The Toyota Camry is a worldwide celebrity. Regardless of a 15-year European hiatus, it has continued promote strongly world wide; since 1982, the agency has constructed and bought greater than 19 million items.
Now, with the demise of the inconspicuous Avensis, Toyota thinks it’s time to carry the Camry again to Britain. The corporate claims its glossy styling, hybrid powertrain, partaking dealing with and premium options make this “the appropriate automotive on the proper time”.
We first drove a prototype model of this eighth-generation Toyota Camry final yr and declared it a spacious, refined and cozy different to the present crop of D-segement saloons. Whereas it wasn’t about to hassle the BMW three Collection for driver enjoyable, it supplied patrons one thing totally different in a category dominated by diesel.
So is that this the credible Volkswagen Passat rival Toyota needs it to be? On checklist value alone it appears costly, we should concede, however delve a bit deeper and that £29,995 beginning determine appears a bit trivial. Particularly when you think about how little the Camry will value to run.
Toyota expects 80 per cent of UK automobiles to go to fleet patrons, the place the entry-level mannequin’s 23 per cent Profit in Variety ranking smashes the equal Skoda Excellent 2.zero TDI (30 per cent) proper out of the park. The Camry gained’t do fairly as many miles per gallon, however relying in your every day commute and driving type, its capacity to run for brief distances (sometimes lower than two miles) on electrical energy alone might have an astounding impact on city effectivity.
It’s right here the place the Camry actually shines. It’s whisper quiet when manoeuvring round city, the place its highly effective electrical motor provides instantaneous throttle response and respectable efficiency. It’s simple to drive, with mild, exact steering and acceptable visibility.
Ramp issues up and people conversant in the previous-generation Toyota Prius – or certainly some other CVT-equipped hybrid – might be happy to note the Camry manages to comprise a lot of the raucous wail so typically related to such a powertrain. Plant your proper foot and the revs will rise, nevertheless it’s a calmer and extra civilised affair than earlier than. Moreover, there’s sufficient punch from the mixed 215bhp that you just not often must ask for full throttle.
As is usually the case with electrical or hybrid automobiles, refinement suffers barely at increased speeds. The Camry’s engine set-up is so quiet that your ears are inevitably drawn to different sounds – corresponding to street noise. It’s not at all an disagreeable motorway automotive, however the place its rivals may show a lightweight diesel hum, the Camry is tormented by constant wind whistle at 70mph.
Basing the Camry on Toyota’s tried and examined TNGA platform has labored wonders for the journey and dealing with. The model’s engineers wished the Camry to supply “assured and pure dealing with” they usually’ve delivered that; a Vauxhall Insignia is perhaps barely sharper, however the Toyota steers neatly and provides loads of grip. The suspension strikes a very good steadiness between consolation and agility, too.
There isn’t a avoiding the truth that a automotive like it will probably show common with non-public rent corporations and taxi drivers. And for those who have been picked up in a brand new Toyota Camry, we’d wager few complaints from the again seats. It’s nowhere close to as spacious as a Excellent, however there’s sufficient leg and head room for six-foot-tall adults to get comfy. The seats are comfortable and each model will get plush leather-based all through.
The boot is fairly huge, too, though not like its rivals, Toyota has no plans to supply a Touring Sports activities property model. With 524 litres, there’s greater than sufficient room for a few massive suitcases – however whereas the rear seats can fold, some could discover the Insignia’s top-hinged hatchback extra sensible for loading cumbersome objects.
Arguably the Toyota’s largest failing, nevertheless, is the infotainment set-up. It’s fiddly and unintuitive to make use of, and the big glass panel on the sprint is infuriatingly unresponsive to the contact. Toyota’s engineers say they’re engaged on becoming Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, nevertheless it gained’t be obtainable at launch. For a driver who spends a number of hours behind the wheel every day, this might be a deal breaker.
However for those who can ignore the fussy fascia, you gained’t be upset by the usual equipment checklist. There are simply two trims to select from; Design prices £29,995, whereas the higher-spec Excel instructions a premium of £1,300.
Design automobiles get 17-inch alloy wheels (the Excel’s 18s lead to a one per cent BiK improve), LED lights, dual-zone local weather management, keyless entry and heated entrance seats. All automobiles characteristic sat-nav and a reversing digicam, too.
Step as much as our Excel take a look at automotive and also you’ll add LED fog lamps and wi-fi telephone charging, in addition to a number of additional security equipment together with a Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Site visitors Alert.