As opposed to the Prius, which with its distinctive profile fairly screams its eco-friendliness to passersby, the Camry Hybrid is the most unobtrusive of hybrid vehicles. Disguised as a run-of-the-mill combustion-engined Camry, the only outward indication that there is a hybrid powertrain lurking under the skin is a small Hybrid Synergy Drive badge.
Like the Four Seasons vehicle we tested in 2007, this Camry Hybrid isn't about the driving experience but about maximum efficiency. Fuel efficiency is a fairly respectable 34 mpg, there are several vehicles on the road today that can either match or outperform it in that regard. Take, for example, the Audi A3 TDI that is currently in our fleet. That car also returns 34 mpg, and, while its base price is $4000 higher than that of a base Camry Hybrid, it makes up for it with a more rewarding driving experience and more refinement. (Plus, the as-tested price of the A3 actually come in $2000 less than this loaded Camry Hybrid.)
Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor