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Hi:

I currently have a 1997 Toyota Camry 4Cyl (273xxx KM on it) and I'm planning to get a new vehicle within a year or two, most likely a hybrid.

Which one would be better to get - Prius or Camry Hybrid?
 

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"Which one would be better to get - Prius or Camry Hybrid?"
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You know what a Camry feels like. Get a test drive in a Prius. They are both good cars.
*The Prius will get better mileage.
*The Camry will have a better ride.
*I'm guessing the Hybrid Camry will be considerably more expensive.
I've owned both. I like the Prius better but it's hard to say exactly why.
 

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The Camry should be more comfortable and somewhat safer. It's great that Toyota is not mating the electric motor to a V-6 like they do in the Highlander, but instead they are using the Atkinson cycle 4. The question in my mind is how will its gas mileage compare to the Prius in actual conditions? Are the EPA mileage numbers being reported for the Camry in line with the more conservative position EPA is now taking on hybrids or are they based on the same standard as was used for the Prius? Surely the Camry will have lower gas mileage. The question is, how much lower?
 

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ChuckK said:
The Camry should be more comfortable and somewhat safer. It's great that Toyota is not mating the electric motor to a V-6 like they do in the Highlander, but instead they are using the Atkinson cycle 4. The question in my mind is how will its gas mileage compare to the Prius in actual conditions? Are the EPA mileage numbers being reported for the Camry in line with the more conservative position EPA is now taking on hybrids or are they based on the same standard as was used for the Prius? Surely the Camry will have lower gas mileage. The question is, how much lower?
Twenty years ago I would have said that smaller car means a less safe car. Twenty years later, between safety standards, consumer awareness, independant testing and other forces external of the auto industry, smaller vehicles are not necessarily less safe. The Prius tests well and gets high marks for safety. The degree of difference in its marks to the Camry are quite negligible.

Yes, Toyota has chosen well to use an I-4 Atkinsonized. They have pretty much mastered that procedure using VVT-i to simulate the more complex original Atkinson valve delaying system. Very smart. I'm inclined to believe that driving performance will be between the sock I-4 and the V-6. Fuel economy standards for it will be based upon the new EPA testing specification if it is out by that time.
 

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jeromep said:
The Prius tests well and gets high marks for safety. The degree of difference in its marks to the Camry are quite negligible.
The Prius is built quite safe and does well in crash tests. It has a combination of 5 stars and 4 stars from the U.S. governnment. But the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (which, unfortunately, has never tested the Prius) states that their data confirm that safety is proportional to weight. Physics dictates (though conservation of momentum) that if two cars collide, the lighter one will undergo greater deceleration forces, which are transmitted to the occupants. Also, the 2007 Camry will be a new design, and safety features are constantly improving. For example, the Camry will have air bags to protect the knees. Finally, the Camry is longer, so there should be more crush space between the driver and the front bumper. Of course, no crash test results are available for the 2007 Camry yet, and it will be interesting to see how it fares. I'm certainly not knocking the Prius, but I believe the Camry is likely to be somewhat safer.
 

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jeromep said:
Twenty years later, between safety standards, consumer awareness, independant testing and other forces external of the auto industry, smaller vehicles are not necessarily less safe.
That's true for a sedan/sedan comparison. With sedans these days, safety is first and foremost a feature of good design, NOT size. A small sedan that is designed with safety as a high priority will be safer than a larger sedan designed with an emphasis on size and luxury where they may have emphasized safety less. Of course there are cars that have both, but fuel efficiency will decline and prices go up obviously.

In the case of SUV and pickups, the high center of mass vehicles, the larger vehicle is actually LESS safe in many ways. That is why for example SUV insurance premiums are higher than a sedan of equal value. They're less maneuverable and so accidents are more difficult to avoid. They're less stable and more roll over prone which is a primary cause of passenger death. They also tend to injure and kill passengers of the other vehicle more frequently due to high bumpers and clearance, heavy weight, etc. Hence more damage, medical bills, and death for everybody when a SUV or truck is involved.

