By Cars.com EditorsMay 13, 2009
About the video
Cars.com's Kelsey Mays takes a look at the 2009 Toyota Camry Hybrid. It competes with the Honda Accord Hybrid and Nissan Altima Hybrid.
(upbeat music) Hi, I'm Kelsey Mays for Cars.com. When Toyota redesigned the Camry for 2007, it also brought the gas-electric Camry hybrid out. This is the 2009 model, I'm gonna go through the specifics of the hybrid itself.
What makes it different? If you wanna see an overview of the Camry as a whole, check out Cars.com 2008, Camry video with Senior Editor Joe Wiesenfelder. The hybrid looks a lot like a Camry LE, that means there are no fog lights or body kits around the outside, the wheels are pretty modest 16 inchers. V6 Camry's have dual exhaust pipes, four cylinders, and the hybrid have just a single one. This model uses a four cylinder engine rather than the V6 set up Toyota has in the Highlander hybrid and Lexus RX 400h. This is actually a bigger four banger than the one in the Prius. Total output is 187 horsepower. That's enough to get this car from zero to 60 in under nine seconds according to Toyota. The electric motors powered by high voltage battery pack, it's behind the rear seats. You can see it right here. When you need to slow down, actually light to medium braking doesn't really use the brakes at all, it's using what's called regenerative braking, a lot of hybrids, that means the battery pack is recharging itself and using the resulting friction to slow down the car. Unfortunately here, like in a lot of other hybrids, that means the brake pedal has a little bit of a brick, brick like feel and making smooth stops can take a little bit of practice. Pop in the driver's seat and the first thing you'll notice is that there isn't a tachometer, in its place is an MPG display. There's a center display here that also shows power flow if you get the navigation system, it's gonna show a lot of this stuff in greater detail. One kind of cool thing is that the arc around the MPG display gets brighter as you're getting better mileage. So if you're getting in the upper thirties, it'll actually be shining really bright and that's supposed to groom your driving habits for more efficiency. Fuel zone automatic climate control is standard. There's an econ mode over here that actually runs in at a lower capacity. It's not gonna be quite as cool, but it's going to use less battery power. The battery pack does take up a lot of room in the trunk. This is down to under 11 cubic feet versus about 15 cubic feet in the Camry LE. There is a 60/40 split folding back seat, not nearly as much room as the LE with its full split folding seat. Because of their liberal electric assistant low speeds, full hybrids generally see their highest efficiency gains in the city. Not surprisingly the EPA pegs, the Camry hybrid at 33/34 miles per gallon city highway, and that compares favorably to a four-cylinder Camry's 21/31 miles per gallon. Toyota has exhausted all the tax credit quotas set by the feds, so the Camry hybrids 26,000 plus sticker is probably what you're going to pay. Ultimately, you'll have to decide if going green is really worth the extra green. For additional information on this car or any other go to Cars.com and our blog KickingTires.