Saturday, November 17, 2007

2008 Camry Hybrid

2008 Camry Hybrid. Great mid size sedan. I test drove Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid and Toyota Camry Hybrid and liked Camry the best and bought it. Did not want to try Nissan Altima as they  sell it only in 8 states.

After having driven 2002 Honda Accord V6, I do miss the power of a powerful V6. But, you do have to give up some power to get great mileage that hybrids deliver. Camry hybrid does a decent job in terms of power. Great handling. Much smoother steering than old accord which was good but very taught.

I am yet to try out all the features but first impression after driving 60 miles is very positive. Very roomy car. Seats and leg space are really good. Controls are good. Basic sound system is good. Although miss the 6 CD player. You can upgrade to premium sound system, navigation etc. if you are willing to shell 3000 bucks or more.

Trunk space is small due to the space consumed by hybrid battery. Cloth seats are ok. You can buy  leather package.

Certainly beats Prius and Civic in most categories except mileage. They may get 8-10 miles more per gallon. Prius is too small. Visibility is poor especially while backing up. Civic is ok but handling seemed too taught.

Hybrid system comes with 8 years or 100,000 miles warranty more than adequate. Even extended warranties do not cover more than that.

I was in the market for a hybrid cars only. I have hated paying anything more than $1.50 for a gallon of gas. Where are the times of 1998 when the lowest price I had paid was 89 cents a gallon. These days with my old car giving 18 miles a gallon in city, it used feel criminal to go for a drive. Hopefully, with promised 35 mpg of Camry, I hopefully won't feel that guilty.

Things I feel bad about is all the tax and other incentives for hybrid cars are gone. Tax benefits are gone. California benefits such as HOV lane access, free parking etc. are also gone. Too bad.

Price I paid was 22,900 after $500 rebate. No options at all. Basic options such power seats, cruise control are all standard. Would have like leather but it comes only when you upgrade to UT or UP packages which includes premium sound system, navigation, stability control etc.


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