MPG-o-Matic Toyota Camry Hybrid Review Summary: Proving that fuel-efficiency, conservative styling, and a comfortable ride are not mutually exclusive, the Toyota Camry Hybrid delivers a winning combination of high-MPGs with a roomy interior and low-key appearance.
Under the hood, the Camry Hybrid is fitted with a Hybrid Synergy Drive system consisting of a 2.4 liter DOHC 16-valve VVT-i four cylinder engine, and electric motor producing a total of 187 horsepower (HP), along with an electronic continuously variable transmission (ECVT).
The official gas mileage estimates for the 2008 Camry Hybrid are 33 city/34 highway miles per gallon (MPG).
In hundreds of miles of driving, we easily exceeded the official estimates for our Jasper Pearl Camry Hybrid sedan, scoring an average of 42.1 MPG on the highway, with 39 MPG combined.
The low-key Camry Hybrid offers a compelling blend of fuel-efficiency and performance. When you step on the throttle, the car gets underway in a very respectable fashion.
And when you let off, the fuel savings begin.
The Camry Hybrid is a thoroughly pleasant car to drive. It rides and handles just the way you’d expect a Camry to behave. This is a stealthy hybrid … there’s little that screams out at the world, other then some badges and trim.
To get the best mileage out of the Camry Hybrid, you need to minimize the usage of the gasoline engine. At speeds under 40 miles per hour (MPH) or so, you can provoke the synergy system to shut the engine down in favor of electric drive. Learning when to take your foot off the accelerator is key.
I’m driving down the boulevard, rolling up to a red light, with my foot off the gas. On the left side, the MPG consumption needle bottoms out, while the energy flow meter shows the wheels sending regenerative energy back to the battery. As the car rolls to a stop the engine is off.
Here’s where things get really interesting. With the Camry Hybrid, to some extent, you can forget about the old adage to “avoid jackrabbit starts.”
When the light turns green, I’ll jump on the accelerator and after reaching the speed limit, lift my foot to provoke electric drive mode. At that point, we’re cruising for ultra-high MPGs.
Watch the needle on the left drop when I lift my foot off the accelerator.
As the needle falls past the 60 MPG mark, the system picks up some regenerative power before switching over to the electric motor to maintain speed. Effective use of this pulse and glide technique can save a remarkable amount of fuel.
Hit your marks and the dashboard will give you a pat on the back.
All-in-all, we found the Toyota Camry Hybrid to be exceptionally easy to live with and a fine choice for folks in the market for a family sedan with the best mileage.
August 30th, 2008
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