My sister and BIL bought a new Prius a few weeks ago. (Paid sticker price; some places were adding several thousand $$$ "market adjustment".) Sister and I drove to NM in it. I like it, but it's a bit small for me for everyday driving. The hybrid Highlander is also not as roomy as I'd expect for the driver and way too expensive. But now Toyota has the Camry hybrid...
After they bought the Prius I read up on how the various hybrids are designed. I really like the Toyota system, and I think it will also greatly reduce engine wear. I like the continually variable transmission concept and how they've implemented it in the Toyota system; it drove quite well. One of my bigger concerns with hybrids was air conditioning, but that wasn't a problem in the Prius in 90 and 100 degree weather. (It has an electric compressor so it doesn't need to have the gas motor running.) I now feel comfortable with the longevity of the hybrid components, too.
I periodically will lust after something to buy for a week or two and then drop it, but my hybrid Camry lust has been steady for about a month now. I know I'll need a car within the next year or two, and my car is starting to send signals that it may be sooner rather than later. I had already been all over the place with what I want next: everything from a decent used Accord/Camry to a new Murano, or possibly some SUV or...yeah, all over the place. Hybrid Camry with a sunroof is what I'm thinking now, but unfortunately that means brand new.
Update: About a year later my car died. I could not financially justify the cost of the still-new Camry Hybrids, so I bought a used gas-only Hyundai Sonata.
This post is a December 18, 2011 republication of my July 30, 2006 post on Early Retirement Forum.