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New Toyota Camry Hybrid Owners - Give Us Your Report

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  • wvgasguywvgasguy Posts: 1,405
    We paid around $35k for it

    I'm guessing you "overpaid" for it originally. I don't see how a used one can sell for more than what some folks are getting new ones for. I wouldn't expect more than $26,000 (if you're lucky). Remember too purchasers lose the benefit of any tax credits still available. My understanding of the tax law is too that if you sell you'll have to give back some of the tax credit if you claimed it.

    If you have high payments then I'll assume you must have financed most of it. Be sure to calculate what your true cost of trading down and getting a cheaper car will be. If you're owing more than the TCH will sell for, then that cost will have to be rolled in on your new payment and you may end up knocking only $50/mo off of a payment for a car that's a $10,000 MSRP lesser car.

    You always lose when you trade the first year. You'll lose even more if you paid over MSRP.

    Unless you're just unhappy with the car I doubt that "trading down" will help you much without adding a lot of downpayment to the new loan. (Unless you're trading down to say a $15,000 Corola or similarly priced vehicle)
  • I just picked up my new silver Camry Hybrid last Saturday (I got it full loaded). I probably didn't get the best possible price ($300 off of MSRP, with free mud guards and all-season floor mats thrown in for free), but this dealer has always been great to me and he didn't charge a doc fee either. He also sold the 7-year, 100K Toyota warranty to me for $990, which matches the price of that other dealer several people have mentioned on here.

    I was worried that I would feel the car was kind of "cheap" on the inside compared to a Lexus. But after owning the car for a few days, I don't feel that way at all. This is by far the most luxurious car I have ever driven (including an Acura I owned a few years ago). The seats are very comfortable, the interior is very quiet, the car feels heavy and stable (I prefer that feel), and the performance is quite good (My previous car was a 240 HP Accord EX-L). Bluetooth works perfectly for me with my Motorola ROKR E1 phone......I was worried about that after reading some complaints on here, but the sound quality is excellent on both ends. I haven't used the navigation system much yet, but it seems fine so far. I will probably only use that on trips outside of town.

    I have quickly learned how I have to drive in order to get in the mid 30's, and that's without reading any of the tips in various forums online. I have good luck quickly getting up to the speed I want to be at, and then just maintaining that speed most of the time.

    I will probably have more comments & questions later, but so far I'm 100% happy with my purchase!
  • jbriskojbrisko Posts: 9
    I picked my TCH 4 days ago and have driven 300 miles so far .MPG display shows just 31.7 for city driving and 32 for highway. I already feel that I made a wrong decision of buying a camry hybrid. That is because I have achieved good gas mileage with all my cars before this and feel frustrated because of the disparity between standard and practical mileage.Any comments or suggestions?
  • My advice would be not to get frustrated with the first tank, particularly if the weather's been cold where you're driving. I saw similar MPG for my first tank (32), but I'm up to 36 on my second, with the biggest changes being my better understanding of how to "pump and glide" and warmer weather.

    You've found a good site with lots of advice...look to the "Tips and Tricks" section, or the "Real World MPG" for lots more on what to expect. The consensus seems to be that 32-33 is easily achievable without any change in driving habits, 36-38 can be achieved if you adjust to how the hybrid wants to be driven (pump and glide, etc), and 40+ can be had with the right commute and more attention to small details. The only people who might really be disappointed are those who primarily drive many short trips, which doesn't give the ICE time to properly warm up, costing MPG.

    Good luck, and I hope your mileage improves as mine has.
  • jbriskojbrisko Posts: 9
    Thanks for the good advice.Happy to find best site for real world hybrid information sharing.
  • abacusabacus Posts: 4
    I just bought a TCH, just started my second tank. Wasn't much impressed with the MPG on my daily commute to work. Weather warmed up a bit this weekend, got 45mpg to the airport and 43mpg coming back (with a stop at the mall). But I was still getting 25ish mpg on commute to work. This morning I was pleased to discover my ICE shutting down after a much briefer time resulting in getting 36/37mpg to and from work - but I don't think it is because of the slightly warmer weather.


    The difference was, believe it or not, turning off my heater (seat heater had no negative impact). Tested theory several times, found with heater on "auto" ICE stayed on at stop signs but if I turned the heater off the ICE would turn off.

    If I drove longer with heater on, eventually the ICE starts to turn off, but on a short commute (20 min) I wasn't getting much benefit.

