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New Toyota Camry Hybrid Owners - Give Us Your Report

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  • wvgasguywvgasguy Posts: 1,405
    and yes, great mileage

    Now you're talking. That is NOT an exageration ;)
  • Last June, I bought a new 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid at Dunning Toyota in Ann Arbor, MI. Salesman said the car would get
    40 city/38 hwy mpg's, but the car consistently gets between 24-28
    mpg's. The service dept. said nothing was wrong with the car and
    gave many excuses why the car really wouldn't get 40/38 mpg's.(weather, wind, road conditions, AC or heater used, my driving, etc.). For 2008 models, TCH mpg's were revised downward to 33/34. I think I was defrauded about this car since all reports had
    been so glowing. Dealer will not refund your money without a fight or arbitration.
  • I bought my 2007 TCH last February, so I have had it almost a year. My overall mileage in that year (calculated) is about 31 mpg. In the warmer months in Indiana (March - October), I was able to average around 32-33 mpg most of the time. But in the winter months, I'm getting around 26-27 mpg. The cold weather has made a huge difference for me. It's probably because I have a lot of trips of 4 miles in one direction (when I drive to or from my office), and the car really doesn't have a chance to warm up, especially on a cold day. I'm still very happy with the vehicle, but a little disappointed in the mileage I have been getting.
  • talmy1talmy1 Posts: 55
    The salesman shouldn't be making any promises. The service department's "excuses" are right on -- the mileage you get depends on many things. It's certainly possible to get over 40 mpg but it takes long trips at moderate speeds or at least warm weather with the AC off. You didn't say what your driving consists of, but I know I wouldn't be breaking 25mpg if I only used the car on commutes to work (3 miles away) in the winter, for instance.

    Conventional cars are the same, but the effect of driving cold, using the air conditioner, etc., are magnified in vehicles that get good mileage to begin with because of the peculiarities of measuring in mpg rather than gallons per mile. Chances are you weren't getting the EPA mileage with your old car either. We rarely did.
  • wvgasguywvgasguy Posts: 1,405
    Salesman said the car would get 40 city/38 hwy mpg's, but the car consistently gets between 24-28 mpg's.

    The salesperson shoud have simply stated the EPA ratings. The EPA revised them recently as they did all vehicles. I hate to say it but if you're averaging 24 to 28 mpg you are not trying hard. Should you have to? No, but if you want to maximize the FE of a hybrid there are at least a few minimal changes to driving habits that is expected. Maybe a hybrid isn't for you. Little things add up but if one eliminates jack rabbit starts, drives within the speed limits and anticipates traffic to flow smoothly I don't see how to get less than 36 in good weather. There have been a few other posters complain that there is something wrong with their car. I've always wished I could drive them once and see for myself, but I'm guessing it's not the car.

    The cold weather will affect you but even in Michigan you have decent spring and summers I would think. My FE isn't impacted until it starts getting below 50F. Driving conservatively is not for everyone. I believe though the expectation is that one who buys a hybrid is willing to give up old habits for the gain in FE that can be achieved.

    It would be interesting, if you kept accurate records on your last ride, to compare it to EPA ratings.
  • wvgasguywvgasguy Posts: 1,405
    It's certainly possible to get over 40 mpg but it takes long trips at moderate speeds

    I'm not sure what constitutes a "long trip" but I have no problem obtaining 40+ on the trip computer on my 4 mile drive into town with a cold engine. Yes there are a lot of factors involved, but it doesn't take what I would call a "long" trip.
  • We have the 2007 TCH with navigation system, etc. The back-up camera was not available (to our knowledge) but now we find it would be very useful due. Does anyone have any recommendations to retrofit the TCH -- brand, where to do it, best pricing, how well they work, etc. Any information would be appreciated. Ida and Mike
  • plknjplknj Posts: 121
    My dealer offered me an after-market backup cam that could be seen on the nav screen. The price was around $700 if I remember correctly. Hope this helps.
  • The EPA estimates were too high for every single car on the market, including the TCH, and were universally revised downward as a result. You were a victim of fraud only to the extent that the EPA's methodology was flawed across the board. It was a fairly open secret that EPA estimates were poor measures. Check every other car on the market, if you can find the historical data, and you'll see that there was a change.

    On the other hand, an honest salesman (OK, a salesman who doesn't lie all the time) would have told you not to expect 40/38.
  • wvgasguywvgasguy Posts: 1,405
    However if you actually drive like the EPA did in those tests you can get 38/40. many of us do. The new tests I believe are more "realistic" for the average driver. Thus with a little effort (which you wouldn't normally do with an ICE only car) you can exceed the EPA significantly on the TCH.

