Toyota Camry Atara SX brings more dynamic handling and styling to the last Aussie Camry range
Toyota’s newly revised Camry range is a swansong for a nameplate that has been made locally for nearly 30 years, so it, like the equivalent efforts from Ford and Holden, need to send the last Australian made model out with a bang.
In terms of revisions and updates from the previous model, the heavily reworked exterior styling is the biggest change, while alternations in the cabin are restricted to some new materials and switchgear.
What we like:
- Sports suspension delivers confident handling
- Comfortable seats and interior space
- Eager and relatively quiet four-cylinder engine
- Value for money
Not so much:
- Sports suspension may deliver decent handling, but the ride quality isn’t really up to scratch
- Some squeaks and rattles in the cabin
- Standard satellite navigation would sweeten the deal further
- Hands free phone controls can freeze or be delayed in their responses.
Price and Equipment
An entry level price of $26,490 (plus on roads) will get buyers into a base model Camry Altise and range tops out at the fully optioned Toyota Camry Atara SL Hybrid for $40,440 plus government charges. We sampled the Toyota Camry Atara SX which is priced from $31,990 and serves as the sports focussed model of the Camry line-up and attempts to bust the “cardigan” Camry stereotype.
Standard fare is generous, and includes specially tuned sports suspension, sports pedals, 18 inch alloy wheels, leather trim, dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and start, parking sensors, reversing camera, a bodykit, dark tinted headlamps and the obligatory suite of active and passive safety equipment.
The Camry’s interior is simple, concisely designed and logical. The instrument cluster is clear and very easy to read – although it does miss out on the digital display fitted to the Aurion and Kluger – and the touch screen infotainment system allows users to make selections quickly and easily.
There is also voice control assistance but the facility isn’t as attentive as it could be. Similarly the Toyota Camry Atara SX is generally well specified, so the lack of satellite navigation is a strange omission. Best to (safely) use one’s smart phone then.
Seats are similar to those in the Aurion – big and comfortable – there is good under thigh and back support and space is generous for all those on board. The red and grey dual tone seating also mirror those in the Aurion Sportivo.
Fit and finish is of a satisfactory standard. Some of the plastics feel a little cheap, particularly around the centre console lid and other portions of the dash. There was the also the odd squeak and rattle too and we think this could be partially attributed to the hard(ish) ride.
However, the Camry’s interior certainly boasts greater space, comfort and quality than its Holden Malibu rival and is more aesthetically pleasing than the treatment in its Hyundai Sonata counterpart.
Boot space is rated at a family friendly 515 litres.
Engine and Transmission
All traditionally-powered Camry models are propelled by a 2.5 litre four-cylinder engine that produces 135kW @ 6000rpm and 235Nm @ 4100rpm. The engine is responsive for a four-cylinder unit and motivates the Camry with ease, without being a fireball.
Additionally, the powerplant remains refined, quiet and composed throughout the rev range. The six-speed automatic is equally smooth and drivers have the choice of using the steering wheel mounted paddle shifters should they choose to drive their Camry with a little more gusto.
Toyota claims an average combined fuel consumption figure of 7.8 litres per 100 kilometres. However the best we achieved during our test week was 8.7 litres. The trip computer also has a highly detailed graphical display should one want a more through break down of how much fuel they are using.
On The Road
On the road the Toyota Camry Atara SX handles rather tidily. It isn’t sports car sharp, but it turns in crisply and handles corners rather well with minimal body roll. There’s also a great sense of ease of use around town, rendering the Camry a good urban companion.
Unfortunately, while that sports suspension may deliver reasonable dynamics, the ride it serves up is less than savoury. Even the smallest pockmarks and imperfections on road surfaces are sent straight into the cabin, rattling interior trim and partially detracting from the Camry’s build quality.
Large amounts of road noise also permeated the cabin at freeway speeds, often prompting us to turn up the volume on the rather excellent sound system just a little bit more.
We can report that the reversing camera is of high quality and the guidance lines are very useful, and there’s even special markings for reversing a trailer, should one wish to fit their Camry with a towbar.
The Toyota Camry Atara SX protects its occupants with anti-lock brakes, electronic brakeforce distribution, traction control, stability control, dual front, side, curtain and a driver’s knee airbag. The entire Camry range has been stamped with the ANCAP 5 star safety rating of approval.
Servicing and Warranty
All Toyota models are covered by a three-year 100,000 kilometre warranty. Toyota also offers a competitive capped price serving programme.
Toyota Camry Atara SX Specs
Make and model: Toyota Camry Atara SX
Engine type: 2494cc, inline four-cylinder petrol engine, with DOHC and variable valve timing.
Power: 135kW @ 6000rpm
Torque: 235Nm @ 4100rpm
Transmission: six-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
Fuel consumption: 7.8 litres (combined)
Dimensions: 4850mm long, 1835mm wide, 1470mm high and 2775mm wheelbase
Steering: Electrically assisted Rack and pinion Country of Origin: Australia
Options: Wildfire metallic paint, $450 and sunroof, $1,950