2016 Toyota Camry Hybrid LE: Masterful, Miserly Money Saver

9 Jul 2016 | 685 views | No Comment
By Don Hammonds Perhaps I can sum up my experiences with the 2016 Toyota Camry Hybrid LE with a little story. In four days of driving to seminary, the grocery store, a distant shopping mall, and countless stops here and there for countless reasons, my navy blue Camry went just about everywhere in the sprawling, hilly Pittsburgh metropolitan area. And I went to most places several times--often every day. We are talking probably 150 to 200 miles of traveling in four days.  All that driving barely moved the gasoline needle past the first mark below full.  I thought to myself,  "Really??"  Yeah, really. 2015_Toyota_Camry_Hybrid_003     I generally got around 45 miles per gallon with the ECO mode turned on and driving pretty normally--no unusual steps to increase the mileage.  I suspect that I would have gotten even better mileage had it all been highway driving with the cruise control engaged--I can remember getting 60 to 65 miles per gallon with all the economy buttons pushed--ECO mode and cruise control on. I remember checking back with the Toyota PR types--and they were as shocked as I was--but they agreed that my fuel economy results were not out of the question. And we are not talking about barebones driving here. The Camry is exceptionally comfortable and just about the easiest car on the road to drive. No fuss. No muss. No having to figure out really weird controls--beause there weren't any. Took me all of five seconds to hook up the Bluetooth--no worries.  It's just driving at its most simple, flowing point. Just for information's sake, Toyota rates the Camry Hybrid LE at 43 city, 39 highway and 41 overall. Annual fuel cost is an amazing $1,100 a year, based on 15,000 miles of driving for five years using $3.00 a gallon gas. You will save a whopping $3,500 over five years compared to other new vehicles. Base price is $26,790--a real steal for a mid-sized hybrid car. The only options included a preferred accessory package, body side molding and that's about it. Final price is $28,497. Style-wise, the Camry Hybrid might be a bit conservative for some tastes, but  I do like its exclusive features like 18 inch alloy wheels with machined face and gloss black painted accents,, the smoked tail lamp treatment and the Hybrid's exclusive themes inside of blue contrast stitching of Blizzard Pearl and Blue Streak metallic. To be honest, I would probably forego the LE model and go straight for the Hybrid SE. It's much cooler looking with its sports mesh grille, smoked chrome upper grille, rear trunk treatment, color keyed spoiler, chrome tipped exhaust and hotter looking graphite alloy wheels. plus the sports interior looks jazzier to my eyes. Given my need to go to St. Louis a lot from Pittsburgh--a 600 mile one way trip--I like the idea of combining incredible fuel mileage with  really cool jet black Hybrid SE.  And since the Hybrid SE uses only 2.4 gallons of gas to drive 100 miles, it's a no-brainer for anybody concerned about fuel economy. I need a new car next year and the Camry Hybrid just earned itself a place on the top ten list for me in 2017. I only had two niggles:  The holder for cups inside the door was too small for a small sized drink, and the shifting pattern on the ECT tranny felt ratchety and balky to me.  I wish Toyota would change that--I had the same annoyance with the last Camry I drove. Still, the Camry LE Hybrid really impressed me--and sales reflect that it's impressing a lot of other people, too.  

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