All of that being well documented by accident and insurance studies, but whatever, lot's of people aren't exactly rational and just want the big dumb car no matter what; and don’t know or care if it's less safe and a killer.
 

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ChuckK said:
states that their data confirm that safety is proportional to weight.
Actually, that's incorrect on some levels. For one thing, it presumes an apples to apples comparison on a number of things such as shape, stability, safety features, suspension, etc of the vehicles. It’s rarely the case that the heavier vehicle is simply a scaled up version of the lighter vehicle. Usually the extra weight goes into non-safety related features, luxury, sound proofing, etc. which are safty neutral or may even reduce handling and safety.

It also presumes a lab experiment sort of perfect collision where only the mass of the vehicles matter. The real world is not so simple. In the real world, a heavier and less maneuverable vehicle is more prone to accidents which makes it less safe. In the real world, two heavy vehicles colliding imperfectly and off-center have more energy relative to the mass of the passengers, to accelerate laterally, spin rollover, involve tertiary vehicles, etc. for more fatal crashes. In the real world variance in bumper heights and height of center of mass defeat intended crumple zones and are less stable in accident for more flips, which drastically increases fatality.

In the real world overconfident drivers also tend to drive more recklessly. Studies have shown that reducing driver perceived safety and increasing driver perceived uncertainty (through things like removing stoplights) ironically served to increase driver safety, and the flow of traffic, by making drivers more alert and courteous.

Bottom line is that big vehicles are just bad for the road and bad for everybody; and they encourage a dumb arms race mentality.

Back to the Camry, it's certainly not a SUV or truck and meets the profile of a reasonably sized sedan. If the Corolla was identical to the Prius and simply heavier, then it would actually need an improved design (like better suspension, wider track, etc) to have equal handling, simply due to increased weight. IF all that was equal by design, then it would likely have a small edge in safety simply due to increased mass.

However, what I suspect is that much of the extra weight, material, and cost actually goes into speed and luxury, and things like sunroofs, and that it's NOT going to increase safety via a better crumple zone and such. So in that case safety would probably be about the same, and either car might happen to have a slight advantage depending on how the design shakes out.
 

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There is no question that cars without air bags, without crumple zones, and with high centers of gravity (prone to rollover) will suffer in the safety arena. But if you compare two similar sedans whose major difference is their size and weight, the heavier vehicle will be safer. As much as we prefer lighter vehicles for environmental reasons, the laws of physics still apply. I have take the quote below from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's publication on Driver Death Rates by Make and Model, available on their web site.

"Important characteristics of vehicles that
influence their driver death rates are type,
body style, size, and weight. Within virtually
every group of vehicles, the smaller and
lighter models have the higher rates.
Among cars, for example, the smallest two-door
models had the highest death rate at 190
per million vehicle years. This rate is more
than twice as high as the average for all vehicles
included in the study.
Vehicle weight and the risk of death: Because
vehicle size and weight are so closely
related, it shouldn’t be surprising that their
effects on driver death rates are similar. In
each group (cars, SUVs, pickups) the heavier vehicles,
like bigger ones, generally had lower death rates.
The rate in the lightest SUVs, for example, was more
than twice as high as in the heaviest SUVs."
 

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Again, saying the laws of physics still apply is meaningless, obvious, and trite. People often say that in regards to weight because it sounds clever. However, there is a lot more to the physical properties of a crash than simply vehicle weight.

And again, you're over simplifying the statistics and making some bad conclusions. It’s not your fault, a lot of government agencies have as well. For that many outside groups have challenged the worth of some of these studies, and some have even accused gov regulatory agencies of bowing to pressure by US automakers and those they lobby in congress. Wouldn’t be the first time, CAFE standards being a prime example.