    My plan for maximizing MPG is seat heater on, main heater off (until I have a chance to test heater in manual mode more thoroughly).

    Hope that helps some other new owner.
  • stalnakerstalnaker Posts: 72
    Thanks for the advice on the heater. Fortunately it's getting warmer where I live (Indiana), so I wouldn't need it much longer anyway. I wonder what effect the AC has on it though?
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Let me give you some info based on owning my TCH in both hot and cold weather this year.

    In the hot months, I averaged about 36.9 MPG
    In the cold months, I averaged about 34.97 MPG

    So with rounding, that's about 2 MPG better in the hot months with the A/C running.

    Here's why the cold and the heater has a more detrimental effect than the A/C does:

    In cold weather, all cars do worse in the mileage department. This is because until the engine is warmed up to optimum operating temperatures, the car is not making maximum efficient use of the fuel.

    The cold weather effect is even worse on a Hybrid, because until the engine reaches optimum temps, the HSD (or in the case of Honda the IMA) system is not fully engaged. Once the car is warmed up, the HSD system is fully activated and will assist the gas engine in making more effective use of the fuel and driving the MPG up.

    In addition, many times the heater is using the air compressor - which every car owner knows causes the car to use more fuel.

    So in the wintertime you have two enemies - cold weather AND use of the heater (thus the compressor).

    In the summer, the only enemy is the compressor. The HSD system is effective much sooner after the start of the drive because the engine warms up faster.

    Good Luck and Happy TCHing !!
  • jvomerojvomero Posts: 1
    Hi:
    I currently own an 01 Camry XLE and am contemplating the Camry Hybrid. I live in Phoenix, AZ and would like to know how the engine handles the stress of the AC on a hot summer day (~ 115 degrees.) How long does it take to reach the coolest setting?
    Thank you.
    JV
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    There is NO problems at ALL with the Camry Hybrid air conditioner in Phoenix.

    I owned mine last year from June 2nd forward, and it always got cold very quickly and the blower is strong and the temps in the car were bearable almost immediately.

    Same as every Toyota I have ever owned - a strong, cold A/C.

    One caveat: I do have Huber Optik window tint, some of the best ceramic-based tint in the world, so that DOES help stop some of the heat before it has a chance to enter the car.
  • Unfortunately, I'm not enjoying it at all. After exactly 1 day's use, the Camry Hybrid 50th anniversay "loaded" model completely ceased to function. It's now been with the deal for 3 days. They have no clue. The interior system lights come on, and you can run the audio system etc, but the car won't move. The Ready light does not come on but many other "problem indicator" lights do come on. VERY DISAPPOINTED. This car is clearly not ready for broad based distribution to the public. It's way too glitchy, as you can readily see from many other posts about battery discharges (not the problem in my case), rattles, rough transitions, etc. Too bad. I love the hybrid concept and was ready to be an early adapter. But this car doesn't fill the bill. Back to the drawing board for Toyota. To others out there, don't do this. Buyer beware.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    There are tens of thousands of happy TCH owners in the world.

    The car is by far ready for prime time.

    You cannot take one example (your car) and a few anecdotal rattles (happens in ANY "new" model year car) and declare that the TCH is "not ready for prime time." That's just silly talk.

    I've got 12,000 trouble free, RATTLE FREE, GLITCH-FREE miles on my TCH. Toyota is not new to the hybrid world, and they know when a car is "ready" for the public.

    And the TCH is and has been READY.

    Buyers, lay down your money and get prepared to be happy.
  • regal1945regal1945 Posts: 25
    So you got a lemon, suck it up and make lemonaid. What is warrentee for???
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,871
    Owner experiences and opinions about vehicles are like mileage... yours may vary. But a difference of opinion about a vehcile is not a personal challenge or insult that requires some kind of retaliatory response.

    Back to the discussiion...

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  • wvgasguywvgasguy Posts: 1,405
    as you can readily see from many other posts about battery discharges

    Uhhh, many? I remember one person with that problem.

    But this car doesn't fill the bill. Back to the drawing board for Toyota. To others out there, don't do this. Buyer beware.

    I realize you have a right to be frustrated, even angry. But there's too many of these out there with no problems to condem the whole bunch. I'm sorry for your experience. Mine has been pretty much trouble free for 20,000 miles. Hang in there and it will all work out.
  • gillesmtlgillesmtl Posts: 55
    Here is an update about driving a TCH in Montreal's winter:

    1- As I expected, cold starting never was a problem. It does get much colder in the Prairies (Canadian mid-west), so maybe someone there can comment further.

