Toyota Camry Hybrid Test Drive With Review

By dancurranjr On June 16th, 2009

toyota-camry-hybrid-thailand-1Toyota Camry Hybrid ran smooth and quiet during our test drive and review.

The Toyota Camry Hybrid has been one of the top selling cars of all-time. The sedan is powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine producing 147 horsepower and 138 pound-feet of torque. The electric motor produces another 45 horsepower.

The Toyota Camry can operate on any combination of the two power sources. Its power is transferred to the front wheels through a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The CVT was chosen for its ability to keep the gas engine in its most efficient power band.

Our Camry Hybrid test drive found that the combination of the gas and electric motor felt surprisingly robust. The acceleration seems much better than most four-cylinder vehicles and within the same limits of a six-cylinder. The automobile can go from 0-60 mph in just 8.3 seconds.

Camry offers various packages and some options include sunroof, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a four-way power passenger seat, a navigation system, satellite radio and a JBL sound system with a six-CD changer and Bluetooth. We sat in one of the cars with the high-end package and fell in love with the leather seats. The seats felt very comfortable and were well fitted for any person.

Toyota built this vehicle to perfection as we could tell by the quality. The automobile can operate on electric power at speeds up to 30 mph. However, rapidly acceleration will automatically turn on the gasoline engine.

The Toyota Camry Hybrid has an advanced Technology Partial-Zero Emissions Vehicle rating. This is the cleanest possible rating for a gasoline-burning car in terms of air pollution. In some cases, a city’s air could actually be dirtier than what’s coming out of this vehicle’s tailpipe.

Toyota Camry features standard front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, a driver knee airbag, anti-lock brakes, stability control and traction control. In the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash testing, the car received five out of five stars in all front and side collision categories. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also awarded the vehicle its highest rating of “Good” for frontal-offset and side collision protection.

The Camry Hybrid provides plenty of headroom and leg room. The sedan provides a serenely quiet environment when running on its electric power. It is so quiet, that it’s difficult to tell if the vehicle is still running.

Overall, Toyota continues to build a great car while maintaining the Camry tradition. The automaker didn’t cut any corners with this vehicle, but provided quality and great fuel economy.


Ford Hybrid Shows Green Can Be Fun If You Enjoy Being Despised

By dancurranjr On June 11th, 2009

ford fusionI have become what I most hate. As the traffic light turns green on Manhattan’s Park Avenue I feather the gas pedal, softly rolling forward. Horns blare and yellow cabs swirl round my blue Ford like a river divided by a rock.

I coast the Fusion Hybrid to the next light, ignoring the invective directed at me, the maddeningly slow driver clogging up traffic.

But damn I’m getting good gas mileage.

If sports-car lovers fixate over Nurburgring lap times and power-to-weight ratios, there’s an equally obsessive eco-green set who argue over consumption-over-distance ratios and the etiquette of hypermiling — the practice of driving to maximize fuel economy.

The latter group has another midsize hybrid to obsess about, and this time it’s from a U.S. automaker. Ford’s Fusion Hybrid gets Environmental Protection Agency estimates of 41 miles per gallon in the city and 36 on the highway.

But it can achieve better than that — way better — driven “correctly.” Ford advertises that the 17.5-gallon tank will last you for 700 miles in the city, yet a Ford team wrangled 1,445 miles in a test — more than 80 mpg. The problem is that the driving style needed to achieve those numbers will raise the blood pressure of your fellow road users.

The midsize sedan seats five and starts at $27,270, a sizable premium over the base $19,270 Fusion. A $1,700 Federal hybrid tax credit is good until Sept. 30.

Braking Energy

Ford’s other available hybrid is the $29,645 Escape Hybrid SUV, which also seats five and gets 34 city, 31 highway. There are also Mercury versions of the Fusion and Escape, the Milan Hybrid and Mariner Hybrid. In all, Ford has upped its hybrid production to 50,000 units for 2009.

The Fusion Hybrid has a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine and an electric motor for combined power of 191 horses. Ford says the car can operate up to 47 mph in electric mode. Like the Toyota Prius, it uses nickel-metal-hydride batteries and a regenerative brake system to recapture energy.

