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Toyota Camry Hybrid Test Drive - What Did You Think?

PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,859
edited March 15 in Toyota
This is the place to share your post-test drive impressions of the Camry Hybrid.

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  • keithlkeithl Posts: 106
    Ok so I just got back from taking a TCH for a spin. First the Camry is a nice car, plenty of room. As the the drive, well it takes gettig used to that when you "start" the car the engine does nto immedialty start. The car was warmed up already so the transition from electric to gas was nto real noticable, but the hesitation from the line is very noticable. Granted I am coming from a Acura TL, but I also drove a 06 (non hybrid) Civic and honestly the Civic launched way better. I'm wondering if there is a way to stop the engine from stopping thus probably improving the launch off the line. And how much gas can idling at a light really save? I am rarley in much dead stop traffic so I don't think having the engine run all the time would be an issue. I don't know if I coudl get used to the big lag off the line otherwise. Any thoughts?
  • grandtotalgrandtotal Posts: 1,207
    Any thoughts?

    Buy the Civic.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    It is a different driving experience and it may not be for everyone. Your TL and the Civic are tuned to be driven for quickness and handling enjoyment. The TCH is intended to be driven in a more relaxed manner to get the best utilization of the system.

    There is a different feel at launch for certain but what is unique in the HSD vehicles is that normally from a dead stop with no engine running at all the HSD vehicles often will be first off the line due to the immediate torque provided by the electric motor. Nearly all the time in the Prius I am first away from a light - but soon caught if you will. A TL or even an ICE Civic will blow away a Prius in a drag. Different intents.
  • aaeeekgaaeeekg Posts: 16
    I don't think having the engine run all the time would be an issue. I don't know if I could get used to the big lag off the line otherwise. Any thoughts?

    Here are my thoughts. The TCH is designed with economy in mind. If punch off the line is more important to you, and you want to defeat the primary energy saving feature, then you would be wasting your money to buy a hybrid (at least a FE focused hybrid). Go look at the new XLE-6.
  • keithlkeithl Posts: 106
    Here are my thoughts. The TCH is designed with economy in mind. If punch off the line is more important to you, and you want to defeat the primary energy saving feature, then you would be wasting your money to buy a hybrid (at least a FE focused hybrid). Go look at the new XLE-6.

    I am not looking for punch off the line, but I would like something comparable to the 06 Civic, I felt a noticable lag from press to movement. I would truly expect the instant torque of the TCH to be better. I guess if I wanted pure economy I would go Prius, the Camry is supposed to be a blend of economy and function. I fully understand it will not be like a V6 I am willing to give that up.
  • tsytsy Posts: 1,551
    If you want performance and a hybrid- look at a Lexus GS 400h- should blow your TL away. ;) For what it's worth, the TCH does quite well if you look at 0-60 times- there is slight lag off the line but once you get used to it it isn't even noticeable. I came from a Turbo Subaru so the TCH was major shock to me, but they are totally different animals, and I very much like my TCH for what it is supposed to be, a comfortable clean fuel efficient commuter car, as opposed to a fast sports sedan- which may be what you are looking for?

    tom
  • keithlkeithl Posts: 106
    I came from a Turbo Subaru so the TCH was major shock to me, but they are totally different animals, and I very much like my TCH for what it is supposed to be, a comfortable clean fuel efficient commuter car, as opposed to a fast sports sedan- which may be what you are looking for?

    I have a fast sports sedan and love it except at fil up time. I dorve several 4 cyl engines in my past, including older 2.4 based Camrys. I can be fine with that, was hoping the TCH woudl be more close to that expierience. I never expected the TCH to be anywhere in the same league as my TL or any V6, but I was hoping it woudl be int he same league as the ICE-4 Camry.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Very Well said......I have owned a TCH for 39 days now, and I have not even ONCE noticed any "lag off the line" because, it being a HYBRID with fuel economy as it's goal, I have never floored it from a dead stop. When it switches from E-Mode to gas engine mode it is noticable; but nothing lags if you drive the car properly.

