With the 2012 Toyota Prius V wagon, 2012 Toyota Prius C, and 2012 Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid all launching within the past 12 months, it’s been easy to forget that there are other Toyota hybrids outside of the Prius brand.
In fact, the 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid and 2012 Toyota Highlander Hybrid have been somewhat overshadowed in recent months by the Prius brand, so now it’s time to redress the balance.
In their own way, both cars offer car buyers an unassuming way to get great gas mileage, without compromising on functionality, comfort or style.
Today, we’re going to focus on the 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid, and give you just some reasons why it deserves your attention when you’re thinking about buying your next car.
Although the 2012 Toyota Prius C and 2012 Toyota Prius liftback have the 2012 Camry Hybrid beaten when it comes to gas mileage, the Camry wins hands-down when it comes to passenger space and comfort.
At 103 cubic feet, the cabin of the 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid is a full 9 cubic feet larger than the 2012 Prius liftback.
That extra passenger space equates to a few extra inches of width, resulting in improved hip and shoulder room. Rear legroom is also improved, although front legroom is one inch less than in the Prius.
The only caveat? With a four-door design, the Camry loses to the Prius liftback on luggage space, although we should note that the physical trunk space in the 2012 Camry Hybrid is larger than in previous years thanks to a redesigned battery pack.
Thanks to a 2.5-liter, 16-valve, 4-cylinder engine, the 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid outputs a total hybrid system net power of 200 horsepower.
That’s a full 66 horsepower more than the standard 2012 Toyota Prius.
Sadly, the downside of the extra power means gas mileage suffers, with official EPA estimates placing the 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid LE at 41 mpg combined versus the 50 mpg combined of the 2012 Toyota Prius liftback.
Note: In order to get the best fuel economy, you’ll need to opt for the 2012 Camry Hybrid LE, not the Camry Hybrid XLE. With different wheels, the XLE model is a few mpg less efficient than the LE model.
Unlike the 2012 Toyota Prius, Prius C, Prius V, and Prius Plug-in Hybrid, the 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid doesn’t look like an eco-car.
Instead, it looks like every other 2012 Camry -- hybrid or not.
For the record, over 308,510 Camry models sold in 2011, making the 2012 Camry Hybrid one of the most unassuming hybrid cars on the road today.
And with all-new styling for 2012, the Camry Hybrid doesn’t look quite as dated as the now three-year-old third-generation Prius.
With a roomy interior, and soft ride, the 2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid gives a more luxurious passenger experience than the more utilitarian Prius.
That’s reflected in the interior trim too, which gives you the same level of trim you’d expect in any mid-price, mid-size sedan.
That makes a welcome change from other green cars, which have a reputation for placing eco-chic above passenger comfort.
If you need a new car that gets more than 40 mpg, looks good, and is unassuming in everyday life, the 2012 Toyota Camry fits the bill.
It isn’t the most exciting car to drive, but it is reliable, predictable and known to hold its value well.
Underneath, it benefits from the extra power its larger 2.5-liter engine gives, but also has the same benefits as the 2012 Toyota Prius, including electric-only and eco-driving modes.