Chevrolet announced this week that its hybridized version of the mid-sized Malibu would start at $28,645 including destination, for a fuel-sipping, 48 city-mpg, long-legged miler with all kinds of good looks.
Those are the facts.
Also true: the Ford Fusion Hybrid is $3,585 less expensive (although it only manages 41 mpg in the city), the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is $1,810 less expensive (40 mpg city), the Toyota Camry Hybrid is $1,220 less dear (although it manages 43 mpg in the city) — so only the 50-mpg Honda Accord Hybrid starts at a higher price ($1,495 more).
The Malibu Hybrid will be available only in LT trim when it goes on sale in the spring.
One blah Monday morning, you’re commuting to the anonymous office park some 90 minutes away from the bedroom community you call a home in your equally anonymous Toyota Camry Hybrid, listening to yet another story about Congress kicking cans down roads and/or some wacky antics your favorite DJs had the past weekend while you take another swig of that mermaid-branded caffeinated goodness.
15 years after the launch of the Prius, Toyota has sold 1 million hybrids annually for the first time, with hybrids making up 14 percent of the company’s sales so far in 2012.
Hybrid or diesel? For peak fuel economy in a $30,000 midsize sedan you need one or the other. The Toyota Camry is the most efficient of the five available hybrids (until the 2013 Ford Fusion arrives). If you live in Europe, the diesel world is your oyster. In North America, you have one option for an oil-burning mid-size sedan, the Volkswagen Passat. Which would you pick?
The last time TTAC took a look at the Camry Hybrid was back in 2006. For 2012 Toyota has completely redesigned the Camry from the “sporty” SE model to the refrigerator-white base model Michael Karesh took for a spin. The base model’s low price appeals to dealers while the SE allows Toyota to believe the Camry is something other than basic transportation. So what about the hybrid? The gasoline/electric Camry is aimed squarely at shoppers that want more green cred than a regular Camry can deliver and Prius shoppers looking for something more powerful and more traditional. One out of every seven Camrys sold in 2011 was a hybrid, with those numbers expected to grow it is imperative Toyota gets their baby-boomer hybrid just right.