    2- Mileage was up to 25% lower : 21 usgpm vs 28 usgpm in city driving. Now that temperatures are coming up again, mileage is coming back up.

    3- TOYOTA take note : That little fuel economy gauge behind the wheel stayed uselessly out of range - I did not see it for weeks (until I drove the car out to a ski area).

    4- Fuel economy was degraded for many reasons:
    a) fuel mixture is richer for a long time until the ICE warms up
    b) At 0°F, waiting at a traffic light, if you run the heater fan at the 3rd mark, you can actually see the engine temperature slide down when the ICE is stopped ! If you pull back the heater fan to the 1st mark, in the ECO mode (which excludes Defrost mode) you can decrease the ICE duty cycle from 80% to 30%.
    c) Denser air causes more drag (3-4 mpg at 70 mph)
    d) Winter tires don't seem to have much of an impact (maybe 1-2 mpg)
    e) Anti-slip, ABS and Vehicle Stability Control were fine

    5- The front skirt is so low that :
    a) my car got stuck in a parking lot, because it was attempting to do the snow plow's job
    b) the lower plastic part is already broken
    c) I know this is a feature, not a bug, designed that way to reduce drag. TOYOTA take note: Make it strong enough to meet with snow, or make it removeable for the winter.
  • newcarsnewcars Posts: 103
    I have had my Toyota Camry Hybrid since late September 2007 and have had only one problem with it. Strangely enough, it was about 3 days old when I had returned it to the dealer overnight after having a dealer-accessory installed. But when I picked it up the next night, it would not start. Fortunately, I was at my dealership when this happened. Indeed, it was one of the service managers who first tried, unsuccessfully, to start my car.

    To say I was upset would be an understatement. Indeed, since I had the car for less than a week, I told the dealer that I was cancelling the sale if the car was not in perfect working order when I returned the next evening. Fortunately, for both them and me, it was. I have not had a single problem since.

    Here is a brief thread on the problem I encountered: problems with my Camry

    It is so similar to the problem you've had with your car, I think it could be the same thing. If it is, the good news is the problem can be permanently fixed.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,793
    "To say I was upset would be an understatement. Indeed, since I had the car for less than a week, I told the dealer that I was cancelling the sale if the car was not in perfect working order when I returned the next evening. Fortunately, for both them and me, it was. I have not had a single problem since."

    More fortunate for you. I'm not sure about your state, but here in CA, once you sign the papers and drive the car off the lot, it is your car, and cannot be returned unless the dealer is willing to take it back (unlikely), or it falls under the lemon laws.
  • voxlocusvoxlocus Posts: 7
    My TCH is pretty basic. No sunroof. Cloth upholstery. While I actually like the way the sorta' silly spoiler looks, I sure wouldn't have paid the $250 for it. Car stickered just short of $28k. Traded in 2002 cherry lo-mileage VW Beetle Turbo and wrote ck for $16,250. Gave my 2006 Civic EX to my daughter after taking back the VW to trade.

    This may seem strange, but I "cross-shopped" the 2007 Honda CR-V. I like the CR-V a lot, but what decided me on the Camry were the user comments about both. Drivers who loved their CR-Vs all but unanimously reported that the CR-V "road noise" didn't bother them so much. I was looking forward to getting out of the Civic because even with hushmat and quiet tires, the road noise, well, it bother me . . .

    By contrast, everyone who had a Camry reported it was "quiet."

    Quiet is good, especially on long drives.

    My TCH is very quiet. Not tomblike as the Lexus 350 is described, but very, very quiet.

    I chose the Hybrid for several reasons. I've read the 3.5L 6 cylinder Camry has a lot of torque steer. Having had a previous Nissan Maxima torque steer itself right out of my hands, I can do without that.

    The Hybrid has more oomph than the 4 cylinder, though I doubt the hybrid's fuel savings will pay back the premium for the Hybrid system. Or it will take a very long time, or a new fuel crisis.

    Still, the TCH is very pleasant to drive. I am extremely confident getting on the freeway, something I had to watch carefully in the Honda Civic, often dropping (per owner's manual suggestion) into 3rd from drive when entering an on ramp.

    The Camry is NOT a sports car. It is NOT sporty. HALLEJULAH! Maybe I'm getting really old, or maybe I've just outgrown being influenced by those professional auto reviewers who would have us drive around with skateboard suspensions and low profile tires. Maybe those guys get subsidized not just by the car ads in their magazines, but by Preparation-H. I've had several cars like that and ended up getting depressed anytime I had to take a trip longer than 20 minutes.

