Toyota Hybrids are the most reliable cars in the vehicle industry. Toyota is the first company that invented hybrid technology and brought the Toyota Prius around 2000. Since then, Toyota has refined this tech to a near-perfect level.
In New York City, almost every Uber, Lyft, and Taxi is a Camry. It’s because the Camry is very reliable. Camry Hybrid is the perfect vehicle if an owner plans to keep a car for 10-12 years.
Pros of Toyota Camry Hybrid:
These are the pros of the Camry Hybrid.
The Camry Hybrid is one of the cheapest cars in the Toyota lineup. It’s economical, extremely reliable, and gets the job done.
However, the Camry Hybrid costs $1,500-$2,000 more than the non-hybrid Camry. But an owner can recoup this extra cost on 30,000 miles of driving. Here’s the cost breakdown –
For a Non-Hybrid Camry at 26 mpg, $4/gallon gas, total cost to drive 30,000 miles is 30,000 miles / 26 mpg = 1,154 gallons x $4 = $4,616.
For Hybrid Camry, at 50mpg, the total cost is 30,000 miles / 50 mpg = 600 gallons x $4 = $2,400.
Savings on Gas Mileage:
No other gas vehicle except for Camry Hybrid cars achieves high gas mileage. The Camry Hybrid has a gas mileage of 51 in the city and 53 on the highway. This MPG is comparable to the Toyota Prius and Corolla Hybrid.
On a traditional gasoline vehicle, if the manufacturer says that their car has 30 mpg in the city, it will achieve less than 25 mpg on real-life tests. But in the Camry Hybrid, countless owners report that they regularly get more than 50 mpg combined on their daily driving. In comparison, even though Toyota claims the non-Hybrid Camry achieves 28 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway, it achieves 26 mpg combined in the real-world test.
The Camry Hybrid has a 13 gallon or 49.3 Liter fuel tank capacity. Therefore, you can go more than 600 miles (965 km) on a single refill.
At 50 average mpg, $4/gallon gas, the total gasoline cost on a 10 year / 150,000 miles ownership is 150,000 miles / 50 mpg = 3,000 gallons x $4 = $12,000.
In comparison, to drive a non-Hybrid Camry that gets an average of 26 mpg in a real-world scenario, the total gasoline cost to go the exact 150,000 miles is 150,000 miles / 26 mpg = 5769 gallons x $4 = $23,076.
Therefore, on the Camry Hybrid, an owner will save more than $11,000 on 10-year vehicle ownership. Even if someone pays $1,000-$2,000 extra for the Hybrid model, still the savings is around $9,000. These savings can fund the insurance cost of the Camry Hybrid for about 44 months.
Unprecedented Camry Hybrid Battery Warranty:
Since 2020, Toyota has given every Camry Hybrid car a 10 Year 150,000 miles Hybrid battery warranty. Toyota also provides an 8 Year 100,000 miles Hybrid system warranty. Therefore, if you purchase a new Camry Hybrid, you don’t need to worry about Camry’s high voltage hybrid battery life. Toyota will service and replace this battery free of cost if any problem arises.
The notion that the Camry Hybrid HV battery needs replacement after 12-15 years is overblown. With minimal maintenance, a Camry Hybrid owner can expect more than 15 years of hybrid battery life.
Even if the Camry Hybrid traction control battery fails, the cost to replace it is far lower than the total gas savings over the vehicle’s lifetime.
A new Camry Hybrid battery replacement costs around $4,000 without labor. But the labor cost isn’t that high because the battery is under the passenger seat, and replacing it is straightforward. But still, for 10 Years of Camry Hybrid ownership, you don’t need to worry about it because it’s under warranty.
The Camry Hybrid uses one of two types of Hybrid batteries — a Nickel-Metal hydride battery or a Lithium-ion battery.
Longer Lasting Transmission:
The Camry Hybrid has eCVT transmission. Even though the name has CVT in it, eCVT is an entirely different type of transmission that uses a planetary gear mechanism. There’s no v-belt, starter, alternator, drive chain, torque converter, etc. Thus this eCVT lasts a long time.
The transmission oil change is easier compared to an Automatic transmission oil change. There’s no need to measure the fluid temperature. Only drain and refill are required. There’s no transmission oil filter because it’s not needed.
There’s a misconception that Toyota eCVT transmission oil doesn’t need to be changed. However, it’s not true. This false notion comes from the fact that the Toyota Owners manual says that no fluid change is necessary for the lifetime of eCVT transmission. But according to Toyota, this lifetime is 60,000 miles.
Every oil will degrade over time, and eventually, the transmission oil will break. Therefore, a periodic transmission oil change is crucial to keep the Toyota Camry Hybrid for more than 200,000 miles. At 60,000 miles / 5 years interval is an optimal time to change the fluid.
Maintenance: Camry Hybrid eCVT transmission and differential use Toyota ATF WS fluid. Never use CVT fluid. We highly recommend you buy genuine Toyota fluid from a Toyota dealer.
