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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10
The Camry Hybrid feels a little cruder than the Prius
Camry Hybrid leaves little to be desired
Takes turns smoothly and easily
33 mpg city, 34 mpg highway
TheCarConnection.com finds that the 2009 Toyota Camry Hybrid's performance rivals that of not just other hybrids, but some gasoline-powered sedans as well.
The Toyota Camry Hybrid is propelled by Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive system, which also powers the Toyota Prius. It consists of a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine mated to a continuously variable transmission. The other component, the Camry Hybrid's electric motor, can run the vehicle independently, but only at speeds below 30 mph. The engine provides 147 hp, but Edmunds notes that the "electric motor adds another 40 hp," making for a decent 187 hp total.
The 2009 Toyota Camry Hybrid goes from 0-60 mph "in a very respectable 8.4 seconds," according to Edmunds. "The ride and handling are no sacrifice at all. This Camry virtually glides down the road and takes turns smoothly and easily," Mother Proof reports, adding that it's possible to "feel the moment when things move from electric to gas and back again." For some, this might be fun—for others, it might get old.
"Fuel economy is an impressive 33 mpg city, 34 mpg highway," according to Edmunds. And that's quite good except when compared to the 2009 Prius' "48 mpg in the city, 45 on the highway" as cited by Autoblog. This discrepancy leads Popular Mechanics to wonder if people "are willing to pay about the same for the larger Camry Hybrid as they will for the slick but smaller Prius." Since fuel mileage is the stick by which hybrid vehicles are typically measured, it's a very valid question.
The 2009 Toyota Camry Hybrid achieves better fuel mileage than the four-cylinder, gasoline-only version and adds a significant performance advantage.