    Though not sporty, the TCH is no barcolounger, either. I was on the freeway a couple of days ago and a truck in front of me locked its brakes so tight black smoke poured off its tires. I put my foot into the Camry's brakes, I guess meeting the brake assist for the first time, and the car JUST STOPPED, all the time under control. Had it not come to such a fast stop, I could have pulled around the truck ahead of me.

    MPG? "My" salesman pointed out a selling seminar he attended taught him there's a "sweetspot" at 64 MPH. I've tried it, and the dashboard gauge is usually pegged at 60 MPG, though it will read a bit worse in a headwind. I'm getting an overall 37+ and on the highway in the mid 40s. The weather has been pretty mild for those who follow temps.

    The dash MPG gauge clearly shows the benefits of surge and coast. It seems strange not to "ease" the car away from a stop, but getting to the speed limit faster than backing off makes a large difference in overall MPG. Must be the Atkinson cycle engine and the CVT type transmission, plus getting the batteries in play.

    I'm only on my third tank, so I'm hardly a long-termer. But my first impressions are more favorable this far in than with any vehicle I've owned.
  • lzclzc Posts: 483
    May wife and I own both cars you cross shopped, a TCH and new CR-V. We've taken 1,000+ mile trips in both.

    The difference in road noise between the two isn't much. It varies depending on road surface, from non-existent to slight. But, yes, the quieter nod goes to Camry.

    But the CR-V is superior in several areas: its more comfortable seats, road visibility, and of course foul weather handling.

    Alas, when it comes to gas mileage, it's no contest. A trip to the SF Bay Area last weekend resulted in round trip mileage of 39.6.
  • voxlocusvoxlocus Posts: 7
    Ah. Glad to know comparing the two isn't so strange!

    I really do like the CR-V and the front seats are great. Though I didn't find the back seat as good, and as we have a child still at home, the back seat mattered. Plus my wife already has and loves her Subaru Forester, so it seemed a good idea to do what you've done, and have one of each type vehicle.

    My Honda noise experiences (2001 Odyssey van and 2006 Civic EX) have NOT been good. The 2001 Odyssey van was a disaster everyone in my family hated. Took a loss on it 3 months after purchase and bought a Caravan. Fortunately, the "loaded" Caravan cost so much less than the Odyssey, it was a wash.

    The '06 Civic is a fine little car, but after a 100 mile trip I frequently have to make for business, I was exhausted by noise and the driver's seat which almost but didn't quite fit. (Diet, Vox!) That after lining all the floors/doors with hushmat and changing the tires to the ones Consumer Reports said are the quietest.

    Thus when it came time to coin flip, I read evereyone's comments (like yours, Camry, quieter) and went that way.

    As to your "gas alas," well, I guess you could have bought a CR-V EX-L Nav and paid more than I paid for my Camry, but there's a lotta' CR-V models which cost enough less to make the MPG savings in the TCH meaningless, though it is nice to burn less hydrocarbons for good ole' mama earth.

    And, compliments to Honda, the CR-Vs all come with ALL the safety gear including stability control. One clincher for the Hybrid is it cost LESS than the only (hyperloaded) 4 cylinder I could find with stability control within several states . . .
  • lzclzc Posts: 483
    I've never understood why Honda has been slow to deal the problem of noise. My '98 Accord was noisy. I test drove an '06 CR-V and new Civic. Both were too noisy. The new CR-V model is much better.

    Buying the hybrid version was the only way I could get a Camry with stability control and without a moonroof in the northwest region. I'm quite pleased with how it turned out, although the Camry's auto climate control system is automated to the point of inflexibility. Even with the auto featured turned off, it will sometimes override driver settings. But that's a small complaint in an otherwise excellent car.
  • voxlocusvoxlocus Posts: 7
    I was "told" that Honda doesn't do so much with sound isolation because it raises the weight of cars and decreases mileage and performance. I've also read reviews of the Acura RDX (a CR-V on steroids) which certainly make one ill-disposed to drive a skateboard while enduring whine---for $10k more than the nicest CR-V. A pretty high price for 0 to 60 in 1.5 sec. less, not to mention the terrible reported MPG for the RDX. Not to mention, again, the noise . . .