As for looks and design, except for the shiny three-tiered grill and the honeycombed taillights, it has about as much style as knit sweaters. From the lackluster rims, which look like they’re made of plastic, to the generic sedan shape, the Fusion has no flash whatsoever. Both the rear seats and the trunk are cramped as the battery pack is stored back there.

The economical aesthetic extends to the interior. You like your plastic garnished with cheap-looking cloth? You’re in luck. Fortunately, heated and leather-trimmed seats are available, as is Ford’s fine SYNC infotainment system.

Digital Display

Engineers spent lots of time on the instrument cluster, coined SmartGauge. The digital display flashes fancifully when you turn the car on, showing a speedometer flanked by data on the operation of the hybrid systems and real-time mileage.

How much information you get is up to you. There are four modes, from basic “inform,” giving only fuel and battery charge levels, to “empower,” which even tells you how much energy the air conditioning is sucking.

The goal is to use the readings to maximize your driving efficiency. It definitely works, though it can be as distracting as a video game.

As with other hybrid and electric cars, there’s no start-up noise when you switch the Fusion on, and the continuous variable transmission means there’s no shifting. The transitions between gas and electric power are mostly seamless.

Slow Start

The Fusion has a tight turning radius and though you won’t mistake the steering or suspension for a German-made car, they are acceptable. Power is adequate. It’s no less fun to drive than a Toyota Camry.

Which brings us to those driving techniques that make you public enemy number one. The best mileage is achieved when the electric motor is on, and the best way to do that is to avoid stopping or, when you must, to start off again very slowly.

This is, of course, the opposite of New York City driving etiquette — mashing on the gas to surge through gaps and slamming on brakes at stoplights. Mincing through traffic instead put me in real-time mpg of 60.

The art of hypermiling is controversial as it can include illegal maneuvers such as rolling through stop signs and drafting, or following another vehicle closely to reduce wind resistance. Ford says the team who got 80 mpg did not do that.

Either way, you have to keep the speed down, often to far slower than the flow of traffic. Hitting a parkway, I drive a steady 55 miles per hour and get 50 mpg. Nice. Eyes on the SmartGauge, I slow down. At 49 mph an octogenarian in an Oldsmobile blows by, honking her horn. Embarrassing, but I’m in the 60-mpg range.

I kick the air conditioning up to full blast and the SmartGauge scolds me for sucking lots of extra energy. I quickly stab it off, feeling sheepish.

In fact, I feel a bit giddy. Green can be fun. I wonder how long it takes for this feeling to fade. I’m guessing the first time you’re late for work.

SOURCE: Bloomberg

Toyota Camry Hybrid Offers Proven Reliability

By dancurranjr On June 10th, 2009

2009-toyota-camryThe 2009 Toyota Camry Hybrid is still one of Toyota’s best selling cars. Camry Hybrid has a starting price of $26,150 and can deliver up to 34 miles per gallon. Camry is unique with its new green technology that can deliver better than average fuel economy, according to NADA’s Fast Facts.

Toyota Camry achieves over 10 mpg above its gas-powered automobiles and has a 0 percent emission rating. The Camry hybrid comes equipped with luxury features found in Toyota’s top-of-the-line XLE model. The vehicle has proven reliability and is still a best-seller.

Fuel economy should be the main reason to buy a hybrid vehicle. Some hybrids offer up to 40 mpg, but make sure you check the specs on what you’re buying. The Toyota Camry Hybrid is reliable and the price is worth the savings in gas.

If gas prices were to go up to $3.96, which most analysts predict, you will be saving $1,746 each year on fuel. If fuel prices rise again, as they did in 2008, Toyota Camry owners will be saving more each year. There are also government tax credits, although most have expired (check with your tax planner or the IRS for additional information).

New car owners are encouraged to adopt new driving habits, which will also increase mileage for the Camry hybrid. Some of these driving techniques include coasting to red lights or stop signs, instead of immediately braking, and slowly accelerating after completing a full stop. Camry drivers should also keep the windows rolled up while driving on highways in an effort to make use of the vehicle’s aerodynamic technology.

