Joined: 14 Aug 2006
|Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2019 5:00 pm Post subject: CAR REVIEW: Toyota Camry - A real step forward for the model
NEW TOYOTA CAMRY IS MORE THAN A SURE BET
19 million sales in over 100 countries, including over 930,000 in Australia since 1983 attests to the durability and market appeal of the Camry. So buying a Camry has always been a safe bet based on Toyota’s reputation for producing cars that just do not break-down on the side of the road. Coupled with a good re-sale return the Camry has continued to be a solid earner over many years for the Japanese car manufacturer.
Toyota's all-new Camry sedan has now been on sale for over 12 months and the model is selling well across all of the model variations and there is certainly no shortage of taxis in Sydney in the new guise offering an easy way of going for a test drive.
The Camry was given a dramatic redesign from bumper to bumper by Toyota at it's debut in late 2017 in the shadow of the Altona plant closure in Victoria. This is a Eighth-generation Camry and it represents a new era for Toyota in Australia - the first time in 30 years that Toyota has offered a fully imported Camry range to the Australian market. The new model is produced in Japan.
The latest Camry is built on a new platform and has under-gone a really impressive but subtle styling update which has given the car somewhat of a Lexus look on the road. That can only be a good thing.
There is a new powertrain with higher power and better fuel economy and a revamped chassis that has made the driving dynamics sharper. The Camry has a more athletic profile with a lower roof and bonnet, a better driving position and improved dynamics due to its lower centre of gravity and greater torsional rigidity. The car has also sits lower on the road than the ongoing model which gives the car more ‘street-cred’.
Two new powertrains are offered - a redesigned hybrid system with a new direct-injection four-cylinder engine that delivers more power, flexibility and efficiency and a stunning new V6 engine with direct-injection technology and an eight-speed transmission.
The new Camry comes with a raft of Camry firsts: direct fuel-injection engines, fully independent rear suspension, 19-inch alloy wheels, drive mode select, LED head lamps, an electric parking brake, 10-inch head-up display and a segment-first opening panoramic roof, plus across-the-board adoption of active cruise control and a pre-collision safety system with autonomous emergency braking^^.
The new model represents the largest generational change for Camry since the nameplate was introduced in 1983 and the model has been Australia's best-selling mid-size car for the past 23 years in a row."
Toyota has adopted new grade names for the Eighth-generation Camry: Ascent and Ascent Sport (4-cylinder petrol or hybrid), SX (4-cylinder or V6) and SL (all three powertrains).
Prices have been reduced for six of the nine new Camry variants while increases on the other three are outweighed by additional features.
For the new hybrid powertrain, with combined power output rising to 160kW, prices have been improved compared with the petrol variants and the market.
Camry SX and SL with the new 224kW, 362Nm V6 engine are just $4,000 more than their four-cylinder siblings.
Camry comes with Toyota Service Advantage at just $195 for up to the first five services - now with 12-month intervals**.
THE NEW HYBRID SYSTEM
Camry's new hybrid system offers improved handling and driving performance as well as an improvement in fuel efficiency - 4.5 litres/100km on the SL and 4.2 litres on the other grades, which equates to between 13.5 and more than 19 per cent^.
The new 2.5-litre, four-cylinder Dynamic Force Engine on the Camry offers 11 per cent more power and four per cent more torque. There is also VVT-iE variable valve timing on the new model allows the sedan to use an electric motor instead of oil pressure to control variable valve timing for increased fuel efficiency with cleaner exhaust emissions.
On the CVT the driver has access to six quick-shifting ratios for manual-like gear changes using paddle shifters on the SL or with the console-mounted shift lever.
TNGA packaging has allowed the nickel-metal hydride battery to be moved from the boot area to under the rear seat, improving boot space and positioning battery weight lower in the car.
A lighter and more compact power control unit now sits directly above the transaxle, lowering the vehicle's centre of mass and enabling a lower bonnet.
The hybrid gains a new SPORT drive mode, along with the previous NORMAL, ECO and EV modes, delivering improved acceleration response relative to pedal input. It also features a new Auto Glide Control system that promotes smooth and efficient coasting that helps improve fuel economy.
POWERFUL, EFFICIENT NEW V6
Camry's newly-developed 3.5-litre direct-injection V6 provides better low-end and mid-range punch than the previous model and power output is up to 12 per cent above the previous 3.5-litre V6 while its efficient compression ratio helps it achieve even better fuel efficiency of 8.7 litres/100km (SL, 8.9 litres/100km for SX), an improvement of up to 6.5 per cent^.
The V6's specially developed new VVT-iW variable valve timing system - the "W" is for "wide" adjustment range - operates on the intake to ensure better torque production at all engine speeds.
In addition to the Otto Cycle, the engine uses the Atkinson cycle where appropriate to enhance fuel economy.
Mated to the V6 is a new direct-shift, eight-speed automatic transmission with direct lock-up from second to eighth gears, sequential shifting and auto-blipping downshift control.
Camry is also offered with the proven 2.5-litre petrol four, with a more sophisticated six-speed transmission that incorporates auto-blipping on the downshifts.
DYNAMIC NEW CHASSIS
The Camry's underpinnings have also gone through generational change and the MacPherson strut front suspension has been redesigned, remounted and given new geometry - for improved handling stability, grip and ride quality.
