2008 Toyota Camry Expert Review

You'll Like The 2008 Toyota Camry If...

If you care as much about reducing greenhouse emissions as saving fuel, then driving a 2008 Toyota Camry Hybrid is one way to appease your social conscience while still providing your family with a roomy and comfortable car. The Camry's strong resale value carries over to the hybrid version as well.

You May Not Like The 2008 Toyota Camry If...

Under the new EPA fuel economy rating system, the Camry Hybrid's city rating drops dramatically from last year's number. Those who do more highway driving may have a difficult time rationalizing the car's nearly $7,000 premium over the equally-frugal four-cylinder Camry CE.

What's New

Toyota has removed some of last year's standard equipment, helping reduce the Camry Hybrid's price tag by $1,000.

Interior Features

The 2008 Toyota Camry Hybrid offers a spacious and airy interior, with a commanding driving position and dashboard design that sits low and away. Seating is firm and fairly comfortable, although the passenger's-seat bottom could be angled up for better thigh support. The audio and ventilation controls are within easy reach of the driver, and many of the functions, such as fan speed and audio settings, can be operated via the steering wheel-mounted controls. The instrument cluster features legible white numerals against a black background and, in the spot normally reserved for a tachometer, the Camry Hybrid features a fuel economy indicator. There's also a small blue-banded area to indicate when the vehicle is being powered solely by the electric motor.

Exterior Features

The 2008 Toyota Camry Hybrid has a low, swooping nose, large chrome grille and a bustle-style rear end that bears an uncanny resemblance to the BMW 7 Series. The side glass is more curvaceous than on the previous model, enhancing the car's silhouette by creating a less slab-sided appearance. Unfortunately, the sweeping rear-window design creates a narrow trunk opening, making it difficult to insert wide or bulky items. Also adding to the car's sporty good looks are a longer wheelbase and standard 16-inch wheels and tires. The Camry Hybrid's chassis features a number of crumple zones designed to absorb collision-impact forces, which in turn can help minimize damage to the passenger cabin and its occupants.

Driving Impressions

To start the 2008 Toyota Camry Hybrid a remote key fob informs the push-button starter that you are indeed the car's rightful occupant. Once engaged, there is no sound of a starter motor or idling engine. Place the shift lever in drive and touch the accelerator pedal and the Camry glides forward in eerie silence. Push a bit harder on the pedal and the gasoline engine seamlessly comes online. With a combined output of 187 horsepower, the gasoline engine and electric motor provide brisk acceleration for passing and merging and, although the electrically-assisted power steering feels a bit numb, it never leaves the impression of being disconnected from the road. The Camry Hybrid's cabin is amazingly quiet and the capable suspension delivers an impressively smooth ride.

Pricing Notes

The Toyota Camry Hybrid's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts just under $26,000. Add navigation, heated leather seats and the power moonroof, and the price rises to over $30,000. The popularity of hybrid cars makes them a hot commodity, so many dealers may be charging MSRP - or even more. Before you set out to buy be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price, which shows what others in your area are paying for their cars. As for resale, the Camry Hybrid is expected to retain an excellent five-year residual value, better than any of its gasoline powered brothers.

Notable Equipment

The Camry Hybrid is nicely equipped with such features as a CVT automatic transmission, Smart Key System with push-button starter, tire pressure monitor, tilt and telescopic steering wheel with touch controls, automatic on/off headlamps, AM/FM radio with single CD, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power driver's seat, power windows, 60/40-split folding rear seat, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, front side-impact airbags, front and rear side-curtain airbags and a driver's-knee airbag.

Notable Options

Popular options for the Camry Hybrid include a power moonroof, voice-activated DVD navigation system with 440-watt JBL audio and eight speakers, JBL Premium audio with external jack and six-disc CD/MP3 capable changer, leather seating, remote start, 16-inch alloy wheels, hands-free phone capability via Bluetooth wireless technology, heated outside mirrors, heated front seats, dual illuminated visor mirrors, XM Satellite Radio and a number of dealer and port-installed accessories, including security upgrades and exterior protection treatments.

Favorite Features

Push Button Start

With the Smart Key System, one only needs the remote key fob at hand to unlock the doors and start the vehicle with a dash-mounted push-button starter.

Steering Wheel-Mounted controls

The Camry Hybrid's redundant steering wheel-mounted functions include controls for the audio mode, volume, hands-free phone, fan speed, temperature and optional voice command.

