Toyota Camry Hybrid Pros & Cons

by John Michael

Concerns for the environment and increases in the cost of gasoline are driving consumers to consider purchasing hybrid vehicles. Hybrid's, by definition, use both gas and electricity as power sources. Electricity is generated passively when the car coasts or brakes. By using both power sources, the efficiency of the vehicle increases and the amount of air pollutants decreases . Toyota is one of the leaders in manufacturing of hybrid automobiles. The Prius was the first hybrid Toyota manufactured in 2001, and they have added other models over the years, including the Camry in 2007. While it has been a very reliable car since its introduction, according to "Car and Driver" magazine, you should consider the pros and cons before deciding if a Toyota Camry Hybrid is right for you.

Toyota Name

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While the brand image of Toyota has recently taken a serious blow due to a number of recalls, including for the Camry Hybrid, overall the Toyota brand is very strong. It has consistently been rated as one of the top car manufacturers by organizations like "Car and Driver" magazine, Edmunds.com and Consumer Reports. This extensive track record of quality should reduce the risk when buying a car.

Cost Savings and the Environmental Impact

The Camry Hybrid can save you money by increasing the miles you can drive per gallon, particularly if most of your driving is in urban areas. The standard Camry gets about 22 miles per gallon in the city and 33 on the highway. The Hybrid can get about 33 miles per gallon in the city and 34 on the highway. This reduction in fuel usage reduces the need to drill for oil and lessens the impact on the environment. One of the unique features of a hybrid is that when you first put your foot on the gas pedal to get started from a stopped position, the electric motor is the first thing to engage. The advantage to this is that this is also the point in standard engines where they pollute the most. Also, a hybrid Camry engine shuts off when stopped so no fuel is burning and producing green-house gases. Because of these features, emissions from a hybrid can decrease by as much as 90 percent.

Tax and Insurance Savings

The Federal Government at one time offered a tax incentive for hybrid vehicles. Unfortunately for the Camry, Toyota has already hit the limit on vehicles sold that are eligible for this incentive. Some states and private organizations do still offer a tax break and incentives for hybrids, so examine this before making a purchase. Also, some car insurance companies offer a discount for hybrid vehicles. Even some hotels offer lower rates to hybrid owners.

Cost

According to Edmunds.com, an automotive website, the initial cost of a hybrid is typically about $4,000 more than a standard vehicle. A standard Toyota Camry costs between $20,000 and $29,000, and the Camry Hybrid costs between $26,000 and $32,000. This added cost can be re-couped if most of your miles are in the city, but if you drive more miles on the highway, then the overall cost of the hybrid will be more. Additionally, the nickel metal hydride batteries that are used in hybrid vehicles can cost between $4,000 and $7,000 to replace if they fail. The success of the hybrid model has also resulted in a high demand for the vehicles. Because of this, dealers can charge a premium, so do not expect to be able to negotiate the price down.

Recall

Currently, several Toyota models, including the Camry Hybrid, are being recalled for different mechanical problems. Some of these problems can be life-threatening. If you purchase a new or used Toyota Camry, make sure all of these problems have been addressed and fixed.

About the Author

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