|
|
Montevideo American-News
Author Stephen Balzac offers ways businesses can increase revenue and attract more clients.
Toyota’s Camry Hybrid is a ‘Real’ Car
email print
About this blog
By Stephen Balzac
Author Stephen Balzac offers ways businesses can increase revenue and attract more clients with his 7 Steps Ahead philosophy. Whether you're trying to hire the right people or get your team on track, this is the place for accurate, useful ...
X
Business Advice
Author Stephen Balzac offers ways businesses can increase revenue and attract more clients with his 7 Steps Ahead philosophy. Whether you're trying to hire the right people or get your team on track, this is the place for accurate, useful information. Stephen is an expert on leadership and organizational development, a consultant and professional speaker, and author of \x34The 36-Hour Course in Organizational Development,\x34 published by McGraw-Hill, and a contributing author to volume one of \x34Ethics and Game Design: Teaching Values Through Play.\x34 Contact Steve at steve@7stepsahead.com.
Recent Posts
May 28, 2015 5:15 a.m.
May 28, 2015 5:10 a.m.
May 27, 2015 12:01 a.m.
May 27, 2015 9:36 a.m.
May 27, 2015 5:10 a.m.
Sept. 17, 2012 12:01 a.m.

Image
The Camry Hybrid XLE doesnít make us feel like weíre giving up automotive civility in the name of economy.
The novelty of specialty gas-electric cars has worn off, so now we can focus on them as transportation instead of mere marvels of engineering. As well, hybrid drivetrains have been put into many everyday cars, such as this Toyota Camry, which in addition to shutting off its gas engine at stops also has an ECO mode and even an ďEVĒ switch for electric-only operation.
But in EV mode I havenít been able to go farther than six-tenths of a mile, and that only by creeping along a flat road at less than 25 miles per hour. As soon as the battery icon shows three-quarters empty, or a hill or traffic demands more throttle, the gas motor kicks in.
So why the EV button? The Camry Hybrid can, if conditions are right, cross a mall parking lot in dead silence, sneaking up on pedestrians along the way. Or maybe itís to reduce exhaust fumes in urban congestion? But, at least in the cities I know, if youíre not willing to goose the throttle to close gaps and dart across intersections, youíll be sliced, diced and left for dead. Your teenagers might thank you, though, for a car that lets them sneak silently up the driveway long past curfew.
But this isnít driving, it’s playing computer games. I fiddle with the eco settings on this car until Iíve had enough, and then I look at the road instead of the dashboard, put my foot down and drive normally. This may be what Toyota wants, as then we discover that the TCH is a pretty decent caróbetter even, in some ways, than the regular version.
For starters, itís a Camry, so it should last until heck freezes over. As befits one of Americaís perpetual best-sellers, it is also handsome, spacious, comfortable, quiet, neatly screwed together and priced well. Unlike its gas-electric sibling, the Prius, a Camry Hybrid doesnít feel like an ultralight airplane; itís a substantial, if unexciting family sedan. Unlike the Prius, it doesnít have an annoying backup alarm that only people inside the car can hear, or a goofy shift lever, or weird, grabby brakes. And, unlike even the 268-horsepower, 6-cylinder gas Camry, the Hybrid responds instantly to the throttle with a highly agreeable shove of electrically augmented torque.
Most of the creepy shudders, silences and dynamic deadness of other hybrids have been engineered out, so this car feels quite normal. Even the continuously variable transmission behaves like a ďrealĒ automatic. The Camry Hybrid doesnít make us suffer in the name of saving gas.
Itís not even all that expensive. Camry Hybrid prices start at $26,750, delivery included. The upmarket XLE TCH starts at $28,160 (4-cylinder gas XLEs start at $25,535); with a backup camera, a touch screen and all sorts of connectivity features, ours stickered at $30,021óa bit less than an entry-level 6-cylinder gas Camry.
The feds rate the Camry Hybrid XLE at 40 miles per gallon in the city and 38 on the highway. (Hybrids do better at slower speeds because thatís where the electric motor can help.) The other night I drove this car on the interstate for 198 miles at computer-reported averages of 67 MPH and 35.7 MPG. Since then, Iíve racked up another 99 miles in town and on local roads, to the tune of 40.9 MPG.
The 4-cylinder gasoline Camry XLE is rated for 25 MPG in town and 35 on the highway. But on the highway, where the electrics are just tagging along for the ride, why doesnít the gas car rate 38 MPG, same as the Hybrid? Especially since a 4-cylinder gas XLE weighs 3,245 pounds to the hybridís 3,441 pounds.
Maybe Toyota could create a hybrid that lets us simply undo a couple of latches and drop 200 pounds of batteries and electric motor at home before we set off on a road trip. Then weíd get 40-plus MPG in town, with electric help, andówith a lighter caróon the highway too.

Recent Posts

    latest blogs

    • Community
    • National