The geometry on the rear suspension is all new with separate spring and damper units as is the calibration of the various bushings and this has significantly improved the stability and ride comfort.
The electric power steering motor is now mounted on the rack housing, which has helped to lower the vehicle's centre of gravity. The steering column is also now at a more natural angle for the driver with tilt and telescopic adjustment on all variants.
The brakes on the new Camry have also been improved with larger front and rear rotors.
Camry now comes with an electric parking brake plus a brake-hold function that maintains the brake fluid pressure without requiring the driver to stay on the brake pedal or apply the parking brake.
Other features include a pre-collision safety system, autonomous emergency braking and lane departure alert with steering assist. All-speed active cruise control, auto high beam and reversing camera are also standard^^.
The SL adds blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert^^, rain-sensing wipers and electro-chromatic interior rear-view mirror while the three higher grades have front and rear clearance sensors.
All models are equipped with seven airbags and a comprehensive range of electronic safety features including Hill-start Assist Control^^ and a sway-warning system.
NEW FEATURES FOR EACH GRADE
Ascent now has an upgraded multimedia system, seven-inch display audio with Toyota Link# connected mobility, Optitron instruments, 4.2-inch multi-information display, power lumbar adjustment on the driver's seat and LED head lamps.
The recommended retail price of $27,690* represents an increase of just $1,200.
Ascent is also offered as a hybrid with additional features including dual-zone air-conditioning, keyless entry and ignition, a drive mode select function - and a sub-$30,000* price that is $500 less than the superseded model.
The new hybrid system delivers fuel economy as low as 4.2 litres/100km^ - a better figure than the second-generation Prius sold in Australia until mid-2009.
Ascent Sport, distinguished by its sports bumper and side skirts, features an 8-inch display screen, satellite navigation##, a 7-inch multi-information display, premium steering wheel and gear shifter, clearance sonars, power driver's seat adjustment, dual-zone air and keyless entry and ignition.
The 4-cylinder petrol price represents a reduction of $200* and the hybrid price is down by $1,200* compared with the previous generation's equivalent models.
Camry's sporty SX sedan is fitted with the new 19-inch wheels, sports suspension, leather-accented sports seats, paddle shifters and wireless phone charger. The $33,290* 4-cylinder price is $200 lower than its equivalent predecessor.
At the top of the range, the SL is even more comprehensively equipped than before with a 10-inch head-up display, electro-chromatic rear-view mirror, paddle shifters for both petrol and hybrid, rain-sensing wipers, ventilated leather-accented seats and power-operated front seats and steering column adjustment. It is also gains blind-spot monitor and rear-cross traffic alert.
SL prices also take into account that the moonroof on hybrid and the opening panoramic roof on petrol models are standard. A moonroof was previously optional.
Camry SX and SL are also offered with the new direct-injection V6 engine and eight-speed direct-shift automatic transmission for just $4,000* more than the variants equipped with the four-cylinder petrol engine.
The front design for the new Camry features two-piece grilles with contrasting personalities - premium refinement for Ascent, and a more aggressive, sportier look for Ascent Sport, SX and SL.
The bonnet is lower and, together with the grille and Toyota emblem, they blend seamlessly into the A-pillar, producing a stance that is more aggressive than any predecessor.
The profile is sleeker. By lowering the hip points and therefore seating positions, the design team was able to reduce the car's overall height without sacrificing interior space.
Striking character lines along the body augment the ront and rear fenders give Camry a new level of sportiness.
The new Camry has a completely redesigned interior with gauges angled towards the driver while the front passenger is treated to a sense of openness.
The dashboard, instrument panel, centre console and door trims employ soft touch and premium materials with a mix of tones and hues. Quality stitching adds to the level of craftsmanship.
Re-engineered seats have improved ergonomics and comfort, contributing to more refined accommodation throughout.
Toyota's latest in-vehicle display technologies provide integrated information with minimal distraction. Depending on the grade, there are up to three available interlinked displays: a multi-information display in the instrument cluster, a control panel for the audio, navigation and HVAC, and a 10-inch colour head-up display.
What others have said:
- Yes, it will be hard to shake the longstanding 'vanilla' reputation, and some will hate the fact it's no longer built in Australia. But those who do jump into the driver's seat of the all-new Camry will be pleasantly surprised (Rating of 7.8/10 by Charles Chesterton)
- There are some words that may never be spoken in a sentence with the new Camry… exciting, sexy or dynamic. Instead you’ll hear words like practical, functional, spacious, solid and comfortable – without these words, in this segment, that other stuff feels irrelevant. The more refined Camry is a definite win for Toyota… and the pragmatic motorist who favours comfort, practicality and sensible shoes (Review by Nadine Armstrong)
- The fully imported 2018 Toyota Camry is effectively all new, and deserves renewed consideration if you’re in the market for a smart, comfortable and dependable large sedan (Review by Earnest Litera)
- Pros: handling, value; hybrid fuel-efficiency. Cons: Sluggish V6, firm ride on big-wheeled SX and SL. The Pick: 2018 Toyota Camry Ascent (Hybrid) 4D Sedan (Review by David Bonnici)
- Pros: Hybrid affordability, Smooth new V6 engine, Improved road manners, Standard active safety tech. Cons: Sunroof hurts headroom, 19-inch wheels hurt ride quality, Cabin’s high-gloss plastic overkill, Can’t match old car’s discounts (Review by Mike Costello - Senior Editor)