The Toyota Camry is a bit of a star – 19 million have been built and put on the market since 1982.
The car’s been away from Britain for 15 years, though – and we’ve pined for it. Toyota’s also missed flogging it here, so the Camry is, at long last, coming back – and this time it’s in hybrid semblance.
The Japanese automaker feels the Camry’s good looks and petrol-electric powertrain make it the ‘right motor at the right time’ to revisit these shores.
Is it? Well, the Toyota is dear – but look closer, and the £29,995 price-sticker on the rudimentary model seems less of a concern when you realise how easy on the pocket it will be to run. Depending on how you drive, the all-new Camry’s competence at managing brief distances on electricity could save you digging deep into your pockets at the fuel pumps.
It’s hassle-free to drive, with congenial visibility and nimble steering. Whip things up, and there’s enough grunt from the model’s 218ps that you hardly ever need to go full throttle.
Lamentably, it’s common for hybrids to disappoint regarding refinement at speed. The quiet powerplant in the Camry means your lugs become oversensitive to other sounds. Tyre rumble begins to become tiresome, as does the incessant wind whistle. But it still doesn’t make the new Toyota poor company at 70mph – you just need to crank the music up some more.
There’s no getting away from the fact that the state-of-the-art Camry is going to interest taxi firms, but that’s not a bad thing. It’s sizeable enough for five adults and, at 524 litres, the Camry’s boot is considerable.
The weakness, however, is the Camry’s infotainment system. It is awkward, and the glass touchscreen on the dashboard is infuriatingly unresponsive. Toyota says it will put Android Auto and Apple CarPlay into the new car soon, but this tech won’t be within reach at launch.
If you can close your eyes to the Camry’s intricate fascia, you won’t be let down by the stock equipment. There’s loads of it – and only two trim levels to go choose from. The ‘Design’ edition sells for £29,995, and the eminent ‘Excel’ version will shrink your bank account by an additional £1,300.
The Design trim comes with dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, LED lights and keyless entry. It also has 17-inch alloys.
Advance to the Camry Excel, as test-driven here, and you will discover LED fog lamps, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and a Blind Spot Monitor.
Welcome back, to the All-New Camry.
Car reviewed: Toyota Camry 2.5 Hybrid Auto Excel, on the road price £31,295 0-62mph 8.3secs Top speed 112mph Engine 2.5-litre, four-cylinder petrol hybrid EU 6.2 Fuel Economy Combined 50.4mpg CO2 emissions 101g/km Max Power 218PS Torque tbc Transmission CVT automatic, front-wheel drive
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Tim Barnes-Clay qualified as a journalist in 1994 and is a member of the Midland Group of Motoring Writers. He initially trained in broadcast journalism and has worked as a reporter and news reader at various radio stations in East Anglia and the Midlands. He has also been a motoring journalist for the Mirror Group’s L!ve TV cable network and a presenter, reporter and producer at ITV Central in Birmingham. Tim is now an automotive writer, focusing on car reviews. He has media accreditation with all motor manufacturers’ press offices, and this enables him to test drive the latest cars. He also attends new vehicle press launches at home and abroad.
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