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Toyota Camry Hybrid Driving Tips & Tricks



  • wvgasguywvgasguy Posts: 1,405
    Every time I stop and start the car again, the car start moving very slowly initially.

    After about 40 new cars over my lifetime I've found that they all feel different. Just to know what the TCH would do in case I needed to do it I took the car and floored it, chirping the tire a little. I was real nervous about sitting there on a side road and pulling out in front of trafic with the engine not running.

    Anyway the electric motor has enormous torque. By the time it gets you rolling the engine has wound up and is pulling too. While you don't hear the roar I believe the acceleration is indeed there. I've never had a problem.

    Yes too, the feel of the accelerator is different. I belive this is accelerate by wire and not a mechanical linkage and in addition the first inch or so of travel is soft. You need that and it's a good design. that's what allows you to be able to feather the pedal to get the max FE. Many cars are touchy. If you need to accelerate quickly with the TCH simply push the pedal to the floor. It will go. Try it (away from traffic) to get the feel.
  • wvgasguywvgasguy Posts: 1,405
    But then, it weighs more (370 lbs) than a non-hybrid model, has a less powerful 4-cyl engine, and is geared for fuel economy.

    While the new canry 6cyl is indeed a quick ride with lots of horsepower, the TCH combo of motor and engine has approximately the same horsepower of the previous generation V6 found in the 06 Camry. Yes it has a 4cyl, but the motor has 45 hp I believe and provides more torque than many V6's.

    Bottom line, it should blow the doors off the camry 4cyl.
  • wvgasguywvgasguy Posts: 1,405
    I think your TCH more than makes up for your Expedition.

    Thanks for the kind comments. I indeed did try to get something with better FE. The Highlander Hybrid was my choice but when I tried the third row seat I pulled something trying to get into the back. I wanted a 7 to 8 passenger vehicle for family trips and a 4wd for winter. It needed to be able to haul tools and jet skis. The Expedition was all I could find to fit the bill comfortably (the Tahoe wasn't even close)

    I try to drive the TCH most of the time and I leased the Expedition for 2 years in hopes that the new Sequoia would be available in a hybrid for the 2010 model.
  • wvgasguywvgasguy Posts: 1,405
    Actually the battery will hold it's charge for a long time.

    I agree. Even after a couple of days I have never seen the SOC green bars drop from what they were when I parked it.
  • plknjplknj Posts: 121
    After the accident when my Toyota dealer rebuilt my car for $26,000!!! My milage dropped from 38 to 41+, down to 35 to 38. I was not happy with this but figured that because most of todays technology is plug and play with these modules, I had little choice.

    The other day when my car was in the shop I mentioned this drop in milage. When I picked up the car they did not say anything to me but I am back to getting 39 to 40+. Next time I am there I will ask what adjustments were made to affect this change, but obviously adjustments can be made.
  • lzclzc Posts: 483
    >>Bottom line, it should blow the doors off the camry 4cyl.

    It will . . . . . if both motor and engine are engaged at full throttle, as in passing or freeway merging. But in normal driving, the car feels front heavy, which it is, and a bit sluggish when first starting up.

    It's not a drawback to me, but I agree with others who notice the difference compared to other cars. My son (Suburu Legend, 2.5T engine) calls it a slug. :)
  • tsytsy Posts: 1,551
    Actually with the battery in the back it might be a little more balanced than the v6 Camry. It is a front drive car and will feel front heavy and understeer, which is normal.

    Yes, it is a slug compared the the 250 hp/250 ft/lb legacy GT turbo, which is exactly what I traded in for this car! ;)

  • lzclzc Posts: 483
    The TCH is more balanced than most fwd cars, 54/46%. But drives off the line heavy to me. The Legacy 2.5T is a sweet engine . . . that gets slightly worse mileage than the Corvette I compared it to!
  • tsytsy Posts: 1,551
    Yes, but you have to remember it is full time AWD and heavier than the Corvette. The Corvette is amazing in how good it's gas mileage is (for a sports car), but if you drive a vette hard, mileage drops into the 13-14 range (at least when I drive it!)

