All-new Toyota Camry SL breaks the traditionally boring Camry mould with aggressive styling, impressive equipment levels, beautiful build quality and sharp driving dynamics.
What is it?
The all-new fully imported Toyota Camry. The new Camry is an important car for a number of reasons: it’s the first wholly imported Camry to be sold in Australia in nearly 30 years and secondly, the new Camry tries to be bold, aggressive, fun to drive and even (gasp) desirable. But does it succeed? Read on.
What’s it cost?
The Toyota Camry range is now more diverse than ever before. There are a choice of petrol four-cylinder, hybrid and V6 powered models. The Camry V6 has made a comeback as Toyota Australia dumped the Aurion when local manufacturing ceased. To get a more detail understanding of Camry specification levels and pricing, click here.
In summary, though, the new Toyota Camry range opens with the four-cylinder Camry Ascent auto priced from $27,690 and climbs to the Camry SL V6 that has a recommended retail price of $43,990 plus on road costs.
The four-cylinder Camry SL as tested is priced from $39,990 plus on roads and, it is impressive value for money. Key standard equipment includes adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, autonomous emergency braking, rear cross traffic alert, leather seats with cooling for the front two chairs, heads up display, satellite navigation along with keyless entry and push button start.
What’s it go like?
Four-cylinder Camry models are powered by a 2.5 litre four-cylinder engine that produces 135kW @ 6000rpm and 235Nm @ 4100rpm and the engine works in conjunction with a six-speed automatic to send power to the front wheels.
Performance is adequate. The four-cylinder Camry isn’t sluggish, but at times it does feel and sound like that four-cylinder engine needs to work hard to keep the Camry moving at decent pace. Thankfully though, the engine is smooth and for the most part, very quiet. It’s a similar story with that six-speed automatic. It’s generally smooth, but can gear changes can be a little abrupt under hard acceleration. Generally, though, the transmission is a competent unit.
Toyota cites an official fuel consumption figure of 8.3 litres per 100 kilometres. We averaged around 10 litres per 100 kilometres across a mixture of heavy city, freeway and country driving. Not bad for a full-sized car with a four-cylinder engine.
On the road, wait for it, the Camry is actually a joy to drive. Really. Feedback from the steering is positive and lets the driver know where the front wheels are pointing at all times. Handling is planted and poised and the ride is comfortable and compliant without being soggy. Road imperfections rarely filtered through to the cabin, and when they did, the suspension and seats took the bulk of the shock, rather than the passengers’ backsides.
What’s it like inside?
Contemporary design, high quality materials, good visibility and carefully thought out ergonomics set the tone for the new Camry’s interior. Gone are the drab and unimaginative design and cheap shiny plastics, replaced with a cabin ambience that’s refreshingly modern, sharp, comfortable and attractive.
All materials are pleasant to the touch, the seats are comfortable and supportive and there’s an abundance of space for all five passengers, rendering the Camry a genuine contender for those shopping for a new family chariot.
Toyota’s touchscreen infotainment system has been revised and is a great improvement on versions fitted to older models, but Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is still nowhere to be seen. Strangely, although the front seats are fitted with a three stage cooling system – which works rather well – seat heating was nowhere to be found.
Additionally, the new Camry interior is so good that it places Toyota in a rather compromising position: it needs to design its interiors so that it can inject its cars with more “wow” factor and enhance appeal, but at the same time they can’t be too premium that they start to cut Lexus’ lunch. The Camry’s interior takes Toyota up to that line.
What we like:
- Newfound driving dynamics
What we don’t:
- Four-cylinder drivetrain can feel a little overworked at times
- Styling isn’t for everyone
- No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto
- Toyota will still a mammoth task ahead of them convincing people that the new Camry is a car that they want, rather than one that they need.
Sale or no sale?
Yes, the new Toyota Camry SL is a big thumbs up from us. We’d be keen to explore the V6 models, though.