By Natasha M.
Test driving the new 2007 Toyota Camry Hybrid on a sunny day through downtown streets and on the highway proved to be more pleasant than I expected. The car definitely lived up to its renowned traits of reliability and quality. But what surprised me was the new look Toyota achieved with this hybrid model. On the outside, the new look is actually more refined than the standard Camry design. The dazzling grill surprised me because I don’t believe I’ve seen it on other models and with this much extra chrome. They even carried it through to the lower bumper valance that is usually left behind.
The look of a more athletic and elegant car is apparent from the standard 16” wheel size to the smooth and fluid curves of the body. From the halogen headlamps (with auto on-off functionality) to the grill, you will like what you see. I believe the new style will definitely attract more people who already love the Camry because it simply looks better along with saving on the pocket with its efficient fuel economy and low environmental impact. Under the hood, you get the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that gives good acceleration. I noticed climbing up a hill it needed just a little extra effort but that is basically what you would come to expect from a four cylinder engine. I learned the Camry Hybrid uses Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system that through careful science achieves both fuel-efficiency and extra horsepower. It’s estimated to get 43/27 mpg but I had a limited test drive so I’m not totally sure of the reliability of the EPA estimates. But overall, the drive was great and I didn’t have any criticisms about steering, braking or driving characteristics of the Camry Hybrid.
The Camry Hybrid has an awesome digital navigation system with LCD touch screen. It’s packed with info such as battery life, cruising range, and gas-mileage readouts. There’s even an overhead schematic of the car. Probably not that useful for me but great for the super-conscience person that understands it all. I had to go back and forth with the push buttons to reach the menu to find simple things like the CD player. Once I figured that out, I saw the coolest thing. The LCD screen softly flips open to reveal the disc changer behind it. There’s a tiny delay so a little patience is needed. The voice-command dialing with virtual keypad was neat for the Bluetooth-enabled hands free calling setup. But what drove me crazy was the voice-activated GPS navigation. I had to either turn it off or lower the sound level. My advice, definitely learn how to operate the system before hitting the road to make sure you see and hear what you want (not to mention that it’s a huge safety measure!)
I loved the contemporary console and the leather-appointed interiors because it looked modern and simple. There’s plenty of legroom for backseat passengers, durable seatback pockets (not cloth so they won’t bend out of shape) and adequate trunk space. The keyless start, advanced air bag system and tire-pressure monitoring system are just a few of the many bonuses you get that carries this hybrid up to the level of the newer and more high-tech cars of our time. It’s great that you can get all of this in a hybrid but I’m sure the price tag will be the “dent” in this package. I think the new 2007 Camry Hybrid is a great pick that will save you money in the long run. It’s a great commuter and family car that you’ll be proud to drive for years to come.
|The official website of Toyota – www.toyota.com|
Test car generously provided by Stevens Creek Toyota of San Jose, CA