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The Mercury Cars Guide : February 13th 2010
Saturday, February 13, 2010 Classifieds 62 300 400 • carsguide.com.au ---3 ECONOMICAL: There is some uncertainty about how the Toyota Camry Hybrid will fare in showrooms. Toyota launches green machine The most important new car of 2010 hit the road this week. Paul Gover reports T HE release of the Hybrid Camry from Toyota signals a major change for Aust- ralian drivers and the Aust- ralian motor industry. It's the first locally-made hybrid, the first local car to make a true step- change in fuel economy, and the first local Toyota you would buy. It's not cheap, with prices from $36,990, but the Hybrid is better than a regular petrol-powered Camry in enough ways to make it worth a serious look. And the extra cost also comes with enough luxury stuff to make life pretty nice as you watch the fuel- miser dashboard readouts. It does not have the look-at-me appeal of a Prius, with its unique hatchback bodywork and futuristic aero shape, but it drives a lot better than the Toyota hybrid hero. It also has more usable space. No one is sure yet how the Hybrid Camry will go in showrooms, and Toyota Australia is only building 10,000 this year, but it's a genuine choice for green buyers. The vehicle also ticks the 'Made in Australia' and 'Class Leading Econ- omy' boxes and governments are certain to buy because they have tipped so much money into the move. ''In the long run, this is the car that will completely re-define our com- pany,'' says Dave Buttner, the top Aussie and sales chief at Toyota Australia. ''We are moving boldly into the hybrid arena. Camry buyers are expecting that sort of progress from Toyota.'' That's a stretch, because Camry buyers are a conservative bunch, but the technology --- and the efficiency gains --- are welcome in any locally- made car. The Hybrid Camry is really a Prius in a family house, right down to the battery pack, high-tech transmission, regenerative braking, electric power steering and more. It gets a 2.4-litre petrol motor in addition to the electric motors, for up to 140 kiloWatts of power. The head- line numbers are fuel economy of 6.0 litres/100km and 142 grams/kilo- metre of CO2, compared to 9.3L/100km for a Commodore V6 and 9.9 for Toyota's V6 Aurion. Among the impressive claims this week from Toyota are a fuel saving of 560 litres a year, or $14 a week with fuel at $1.30 a litre. So Toyota is baiting the hybrid hook with economy over all-out green credentials, although it even has a process set up to recycle the nickel metal hydride battery pack. Drill into the pricing and there are two models, with the luxury car taking the starting price up to $39,990 and luxury packs on both that mean the flagship costs $44,490 compete with satnav, moonroof and premium sound. ''This is the accessible hybrid. It brings hybrid technology to the mass market,'' says Peter Evans of Toyota Australia. ''This hybrid can walk, and chew gum.'' driving The Aussie hybrid is still a Camry. But better. It's better in the way it drives, better in cabin quietness, and far better on fuel. Is that enough to draw ordinary Aussies into the Hybrid world? It's a horrid old cliche, but only time will tell. Toyota has given the car a premium price, but it only has 10,000 available and is only aiming to get 4000 ordinary families into the car. So it should work, with governments and economy- focused fleets to take the rest. For now, I know the Camry is a convincing car that has more than just green credentials as a selling point. It genuinely drives better than the regular petrol car --- apart from wobbly electric steering --- and is noticeably more relaxing at freeway cruising pace. It also sprints away from the lights a little faster, with more overtaking power, yet still shows less than 7 litres/100km for the sort of driving most people do on most days. But don't think I'm a total convert. At the end of the day, Australia's first hybrid is still a Camry. So it's vanilla in a land of chocolate chip and strawberry from the Falcon and Commodore. It's also expensive, at least compared with a basic Camry four. Toyota wants us all to shop it against the mid-level models in the Camry family, but fleets bar --- who will be hugely disappointed that it will not take a towbar --- and ordinary buyers will only see the $36,990 starting price and compare it with the basic Camry Altise at $29,990. small torque Toyota Camry Hybrid Price: from $36,990 Features: six airbags, anti-skid brakes, ESP stability control, five- star green rating We like: sharper ride and handling, quieter cabin, a hybrid for real people We don't like: the price, loss of boot space Engine: 2.4-litre petrol + 650-volt electric motor, 140kW/187Nm Transmission: Electronically- controlled CVT, front-wheel drive Economy CO2: 6.0litres/100km, 142g/km Rivals: Ford Falcon (from $39,690); Holden Commodore (from $39,990); Toyota Prius (from $39,990); Toyota Camry (from $29,990) PERFORMANCE AUTOMOBILES CNR. ARGYLE & BURNETT STREETS www.performanceautomobiles.com.au 6210 7000 A/H: Adrian Millington 0438 062 259 drive away! $33,990 A Daimler Brand $5,000* Visit Performance Automobiles to book a test drive today. Importer's rebate ends today. Subaru Forester X IT S TIME 4 ADVENTURE It's time. Purchase a 2009 plated new or demonstrator Mercedes-Benz before February 14 and receive a rebate of * Rebate only available on 2009 compliance plated Mercedes-Benz vehicles ordered and delivered between 2/1/2010 and 14/2/2010 unless sold out prior. www.mbhobart.com.au All 4 The Adventure. incl. $1,500 free accessories. Free accessories include: - Bluetooth - Rear step panel - Cargo tray - Bonnet Protector - Roof Cross Bars - Carpet mat set - Head lamp protectors Forester X Manual on dence co es standard. Every current model Subaru comes with: • Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive • Horizontally opposed Boxer engine • VDC electronic stability control • Five-star ANCAP occupant safety rating PERFORMANCE AUTOMOBILES, CNR. ARGYLE & BURNETT STREETS, HOBART 6210 7000 PERFORMANCE AUTOMOBILES CNR. ARGYLE & BURNETT STREETS 6210 7000
February 6th 2010
February 20th 2010