    I traded out of a 2004 HCH into my TCH, and although I miss getting 48 MPG, I do love getting 37 MPG from a car so much nicer and larger and with a FAR superior air conditioner, and I love when the car goes E-Mode !!
  • droid13droid13 Posts: 29
    The whole hesitation from stop issue is so frequently brought up by test drivers and not seasoned (2 weeks +)owners simply because it's such a different feeling. That feeling in any other car usually indicates something's wrong, so when you feel this in the TCH your brain has learned to feel bad. Driving the car regularly your brain will unlearn this condition and actually begin to feel good about the process. But yes, the TCH is slightly slower off the line than a regular 4Cyl Camry at max accel for just the 1st second or two before the TCH's combined power pushes it past the 4cyl. If you don't think you can come to terms with this, then stick with the V6 to avoid disappointment. Even if you're not stomping on it at every green light, some people just need to know they can out accel. the car beside them whether they actually plan to or not. I was like this too so I understand.
  • wvgasguywvgasguy Posts: 1,405
    I am not looking for punch off the line, but I would like something comparable to the 06 Civic, I felt a noticable lag from press to movement

    Is it the feeling of the lag that bothers you or the "performance" of the takeoff? If it's the lag, you'll have to get over it or go elsewhere. If you simply want performance, I'm guessing that if you sit the Honda Civic (1.8) beside the TCH and drag, other than the first few feet the TCH will blow it away
  • mharris813mharris813 Posts: 20
    I was driving an Acura TL for 10 days while they "ordered" in a white one for me. In the meantime, I discovered that although the quickness and speed was very nice, and the creature comforts of the XM and NAV were awesome... I did NOT like the stiff ride. They even adjusted the tire pressure for a better ride, but it just did not do it for me. I stopped to test drive a TCH on the saturday before I was to turn in the TL... well, we were both sold! Monday morning, I took the TL back, and placed my order for a Barcelona Red TCH. I can give up the "quick-off-the-block" feeling, for a much better feeling at the gas station.

    We have a 99 Camry V6 which we are passing down to our 16 yr old in 2 weeks, and we are all thrilled. We've never loved a car overall as much as we have our Camry.

    ...I can hardly wait to drive my TCH and share here, but in the meantime, ya'll keep up the chatter. I learn so much on here!!

    mel :blush:
  • sonatabeansonatabean Posts: 201
    I test drove a TCH last week.

    I did not find a lag on the pickup - but I've been driving a 2000 Sonata with the 2.5 L V6 for six years.

    I think the issue may well be "how hard do you mash the gas to REALLY get going, if you have to."

    Given my vehicle, I'm used to mashing the gas half way to the floor.

    Given the more "spirited" driver may not be used to mashing as much, I respectfully suggest he just try pressing the pedal a bit harder: the TCH will go when inspired to do so (or so I think - but I've not driven a sporty car in a decade or more).
  • r_nashr_nash Posts: 33
    The TCH gas pedal yields gentle starts unless you really goose it. If you do goose it, the front tires break free almost immediately as you launch forward. The traction control works great and limits the wheel slip almost instantly as the car takes off. I don't imagine you will get great gas mileage doing so, but it will scoot briskly from a stop if asked!

    I rather prefer the well mannered acceleration from a "normal" start. It starts gently and, quite smoothly, keeps on picking up speed until you back off.
  • bnewinsbnewins Posts: 25
    For me it is just a different feel. The half second preceived lag is while the RPM's are getting up. The sound and feel of the RPM's doesn't seem to be in sync with what we a used to for how fast the car is moving. Meanwhile the silent electric assist is getting the car moving pretty darn quick up to 30/40 mph. If I punch it, I leave others behind and have no trouble mearging or getting to the lane I need to be in. I just tried this a few times after 1200 miles and first oil change.

    I drove like a little old lady the first 1200 miles. :)
  • keithlkeithl Posts: 106
    Is it the feeling of the lag that bothers you or the "performance" of the takeoff? If it's the lag, you'll have to get over it or go elsewhere. If you simply want performance, I'm guessing that if you sit the Honda Civic (1.8) beside the TCH and drag, other than the first few feet the TCH will blow it away

    I guess as a newbie to hybrids that is somehting I need to figure out, maybe it is a brain game where as soon as my brain notices the lag it percieves the entire acceleration as slow. The 06 Civic felt more repsonsive and I'm thinking it may also be that Honda's Fly By Wire setup provides a more traditional feedback to the pedal where the TCH was more like pressing air. I may swing by and see if I can drive one again tomorrow and pay more attention to the entire acceleration. I did drive it up a hill and it did seem to struggle a bit. And please folks I have driven 4 cyl Toyotas before I am not doing a comparison against my V6 TL, I am trying to get a feel for it compared to ICE based 4 cyl Toyotas no need to jump all over me, some people take this more seriously than a religion discussion!
    One thing I think Toyota droppped the ball on is the trunk layout. So much is lost to the batteries and air recycler and truck vent. I say they should dump the fold down seats and lay the batteries flat against the back seat and it woudl probablu give you bak much more usable space.
  • aaeeekgaaeeekg Posts: 16
    Sorry if it felt like we jumped all over you. For me, I thought the idea of keeping the ICE running to minimize lag was simply missing the point. It could certainly provide a response that fit more closely to what you were accustomed to, but at the sacrifice of a major issue in FE. Not running the ICE at stop lights and during deceleration is a major savings of fuel. Your particular driving environment may not get as much advantage as for others, but this is a major advantage of the TCH.

