A few weeks ago, I had an issue with my driver's side door on my FR-S. Somehow, it slid down the hinges and started rubbing on the body panel. Being that it's still under warranty, I took it into the dealer who fixed it promptly and I was on my way. Fast forward to a few days ago, the problem returned, and I returned to the dealer. This time however, they were busy and needed to keep it overnight. That meant me getting a loaner.
At first I was excited, I figured I'd get something like a 4Runner, or FJ since they've got a million of them on the lot. And maybe I'd do a review of them. I don't know how I could be so wrong. They had two choices, a Sienna, or a Hybrid Camry. I took the Camry. I should've taken the Sienna.
What happened next can only be described with as many swears as humanely possible, so be forewarned, it's about to go to the dark side.
Still here? Good. FUUUUUUUCCCKKKKK the Camry. Seriously this is the biggest pile of shit I've ever driven. That includes a '92 Plymouth Acclaim which had the tendency to violently shake around 50mph. This car was worse. Holy fuck, in this day and age, I can't figure out how Toyota can build such a huge stinking pile of utter fuckery.
It's not that it's overly dangerous, it has a great crash rating. It's not that the interior isn't nice, it's actually quite big. It's even not that the ride is shitty, it's quite comfortable.
(See you even have space for half a wife's arm! How practical.)
It all comes down to the engine, hybrid system, and all the gauges that tell you what's going on with both which are absolute garbage.
First let's talk about the gas engine. It feels like a diesel from the 70's. It's a wheezy, loud thing, that has absolutely no power. You get this supposedly green car, and it feels like you are doing more damage to the environment than a fucking coal plant. Every time you move your foot down on the gas pedal, you are met with an engine that doesn't want to move. It just sits there, noisily trying desperately to push the front wheels. Putter, putter, putter, putter, cough, putter, 20mph, putter… You get the picture. But what's also so shitty is the gas mileage.
But how could you say that Jonathon? Isn't it a hybrid? Shouldn't it get great gas mileage? Did you just lead foot everything? I'll be the first to admit that I do indeed have a lead foot, my 18 tickets will vouch for me there. But since the dealer only gave me a quarter of a tank of gas, and I wanted to see how far I could really push the cars mileage, I hyper-miled this bitch. What I got back was the most piss poor fuel economy in my life, which includes my V8 Durango.
Like I said, I started off with a quarter tank of gas. The 2014 Camry Hybrid has a 17gallon tank. The mileage meter said I was doing 39mpgs. A figure I have come to regard as pure and utter bullshit, because from home to the dealer and back to work is a total of 20miles. Somehow, the car used an eighth of a tank. That works out to be around 3gallons of gas, something that should last me 120miles. Somehow though, even with the start/stop, even with the hybrid EV drive, it ate 3 damn gallons in 20miles!
And let's get to that EV mode, there is no such thing. Sure the car has a button that says EV mode, and you think to yourself it will probably be like the BMW i3, where you can use it to putz around town. Nope, it only works when you're pretty much at a standstill. You touch the gas and you are physically jerked back into the gas powered engine. Really, it is physically jarring how the two switch between each other. It's like you're getting hit from behind every time it switches, which is all the fucking time.
You're driving down the road at a good pace, you take your foot off the gas for a second to just keep a constant speed, the car switches to EV mode, and when you want to continue, BAM. You're back running on gas. It is literally the most inefficient car I've ever driven. And the battery drains like it's going out of style. Between my house and the dealer, it went from ¾ charge to 0, and I didn't even use it.
If you try to get full charge, it's fucking impossible. I put on the regenerative engine brake, which for some stupid reason is labeled B on the shift column. We had to get out the manual to look up what the hell B meant. And you physically have to shift it into B to get the regen, and even with it shifted into B, it still couldn't get it to full charge. Why not just have the regen all the time hooked up to the brakes or the engine like say, any other EV? Seriously Toyota WTF? And with that, you are always monitoring some idiotic system in the car to make sure you are getting the best mileage you can. Which leads me to my last point.
THERE ARE SO MANY FUCKING LIGHTS, GAUGES, AND SCREENS, ALL TELLING YOU WHAT IS HAPPENING THAT YOU ARE NEVER LOOKING AT THE GODDAMN ROAD!
(This literally isn't on start up, these are the normal lights, and are actually missing a few because I was in park to take this picture safely.)
In this I figured out why most of us hate Camry and Prius drivers, their driving slowly because 1. Their cars don't have any power, 2. They need to hyper-mile to get anywhere near good mpg's and 3. They aren't looking at the fucking road. Seriously take a look at this dash, and then the infotainment screen. Then picture them all together. It's like Times Square in here. This has to be the most dangerous dash ever. There's just too much information going on at the same time for any driver to comprehend all at once and drive the damn car.
(There are strict rules when it comes to using EV mode)
This car is a fucking deathtrap. It's slow, it's stupid, and it will make you not look at the road and totally pay attention to the damn dash. I seriously almost had 3 crashes because that's all I was looking at. This car isn't a total piece of shit, it's just that the hybrid system is so fucking flawed, that it makes it the worst car I've ever driven. It would be fine if it were a straight EV, I like those, or a straight gas engine, I like those two. But the two together, at least in this application is so jankily done, that it's just fucking terrible. How on Earth did the same company that built this, also build my car, the Supra, the LFA, the 2000GT and a whole host of other great cars? If you have a loved one that's looking for a car, and suggests they are looking at the Hybrid Camry, run to them. Sit them down. And slap them till they come to their senses.
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