When my wife and I decided to buy a new vehicle in 2012, we wanted one that consistently reached 40 miles per gallon. After considerable research, we purchased a 2012 Toyota Camry and have never regretted the decision.
In the two years we have owned the vehicle, we’ve driven it 40,000 miles. The car has delivered the promised gas mileage of 41/39 for the life of the vehicle. One of the reasons we chose this vehicle over a pure electric vehicle was the range per gallon/charge. We can easily go 500 miles on a tank of gas and although the Prius gets better mileage, it’s not as roomy.
The main downside to the vehicle, for some, is its plain styling. The interior of our car is very basic with a simplistic stereo system and pragmatic heating and cooling knobs that look like something from the ’90s. The biggest complaint we have with the vehicle is the extremely slow acceleration required to keep it in all-electric mode. If you push the gas pedal just a little too hard, it automatically kicks to gas power.
Tips and Tricks
We have learned some tricks to improve our gas mileage. With any hybrid vehicle, the hybrid system must be ”warmed up” before it can be used. To get the best gas mileage, we run all our in-town errands at the same time — keeping the vehicle in its electric mode longer.This lets us get 50 mpg or more in town.
Since it is a belt-less vehicle, the air conditioning compressor utilizes the hybrid battery system — which means a reduction in gas mileage in extreme hot weather. The same holds true for extreme cold weather since you are using the heater fan more often. To improve mileage turn either of these systems off when they are not needed.
Next Car: Chevy Volt?
Because of the positive experience with this hybrid, we are considering a more electric-oriented vehicle for our next car. The Chevy Volt is one we are considering since it is primarily an electric vehicle that only uses a gas engine to run a generator to recharge the battery. For short trips the Volt runs entirely on electric, but it also has an acceptable range of about 300 miles per tank with the generator system.