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An outstanding vehicle that deserves consideration

Edmunds.com logo Edmunds.com 7/10/2016 FrenchFry

This is my first hybrid. I choose it because I am 6'-3" tall, 250 lbs and although I like small cars, I have a long commute and wanted something comfortable to drive. I can honestly say I am always impressed when I drive this car. I drive 170 miles a day so the miles add up quickly. I consistently achieve between 38 and 40 MPG. I have kept gas receipts since new and have now mastered how to achieve that mileage daily. The hybrid system is fantastic. The system engages frequently until 40 mph and then it is gas only above 40 to 45 mph. So in town driving increases gas mileage above 40 mpg. Traffic jams are a breeze as the system regenerated upon braking. The electric AC compressor is fantastic (there is no fan belt) so running the AC in electric only mode is unnoticeable and does not suck up all the juice. Eco mode reduces the amount of electricity consumed and I use it all the time. It helps increase the mileage. It cycles the AC a little slower but I live in Texas where it is really, really hot. The system works great. I now have over 37,000 miles on the car and I have not had one issue! Not even a squeak or rattle. Only regular oil changes and frequent tire rotation as you should do on any car. Now to the meat and potatoes....the battery. I have read many posts but I know when the time comes (and it will) to change the battery, I am not worried. Toyota has so many of these cars on the road (including tons of taxis:Chicago) that a battery swap is a 2 hour ordeal. Check you tube and you will see how simple it really is. Secondary battery (non-toyota) manufacturers (Dorman Products) are refurbishing the packs and the general cost is under $2,300 now with a core exchange. A handy homeowner can do this themselves. Many hybrid shops have now popped up in major cities that now offer quick replacement or battery diagnostic services. Additionally, major retailers such as Napa Auto Parts and others can order you the pack which as of 2016 is between $1,800 and $2,300. Think about this...I have taken many cars to the shop for repairs (which I could not do myself) and walked out with a $1,500 bill. Going to Toyota and asking for a new battery pack is just plain STUPID! A $0.59 screw at Auto Zone costs $7.50 at Toyota! Any reputable mechanic can do this simple battery swap. Also, I have read some posts about the brakes. Regenerative brakes work different than regular brakes. Simply put, an additional "zone" is built into the pedal. The first 1/4" push on the pedal is for the regenerative process. The other 3/4 is for regular braking. Any hybrid has this system. Getting used to it takes a day or two. After that, it becomes intuitive. The brakes on my car are excellent. When the time comes to brake, they grab hard and stop the car well. The rest of the car is standard Toyota Camry stuff. You can read about that on the regular Camry reviews. I am absolutely thrilled with this car. I bought it at the right price and time (November) so I have already recouped some of my investment. I would definitely buy another one now that I understand how they truly work. And they are also FAST. The electric motor kicks in when needed for extra power such as up a highway ramp and such. This is probably the most underrated "sleeper" car in existence because Toyota wants to sell you a Prius. Do yourself a favor. Pick the Camry over the Prius. Larger, safer car. More comfortable. Easier battery swap. I'll give up the extra 8 mpg for that any day.

Average Rating : 5

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