Toyota is recalling tens of thousands of its 2010 hybrids -- 133,000 Prius hybrids produced since May, and all 14,500 Lexus 2010 HS 250h hybrids. The dealer will update software in an attempt to fix anti-lock braking systems that have reportedly failed on dozens of occasions, resulting in injuries in several cases.
In addition, Toyota is recalling more than 7,000 2010 Camrys for a separate problem. No other Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles are included in the recall, which was announced late Monday. Earlier model Prius hybrids are also not included in this recall.
This is how Toyota described the problem: "The anti-lock braking system, in normal operation, engages and disengages rapidly (many times per second) as the control system senses and reacts to tire slippage. Some 2010 model year Prius and 2010 HS 250h owners have reported experiencing inconsistent brake feel during slow and steady application of brakes on rough or slick road surfaces when the ABS is activated in an effort to maintain tire traction. Toyota has responded to owner concerns with a running production change for 2010 Prius that was introduced last month, improving the ABS system's response time, as well as the system's overall sensitivity to tire slippage. The production change for the HS 250h is planned for later this month."
If you've purchased a recalled Prius, you should get notice by mail next week. If you've purchased a recalled Lexus, the letter won't arrive for several weeks, while Toyota finalizes the software fix. If you've purchased a recalled Camry, expect a letter mid-February.
The braking problem is separate from an acceleration problem on other Toyotas, which the company has temporarily stopped selling: the 2009-2010 RAV4, 2009-2010 Corolla, 2009-2010 Matrix, 2005-2010 Avalon, certain 2007-2010 Camrys, 2010 Highlander, 2007-2010 Tundra, and the 2008-2010 Sequoia.
Even though the Camry is on the list, the Camry hybrid -- which, at 34 mpg, is one of The Daily Green's top-rated fuel efficient cars for 2010, is not affected, according to Toyota. Also is the Yaris, which gets 32 mpg.
If you are in the market for a new car, check out The Daily Green's list of fuel-efficient cars, which could save you money on fuel, or jump straight to the most cheap green cars (including the Yaris at $12,355), all of which cost under $20,000 and get better than 30 mpg. But don't forget to consider reliable fuel-efficient used cars, which could be the best value for your money.
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