    Interesting that you wanted the stability control and no sunroof. Before giving my Civic to my daughter we looked at Nissan Versas, econo-cars which are quieter. There's no stability control. Anti-lock brakes are a $250 option. There's lots of Versas around with expensive sunroofs, fancy steros and Bluetooth, nice as Bluetooth is. But try to find one with anti-lock brakes. Maybe NOT having the cell phone glued to your ear is safer than brakes which keep you from skidding into the car in front of you you were too busy gabbing to notice. Why not both?

    I don't know about the NW, but down here in Okiehoma, we live under the thumb of Gulf States Toyota, a regional distributor. MANY if not MOST of their cars have $350 wax jobs and $1300 "extra value packages." I waxed the new car myself, and put the $4 door edge protectors on. My insurance covers towing, but I do need to drop by the auto parts store and get some "wheel locks" for $16. That's about $1650 saved by driving to Missouri, outside the Gulf States region! Who wants to "start" negotiating a car purchase $1650 of distributor "pack" in the hole?
  • wvgasguywvgasguy Posts: 1,405
    we live under the thumb of Gulf States Toyota

    Living in an area that's not under this thumb, nor the SET finger, it's hard to believe Toyota (and consumers) put up with the fees and add ons. People need to vote with their wallet. I like my Toyota but it has to be somewhat price competitive. My 4Runner is a little more than a domestic, but the resale is as well. However if I had to tack on an additional grand or two I would not have bought it. (There was nothing comparable in the domestics for my TCH)

    I can't imagine how many Toyota's would be sold in the US if these two regions did not operate like they do.
  • stalnakerstalnaker Posts: 72
    Where can you get $4 door edge guards? Are they designed to match the color of your Camry? One of my passengers recently opened the back passenger door and hit a metal garbage can, causing a small paint chip on the edge (not that noticeable but it really pissed me off). I have some touch-up paint, but am trying to learn the best way to apply it so the repair isn't noticeable. I would prefer to avoid this type of damage in the future.
  • voxlocusvoxlocus Posts: 7
    I picked mine up at the nearby auto parts store, 2 pair @ like $4 each, $8 total. They're TrimBrite CLEAR (transparent) door edge guards. They have an adhesive inside the U shaped plastic guard. I Googled them and found this link: http://www.autobarn.net/dooredmol.html

    But you can probably just walk into whatever car parts store is near you. I think I was at AutoZone, but honestly, didn't pay any attention to the store name.

    The TRICK is to have the car really clean and press the door edge guards on when it is quite warm, over 65 F for sure. Over time, they may get dirty --- but at $8 when you want new, go for it.

    I had to trim mine some because of all the creases in the Camry sheet metal.

    I tried to post pictures, embed pictures, link to pictures. All very confusing. It seems there are some pictures in a CarSpace Picture Album entitled " Clear Door Edge "

    Wish I knew how to get them here!
  • johnchaujohnchau Posts: 2
    Keith,

    Congratlations! Would you mind tell me how much you paid for the TCH on the ground (price with tax & Admin fees). I plan to have a TCH as well. But I still some concerns about the cold weather like ON affect the battery and the mileages. Would you please tell me something about it. Thanks!

    John Chau
  • petlpetl Posts: 610
    John, I purchased a fully loaded TCH in January from Cornwall Toyota (didn't want to deal with the large dealerships in Ottawa). I wouldn't worry about the cold weather effects on the battery. Toyota has not replaced one yet and they've been selling hybrids in different climates for over ten years. Actually, an added benefit with the TCH electric motor is that the vehicle warms up quicker.

    As with any vehicle, cold weather will affect mileage. However, compared to my 2002 4cyl XLE (which I traded) mileage improved by approx. 30% in city driving. On the coldest days, combined fuel consumption was between 35 and 38 MPG's. My last 2 fill-ups returned 43 and 42 MPG's.

    With the $2,000.00 provincial tax rebate and the new $1,500.00 federal tax rebate choosing the TCH is no brainer (unless you need the additional trunk space). Particularly with the added features the TCH has over an LE. This is my fourth Camry. The TCH is the quietest, smoothest, most solid and luxurious to date (touch wood). It's a technological marvel. Unless, there aren't too many available (thanks to the rebates) you should be able to negotiate between $1,000.00 and $1,500.00 off MSRP.

    Good luck
  • johnchaujohnchau Posts: 2
    Keith, Thanks for your great info.
  • pgnycpgnyc Posts: 5
    Hi !
    Looking to buy a camry hybrid and i have questions:

    how many smartkey did you get ?

    how do you handle with parking valet ????

    thanks
    Pascal
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