The Camry Hybrid engine uses 0W-16 engine oil.
Long-Lasting Brake Pads and Rotors:
The Camry Hybrid uses regenerative braking technology. Toyota is the first company to invent and use it on the Prius. Since then, Toyota has refined the technology.
There are motors (called MG – Motor Generator) indirectly connected to the Camry Hybrid tires. These motors act as a generator during deceleration and convert the vehicle’s kinetic energy into electric energy. It recharges the high voltage (traction control) battery and slows down the Camry.
The brake pads and rotors on Camry Hybrid are less used due to this regenerative braking and last longer. Some Camry Hybrid owners reported that their brake pad lasted more than 100,000 miles. For comparison, on a non-Hybrid Camry, the brake pad lasts a maximum of 20,000 miles.
No Manual Charging Required:
The Camry Hybrid is not a 100% electric vehicle. It has a gasoline engine that recharges the onboard hybrid battery while a driver drives the car. Therefore, an owner doesn’t need to recharge the Camry Hybrid at home or anywhere.
Long Term Savings:
In the Camry Hybrid, there is no alternator, starter motor, drive chain, v-belt, mechanical differential, drum, cone, etc. The eCVT transmission design is robust, doesn’t break, and requires less long-term maintenance.
Furthermore, the MG (Motor Generator) and the Hybrid battery take off a lot of load from the engine. Thus, the Hybrid Camry is even more reliable than the non-hybrid Camry.
Moreover, an owner would save thousands of dollars on gasoline. Furthermore, the traction battery warranty makes the Camry Hybrid ownership stress free.
Cons of Toyota Camry Hybrid:
These are the drawbacks of the Camry Hybrid.
Similar to all other sedans, Camry Hybrid can’t tow. Therefore, if towing is essential, the RAV4 Hybrid is a better choice.
Low Ground Clearance:
The Camry Hybrid has a 6.3-inch ground clearance (unladen). It’s pretty low to the ground. Moreover, the approach angle and departure angle are also smaller. It could be an issue if you live in a dirt road area.
The Camry Hybrid has 15.1 cubic feet of cargo space. However, it can only hold two large luggage due to its design.
The Camry Hybrid is a smaller vehicle compared to RAV4 or Venza. Therefore, it’s not a perfect vehicle for camping or long road trips. RAV4 Hybrid is better if cargo storage is crucial for you.
Camry Hybrid’s total weight capacity is 925 lbs (420). If 4 people weighing on average 150lbs, ride the Camry Hybrid, then the total cargo weight capacity remains 925 – (4 x 150) = 325 lbs.
A hybrid system works differently than a gasoline engine. For example, during slow down or reverse, the Camry Hybrid electric motor makes strange noises that are normal but takes some time to get used to for many owners.
The Camry Hybrid uses start-stop technology. When your Camry is stopped, the engine will stop. The hybrid battery and electric motor will drive the car at low speed. When a driver presses the accelerator more, the engine comes on. When the driver stops the vehicle, the Camry Hybrid engine stops again. For many, it feels unnatural and takes some time to get used to. We want to point out that this start-stop technology doesn’t harm the engine.
No Long Term Storage:
One drawback of the Camry Hybrid is that it can’t be left parked for 4-5 months, such as at an airport or vacation home. If it is parked for an extended period, the high voltage or the traction battery will slowly discharge. If it discharges 100%, it could be tough to restart the Camry Hybrid. (Vehicle jump starts are necessary for this scenario.)
Toyota recommends driving the Camry Hybrid at least once a month for 10 miles or 30 minutes. It will recharge the battery to 100%, and everything will work perfectly.
No Jump Start:
The Camry Hybrid has a giant traction control battery. Thus, the 12V battery on the Camry Hybrid is smaller than a typical gasoline vehicle. Therefore, one can’t use a Camry Hybrid to jump-start another gasoline vehicle. If you use your Camry Hybrid to jump-start another car, it will severely damage the hybrid systems.
However, one can use a gasoline vehicle to jump-start a Camry Hybrid. Even though it’s reported that one Camry Hybrid can jump-start another Camry Hybrid, we highly discourage it. It’s better to stay safe than sorry.
No Recharge During “Neutral”:
The Camry Hybrid doesn’t recharge the High Voltage Hybrid (traction control) battery when the shift lever is in the “Neutral (N)” position, even if the engine is running.
If an owner unknowingly keeps their vehicle on the “N” for an extended period, the traction battery may discharge entirely and cause possible problems, such as the engine may not restart again if stopped.
Highway Gas Mileage:
On a non-Hybrid gasoline vehicle, highway mpg is better than city mpg. However, on a Hybrid car, the highway mpg is worse than the city mpg. Therefore, if your daily commute primarily consists of highway driving, the actual gasoline savings would be negligible.
Overall, Camry Hybrid is an excellent choice if you are on a budget and want a reliable car.