Fundamental to any statistical study is the premise that correlation doesn’t establish causation. That brings to mind the old saying: lies, damn lies, and statistics.

The first statement is “Important characteristics of vehicles that
influence their driver death rates are type, body style, size, and weight.” Notice weight is only one factor out of four they listed, and I’d add price/trim to the list.

For example, it states that light 2-door vehicles had a high incidence of death. First off, is the Prius a 2-door? No. Secondly, 2-door vehicles are typically smaller, which mean they have less space to accelerate passengers in accidents, so there is the size issue. Is the Prius small? No, it’s a typical sedan size. Is the Prius cheap or skimpy on safety? No. There is also a higher percentage of sports cars, convertibles, and such high risk vehicles in the light 2-door category. Were those factors controlled out in the study to insure apples/apples comparisons?

In regards to the Camry or toher similar sedans which are slightly heavier: is that additional weight in any way safety related, or is it things like greater luxury? Who knows, but without knowing comparisons are meaningless.

Also, it states the lightest SUV were more prone to deaths. That’s an odd choice of words. Why doesn’t it say “there is a continuum across all car makes when comparing equal levels of trim, type, size, and body style, where percentage of death directly correlates with weight of vehicle and scales proportionately across the spectrum of weight.” That would be more compelling than highlighting the “lightest” SUV and 2-door vehicles, which are outliers by definition. Always be leery of any statistics citing outliers.

In the extreme categories they chose to mention, there are many cheap “lifestyle” vehicles often marketed as sportier, driven faster, and with less safety features (or luxuries or anything else that increases cost) specifically because they’re “lifestyle” vehicles not “practical” vehicles. Take the small light Suzuki Samurai for example. That’s one of the lightest SUV and I bet it’s a death trap, but not due to weight. It's unsafe because it's "cheap and sporty" design doesn't even have proper doors or a roof, is very narrow, and basically lacks any consideration for safety. And there are a lot of similar vehicles in that category, but there are some safe practical minded ones too. I would say many 2 door vehicles are lighter, and also either sportier or cheaper, and hence less safe. That doesn’t mean a practical, small, light, 2 door vehicle can’t be safe by design though, just that they’re often not designed to be.

So, does that really indicate lightness increases death, or is it just reading into rather meaningless statistics with prejudice? I would say cheaper vehicles are generally less safe, because safety and good design are costs. Also, many cheap vehicles are also light, because less safety and luxuries may also reduce weight. That doesn’t mean all lighter vehicles are less safe. Volvo for example is designing the “Safety Concept Car” and it’s a moderately light and small 4-door hatchback on the Prius scale.

The bottom line is that safety is more a feature of design than anything else. An informed consumer should look at cars on an individual basis, and not make assumptions based on such popular myths about weight which can be totally misleading.

Having said that, SUV and Trucks are extremely difficult to make stable and overcome the rollover problem, even with the best design. A truly wide/squat vehicle like the Hummer is an exception because it is so wide. But most all SUV produced have much higher center of mass combined with the approximate width of an ordinary car, and are going to be less stable as a result.

Also, high bumper SUV with high center of mass and large wheels tend to leap upwards in accidents, which has two effects: 1) it tends to crush the cabins of other vehicles, including other SUV and trucks, 2) they tend to roll over more as a esult of departure from the pavement; both of which increase injuries and fatalities for the passengers of both vehicles.

Truly the stupid vehicles of choice.
 

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In general, all other things being equal, the heavier car might be safer, yes. If two Priuses head-on, one of which has a 500-lb metal plate attached to the bottom, the lighter car will experience a greater change in speed than the heavier one, so the occupants of the heavier car won't feel as much stress. But the heavier car's greater inertia can also mean it crumples more than the light one, since the body is identical on both cars.

Smart cars are pretty safe even in head-on collisions. Their lightness means they do literally bounce in the air like a ball when hit by a car, but they don't crumple much since their inertia is so low, so they remain fairly safe.
 

