camry hybrid gets aero mods not offered on non-hybrid version
may have posted a while back about peeking beneath a friend's '06 Jetta diesel and being shocked at the length VW went to smooth the underbody with a patchwork of panels. i also heard that these panels are offered only on the diesel version - the less efficiency oriented gasoline model goes without.
today toyota released details of its 07 camry hybrid, and i noted with interest that it too features underbody aero tuning (panels, tire spats) which are not fitted to the non-hybrid versions:
"special attention was paid to the vehicle underbody with the use of wheel spats and underbelly pans resulting in a low coefficient of aerodynamic drag (Cd) of 0.27"
while two vehicles hardly constitute a "trend", it's interesting to wonder if manufacturers are beginning to see the light. the fact that the aero tweaks aren't offered across the model lineup makes me wonder if the day is coming when they may offer aerodynamic upgrades on the option sheet alongside floor mats and dvd navigation systems.
(decklid wings as options don't count; they're purely cosmetic on most cars; and where they do work as intended they increase downforce at the expense of increased drag.)
of course, as with other hybrids, these figures will be either dramatically better or dramatically worse than the EPA figures, depending on how the car is driven. (hybrids seem to have even greater FE variability from the ratings than non-hybrids.)
I'd like to address the first part of your post, which may bleed into the other part.
VW only offers cool aero technology on it's diesel. Toyota is only offering it on the hybrid. I think that both of these companies are trying to do the exact same thing.
VW is trying to make the diesel cars seem much more appealing than the gasoline equivilant. Toyota is trying desperately to be known as the "hybrid" car company. They want the hybrid to be MUCH better than the gasoline equivilant, which isn't always the case.
It's all marketing, and it all makes sense to me... but I think it's pretty sneaky stuff.
I know it won't happen in a million years, but I'd love to have the Euro- and JDM-Spec Diesel recently developed by Honda to arrive in the States. Put that in a TSX, Accord, Civic, or even the Jazz/Fit and you've got a torque-laden fuel miser. 2007 won't bode well for D's because of the stricter regs. Darn. I wonder if it's possible to import one and transplant it in an Integra -- Hmmm. We don't have emissions checks, so...