Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

BWC High-Mileage Review

The Toyota Camry Hybrid

Yet More Evidence That Green Is The New Black

Global warming mentioned during a State of the Union address? Major corporations lobbying the government to impose caps on carbon emissions? Al Gore nominated for an Oscar? Recognition of climate change has hit the mainstream. Another example of this trend is Toyota's decision to offer a hybrid version of the Camry, the best-selling car in America.

The Camry hybrid is a great car for "everyday American drivers". You get the benefit of good gas mileage (39 mpg average) and cleaner emissions (80% fewer smog-forming emissions compared to the non-hybrid Camry), but the body styling is so similar to the original that you can keep your environmentalism hush-hush. In other words, this car will play in Peoria.

Like the Prius, the Camry hybrid is powered by Toyota's "Hybrid Synergy Drive". The Hybrid Synergy Drive System consists of power sources that are complementary and produce a combined 187 horsepower. The Camry's 2.4 liter engine (as compared to the Prius' 1.4 liter engine) makes the Camry faster. Its mileage is not as good as the Prius, but the hybrid Camry is far more efficient than most mid-sized sedans.

Overall, we like the Camry. It's certainly not the sexiest car in the world (that would be the Tesla electric roadster), but it's roomy, comfortable, reliable, and most importantly, helping to further usher hybrid technology into the mainstream. And hey, the Camry Hybrid was voted 2007 Car of the Year in the Family Sedan category by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC). That's gotta count for something, right?

Are you the kind of person who likes movies about gladiators? No? Well, are you the kind of person who would only want to read certain sections of this long review? If so, you're in luck, because you can cut directly to the sections that interest you most using the handy section shortcuts below:

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Begin At The Beginning. Hybrid Electric Vehicles Defined
Quick Stats
Things People Like About The Camry Hybrid
Things People Don't Like About The Camry Hybrid
What's The Deal With The Batteries? The Shocking Truth: Battery Lifespan And Disposal
Recall Info
Long List Of Standard Features

Begin At The Beginning. Hybrid Electric Vehicles Defined:

A hybrid is any vehicle that uses two or more sources of power – in today’s HEVs; the two sources are electricity (from batteries) and mechanical power (from a small internal combustion engine). HEVs can offer the very low emissions of electric vehicles with the power and range of gasoline vehicles. They also offer up to 30 more miles per gallon, perform as well as or better than, and are just as safe as any comparable gasoline-powered car – and they never have to be plugged in for recharging. Widespread use of HEVs would help reduce our nation’s growing dependence on foreign oil and cut greenhouse gas emissions by one-third to one-half.

Not all hybrids are alike. There are many ways to combine the engine, motor/generator, and battery. Three basic hybrid configurations are the series, parallel, and split (or through-the-road) designs.

With the series configuration, the engine never directly powers the car. Instead, the engine drives the generator, and the generator can either charge the batteries or power an electric motor that drives the wheels.

In the case of the parallel configuration, the engine connects to the transmission, as do the batteries and the electric motor. So both the engine and the generator/motor can supply power to the wheels, switching back and forth as driving conditions vary.

The engine drives one axle and the electric motor drives the other in the split configuration. There is no connection between the engine and the electric components except “through the road.”

Quick Stats:


- MSRP $26,200
- 2.4L I4, 16 valve, 192 hp @ 6000 rpm, Hybrid - Electric
- VAR speed automatic transmission
- 40 mpg city / 38 mpg hwy

Things People Like About The Camry Hybrid:

- The base model Camry comes well equipped with all the extras you usually have to pay for in other cars.
- Quiet (quieter than the Prius).
- Plenty of leg-room.
- Reliable.

Things People Don't Like About The Camry Hybrid

- For a mid-sized sedan, the trunk is small.
- Steering could be more responsive.
- Plastic interior trim.
- The dash and stereo lighting are too bright when driving at night.

What's The Deal With The Batteries? The Shocking Truth: Battery Lifespan And Disposal:

The hybrid battery packs are designed to last for the lifetime of the vehicle, somewhere between 150,000 and 200,000 miles, probably a whole lot longer. The warranty covers the batteries for between eight and ten years, depending on the manufacturer.

Hybrids use NiMH batteries, not the environmentally problematic rechargeable nickel cadmium. "Nickel metal hydride batteries are benign. They can be fully recycled," says Ron Cogan, editor of the Green Car Journal. Toyota and Honda say that they will recycle dead batteries and that disposal will pose no toxic hazards. Toyota puts a phone number on each battery, and they pay a $200 "bounty" for each battery to help ensure that it will be properly recycled.


Recall Info:


Recalls for Camry, not necessarily hybrid specific. Considering the amount of Camry's produced and out on the road, the fact that only a total of two recalls for the 2006 and 2007 model years have been announced is amazing.

Make / Models /Build Years:
Toyota / Camry / 2006
Recall Date: NOV 22, 2005
Component: EQUIPMENT: OTHER: LABELS
Consequence: A MISPRINTED LABEL WOULD LEAD TO IMPROPER VEHICLE LOADING SPECIFICATIONS OR TIRE INFLATION WHICH COULD RESULT IN A TIRE FAILURE, INCREASING THE RISK OF A CRASH.
Remedy: OWNERS WILL BE PROVIDED WITH NEW TIRE INFORMATION PLACARDS AND INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS. AT THE CUSTOMER'S OPTION, A DEALER CAN PERFORM THE INSTALLATION FOR THEM. THE RECALL BEGAN ON DECEMBER 28, 2005. OWNERS MAY CONTACT TOYOTA AT 1-800-331-4331.

