BY H. THROTTLE
I’m growing fond of hybrids, and the technology keeps improving with higher engine horsepower support and variable-speed transmissions.
The 2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE sedan is about as good as hybrid cars come. Factory-rated 46 mpg is the stated mileage, but during the test drives the system was averaging 56.
West Texas crude oil breached $60 a barrel at year’s end and the price of gasoline is around $2.49 a gallon. It is quite likely that oil will continue to creep higher, and gasoline by next year could be around $3 a gallon. Not too bad considering a bottle of water sells for $1.50.
Looking further down the automotive road one can see more hybrids. There are hydrogen-fueled cars already in California and many more electric car options, such as Volt, Leaf and Tesla. Electricity production, fueled by natural gas, appears to be the primary energy source of this decade.
The performance of hybrid cars, such as the new Toyota Camry, is stunning. The engine is a 2.5L four-cylinder, delivering with the hybrid system 208 horsepower. The four-door sedan has an electronic variable transmission with sequential shift with a choice of gear ranges. The driver can select drive modes of EZ (battery power) normal, sport and eco. The normal range was highly acceptable in performance and the sport option is very impressive. The eco mode was also excellent for standard freeway performance and attaining maximum fuel economy.
This Camry XLE has final assembly in Georgetown, Ky. and is very attractive in both design and craftsmanship. The test model had attractive metallic “blue crush” paint. The appearance, size and performance of this vehicle is a buyer’s dream at $32,250, loaded with many safety and luxury features.
Toyota has pioneered many of the new safety features that enhance driver and passenger safety. The SST, (Smart Stop Technology) prevents striking a forward object and is one of the best new features showing up on many new vehicle brands.
Further safety features include pedestrian detection, lane-departure alert, blind-spot detection and rear-cross traffic alert. This feature worked for me as another car suddenly dashed behind me pulling out of a grocery-store parking area. The car saw the oncoming vehicle before me and immediately stopped.
The Camry is loaded with technology, smartphone controls and attachments, and an easy-to-operate radio and navigation system. Rear seating is comfortable for passengers and there is a spacious trunk.
The nickel-metal hydride battery system is guaranteed for eight years and 100,000 miles for hybrid components.
Amazing high-fuel economy in comfort and style with powerful performance makes this 2018 Camry XLE very desirable.
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