New Car TOYOTA CAMRY-HYBRID 2010
 
bottom line
9.6
OUT OF 10
  • Higher fuel efficiency with decent acceleration
  • Comfortable, smooth ride quality
  • Excellent noise suppression
  • Bland styling with no obvious hybrid identity
  • Handling that's less capable than other Camrys
  • Steady speed hard to maintain with using cruise
 

The 2010 Toyota Camry Hybrid is almost $3,000 less than the nicest XLE model of a V-6 Camry. And with the arrival of the Ford Fusion Hybrid, Toyota dealers have stiff competition to the Camry Hybrid for the first time, so they may be more willing to bargain on price than in previous years.
TheCarConnection.com has driven the 2010 Toyota Camry Hybrid to bring you this hands-on review that covers styling, performance, safety, utility and features from on-the-road observations. TheCarConnection.com's editors also researched reviews from other sources to give you a comprehensive range of opinions from around the Web-and to help you decide which ones to trust. High Gear Media drove a manufacturer-provided Toyota Camry Hybrid to produce this hands-on road test.

The 2010 Toyota Camry Hybrid is, basically, the standard midsize Camry sedan with a different and far more frugal hybrid powertrain. For the 2010 model year, Toyota has given the Camry Hybrid revised instruments and a very mild restyle that includes a unique and distinctive grille.

Hybrids sell on fuel economy, and the 2010 Toyota Camry Hybrid is rated by the EPA at 33 mpg city / 34 mpg highway, for a combined rating of 34 mpg. The Hybrid Synergy Drive system, used in the Prius and every other Toyota hybrid, is a "full hybrid" system, meaning it is capable of moving the car on electric power alone under some circumstances. When more power is needed and at higher speeds, the system combines power from the 40-horsepower electric motor and the 147-horsepower, 2.4-liter gasoline engine, which also recharges the battery when coasting or braking. The system is well integrated into the car, though the battery pack cuts trunk space by about one third (from 14.5 to 10.6 cubic feet).

Toyota has built more hybrids than any other carmaker, and it shows. The 2010 Toyota Camry's powertrain is so smooth and unobtrusive that with the sound system working, it's almost impossible to tell when the gasoline engine switches on and off; passenger have to look at the instrument panel display to tell for sure. Like the rest of the Camry line, the Hybrid's ride is soft and well damped. The interior is spacious, with plenty of room for five adults and plenty of legroom in the rear. The handling is good, but the Hybrid weighs more than the standard car, so it's not quite as nimble.

The Camry Hybrid, like most Toyotas, does well on the safety scale. It is fitted with a total of seven airbags, including front-seat, full-length curtain, and front side-impact airbags, plus a knee airbag for the driver. Electronic stability control, which Toyota calls Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM), is also standard to modulate the throttle, individual wheel brakes, and even the steering to keep the Camry Hybrid stable on slippery surfaces. The Camry Hybrid won five stars, the highest rating, in the federal government's crash tests, while a non-hybrid Camry was rated "good" in tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The IIHS rated that Camry "marginal" for the rear-impact test only.

The 2010 Toyota Camry Hybrid offers so many standard features that it's equivalent to the highest XLE trim level on a regular Camry, plus a smart-key system. Among them are dual-zone automatic climate control, a 440-Watt JBL audio system with Bluetooth, a power glass moonroof, leather interior with reclining rear seats, 16-inch aluminum wheels, and an ionizing system for interior air. Options include a navigation system, heated front seats, and heated outside mirrors.

For the first time, the Camry Hybrid faces serious competition. It comes from the Ford Fusion Hybrid, new in 2010, which achieves higher mileage ratings and offers all-electric running up to 47 mph, not to mention tighter handling. The Fusion Hybrid receives rave reviews, and sells well enough to make it a neck-and-neck battle. The Altima Hybrid, available only in certain states, is also a full hybrid; its mileage and performance are similar to the Camry Hybrid, but its better handling is offset by a little less interior space. Buyers who do lots of high-speed mileage may want to consider the clean-diesel Mercedes-Benz E320 BlueTEC, which delivers 32 mpg highway-albeit at a much higher price. Finally, the Toyota Prius was completely redesigned for 2010 as well, with a nicer interior and more optional features. If you're OK with a hatchback and the Prius appearance, it's worth considering for its combined EPA rating of 50 mpg.



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