Fuel Efficient With Room To Boot

From recalls and plant closures to criticism for allowing growth to take priority over quality and safety, early 2010 hasn’t proved the most illustrious start for international car giant Toyota.

That was until the release of the new Camry Hybrid however, which is being heralded by some as one of the most ground breaking models to emerge in a long time.
While to the uninitiated it may appear to be simply another twist on the conventional Toyota, the Camry Hybrid is one of the few eco-friendly car models to hit our roads without any of the self-indulgent, ‘look-at-me’ attitude.

There are a growing number of compact, fuel efficient cars available to environmentally aware drivers, but the majority of people are have been waiting for a model that saves on fuel but is big enough to accommodate a family. Toyota’s latest model illustrates that saving the planet doesn’t always have to mean skimping on space, offering more than enough room for five adults, as well as their luggage.

In the current financial climate buyers are looking for ways to cut their costs, and driving fuel efficient cars is undoubtedly one of the options with the biggest future returns – not to mention the feel good factor of driving a vehicle that is also environmentally sound.

Toyota New Zealand’s general manager of marketing and product Neeraj Lala says the timing of the Camry Hybrid’s introduction couldn’t be better, with an increasing number of businesses navigating the change to down-size fleets of company cars to more efficient vehicles. He says, “the Hybrid Camry offers these companies the comfort of a full size sedan but with Yaris levels of fuel economy.”

It’s the kind of model independent taxi drivers have been hoping for since the idea of hybrid vehicles first hit public consciousness. While traditionally roomy six-cylinder taxis have become an unpopular choice because they are not economically viable and environmentally friendly, the Toyota Prius – adopted by a great number of taxi drivers over the last two years – does not offer the same availability of space.

Toyota’s Hybrid Camry is designed to offer the best of both worlds, and has huge appeal for both corporate and private use. Mr Lala believes this new model offers great advantages for businesses serious about improving the Return of Investment of their fleet.

“This car will undoubtedly save them money and ensure their staff are happy with maintaining a bigger car. The same could be said for private customers who don’t want the profile of a Prius and yet want to experience the benefits of hybrids.”

Currently being assembled across the ditch in Australia, there are two models available: the original Camry Hybrid and it’s slightly sleeker twin, the Camry Hybrid i-Tech. Both models are fitted with the unique Hybrid front bumper, blue tinted headlamps, satin chrome front grille, clear LED tail lamps, 16 inch alloys and front fog lights, and aside from the rear spoiler, glass sunroof and iTech badging, it’s hard to tell the two models apart from the outside.

Like the smaller Prius, in both these Camry Hybrid models two electric motors work alongside a petrol engine. The first electric motor functions as a generator, transforming extra power from the petrol engine into electricity while also performing as a starter motor for the petrol engine.

The second electric motor is a drive motor, which also functions as a generator during regenerative braking. The petrol engine is a 2.4 Litre, 4 cylinder, Atkinson cycle petrol engine, producing 110kW of power and 187Nm of torque. Combined with electric power, the total system output is 135kW, fuel consumption is estimated at around 6L/100km, offering an emission level of just 150g/km.

Suspension and steering are both fine-tuned to meet the unique requirements of Australasian conditions and driver preferences, and the mod cons associated with passenger comfort include everything from dual zone climate control air conditioning with ECO mode and AM/FM radio with 6 disc MP3/WMA CD, to Bluetooth, auxiliary jack and USB connection.

The Hybrid Camry i-Tech also boasts a flashier sound system, Electronic Multi-Vision Display with Navigation System, electrochromatic rear view mirror, electrically adjustable leather seats and rain-sensing wipers.

For drivers the Camry Hybrid will feel firm and steady on the road – perhaps even more so than petrol powered Camrys given the suspension set-up and increased weight.

With a pricetag of $48,990, the Camry Hybrid sells for around $500 more than the Prius. At $54,990 the Camry Hybrid i-Tech is priced $7,100 less than the Prius Brand Viagra i-Tech, which offers greater bells and whistles with its solar panels and stationary ventilation system.

At that price, the Camry Hybrid i-Tech is sure to be a popular, eco-friendly yet comfortable option for New Zealand drivers.

Author Bio: Stephen Donald is a passionate motoring enthusiast and writer living in New Zealand. This review of the Toyota Camry was written for the New Zealand Automobile Association.

Category: Automotive
Keywords: toyota,camry,toyota camry,car review,automobile association

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