    I think that what might fit your desire better would be a switch to RE-START the ICE just prior to the light turning green. Then you could have your cake and devour it at will.

    Where did the spell checker go? I can't find it.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    I drove one for 655 mi, right out of the box ( ODO was 2 mi ), through the Appalachians at 70 mph up and down several 7% grades and it never ever flinched. In fact it passed everything on the road while out running 18 wheelers downhill.... and still ended up at 39 mpg!!!.

    Wow! I was truly impressed.
  • keithlkeithl Posts: 106
    Sorry if it felt like we jumped all over you. For me, I thought the idea of keeping the ICE running to minimize lag was simply missing the point. It could certainly provide a response that fit more closely to what you were accustomed to, but at the sacrifice of a major issue in FE. Not running the ICE at stop lights and during deceleration is a major savings of fuel. Your particular driving environment may not get as much advantage as for others, but this is a major advantage of the TCH.

    I really wonder if sitting at a light for 30 seconds is really burning that much fuel? I have no problem with the engine and EM starting and stopping while moving as it is less dramatic, just feel the option to prevent the turn off at stop might be interesting, and it would be interesting to see how much that really saves/wastes. I am very torn right now, I know it is apples to oranges but I think if I coudl get a TCH with NAv it woudl be easier choice, I really love my nav and I can get a Civic with Nav due in 2 days and every Toyota dealer tells me not to hld my breathe for a TCH with NAV. so far 3 have said 2+ month likely wait. I really like the space in the Camry although the Civic has abotu the same truck space. And the Camry is less of a compromise, especially if I get used to the hybrid. The thought of 32-35MPG or more on regular is very attractive.
  • gillesmtlgillesmtl Posts: 55
    I really wonder if sitting at a light for 30 seconds is really burning that much fuel?

    Being a 40-day owner of a TCH, I can tell you that, in inner city driving, fuel consumption can vary from less than 6 liters per 100 km to more than 9, depending on whether stop signs and traffic lights allow the ICE to stop. These figures come from my 8 km (5 miles) commuting runs.

    Once you have a fuel-efficient drivetrain, stopping the ICE does allow the TCH to save just a few more ounces of fuel to get you 6 l/100km instead of 9.

    Nevertheless, I can understand your feelings, but I did get used to, and have come to expect, this different behaviour after a couple of weeks.
  • houtex1houtex1 Posts: 82
    I really wonder if sitting at a light for 30 seconds is really burning that much fuel?

    It's not just about FE, it's also about lower emissions.
  • 54gradsteds54gradsteds Posts: 102
    Re: .....where did the spell checker go?... I'm just taking for granted you are referring to the far too many contributors to this forum who never learned IN THIRD GRADE that IT APOSTROPHE S means IT IS !!!!!!!!!!!!
  • devsiennadevsienna Posts: 69
    I really wonder if sitting at a light for 30 seconds is really burning that much fuel?

    It's burning enough fuel, and inefficiently at that, to make it worth while to turn the engine off while at stop light. And when it does restart the engine, it does so in a way that minimizes any potential harm to engine, or excess emissions, that may occur. Also, when in stop and go traffic, being able to shut off the engine and run off of the traction battery is a huge gas saver as well.
  • keithlkeithl Posts: 106
    Well I went back for another drive today, took out a Civic first then to Toyota for the TCH. Well honestly the Civic is off the line quicker and smoother unless I really nail the TCH pedal, but what I realized is the Civic quickly tapers off in its pull while the TCH seems to pull more. Not to mention the Civic is far noiser as it accelerates. Looking at performance times both cars seem to get to 60 in about 8.5 seconds. When I factor in the tax credit the civic is only about $3k less than the better equipped TCH, so basically the $3k difference to me makes the TCH a better choice. So I I have a Silver TCH coming with leather, splash guards, car mats, lip spoiler and Sirus. Think at the end of the day the Camry si a bigger more comfortable car and should get the same or better MPG as the Civic. The TCH was ultra quiet while the Civic lets in a great deal of road and engine noise. Yeah I'll miss my Acura, but not when I keep passing gas stations. My conservative estimate based on my TL getting 21 MPG and the TCH getting 30 still saves me $80-$85 a month. Another interesting fact as to resale value, I asked if I leased the car what the residual woudl be and they came back with 59% for a TCH, 54% for V6 XLE and 51% for base Camry.
  • I think you are right at that one. I think it lags partly because of the traction controll too. When you push it from a stop, the traction controll probably controls the tires from spinning(burning). Check out this Automobilemag video
    automobilemag
    They drag raced a 4cyl camry with the TCH. The four cyl burns tires as it takes off and sounds quicker than TCH but TCH soon moves ahead. I think again it's TCH's functionality. You don't really need a kick when you take off but once you hit the ramp you know it will be fast enough to merge in the freeway.
    I am going to test drive one tomorrow. May be I will have better opinion then. I ordered a Magnetic gray Loaded with bisque interior. The guy told me that it will take around 8 weeks. its been a week already hope I make it before sept 30'th.
  • mfletou1mfletou1 Posts: 508
    Coming from an Acura, I think you made the right decision. The Camry is much closer to that type of vehicle.

