The Toyota Camry Hybrid is essentially the mid-size Camry sedan fitted with a high-tech, frugal gasoline-electric hybrid system, and returns for the 2009 model year with no significant changes. Pricewise, it fits into the Camry lineup between the four-cylinder and V-6 models.
Fuel efficiency is the big selling point on the 2009 Toyota Camry Hybrid; the model gets EPA fuel economy estimates of 33 mpg city, 34 mpg highway. The 2009 Toyota Camry Hybrid, like the Prius, has a so-called 'full hybrid' system, meaning that it can move on electric power alone at low speeds; at higher speeds and when more power is needed, the vehicle uses varying combinations of electric power and gas-engine power (from a 2.4-liter four-cylinder), and charges the battery system especially when coasting or braking. Altogether, the hybrid system and engine make 192 horsepower. The Hybrid's additional components fit well into the Camry without seriously affecting passenger or cargo space.
The high-tech powertrain in the 2009 Toyota Camry Hybrid operates smoothly and unobtrusively, to the point that with the sound system turned up it's hard to tell when the gasoline engine turns on (an instrument panel display shows that). The engine is only heard as a gentle groan during hard acceleration.
Toyota's more sophisticated form of electronic stability control, called Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management (VDIM) is standard on the Hybrid to assure that power deliver is smooth and that the system is stable on slippery surfaces. Like the other Camry sedans, the Hybrid has a rather soft, well-controlled ride and a very roomy interior, with plenty of legroom in back and space for five adults. Due to the Hybrid's heavier weight, its handling isn't as nimble as that of the normal Camry.
The 2009 Toyota Camry Hybrid comes with quite a bit more standard equipment than the normal Camry; it includes a Smart Key system, dual-zone automatic climate control, a Plasmacluster ionizer, 16-inch steel wheels, and AM/FM/single CD audio system with six speakers. An impressive JBL audio system, Bluetooth hands-free calling interface, and navigation system are available as part of options packages; stand-alone options for this year's Camry Hybrid include a sunroof, a leather interior, driver and front passenger heated seats and heated outside mirrors.
Five-star results in the federal government's crash tests testify that the Camry Hybrid offers good occupant protection; a non-hybrid Camry also got 'Good' results in the insurance industry tests, except for a 'Marginal' result in the rear-impact test. The 2009 Toyota Camry Hybrid comes with a knee airbag for the driver as well as full-length curtain and front seat side-impact airbags, for seven airbags in total, plus the VDIM stability control system.
The Bottom Line:
The 2008 Toyota Camry Hybrid melds the automaker's responsive and efficient hybrid system into America's bread-and-butter sedan.