    I would guess the TCH drives off the line slowly to conserve fuel- I'm sure they could make the throttle more responsive so that it "jumps" off the line, but that is not the purpose of this car. The electric motor in this car provides 50ft/lbs of Torque from ZERO rpm. That's quite a boost from standstill. If recallibrated, i'm sure the TCH could do pretty well 0-60, but your mileage would drop into the low 20s. ;)

  • I have a 2007 THC with 5000 mile and what helps me the most is the Cruise Control, after warm up of course.
    I'll get to 42mph and lock it in. After bout 30secs, I'll tap down on the cruise control again which slows and locks in a new speed. The speed drops to 40 mph and the ICE will most of the time kick off and I'm cruising 40 on Battery only. If ICE comes back on...I'll do it again...and it'll drop to 38 and the ICE will stay off then. Works great on those short 10 mile trips. I use this too on the Interstate to help the puter make the ICE and Battery to work in harmony more quickly. I'll get it to 65mph and lock. Tap the cruise down to lock in new speed. May have to do this several times, and wait 30 secs each time, but by the time it gets to 60mph...its purrrring on the gauges near 48-50 mph. I've only taken one highway trip since I bought the vehicle, and got 50.7 mph using this method.
  • nnoddsnnodds Posts: 1
    2008 TCH

    What is the maximum speed that we can shift to B without the fear of over-revving the ICE?

    Just curious how many thousand miles can the brake pads last?
    driving about 15000 miles/year, mainly city driving.

    Also curious if 0-60 acceleration times are faster if you accelerate with the shifter lever in B instead of D?
  • talmy1talmy1 Posts: 55
    There are no gears that shift. The shifter is just an electrical switch. You can shift to B at any speed. All B does is use the engine for braking when you release the accelerator and/or press on the brake. Normally only regenerative braking is used, but in long downgrades the battery can fully charge forcing the use of the conventional (friction) brakes. B will preserve those brakes.

    Because B only affects braking, it will not alter the 0-60 acceleration times.

    The brake pads will last much longer than they would on a conventional car with an automatic transmission, but of course the mileage you get will depend greatly on how and where you drive.
  • chihlinchihlin Posts: 3
    Since I posted the question, I have owned my TCH for another 3 months and driven it for 3000 miles. It is very amazing that I already adapted to it very well and do not care that it starts up a little bit slower than other toyota sedans. In fact, I am very satisfied with this car. It is very smooth and can accelerate very fast once the speed is brought up. The mileage per gallon has continued to increase for each tank fill and now reaches around 39 mpg. I am not quite sure whether this is due to higher temperature at this moment or because I change my driving behavior. However, I do notice that my TCH is most efficient when I drive it in expressway at around 40 to 50 MPH. When I drive in highway, the mpg number will decrease.
  • tango12345tango12345 Posts: 1
    i been driving my 09 tch for 4 days, at first i can display the mpg but when i press the display button now i can't seem to find the mpg display.....not sure how to get the mpg display back.....can anyone help?
  • wvgasguywvgasguy Posts: 1,405
    I assume you're talking of the display on the dash in a non-NAV car? If it's like the 07 model the button on the steering wheel changes the display but there are several choices and you need to keep pushing until it gets back to the mpg display (for that tank, not trips)
  • mevander1mevander1 Posts: 43
    Where do you find the seats to be hard? Bottom, back or both? I know a driver of a another cars that had hard seats. He purchased bedding type 3 inch foam, cover is with fabric and the problem was solved (has to be high grade foam..)
  • loves2readloves2read Posts: 47
    Have an 09 TCH bought about a month ago == have little over 1000 mi so far
    most of this is intown surface streets--with a couple of longer freeway travels--mpg is getting about 33.8 but have only filled it twice--car was new on lot/ low mileage when it was test driven and bought and there are times when I do get caught in lights and do have short runs which at not fuel efficient--I am not complaining about my mpg because of what we are getting but I am concerned that my car may be developing a problem tracking/monitoring the actual use of gasoline and the change from gas to battery....
    I want to know if what I am seeing IS normal--if anyone else has seen this same readout--if anyone might have explanation for what my car is doing...