Make / Models /Build Years:
Toyota / Camry / 2007
Recall Date: MAR 28, 2006
Component: AIR BAGS
Consequence: THIS MAY INCREASE THE RISK OF INJURY TO THE OCCUPANT IN THE INVOLVED SEATING POSITION IN THE EVENT OF A CRASH.
Remedy: DEALERS WILL REPLACE THE SPECIFIC SRS AIR BAG. THE RECALL BEGAN ON APRIL 6, 2006. OWNERS MAY CONTACT TOYOTA AT 1-888-270-9371, SCION AT 1-866-548-1851, OR LEXUS AT 1-800-255-3987.

Long List Of Standard Features:

- Electronically Controlled Adaptive Continuously Variable Automatic Transmission With Overdrive
- Adaptive Automatic Transmission
- Tilt Steering Column
- Power Rack and Pinion Variable Assisted Steering
- Telescopic Steering Column
- Independent MacPherson Strut Front Suspension With Coil Springs and Shock Absorbers
- Independent Dual Link Rear Suspension With Coil Springs and Shock Absorbers
- Rear Stabilizer Bar
- Battery Saver
- Portable Media Player Audio Pre-Wiring
- 244.8-Volt Sealed Nickel-Metal Hydride Battery
- Delayed Power Retention Operates Power Windows and Sunroof
- Front Power Outlet
- 4-Wheel Anti-Lock Brakes
- Front Power 296-mm Ventilated Disc and Rear Power 281-mm Solid Disc Brakes
- Electronic Brake Assistance
- Electronic Brake Force Distribution
- Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) Vehicle Stability Control System Operated Via, Anti-Lock Brakes, Electronic Brake Assistance, Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Electric Power Steering (EPS) and Electronically Controlled Brakes (ECB); Measures Yaw Rate, Steering Angle and Wheel Speed
- Front and Rear Automatic Locking Retractors
- Front Seatbelt Height Adjusters
- Rear 3-Point Center Seatbelt
- Front and Rear Side Head Curtain Airbags
- First Aid Kit
- Driver Knee Airbag
- Driver Airbag With Dual Stage Deployment
- Seat Mounted Front Side Airbags
- Passenger Airbag With Dual Stage Deployment
- L A T C H
- Front and Rear Outboard 3-Point Seatbelts
- Front Pretensioners With Force Limiters
- Side Guard Door Beams
- Trunk Anti-Trap Device
- Child Safety Door Locks Located On Rear Doors
- Power Door Locks
- Selective Locking/Unlocking
- Vehicle Anti-Lockout
- Vehicle Anti-Theft Via Engine Immobilizer
- HomeLink(R) Universal Garage Door Opener
- Card Key
- Remote Trunk Release Located Inside Vehicle
- Remote Fuel Door Release Located Inside Vehicle
- Keyless Entry Operated Via Key Fob
- Smart Entry Multi-Function Remote Operates Illuminated Entry, Door Lock/Unlock, Trunk, Windows, Panic Alarm, Anti-Theft and Exterior Lights
- Panic Alarm
- Driver Power Seat Adjusts 8 Ways Total
- Driver Power Lumbar Support
- Rear 60/40 Folding Bench Seat With Adjustable Headrests and Fold-Down Armrest
- Rear Seat Pass Through
- Cloth Seats
- Front Dual Reclining Bucket Seats With Passenger Side Manually Adjusts 4-Ways Total, Driver Adjustable Seat Height and Adjustable Headrests
- Lockable Glovebox
- Covered Lower Console Storage Located On Floor
- 2 Front Cupholders Total
- Front Dual Seatback Storage Pockets
- Coinholder
- Overhead Console Storage
- Cargo Net
- Front Door Mounted Storage
- Tire Pressure Monitor
- Compass
- Steering Wheel Mounted Controls For Air Conditioning, Audio, Phone and Wireless Enabled Devices
- Trip Computer With Average Speed, Average Fuel Consumption, Miles To Empty and Instantaneous Fuel Consumption
- Digital Clock
- Cruise Control
- Electroluminescent Instrumentation
- Warning Lights Include Brake System and Electrical System
- Exterior Temperature Gauge
- Maintenance Interval Indicator
- Trunk Light
- Delayed Courtesy Light
- Daytime Running Lights
- Automatic Headlights With Automatic On/Off
- Halogen Headlights
- Perimeter Lighting Located On Headlights
- JBL Premium AM/FM Radio With 440-Watts and 8 Speakers Total; 6-Disc CD Changer; MP3/WMA Player
- Radio Antenna
- In-Glass Radio Antenna
- Wireless Communication Access For Bluetooth(R) Enabled Devices
- Radio Data System
- Plasmacluster(TM) Interior Air Filter
- Rear HVAC Ducts
- Automatic Climate Control
- Separate Driver/Front Passenger Climate Controls
- Front Carpeted Floor Mats
- Leather Located On Shift Knob
- Rear Carpeted Floor Mats
- Carpet Located In Passenger Cabin and Trunk
- Leather Steering Wheel
- SBRP215/60R16, All-Season Tires
- Compact Spare Tire
- Alloy Wheels, 16-In. X 6.5-In
- Electrochromic Interior Rearview Mirror
- Power Window Lockout/Override
- Manual Sunshade Located On Rear Window
- Dual Color-Keyed Power Adjustable Exterior Rearview Mirrors
- Front Dual Illuminated Vanity Mirrors
- Power Windows With Driver One-Touch Down
- Rear Window Defroster
- Tinted Glass
- Dual Sunvisors
- Intermittent Windshield Wipers
- Front and Rear Color-Keyed Bumpers
- Front Air Dam
- Metallic Paint (If Selected)
- Chrome Located On Exhaust Pipe

1% Donated to the Environment
1% Donated to the Environment