Damien O’Carroll reports that Camry now not only comes as built in Japan but is an all new model to boot.
The end of vehicle manufacture in Australia has seen a number of big changes in the local motoring scene – the Ford Falcon is gone, the Holden Commodore is now a German-built FWD car and the Toyota Camry is, well, still the Toyota Camry, really. Except now it come to New Zealand from Japan.
The transition from Australian-built to Japanese-built Camrys comes at a time when the Camry itself goes through something of an extensive change, being an all-new model, and the latest Toyota to be built on the company’s new TNGA (Toyota Next Generation Architecture) platform.
The TNGA platform, previously seen here as the basis for the latest Prius and the C-HR small SUV, has been stretched for use under the Camry and is a more rigid platform that has allowed Toyota to situate the seats lower which, in turn, has allowed designers to lower the roof and bonnet.
Not only has this given the Camry an athletic, sportier new look, it has also lowered the centre of gravity, something that Toyota says give the Camry a more engaging driving position and improved driving dynamics.
Toyota has also fitted a more complex double wishbone suspension set up at the rear of the Camry and significantly revised the front MacPherson strut set up, which will also improve the car’s dynamics.
Further to Toyota’s push to improve the dynamics of the Camry, the new model’s wheelbase is 50mm longer – although the vehicle is only 25mm longer overall – and torsional rigidity is said to be increased by 30 percent.
The only remnant of the old Camry is the carried over 133kW 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine in the entry level GL model, attached to a revised six-speed automatic transmission, while the hybrid system in the GX, SX and ZR has a new 131kW/221Nm 2.5-litre engine that runs Otto and Atkinson cycles and is attached to a 88kW/202Nm electric motor, for a total system output of 160kW and a claimed fuel economy figure of an impressive 4.2L/100km.
Replacing the Aurion in the Toyota line up is the Camry V6 that is powered by a 224kW/362Nm 3.5-litre V6 (24kW and 26Nm more than the Aurion), which is also capable of running in the Atkinson cycle for improved fuel efficiency and is hooked up to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The GL comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, manual air conditioning, six-way manual driver seat adjustment and four-way manual front passenger seat adjustment, automatic headlight levelling, a 4.2-inch colour multi information display, a six speaker audio system and a backing camera with dynamic guidelines.
The GX Hybrid adds adds four drive modes – ECO, Normal, Sport and EV, keyless entry and start and dual zone automatic air conditioning.
The SX Hybrid gets all of this, as well as a leather steering wheel, a sports exterior styling package, eight-way power driver’s seat adjustment, a seven-inch colour multi information display, satellite navigation with SUNA traffic channel and front and rear parking sensors.
The V6 adds 19-inch alloy wheels, sports tuned suspension, a boot spoiler, a twin exhaust system, sports front seats and a wireless phone charger.
The ZR Hybrid gets 18-inch alloy wheels, powered steering column adjustment with memory function, a tilt and slide moonroof, rain sensing wipers, an automatic dimming interior mirror, eight-way power front passenger seat adjustment with driver’s seat memory, driver and front passenger seat ventilation, a head-up display, blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert.
The 2018 Camry features Toyota’s latest in-vehicle multimedia system which features either a 7-inch (in GL and GX) or 8-inch (in SX, ZR and V6) touchscreen.
There are two “looks” for Camry with the GL and GX including a horizontal front grille, while the other three variants have a sporty black mesh grille and large front air intakes. All models include LED headlights and daytime running lights.
Every model of Camry also comes with the “Toyota Safety Sense” package that includes a precrash safety system with autonomous emergency braking, all speed dynamic radar cruise control, automatic high beam, lane departure alert with steering assist and a vehicle sway warning system.
The Camry scored a total of 36.16 out of a possible 37 in the Australian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP) testing, with maximum points scored in the destructive pole and side impact crash tests.
“Don’t think of this Camry like the previous 11 generations,” says Neeraj Lala, Toyota New Zealand’s General Manager of Product Planning and New Vehicle Sales.
“There is a reason why the Camry is featuring as a finalist of World Car of the Year – This is the best Camry ever built.
“The new V6 and hybrid Camry’s are completely new models from the ground up. They are a true showcase of what is to come from Toyota.
“This has been the bestselling car in the US for the past 15 years and makes a bold statement for not just Camry, but the entire Toyota brand.”