    I am noticing what I consider irregular, problematic occurances with the MPG gauge/dial when I am driving (and sometimes when I look at what is happening when my husband drives as well)--I did not notice this same type of dial movement when we first bought the car and were driving it---
    I have tried to follow some of these threads but frankly I hate the way this forum is organized because I think it is so DIS-organized and difficult to track a thread even if using OUTLINE format...
    when I am driving and have built up speed and wish to coast and go to the regenerative battery buildup--sometimes my MPG dial will hesitate and not drop to the blue E zone at the bottom--sometimes when I am coasting at 40 mph or lower, the dial will hesitate and stay at 40 MPG or 60 MPG--
    there are a few cases when I was coasting and the dial acutally went UP to 20 MPG--
    and I am using NO gas--there might be some in the system because I was on conventional engine before I started coasting--but my foot is off the accelarator

    I DON"T understand why that is happening--it seems to interfere with accurately tracking the MPG of the car's total mileage electronically through the system---
    I am worried that it means there is problem with the transfer from battery power to gasoline power which suggests a problem with the battery system in general...

    my husband says this is normal--that the dial hanging has happened from the beginning of driving the car (which I do not believe because I would have thought it was weird to start with)
    I called the Toyota dealership and talked to our salesman who does not drive a TCH--only sells them--he referred me to the service dept--
    talked to guy who is basically clueless since his mantra was that there are so many built-in system safeguards that if there was a problem I would get an error message from the car
    Again-- I don't believe that explanation--
    his explanation was that there were many different configurations of driving/battery conditions during any given time period and what I was seeing was normal

    I want to know WHY not using any gas would make my MPG dial go to 40 mpg--
    does ANYONE have an explanation--
    has anyone noticed the same type of behavior on your car
    do I need to take the car in
    It does not happen all the time--do we could spend a lot of time driving around trying to recreate the senario when it would happen....
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Sounds normal to me. I have owned a 2007 TCH for just a little over 2 years now.

    Let me ask you - does this happen more often during the start of a trip?

    What is happening to your dial is that when the car is NOT in electric mode, you will see the needle in the 20-60 MPG range regardless of the situation with the gas pedal.

    If the car is in E-Mode, then the needle will stay in the blue E area.

    Just because you think you are not giving the car any gas does not mean it is not USING gasoline - it uses gasoline the entire time it is NOT in electric mode.

    The car does not AUTOMATICALLY switch to E-Mode every time you stop giving it gas.

    The only time it will be (and stay) in the blue E area is in electric mode.

    I don't think your car has any kind of problem.
  • tbone0526tbone0526 Posts: 8
    What you're describing doesn't sound all that unusual, for two reasons that come to my mind:

    - First, you're stating you're "not using any gas", when in reality what you've done is let up on the accelerator pedal. The "brain" of the car sends gas through the engine, relies on the battery, or both, depending on power needs at the time. If the car was just started or if you've come off of a long coast, the system may be working to recharge the hybrid battery, so it won't necessarily cut off the ICE (internal combustion engine). I find my car often stays at around 40MPG if I'm cruising on the highway.

    - Second, it takes a delicate touch to lift off the accelerator just enough to disengage the ICE and rely solely on the hybrid drive. If your MPG dial is at 20MPG, then pull up off the pedal just a hair more.

    It takes a period of adjustment to drive this car at maximum efficiency, and while I've had mine for over 2 months, I still occasionally find myself pressing harder on the pedal than I need to, causing the MPG dial to move into the 20MPG or less range.

    FYI, when I drive the car I've typically been averaging average around 40-41MPG over the course of several days. When my wife drives the same vehicle under the same conditions, she gets 32-35. She's not a leadfoot, just not as obsessed as I am with maximizing fuel efficiency.
  • larsblarsb Posts: 8,204
    Just goes to reinforce the old saying,

    "You can lead a Woman to a hybrid, but........."


    P.S. One of the funniest things I ever saw was at a Target about 4 years ago. Saw an OLD, OLD lady parking in the handicapped spot. She had several minor dings and dents in her car, which to me looked like a severe case of "little-old-lady-driveritis." Her car: A 2004 Honda Civic HYBRID. My guess is that some salesman saw her coming and said, "Let's maximize profits by selling this sweet old lady a hybrid instead of an LX."
  • loves2readloves2read Posts: 47
    I appreciate the responses but maybe I did not make myself clear or maybe I don't understand the hybrid system---

    this usually happens more after the car has been driven a while--
    can happen when battery is full or when it has been reduced somewhat by use according to the bars I see on the gauge

    so if I am driving my car at more than 40 mph--my readout says I am using the conventional engine--my MPG dial is maybe 20-30-35-40 MPG read out--just depends on terrain and speed and other variables

    when I start to coast and NOT have my foot on accelator--my car goes into battery recharge mode---correct?
    that is the E mode--is it not?

    so if I am in battery recharge mode--why does my MPG dial not go to E mode as well?
  • tbone0526tbone0526 Posts: 8
    Now you're just trying to get me in trouble.....LOL