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rgl said:
Hi:

I currently have a 1997 Toyota Camry 4Cyl (273xxx KM on it) and I'm planning to get a new vehicle within a year or two, most likely a hybrid.

Which one would be better to get - Prius or Camry Hybrid?
We have one of each in the garage. 98 Camry and 04 Prius. Prius wins hands down, although the Camry is an older design than the current. Is the Camry gradually turning into an Oldsmobile? The new one looks huge!
 

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The interior room of the Prius has been described as like that of the Camry, and it is classified as a midsize sedan. However, I think this only applies to the cabin length, and the legroom. Isn't the Camry wider, so the hip and shoulder room would be greater, even if all else is equal. Would extra width make you more comfortable? I suggest you test drive (or at least sit in) a Prius and see how you fit. With the large windshield, sloping dash, and good legroom (especially in the rear), the Prius seems large. But the width may or may not suit you. Also, if you want a conventional trunk, of course the Prius is out.
 

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Hep said:
rgl said:
Hi:

I currently have a 1997 Toyota Camry 4Cyl (273xxx KM on it) and I'm planning to get a new vehicle within a year or two, most likely a hybrid.

Which one would be better to get - Prius or Camry Hybrid?
We have one of each in the garage. 98 Camry and 04 Prius. Prius wins hands down, although the Camry is an older design than the current. Is the Camry gradually turning into an Oldsmobile? The new one looks huge!
Hep, no way. The Camry is not becoming an Olds ! It is a super sedan that handles well and spacious. It is using the Avalon platform. I took an
06 Avalon Ltd the other night home and I was very impressed. Very smooth and quite NVH at the minimum and handled very well, drove about 35 miles Freeways,twisties, and city driving. The 07 Camry Hybrid will be more agile than the Avalons so won't become an Oldsmobile. The looks are deceiving !
 

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C.Rickey Hirose said:
Hep said:
rgl said:
Hi:

I currently have a 1997 Toyota Camry 4Cyl (273xxx KM on it) and I'm planning to get a new vehicle within a year or two, most likely a hybrid.

Which one would be better to get - Prius or Camry Hybrid?
We have one of each in the garage. 98 Camry and 04 Prius. Prius wins hands down, although the Camry is an older design than the current. Is the Camry gradually turning into an Oldsmobile? The new one looks huge!
Hep, no way. The Camry is not becoming an Olds ! It is a super sedan that handles well and spacious. It is using the Avalon platform. I took an
06 Avalon Ltd the other night home and I was very impressed. Very smooth and quite NVH at the minimum and handled very well, drove about 35 miles Freeways,twisties, and city driving. The 07 Camry Hybrid will be more agile than the Avalons so won't become an Oldsmobile. The looks are deceiving !
C. Rickey, don't worry. I am married to a dedicated Camry fan. I suspect the Hybrid Camry will be on her wish list very soon.

Still looks big as a boat to me. :wink:
 

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Hep said:
C.Rickey Hirose said:
Hep said:
rgl said:
Hi:

I currently have a 1997 Toyota Camry 4Cyl (273xxx KM on it) and I'm planning to get a new vehicle within a year or two, most likely a hybrid.

Which one would be better to get - Prius or Camry Hybrid?
We have one of each in the garage. 98 Camry and 04 Prius. Prius wins hands down, although the Camry is an older design than the current. Is the Camry gradually turning into an Oldsmobile? The new one looks huge!
Hep, no way. The Camry is not becoming an Olds ! It is a super sedan that handles well and spacious. It is using the Avalon platform. I took an
06 Avalon Ltd the other night home and I was very impressed. Very smooth and quite NVH at the minimum and handled very well, drove about 35 miles Freeways,twisties, and city driving. The 07 Camry Hybrid will be more agile than the Avalons so won't become an Oldsmobile. The looks are deceiving !
C. Rickey, don't worry. I am married to a dedicated Camry fan. I suspect the Hybrid Camry will be on her wish list very soon.

