If you read my previous post, I’ve reluctantly traded in my 2007 Corvette Coupe – and I bought a 2013 Toyota Camry Hybrid SE.
A big change for sure.
Background: I’m a muscle-car guy, and always will be. I’ll buy another Corvette one day, and I hope it is a C7. My first car was a 1976 Firebird. I love them! So why a hybrid?
First – my driving habits reflect the “business case” for a hybrid: Drive a lot of miles ~30-40MPH. Over the past 6 months per the Corvette’s computer, I drove an average of 27.9 MPH. My daily commute is 50 miles round-trip, and will soon be closer to 90 miles round-trip – same high-traffic conditions, just moving farther away from work. Maintenance on the Vette for a 90 mile-per-day commute is higher than I am willing to pay. Over 2 years I’d essentially need to get two sets of new tires (1600 per set), 12 oil changes (100 each), brakes (500), etc, etc. You get the picture.
Second – I had a great buy on the Vette, and consequently the folks at Toyota (Sterling McCall in Houston to be exact – talk to Robert Savala if you’re interested. He’s fantastic) cut me a fantastic deal. Given what I bought the Corvette for vs what they gave me on trade vs the cost of the new Camry, I was able to walk away with a lower monthly payment over the same loan period, a brand-new car that gets over twice the MPG, can carry twice the number of people, AND money in my pocket. The business guy in me couldn’t pass it up.
The Camry is nice, both inside and out. I opted for the entry-level one (SE trim) because in my mind, if I’m getting a hybrid to save money on gas, my ROI equation becomes less favorable if I spring for the leather and the moonroof. That said, the SE interior is really nice, and comes standard with a bunch of “gadgety” type stuff – push-button start, touch-screen information center/media center, bluetooth, iPod integration, and steering-wheel controls. Definitely enough for a point-A-to-point-B car.
Driving it is similar to driving Katie’s Honda Accord. Nothing special, but it doesn’t feel underwhelming. In the 60ish miles I’ve put on it thus far, handling seems fine, and acceleration is ok for what it is – it’s still no Vette of course.
The biggest thing I need to get used to is when you “start” the car, I’m never quite sure that it’s actually ready to drive. There isn’t much noise as the gas engine doesn’t always turn on. Also, I can’t comment much on cabin noise because since you don’t have much by way of engine noise, I think you tend to hear other things better. Given that, though, I’d say cabin road noise is low/medium-to-medium. Not as quiet as a Range Rover, but not as loud as the Vette.
All in all, my sub-100mi review is that I like it. I’ll post more thoughts as I put more miles on it.