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Cold morning cabin heating

Ron Bergen

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I am looking at buying a new Camry HL. I live in the Blue Mountains of NSW where the climate is very cold for about 7 months of the year and am wondering how efficient the heater is in the Hybrid. As most car heaters work from the petrol engine cooling system where the petrol engine runs continuously how does the hybrid compare?

In the hybrid the engine only runs for short periods of time and as many of my early morning journeys will be substantially down hill for some kms, where the petrol engine might not be running at all, will there be enough heat generated to operate the heater on zero degree mornings?

Any help here would be most appreciated.


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Hi Ron,

I live in North West Tasmania, which as you probably know can get fairly cool. I have had a Camry H since late September last year and had a 2010 Hybrid Luxury for 2 years before that.

Even if the battery is near full and most of your initial driving is down hill, the petrol motor will start just to warm itself up (which seems to happen quickly)

Because it is only warming itself up and topping up the battery (not under load) it doesn't have a big impact on the fuel economy while it is doing this.

Don't buy a diesel as my previous car before those two was a brilliant little i30 DIesel Hatch. Love the torque of the diesel but they do seem to take considerably longer to get the engine temp and heater temp up to an effective level.

The 2012/13 Camry Hybrid is an awesome car (you won't be disappointed)

When you are going home the electric motor supplementing the petrol will make hill climbing a breeze.

Hope that helps!

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Hi Dazzling_Darryl

Thanks for the information. I was not sure if the petrol engine would run at all once I started on the downhill run on the highway at the end of my street.

I guess you can't let the engine idle while you open the driveway gates, before you get in and drive off. (Ron smiles)

I hope to have a test drive this week and hopefully it will be longer than just around the block. If we can take the car out for about 40 to 50 minutes I will try it on a nearby winding mountain pass both uphill and downhill.

Many thanks for your help.

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No Problems Ron,

I drive with the eco button on and have averaged 5.7 LPH in hilly Tassie over 13,000kms in around 6 months.

Try the car with and without the eco button on (with it off it feels like an XR6 Falcon or similar performance vehicle but you still get low 6's LPH)

They handle really well too :-))

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I had my test drive yesterday but unfortunately it was just around the block about 2km. The car only had trade plates and they didn't want to put too many kms on the clock as it was to be sold as a new car.

The silence is amazing, even the salesperson couldn't tell me if the petrol engine was running or not he said you could only tell by the display. We were just sitting in the car with the aircon running. I asked if the hybrid display could be shown on the satnav screen as it used to be in the prius but he didn't know.

I found the brakes took a bit of getting used to and overshot the mark a few times stopping at stop signs. You have to get used to the transition between regen braking and actual disk braking.

The ride is very firm compared with my 10 year old Avalon Grande.

When comparing prices at the various dealers I noticed that some say Camry HL and some say Camry HL2. What is the difference between the HL and the HL2?

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Hi Ron, yes you can bring up the "Hybrid Display" on the Sat Nav Screen along with lots of other Configuration Settings for Lights, Door Unock / Lock options and More Not Much of a Salesman if he didn't Know the answer to That, basic product knowledge!

Had My HL for 1yr now and more than happy with it, you will be surprised how fast it reaches normal running temp & the Heater will come up to temp just as quick, Don't forget you will have Dual Zone Temp Controls, so just dial in the Temp you want

Good Luck with your Purchase



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Hi everyone - Thanks for the info - I have placed my order and payed the deposit. Unfortunately I could only get the dark/black trim as I was told I would have to wait at least another 3 months and specially order the lighter trim if I wanted it. I am worried that the seats will get extremely hot when the car has been sitting in the sun with all the windows closed.

I did find the info that I was originally looking for, on line. Apparently if the heater is turned on or an aircon temp that requires heating, is selected, the petrol engine will run to provide the heat. I did find a link that had all the owners manuals on line - that was very handy.

The original salesperson that I was dealing with was new to the dealership and didn't know much about the Hybrid except how to start it and drive it.

It is interesting to note that the people here, that have responded to my questions, have in their profile - interests "computers and electronics". Among other things I have the same interests having worked in electrical, electronics and computer trades all my working life.

I do hope the 17 computers in this new car do not have to be rebooted too often - Ron smiles.

Cheers Ron

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Congrats on the purchase (you won't be disappointed)

If you get the Windows tinted nice and dark with Black Azz, Octane or some other dark film and use a reflective sunshade on the windscreen (like I do) the seats should be fine. I have the Black neoprene seat covers on my H and no worries even when it hit mid thirties in Hobart a few months back.

I am a computerholic (in fact my Brother in NSW had a Business called that at one stage)

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Hi everyone

Love the car so far only done 50k yesterday. Raining today so not taking it out.

A few questions - does the Australian model fold its external mirrors back when parked - do I need to do/set something?

Also trying to sort out the phone - I have my Iphone paired ok and all the contacts have transferred across O.K. but when I press and hold the phone button on the steering wheel the system asks for a command or I can say help. Help doesn't see to tell me anything. If I use a command that I would normally use on the stand alone phone like "phone home" nothing seems to work.

Can't find anything in the car manual about the phone commands?

EDIT - Found some information in the Navigation System manual -

Call <name> <type>

Dial <number>

Play artist <name>

Play album <name>

Go home

Any help would be most appreciated.

Edited by Ron Bergen
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Hi Ron,

I thought you would be pleased with it. I wasn't aware of the mirrors folding automatically in the HL (they don't in the H)

Not sure about iphone. I only use a Sony experia, Haven't tried voice commands. I tend to use a combination of the steering buttons and the touch screen (speed dials)

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Hi all - I have it working O.K . Once the contacts have transferred to the nav system you can dial by saying "call ---- home". You need the ---- which is a slight pause otherwise it does not understand.

I was saying "phone ---- Home". Doesn't understand "phone".

Now I just have to get an Ipod to put all my CDs on which were in the stacker in the Avalon. I guess the two little plugs in the box under the nav screen

Cheers - Ron

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Hi everyone - my first longish country trip through undulating and slightly mountainous terrain - 300km . I am most impressed with the acceleration, even though I use "ECO mode" for the whole trip and handling was great even though I have not fully explored the latter yet. Economy for the whole trip was 5.6L/100k or just over 50MPG.

I did notice that the engine temp gauge never had more than one little block at the cold (left end) end of the display. I had expected 2 blocks indicating half way between C and H - normal. Is this normal?

Also the head light low beam is a lot dimmer than my Avalon was and the range is also quite short. The latter is probably easy to fix.

Cheers - Ron

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