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>> It's the car that screams I'm not really into cars. But Toyota can sell just about all of them they can mint. And in hybrid form it takes on new and fresher meaning. Let's find out what the Prius' little brother, the Camry hybrid stole from the gene pool.
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Now a Camry hybrid's a tech message under the hood, but you can also get it kind of teched up under the roof. This is the top head unit, navigation and JBL audio. Your sources include the usual AM FM radio, no HD radio by the way, satellite radio includes XM, and you've also got a four disc in-dash changer, hides here behind the display, down from six discs if you don't have nav. JBL audio, you still have eight speakers around the cabin when you go for JBL, the same as the non-JBL system, but better amplification and speakers, and it does sound pretty good. Now the only other option you've got for input is down here in the cave, I can feel it even though I can't see it, that's an aux jack I believe, right next to a twelve volt. 2010 Camry hybrids are gonna add some new tricks. A USB jack that has iPod compatibility, that would be nice to have. Also the Bluetooth system on this car will increase its capability to be A2DP stereo streaming, that's for 2010. This car's a 2009. Now even though you may think of a hybrid as being kind of a bare bones green sustainable car, a lot of makers position them as premium vehicles, and this Camry's no different. Nice interior trim, nice exterior details as well. It doesn't read econo-box. Now the display on this car is good but not great. If you've ever driven a Lexus with a head unit like this, you know the display is a little bigger, a little more amazingly well rendered, although they are touch screens and they are very much in the same information layout as the more expensive big brothers of the luxury division. And of course you've got the crowd pleaser, for those who are totally green nuts. You've got the information display for the energy monitor. You can look at how the drive train, the power train is operating, or you can look at this excessively detailed consumption graph. I normally don't get too excited about HVAC systems. This is your typical dual zone, normal stuff. But this one has a plasma cluster. This is a device inside the HVAC system which is going to emit negative and positive ions to quote deactivate impurities and render them inert. So if you buy into that whole electronic air cleaner thing at all, you'll love this. If you don't, you won't. But it's part of the whole hybrid package, so you get it anyway. Now in the engine bay is one of the key things to any Toyota hybrid, their legendary hybrid synergy drive. And I can say legendary because they outsell everybody else by many, many times. The way it works is we have a 2.4 liter inline, relatively modest gas engine, coupled to two motor generators. They're motors when you need power, they're generators when you can regenerate electricity back into the nickel metal hydride battery pack. Combined, total horsepower is 187, but if you take out the electric motors it's only 147. Kind of a scrawny motor for a good size car. Same thing for the torque number. It's 199 in foot pounds on this car all in, but take out the electric motors and you're down to 138. That would not be a fun car to drive. And of course the bottom line on this is greenness and low fuel consumption. 33 34 are your EPA estimates, good for a car this size, very good. And it's an ATP zev, a partial zero emissions vehicle. Your only transmission choice, an electronically controlled CVT. And the power always goes out through the front wheels.
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On the road, power delivery seemed a little underwhelming. Not that this car is supposed to be a barn burner, zero to 60, 8.3 But I was struck by a vague unevenness of power delivery, both darting around in town, as well as just maintaining steady speed on a freeway. That said, this car is a tight snare drum of a thing, with smooth, quiet lack of drama going down the road. Just what a Camry is supposed to be. It's unsurprisingly comfortable, and big enough for just about anybody to get their shoulders and hips in. Okay, an '09 Camry hybrid, about 27,000 with destination. Now remember these are pretty well trimmed cars, but they don't have all the tech until you option up one big package that has the JBL audio and the navigation system primarily. So it's about a 30,000 dollar car done CNET style.