- The Washington Times - Friday, January 30, 2009


The 2009 Toyota Camry is available in four-cylinder and V-6 models. The 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine puts out 158 horsepower and 161 foot-pounds of torque and can be mated to a five-speed manual transmission or an electronically controlled five-speed automatic.

The 3.5-liter V-6 delivers a substantial performance boost with 268 horsepower and 248 foot-pounds of torque. The V-6 Camry models come equipped exclusively with a six-speed automatic transmission that offers a sequential mode for manual shifting when desired.

The 2009 Camry offers responsive handling while providing the smooth, quiet ride that sets a benchmark for the segment. All 2009 Camry models come equipped with a standard anti-lock brake system, electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist.

As an available option, vehicle stability control with traction control regulates engine output and brake application on individual wheels to help control loss of traction in turns.

The Camry’s standard equipment includes air conditioning with micro dust and pollen filter, power windows and door locks, color-keyed power side mirrors, cruise control, halogen headlamps with automatic on/off feature, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, a vehicle immobilizer, and a six speaker 160-watt digital AM/FM/CD audio system with auxiliary audio jack.

Base model estimated mpg: 21 city/31 highway

Estimated starting price: $19,145


Highlander hybrid models are equipped with four-wheel-drive with intelligence and are available in base and limited grades.

The Highlander hybrid features Hybrid Synergy Drive. The system pairs a 3.3-liter V-6 engine with its high-torque electric drive motor-generator and uses a second rear-mounted motor to provide automatic on-demand four-wheel-drive with intelligence traction.

The output of the Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain is 270 net horsepower, while delivering impressive fuel economy ratings.

A new fuel-saving feature is a hybrid system indicator located on the left side of the Optitron combination meter. This feature provides the driver with a guideline to help reduce fuel consumption. When the driver increases acceleration, the indicator automatically switches to “acceleration mode” and encourages the driver to keep the power meter needle within white dashes to help achieve maximum fuel economy.

The hybrid is distinguished by a front grille with chrome surround and silver-painted fins, silver-painted rear license plate garnish, blue-tinted headlight and taillight lenses, black fog lamp covers, silver-painted lower bumper cover, rear spoiler with LED stop lamp, 17-inch alloy wheels with 245/ 65 R17 tires, and Hybrid Synergy Drive badging.

Base model estimated mpg: 27 city/25 highway

Estimated starting price: $34,700


The Toyota Tacoma offers the Star Safety System of dynamic control technologies as standard equipment in all models and grades for 2009.

Front-seat-mounted side air bags and curtain side air bags are standard across the Tacoma lineup and active front headrests are standard on all access and double cab models.

The Star System includes anti-lock brakes, electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist, vehicle stability control and traction control. An automatic limited-slip differential, which uses brake intervention in place of a mechanical-type LSD to help reduce tire slippage at the rear wheels, is standard for 2009.

The 2009 Tacoma line offers two engines: a 2.7-liter dual-overhead-cam four-cylinder that produces 159 horsepower with 180 foot-pounds of torque and a 4.0-liter dual-overhead-cam V-6 that produces 236 horsepower with 266 foot-pounds of torque.

The Tacoma also delivers enhanced value with interior and exterior revisions for 2009. All models feature an argent painted grille, while the TRD Offroad, TRD Sport and Tacoma X-Runner models are distinguished by new smoked headlamp trim. All models have restyled LED taillamps.

The Tacoma cabins also have enhanced comfort and convenience for 2009 with new front-door trim panels, while a lower center stack houses the standard auxiliary audio input jack.

Base model estimated mpg: 20 city/26 highway

Estimated starting price: $15,170

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