SOURCE: News Oxy

Used Toyota Camry

Ford Escape Hybrid Offers Electric Vehicle Speeds Up To 40 MPH

By dancurranjr On May 27th, 2009

escapephev3500Ford Motor Company has developed some interesting new innovations for its Escape Hybrid SUV. One is called Easy Fuel, which now comes standard on every new Ford Escape Hybrid. This means there is no gas cap involved when fueling the SUV.

Everything about this SUV is nice. For example, the vehicle actually uses no fuel when you’re stopped in traffic or driving at lower speeds. The electric mode will activate, at speeds up to 40 mph, which will turn off the gasoline engine automatically.

The electric vehicle has an EPA estimate of 34 city and 31 highway. This is a far more MPG rating that most standard automobiles. The Escape is powered by a 2.5L Atkinson-cycle I-4 engine and it handles seamlessly when converting to electric mode operation.

Ford uses a nickel-metal-hydride (NiMH) battery which is stored under the flat rear cargo area. It is completely sealed and encased in the load floor. The Escape has a new Hybrid component which recharges the NiMH battery each time you apply the brakes.

While the Regenerative Braking System will recharge the battery, the energy gets stored for later use. When you hit the brakes in a conventional automobile, the energy is lost as heat. However, the electric motor on the Escape Hybrid captures this energy and sends it back to the battery pack to be stored for later use.

The AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control (RSC) is also introduced in the Ford Escape. This is a stability control system that measures the yaw and roll motion on the vehicle. If the driver turns a corner too quickly, or swerves to avoid an object, the RSC will automatically apply brake pressure while adjusting the power to the engine to maintain control.

Another great feature in the Ford Escape is called the in-car voice-activated communications system. This allows you to operate most popular MP3 players, Bluetooth-enabled phones and flash drives with simple voice commands. Ford now includes 911 Assist and a Vehicle Health Report feature.

Ford’s Navigation System is also available, which can provide detailed freeway exits, turn and ramp transition lane guidance, and street name announcements. The system includes a 10GB hard drive for storing photos, ripping CDs, and managing music with the Jukebox function.

Ford Motor Company is one of the first automakers to unveil eco-friendly seats in its Escape Hybrid SUV. The seats are made up of bio-based polyurethane foam derived from the oils of various plant seeds. Most of the material is made up of soybeans.


Ford Fusion Hybrid Reaches 1,000 Miles On Single Gas Tank

By dancurranjr On May 26th, 2009

2010_ford_fusion_mediumSomething remarkable is happening at the Ford Motor Company as it sets out to prove the fuel efficiency of their 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid cars. Consequently, the journey has taken the team for a drive of more than 1,000 miles on a single tank of gas. The road trip is driven by NASCAR driver Carl Edwards.

“At 9:08 a.m. this morning, the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid team hit the 1,000-mile mark on a single tank of gas, and is continuing its ultimate fuel-efficiency challenge with nearly one-third of a tank of fuel remaining,” a Ford spokesman said.

While the American automakers are struggling with the downward economy, Ford is determined to prove that their eco-friendly automobiles can save car owners money at the pump. The electric automobile is a mid-sized sedan which is delivering more than 80 miles per gallon over the course of 47 hours. The vehicle is so eco-friendly that the seat cushions use a bio-based polyurethane foam derived from the oils of various plant seeds.

The hybrid crew used fuel efficiency technics to reach 80 MPG during the road challenge.

The crew achieved 80 miles per gallon by using a few technics. For example, the team maintained even throttle pressure when slowing down while braking smoothly. The team coasted up to red lights and avoided stop signs which waste fuel and brake wear. The vehicle also has the kinetic forward motion when climbing hills in an effort to minimize excessive workload to the engine.

The crew also hasn’t used the heater or the air conditioning which has reduced the load on the engine. Avoiding bumps and potholes can reduce momentum for the vehicle. Moreover, the team closed the windows at high speeds to reduce aerodynamic drag.
Ford Fusion Hybrid $1,700 Tax Credit

Customers can get a $1,700 tax credit when they buy a hybrid car before October 1, 2009. Buyers of a new 2010 Fusion or Mercury Milan Hybrid will qualify for the tax credit. The tax credit amounts are reduced by 50 percent beginning in the second quarter of 2009 and by an additional 25 percent beginning in the fourth quarter of 2009.

It is the highest credit amount ever offered for eco-friendly cars.