Under the Hood

Power for the 2008 Toyota Camry Hybrid comes from two sources. A 2.4-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder gasoline engine produces 147 horsepower, while a small electric motor generates an additional 40 horsepower. An efficient Continuously Variable Transmission, or CVT, routes power to the Camry's front wheels. The Hybrid Synergy System uses a computer to switch between the electric motor (usually used during low-speed stop-and-go driving) and the gasoline engine, which is used at speeds above 30 miles per hour. The electric motor is also brought online during full-throttle acceleration, where its powerful torque helps move the Camry with surprising speed. The motor derives its power from an onboard battery that is continually recharged via the gasoline engine as well as by energy recaptured during deceleration, a process known as regenerative braking.

2.4-liter in-line 4 with 105-kilowatt Permanent Magnetic Synchronous Electric Motor

147 horsepower @ 6000 rpm/40 horsepower @ 4500 rpm (187 horsepower combined)

138 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm/199 lb.-ft. of torque @ 0-1500 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 33/34

Editors' Notes

The 2008 Toyota Camry now offers the Hybrid Synergy Drive system which, like the Prius, employs a frugal four-cylinder engine teamed with a powerful electric motor. Unlike the Prius, the Camry Hybrid does not stand out in a crowd, an important difference for the eco-friendly driver who prefers to remain anonymous. In fact, about the only noticeable differences between the Camry Hybrid and its gasoline-powered equivalent are a smaller trunk (due to the placement of the battery pack), a slightly smaller fuel tank and the obvious Hybrid Synergy Drive badges.

Road Test Video Reviews

2008 Toyota Camry Owner Reviews

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I think it has been one of the best decisions of my life

2008 Toyota Camry

Let me start the review by saying that I have owned numerous car makes and models over the years, most recently having owned a string of BMW's (both 3 and 5 series). My wife and I decided it was time for a change and purchased a certified used 2008 Camry XLE w/ the 6 cyl engine. When shopping, we looked seriously at and compared the car to the ES Lexus, Nissan Maxima, Infiniti G Series and Honda Accord. The car drives like a dream, has plenty of power and offers enough features to satisfy even a long time BMW owner. It certainly will not boast all of the high tech gadgets and toys you would find in high end luxury brands "loaded" models but the price more than makes up for any missed options. We traded in our 525i Sport Sedan and I will say that I absolutely love the Camry!!! There are differences in the way the two cars drive, a BMW has a "sportier feel", better top end performance and handles better whereas the Camry (especially the 6 cyl model) gets off the line faster and is a roomier ride (more of a "touring" feel), of which I notice the largest size difference in the width. We have 2 kids and the Camry, from a size standpoint, is MUCH more comfortable to drive for long periods of time than my 5 series ever was. I have not owned it long enough to comment on reliability or repair pricing but I can assure you it will be small potatoes compared to what I have been paying to keep my German cars on the road. Goodbye to $75 oil changes and $1000 bills for even minor repairs,

- AJIBOLA J

The most reliable, highest mileage vehicle on the road in 2018, 2008 Camry se.

2008 Toyota Camry

For the past 9 years I have had the pleasure of owning a 2008 Camry se v6. The reason why I tend to lean toward Toyota made vehicles (Toyota/Lexus) is because of their superior reliability. During the course of our 9 year driver/transportation relationship, I have managed to rack up 394, 763 miles and counting. I have not had to do any major repairs. I follow the maintenance schedule and generally treat the vehicle well on the road. It is very comfortable, spacious and often able to accommodate large or bulky items, this especially considering how easy it is to lay the back seats down. The performance is actually quite shocking. It has great acceleration and power for a medium sized sedan. The features are almost always above standards. Very easy to use and navigate. Almost all of the features of this vehicle are easy to operate. The best aspect of my vehicle is the drivability. It is a very well engineered car. The steering handles very well. I often brag that it can be driven with just the fingertips. It is very forgiving yet also responsive and agile. The Camry is known for its mpg (as is the reason I bought it). Its style mpg, drivability. And reliability make it one of the best vehicles I have ever purchased.

- Chris G

Reliable car or risky low rider?

2008 Toyota Camry Base

I love that the 2008 Toyota Camry hybrid gets great gas mileage because that means my family can go farther! We love to take day trips, road trips, and travel, we've even gone across the United States in this car. I also love that Toyotas are so reliable, and that when something goes wrong (which is hardly ever) it is very easy to get it fixed almost anywhere. The moon roof and seat warmers are an excellent touch, and the stereos 4 disc CD changer is an awesome feature. The map/GPS/navigation situation is pretty reliable. The only thing I do not really like about this car is that it is low to the ground and has a thin plastic cover running under the bottom to cover the engine compartment. This is fine if you live in a city, but for a while we lived off a dirt road which tore that thing up several times. This means that animals like squirrels and mice can easily get on up and build a nest in your engine compartment unless you have access to a garage or the bottom cover manages to stay in tact.

- Isabella F

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