camera and a DVD-based navigation system with a seven-inch LCD display screen are also available. Design—The new grille and front bumper allow a larger lower intake opening and larger projector beam headlights. It also includes a prominently positioned extra-large Toyota emblem on a front that blends nicely with an attractively sculptured hood. A side view of the Camry shows a belt line that rises towards the rear. At the back, the trunk has a mini-spoiler type lip and it comes with restyled LED tail lights. The Hybrid edition of Camry also has an extra-low drag coefﬁcient (0.27 Cd), which is achieved with the help of unique wheel spats and under-body air shields. Interior—Roomy and comfortable, the Camry Hybrid’s interior leaves a reviewer with little to complain about or Continued next page
Vancouver Courier August 13 2010