    I was NOT in any way trying to disparage my wife's driving, just trying to illustrate the difference in how the car performs based on whether you're "trying" or not.
  • tbone0526tbone0526 Posts: 8
    "so if I am driving my car at more than 40 mph--my readout says I am using the conventional engine--my MPG dial is maybe 20-30-35-40 MPG read out--just depends on terrain and speed and other variables"

    The engine is -always- on above 41MPH or so. The instant MPG you're seeing displayed depends on a LOT of variables including those you mentioned and more. Without having a logic chart showing all the factors the car takes into consideration (which I'd LOVE to see), we pretty much have to rely on the onboard sensors to detect if there is a problem. If they're not finding one, you should be in good shape.

    Also remember that one of the most frustrating things a service department has to deal with is when someone says "it does XXX now and then, but I can't predict when or make it happen when I want to." Warranty typically only pays for a problem that can be identified. Unless a problem is repeatable, you could find yourself spending a lot of money trying to track down a ghost when there's nothing actually wrong with the car.
  • lzclzc Posts: 483
    First, no one on this board can know whether or not your hybrid system is working properly. Have it checked if you think it isn't.

    However, the engine will run if it determines that the battery needs charging, whether or not your foot is off the accelerator. In short, it operates (at times at least) independent of you, and possibly contrary to what you expect it to do.

    If the engine is running to recharge the battery, then you wouldn't expect to see the MPG dial at E.
  • loves2readloves2read Posts: 47
    we have new 09 TCH--little over 1K in miles--and made our 3rd fillup yesterday under the 0 crusing range and E on the fuel gauge--my husband was kind of nervous because we fill up at place several miles from home where we get discounted gas with our Kroger car--
    when he filled up he put in 14.2 gals I think--and he does not usually pump it to add a couple of extra bursts...
    so I know that there is more in the tank
    can't remember the exact mileage on the trip meter but about 470
    I am not getting top MPG so far --33.2-33.8 avg mpg...
  • shazam3shazam3 Posts: 13
    Hi loves2read,

    I'm getting the same MPG as you currently are. So far I've put a little over 500 miles on my 09 TCH. I'm halfway through my second tank. Like you, I also waited a while after the 0 cruising range and E on the fule gage to fill up. My first fill up was a little over 15 gallons. The manual states the total tank capacity is 17.2 gallons, so I guess we still have about 3 gallons left in the tank after reaching when 0 cruising range and E on the fuel gage.
  • loves2readloves2read Posts: 47
    my husband was driving--when he got in the car and saw the needle on the big E-- he said right away we have to get gas--
    I told him there were 2-3 gallons in there still--that the car was supposed to go about 600 on optimum mpg
    so we could go another 30 mi at least--but he would not even wait until we ate supper===
    went to fill the tank right away---
    did not want to take a chance on the tank going dry and not having enough juice in the battery...
  • shazam3shazam3 Posts: 13
    You probably have about a 100 miles of driving after your fuel gage gets to E. But I'd say it doesn't hurt to play it safe, so your husband is doing the right thing. It's my understanding that if you completely run out of gas you can't drive on electric mode only, even at very low speeds. The car needs both electricity and gas to operate. Plus you don't want to use the gas that's left at the bottom of your tank. Not sure if it's an urban legend, but they say all the sediments and impurities lay there and can eventually harm your filter and engine.
  • bob_grahambob_graham Posts: 63
    Anyone notice a drop in mileage after an oil change. I noticed in the book it says
    0- 20W is the best for max eco. I just had the oil changed with 5-20W. To tell the truth I've never seen 0-20W. I have only driven a little but it seems like my mileage dropped for 40 to 41 to 35 to 37.
  • txgeektxgeek Posts: 1
    Is it normal for the mpg gauge to drop to 0mpg occasionally when stopped or decelerating? My husband thinks it has to do with the engine running the A/C.

    Also, I have a really hard time not dropping the mpg gauge to 10mpg or below when accelerating. And I really don't think I'm a "fast off the line" type of driver.

    A note after driving our new hybrid for a little over a week: I find it hard to not feel pressured to "prove" to the other drivers that my car can perform as well as theirs.

    And it sure would be nice if the dealership had offered some of the driving knowledge contained in this thread. Hybrid driving classes, maybe.

    Thank you, everyone for your input.
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