I've rented Camrys (in both sport suspension "SE" trim and floaty "LE" trim), and the driving experience is just plain BLAND. The ergonomics and reliability is top-notch, but the braking and handling is just numb -- what a lump. Granted, I'll choose it over the Buick at the rental stall, but I just can't see buying one when the Accord line, including the Hybrid is exciting to drive. Even the Lexus line suffers (ES 330 is a Camry in a Tux and has fewer features than a Toyota Avalon).
I have to commend Toyota for its commitment to making a Hybrid available in all of its models by 2009, and their groundbreaking efforts in this arena. The Pruis is the benchmark, but I still wouldn't buy one. I drive too many highway miles for it to be worthwile (and the EPA estimates are way off). That's why I'd really benefit from a diesel or diesel/electric hybrid.
yea i've had toyotas, nessans, and kias, as rentals and there all bland compared to my peppy civic. if i ever buy myown brand new car it will be honda (i'd buy a delorian but there ovusly not new :P)
also that screen is nothing but a LCD vidieo display running off a ecu/PCcomputer combo. think of the moniter as just that a moniter for the PC. i've heard that with a little probing or splicing / soldering u can display normal composit vidieo on it. just like a flipdown dvd screen.
Does anyone know why they don't have cool **** like this on the civic hybrid? My girlfriend's new hybrid has the suckiest display, and the MPG gauge is just a half-assed bar. WTF mate?
TF is that Toyota and Honda have 2 different design philosophies. Take a look at the Prius and the Civic Hybrid. Honda takes the more conservative approach, while the Prius looks like something from the future. Same for the interiors -- the Prius looks nothing like its platform-mate, the Echo (now discon'd) -- inside you have a funky shifter, high-tech display, etc. The Civic looks like any other Civic on the inside and out -- that was their aim. "Green under the radar".
The TSX with Navi has a better fuel economy display, I agree. BUT the aim of the new Civic interior is to enhance the safety of those inside and outside the vehicle by keeping critical components at a "glance" away from the driver's eye. The IMA guage is right there in front. Frankly, when I drove the Pruis, I found the big screen distracting and too much info. I liked the IMA display becuase it shows charge and assist.
Last, the Prius' Hybrid Synergy Drive is a full-hybrid, where the Civic is a mild-hybrid -- the charging/operating system is different.
P.S. Congrats on finding an economy-minded gal ;-)