(Still looks big as a boat to me.) :wink:
Doesn't Americans or Canadiens like a "Big Boat that handles" When Gas is chaep, they all go BIG and when gas price goes up then all in droves comes down to "Smaller size" ! Looks big but for a reason, Big looking cars sells. Marketing and survey clinic all saz "Bigger Looking" Better for
Dollar coffin box for Toyota !
 

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No not really. I like space but I don't like driving a big car. Camry's about as big as I'm willing to drive/own.
 

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CGameProgrammer said:
If two Priuses head-on, one of which has a 500-lb metal plate attached to the bottom, the lighter car will experience a greater change in speed than the heavier one, so the occupants of the heavier car won't feel as much stress.
That's technically true, but only at fairly low speeds, and very misleading. It’s one of those things people repeat so often but nobody has actually verified or understands.

In fact the additional 500lb would have a minimal effect, and that’s with all else truly being equal.

That’s because what does the vast majority of controlled deceleration (for driver safety) in modern vehicles are 1) crumple zones and 2) airbags/restraint systems. The relative weights of the vehicles, contrary to popular myth, don’t alter that equation much unless it’s a Mack truck and a Pinto.

That is especially true of higher speed accidents which are the most worrying. Why? Because as speeds increase the amount of impact energy prior to internal chassis absorption is so high for both vehicles that unmediated it’s way above the lethal threshold so the minor difference doesn't help much. That is the same reason high speed accidents are not just one or two times as lethal, but logarithmically several times more lethal. For example, if a SUV at medium high speed hits even a really tiny vehicle, it is still enough impact energy to kill the SUV driver. So then it’s all about the safety features and crumple zone inside the vehicle, which again is not a function of weight necessarily.

In the case of a head on where both vehicles are doing 50+, forget it. Even a Pinto will take out a ten wheel truck.

What does greatly alter the equation greatly is if the SUV or Truck skips over the bumper of the other vehicle, due either to a high bumper or simply due to high center of gravity and big wheels, (which pretty much all SUV and trucks have) bypassing the crumple zones of the other vehicle, and goes straight to crushing the passenger compartment. Also, if that happens the SUV or Truck is certain to flip, which is also likely to kill it’s passengers.

People think they’re driving a bigger vehicle because it’s safer, but it’s really just some primitive instinct thing, and dumb dumb dumb.
 

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rgl said:
Is the Camry gradually turning into an Oldsmobile? The new one looks huge!
According to the marketing and body styling it's becoming a sport sedan to compete with various Acura, Honda, VW, BMW, etc. Toyota hasn't done much in that market.

If anyone reads the performance car stuff, there is a whole sport tuner market dying to get thier hands on high performance and fuel efficient hybrids. Add to that the mid-life-crisis/successful-professional market who want it all, fuel efficiency, luxury, and performance, and it could be a real winner.

Personally, I think performance much above the Prius level is for kids, because you can't really ever use it anyways. AWD is way above speed on my feature wish list. Anyways, I'll remain a Prius guy.
 

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Hep said:
Is the Camry gradually turning into an Oldsmobile? The new one looks huge!
You know the new Camry is virtually identical in length to the current one right? The only difference is that the wheelbase is 2 inches longer and the height is shorter (an inch maybe?)
 

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Tideland Prius said:
Hep said:
Is the Camry gradually turning into an Oldsmobile? The new one looks huge!
You know the new Camry is virtually identical in length to the current one right? The only difference is that the wheelbase is 2 inches longer and the height is shorter (an inch maybe?)
Tideland Prius, you are absolutely right. Longer wheel base equals=more passenger front and back room ! The lenghths to _remain the same_ is good. Less overhang is better for handling. Shorter height will enhance the overall good and sporty looks of a Sports Sedan. The 07 Camry...
 
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