    The hard thing for many to remember is to think about % rather than numbers of mpg. A 15% increase if you're getting 15mpg is only 2.25 mpg increase. With a TCH a 15% increase (or decrease) at 38 mpg is 5.7mpg. The number looks so big but the same things that cause an ICE only car to drop 15% in a lot of cases is the same things that causes a hybrid to drop 15% as well. When I've been averaging 38 mpg and drop to 35 on a high speed drive on 4 lane in the cold, that's pretty good performance.

    What I like about the TCH is that if gas gets extreemly high and everybody slows down I can still change my habits and get 38 to 40 and drive 600+ miles on a tank (if I have to). In my Infinity I could make those same shifts in driving and only get 17.5 and less than 375 miles on my tank. I remember the lines during the oil embargo. I wouldn't travel to visit the parents not knowing if I could get back home. A 600+ mile tank is freedom.

    We're not back there yet, but on any given day we could be one day away from the same scenario. The world could give a hoot about our need for oil. I'm surprised they don't make it tougher on us considering the folks with the oil basically don't like us and they really are under no obligation to do fair trade with us.
  • I still can't believe that you live in (cold) West Virginia and you get that kind of mileage. I'm from West Virginia, so I'm quite familiar with what the weather is like there! Do you keep your TCH in a heated garage, warm it up before you leave the garage, keep the heater turned off while you're driving, and only take fairly long (10 miles or more) trips on mostly level ground? That's the only way I can see that you could average well over 30 mpg in winter weather. For me, I can't even get to 30 mpg when I'm running the heater most of the time (in ECO mode) and the temperature is around freezing or lower. Just not possible, no matter how I drive, unless I drive around for over 10 miles and the car is running much more efficiently. But for short trips of 4-5 miles in the cold weather, 26-27 mpg is the best I'm going to get. I have a 2007 TCH and my wife has a 2008 model that we just picked up, and she is getting the same mileage as me. We both know all of the tricks as to how to drive the car, so it's not because our cars are defective or we don't know what we're doing. It's just a combination of factors: The weather, the terrain, and how far you drive on an average trip.

    The TCH has a lot of potential, but it's best-realized when the weather is warm. In the spring/summer I'm sure I'll be back up to around 32 mpg on average.
  • wvgasguywvgasguy Posts: 1,405
    Where in WV do you live? I live in Jane Lew.

    I have several normal trips I take and they are of various lengths. I do garage my car, not heated but probably stays 40F to 50F in the winter depending on how cold it is outside. I don't have to use the car for work.

    From my house into Weston on 2 lane Rt 19 is about 4 miles. I do this one often. It is pretty level and I have no problems getting 40+ with a cold car.

    From my house to my church in Lost Creek is about 13 to 15 miles. If I go up Rt 19 and the back way (2 lane / 45 mph) I can get 47 in summer and 39+ in winter on that trip. If I get on the interstate at Jane Lew and get off at Lost Creek (driving a little under the limit) I get 38 to 40 and it doesn't seem to vary much due to the cold.

    Snow and rain / wind does hurt hard.

    Driving from Weston to Hurricane on I79 (hilly) and I64 (relatively flat) I have gotten as much as 42 and as little as 35. The 35mpg trip was done at about 80 mph with little reguard to economy. The 42 mpg trip was allowing the car to slow on steep grades and on steep downhills I did not brake and exceeded the limit significantly (this thing rolls easy).

    Driving to Buckhannon is an experience. It is 4 lane but there is a steep grade going east. Going to Buckhannon (about 12 - 15 miles) I will get between 36 to 37, but by the time I do my return trip I'm back at 39 overall. You can pretty much coast half the way back to Weston.

    My most frequent trip is to Clarksburg (50 miles round trip). Depending on driving style I get no lower than 35 (fast old style driving), seldom lower than 36 (cold or rain) and 90% of the time better than 37 (with just a little thought about what I'm doing). With a little thought and effort I can always get 38 to 39 round trip.

    I experimented once on the backroads and made a couple of laps around the Weston-jackson Mill_Jane Lew Loop and drove almost 50 miles and had 48mpg. Remember thought that this is a 25 / 35 /45 mph road loop.

    In Nags Head (all flat) I drove 300 miles at 45 mpg in mild to heavy traffic

    However I know that somone new to the hybrid will do differently. My son took the car to Charleston and got 32 mpg. Thought he had done something great and was surprised when I chewed him out ;o)

    One time for an experiment I drove up Rt 19 to jane Lew, took the back road past Davis Station to Lost Creek and went up Mt Clair Road to Clarksburg. With no traffic and doing really stupid slow driving I got 57 mpg. Just had to see what it was capable of.