    One thing I would note to you is that in my 1500 miles thus far, there is some variance in how the vehicle accelerates based on what the battery status is. There are times it feels noticeably quicker than others--and invariably, the longer it runs, the quicker it gets. In my commute, I pull out of my condo complex, drive about 3-4 miles down a moderate speed road (say 50 mph), then pull on the highway. By the time I get to the highway, the car is noticeably quicker and I routinely accelerate from 35 or so to 75 effortlessly. And then I stay there as long as I can...
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    I have owned a 2004 HCH and now own a 2007 TCH.

    Just wanted to correct you in ONE area of your last comparo.

    As far as fuel efficiency, the HCH will get 7-10 MPG more than the TCH under similar circumstances. I'm averaging about 37 MPG in my TCH using it the exact same way I used my 2004 HCH, in which I was getting 48 MPG.

    So the TCH is a nicer, larger vehicle, and you do pay extra for that, but you also lose 7-10 MPG versus the HCH.

    Good luck....
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    This is precisely correct.
  • droid13droid13 Posts: 29
    Thanks for the link, that was a fun little video clip to watch. Somehow though, I don't think a teenager's (ok, so he might be barely 20) viewpoint of the hybrid driving experience is what most potential buyers are looking for. :D Of course, with true teen spirit, how do you compare a hybrid car with it's non-hybrid brother, drag race them. I don't think Toyota's concerned about where the TCH stands in the 16-19 yr old market.
  • keithlkeithl Posts: 106
    Thanks for the link, that was a fun little video clip to watch. Somehow though, I don't think a teenager's (ok, so he might be barely 20) viewpoint of the hybrid driving experience is what most potential buyers are looking for. Of course, with true teen spirit, how do you compare a hybrid car with it's non-hybrid brother, drag race them. I don't think Toyota's concerned about where the TCH stands in the 16-19 yr old market.

    Yeah lame video, the only good part was the end where it shows the TCH blowing the doors off the I4 Camry. I got the impression the "Web Producer" was not very expierienced in autos or giving reviews. Seems his criteria was PERFORMANCE since he kept stating the Accoud was faster, sure and it is several thousands more and gets probaly 30% less MPH than the TCH.
  • Well, I test drove one today. I think it is not a performance sedan and nobody who is looking for one should buy it. It is common sense car. It is more of an "elegant" class than a kool car. It wasn't really that fun to drive but overall driving impression is pleasant. It was really quite. Those kool gadgets make it kool. I am a computer geek kinda so I think I am going to love all those gadgets. I am 21 by the way and my old car is a 1999 v6 camry. A totally different car. It is kinda fun to drive but the interior is bland. I will miss that torque but I will feel better by saving gas. It evens out. CVT is something really different. I think it will take me time to get used to it but it sounds like fun. But tt makes you feel as if the car is slow as we are used to that little kick on transmision shift. And did I mention that it is quiet. It is really super quite. I have never seen a car that quite in my whole life. I am really excited about this car.
    I ordered mine at Longo. The guy told me that it will take around 9 weeks when I placed my order over the phone but today he told me that it is kinda hard to get. Even though I am flexible with my color(anything but green) he still can't garauntee anything. They have 100+ people on the wait list and they get less than 10 loaded cars every month. I think it is really gay on toyotas part. They should make more loaded ones. Especially when they are in such great demand.
    Can anybody tell if there is any other place in SoCal where I can order mine cuz I am really counting on that tax credit. Any help will be really appericiated. Or I might end up buying a base or paying extra 1300 hundered dollars. They offered me a free satelite reciver with the base. But I am hooked up on downloading free music so paying 12 buck every month for music kinda makes no sense to me.
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