2012 Toyota Camry hybrid versus 2012 Hyundai Sonata hybrid – MT
2012 hybrid sedan domination, at least on the highway
What’s the best way to check out the fuel economy of a few hybrid cars? A long highway cruise, of course, at least if you’re MotorTrend.
Obviously, that doesn’t make the greatest sense in the hybrid world, but there’s still some information that can be gleaned from MT’s flawed ideas.
MotorTrend recently compared the 2012 Toyota Camry hybrid, the 2012 Hyundai Sonata hybrid, and the 2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI in an “open-road” challenge. I guess since most automakers have decided that highway fuel economy is all that matters, MotorTrend decided to follow the trend.
The Passat TDI won, but had the comparison been carried out on the ‘urban-road’ rather than the “open-road”, I don’t think the TDI would have performed as well in terms of fuel economy, and a new winner would have emerged. Still, if you’re pretty much a highway purist, then the TDI is definitely worth a look.
Consequently, I’m focusing only on the comparison between the Camry and Sonata hybrids. In that comparison, the Camry hybrid crushed the Sonata hybrid. According to the MT staff, the Sonata hybrid not only averaged 10 miles less than its EPA rating, but they also found that the Sonata’s hybrid drive needs better engine/motor integration to provide a more seamless driving experience. Likewise, MT found the “steering too rubbery, the brakes too grabby, and the throttle too jerky.”
On the other hand, MT found the new Camry hybrid to be “arguably” the best Camry ever, including its almost perfectly seamless hybrid drive.
Again, MT didn’t offer up the perfect conditions for testing these hybrid cars, so don’t avoid the Sonata hybrid just because of the issues MT found. MotorTrend staff typically drive much differently than mainstream consumers and they are often attuned to many issues that average consumers don’t consider.
Still, the early reviews regarding the 2012 Camry hybrid seem to be suggesting the same thing: the new Camry hybrid should put a smile on any Camry fan’s — hybrid or not — face.