    I have found that the sweet spot for my car is driving on rolling slopes at about 50 mph. The engine running keeps the battery charged and for every up there is a down. The rolling resistance on this is incredible and it appears if you're going fast enough to use the momentum uphill that the battery boost helps significantly if you don't push it hard, yet going down the small slopes the gage drops to 60 and the overall is excellent.

    I know my driving style and the effort I give is not for everyone. However I enjoy the challenge and find it entertaining to see just how I can do. I don't think I lose much time by driving just under the limit. I find that driving under the limit keeps me from getting packed up with clusters of cars, which is why I normally drove fast. Now instead of catching up with them and slowing down, I simply let them pass. On a trip to Charleston it probably only cost me 10 minutes. I still find myself sitting behind the folks that passed me on the exit ramps.

    DISCLAIMER: My wife averages about 2 mpg lower than me. Overall FE after 39,000 miles is 37.6 and that includes several trips to Charleston and Ohio by her. Even then she would get 36 to 37 mpg. But her long milage trips add a lot of weight to the overall FE numbers. I keep a lot of records to track this including calculating a corrected FE based on odometer error and computer error. My lifetime average based on the computer is about 38.2 My lifetime calculation based on manual calculations (miles and gallons) is just over 37. If you use your computer to track FE you're probably not doing as well as you think and if you crank it out long hand you actually doing better than you think. Spent a lot of time and blogging on GreenHybrid to develop this. Not sure why oter than I wanted to see if I could come close to driving this for free after all the tax credits.

    By the way I hope you took the $3750 WV tax credit last year (it ran out though on June 1, 2006 which is why I insisted my dealer give me the first one). My total tax credit is $6350 and on top of that my dealer gives me free tires ;o)
  • tkozytkozy Posts: 3
    I have just brought home my new 2008 Camry Hybrid, love the car so far. It has all the options. My one complaint is that my heated seats are a complete waist of time. I want to hear if its maybe just my car. I have had plenty of cars with heated seats and these get hardly warm, I can't even tell I have them on most of the time. I am taking it in so the dealer can check it out but he said they have had no other complaints.
  • talmy1talmy1 Posts: 55
    I've always thought mine got too hot. Maybe there is something wrong with yours.
  • wvgasguywvgasguy Posts: 1,405
    I have an early model. Mine are not consistent. Sometimes they seem to get too hot and sometimes not very hot at all. I was surprised that they didn't have dual settings as well.

    I don't guess the heat output has anything to do with the ECO setting?
  • Hi all .. I'm a new poster here, but have read these very helpful forums for months before we brought home a 2008 TCH about 2 weeks ago.

    The TCH is primarily my wife's car, but I've driven it quite a bit. As for the heated seats, I thought they were pretty hot, and got that way quickly. My wife has mentioned that it feels like there is a thermostat ... that shuts on and off. Personally ... I've shut the heater off within minutes because it's too hot for me.

    I've had plenty of vehicles with heated heats, and still have a CTS & Infiniti QX56. IMO ... the Camry seats get hotter, faster, than in my QX. I can't complain either, since the Camry was half the price. We both LOVE the car ... just wish we had bought one sooner.
  • tkozytkozy Posts: 3
    Thanks for all the responses, I am taking it in for the dealer to look at on Monday, I hope they can get them fixed and now just tell me they are working, I know the heat comes on but it just can barely be felt so its a waist. I have tried them with and without the ECO button. Thanks again.
  • golfnut5golfnut5 Posts: 202
    Took delivery of my TCH on Dec. 28, 2007. Loaded with Navigation. Love the car. Getting between 34 and 39 mpg (manual check). Still learning how to drive in order to max out mileage. I think the technology is really cool. With improvements in technology it will be interesting to see how high the mileage can go in the future.
  • I bought mine on Ebay, used from a private deal in Utah. Fantastic price for red, 19k mile hybrid with most options, (nav, leather, premium sound, sunroof), except ground effects and dual exhaust? so what. We love this car. I get a steady 32+ mpg and I don't drive easy. I also found a class 1 trailer hitch for a removable bike rack, also on ebay. It is plenty fast enough, and smooth. Nicest car I'll ever own.
  • galtguygaltguy Posts: 2
    I wanted to ask if anyone has had any problems with there hybrid catching on fire. My car caught on fire 7 months ago and I think is was caused by the batteries in the trunk that’s where the fire started please let me know this was a 2007 camry hybrid
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