Toyota Camry Hybrid Performance
The 2008 Toyota Camry Hybrid's green technology ups the ante for a competent sedan. New Car Test Drive says, "The Hybrid is a good performer and one of the most fuel-efficient mid-size vehicles anywhere."
Despite the fact that the four-cylinder engine works with a 105-kilowatt electric motor, Cars.com states, "Once I trained my right foot to know exactly where the threshold was, I was able to drive in electric mode as high as 20 mph before the gas engine started up. Drivers behind the hybrid may have little patience for this, as engine-free acceleration is slow." New Car Test Drive also had to adjust. "When it's started, and sometimes even when you press the accelerator, the gas engine does not immediately fire, so you won't hear it or feel its slight hum of vibration," the review states. "As a result, you may not realize that this Camry is ready for action. So you'll press the start button again, thinking it didn't fire the first time, and actually turn the car off."reports: "The driving experience in the Camry Hybrid is remarkably normal. Most of the time you can quite simply forget that you're driving a hybrid, because it behaves almost exactly like a gasoline-engine car -- which says a lot about the sophistication of the hybrid system." But there were a handful of test drivers stuck on the learning curve.
Acceleration and Power
The 2008 Camry Hybrid has a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 147 horsepower and 138 pound-feet of torque, along with a supplementary electric motor that creates combined output totaling 187 horsepower. Most writers are pleased with the sedan's ability to move. New Car Test Drive also notices the car's power. "The instantaneous torque from the electric motor also augments acceleration," the review reads. "The Hybrid isn't as quick as the V6 Camrys … but it's noticeably quicker than four-cylinder models, and particularly four-cylinders with the automatic."says the engine "delivers a surprising amount of oomph, enabling the car to pass with ease on the freeway."
The 2008 Camry Hybrid also has a continuously variable transmission (CVT) that produces different engine and wheel-speed ratios for easier acceleration when changing gears. Most reviewers are pleased with the CVT's performance. The Detroit News reviewer calls it "one of the few continuously variable automatic transmissions I've used that feels smooth and seamless," while contends, "Acceleration is incredibly smooth due to the continuously variable transmission, which doesn't have the hard gearshifts of a standard automatic."
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the 2008 Camry Hybrid should achieve 33 miles per gallon in the city and 34 mpg on highways.
Handling and Braking
Reviewers agree that the Camry Hybrid's smooth ride and confident road manners mean it handles much like a regular Camry. New Car Test Drive finds, "In terms of ride, handling and interior comfort, the Camry Hybrid could easily fool us into thinking we were driving an XLE." states: "Ride quality was excellent, both over rough roads and on Interstates. The suspension is compliant, but it isn't too soft and mushy to make the ride miserable."
The electric power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering draws its share of criticism.says it "feels a bit numb," and the judges it to be "over-assisted, requiring some correction every now and then to keep things on the straight and narrow." explains, "When crawling along in traffic, the steering wheel has an alarming tendency to pull sharply to the left or right depending on the camber of the road."
For all the complaints concerning the Camry Hybrid's steering, the car's power-assisted ventilated front/solid rear discs with integrated regenerative brakes are described as effective.says, "Brake feel, always a hybrid bugaboo, is good here," while the adds, "The brakes tended to grab when applied; gentle and gradual does it."