Toyota Camry Facelift Review & First Drive

Toyota Camry Overview

Let’s address the elephant in the room right at the outset. Toyota’s Camry costs Rs 36.95 lakh. Yes, it’s Rs 27,000 LESS compared to the car it replaces. But, by no stretch of imagination, can it be called affordable. On one end you’ve got the Superb from Skoda that’s throwing heavy punches and undercutting the Camry heavily on price, on the other there’s the Honda Accord that’s desirable but priced in a way that hurts your property buying decisions. Let’s not forget that the Camry faces a very credible threat from within the stable in the form of the Toyota Fortuner. We know we’re talking of apples and oranges.

Toyota Camry

It’s an uphill task for the Camry, sure. We drive the latest generation of what’s a global favourite, and widely hailed as among the most reliable cars you can ever buy, to answer just one question: Should you even consider buying one? Yes, the Rs 36.95 lakh sticker price isn’t something you’d say yes to in a heartbeat. And, admittedly, it might not immediately appeal to anyone hunting for a big badge to show off to his pals at the golf club. But Toyota’s Camry is all grown up. With the new generation, it brings a promise of amplified luxury, amplified driving experience, and if Toyota’s to be believed, amplified efficiency as well.Apply car loan for Toyota Camry

Toyota Camry Exteriors

This Camry is based on Toyota’s New Global Architecture (TNGA) and as is now the norm with most new generation versions, it’s longer (4,885 mm) and wider (1,840 mm) and also lower (1,455 mm) than its predecessor. It offers more space, especially in the boot as the nickel-metal-hydride batteries have been relocated under the rear seat for better space utilisation and sound insulation.The designers have also used a finely honed scalpel to shape the body, which not only has more substantial proportions and a wider and lower stance, but is sleeker and somewhat more dynamic looking too.

The low and well sculpted bonnet and the sloping roofline makes the new Toyota Camry’s shape appear more slippery and all the bright embellishments in the form of the chrome treatment on the doors and door handles, LED projector headlamps, day time running lights and front fog lamps makes it appear more premium. Between the headlights rests the familiar slim Toyota grille, but below it flowing into the bumper, is a much larger one with as many as seven slats culminating with a prominent lip spoiler. Honestly this looks quite ungainly to me and I think the slats will also be prone to collecting dirt and keeping them clean on our dusty roads may not be that easy.

Toyota Camry Interiors

For one, the styling is more traditionally Japanese, unlike the old one which we’d deem functional, at best. Toyota’s taken some risks with this slightly asymmetric layout and the end result just works, in fact, in more ways than one. It’s not just more interesting than the old Camry’s, but also not as business-like as the cabins of the VW Passat or Skoda Superb. There is more personality to it, so even younger buyers, think late 20s mid 30s, get that sense of occasion.

A major takeaway, though, has to be the kind of features added. One, the front seats are ventilated which is always good news in India. The seats themselves are plus-sized to accommodate big frames, so the butt & back cooling is a major boon for heavy set users who tend to get clammy more easily. Additionally, the front seats are 10-way powered with lumbar support and the driver’s seat, the electrically-adjustable steering and wing mirrors, get memory setting too. So whether you’re driving or want to be driven, no need to fidget and find the right posture. In fact, this is a major boon on media drives, where driver swaps are frequent. It also feels like the Japanese like including calculations in their feature set, so here’s a quick 7,8,9 & 10.

7-inch – that’s the size of the new multi-information display that has a wide range of functions, including reading out driving data, displaying the tyre pressures and even controlling the rear sunshade or park assist. 8-inch – it’s the size of the Camry’s touchscreen infotainment system that’s paired with a 9-speaker JBL sound system. To top it all off, there’s a 10-inch head-up display which’ll show you everything from the digital tacho & speedo to a compass, cruise control info and what song’s playing if you’re streaming audio. Oh yes, there’s a tilt and slide sunroof too. So everything seems to be a leap ahead. Any caveats?

Some, yes. One is the familiarity in certain aspects. Toyota owners will be closely acquainted with some of the controls, like the steering-mounted buttons, the volume knob and climate controls. The plastic flaps that cover the front USB & power sockets feel a touch industrial and even the infotainment system UI looks dated. It isn’t nearly as polished as what Skoda offers in the Superb. But by and large, that’s it. Nothing you’d call a dealbreaker. In many (good) ways, it’s un-Camry like and Toyota insists it’s unlike past Camrys in one big way.Check for Toyota Camry in emikolo

Toyota Camry Performance

It gets a 2.5-litre petrol engine and there’s the electric battery at the rear. The function is however the same as before. The petrol engine, which churns out 176 bhp, feeds power to the 118 bhp churning Nickel-metal hybrid battery and well all of that process is rather seamless. The total output, from the petrol and electric motor stands at 215 bhp and yes, it’s enough for a car this size and we must say there’s a big difference in the way this one drives. There’s also regenerative braking, which helps in fuelling the battery too. The Camry hybrid starts in the EV mode, always; and yes, you can do an all EV mode too, which sees zero emissions, so yes, you are saving the planet with this one. The EV mode drive doesn’t last long. According to Toyota, the Camry Hybrid, produces up to 2 tons less CO2 per year than an equivalent car, in the same class.

The engine is mated to a CVT unit and there’s a flappy paddle gearbox on offer. It reacts well to your urgent inputs and it’s all very well executed. The CVT gearbox though could have been a bit more responsive. In the Eco mode, it’s extremely dull but in the normal and the sport modes, the response is much better.Toyota has added a manual mode too that enables the driver to sift through six simulated gear steps; but it had little effect on the way the gears shift. There’s a big roar before the gear shifts and though the company has done well to curtail the sound from seeping into the cabin; above 3500 rpm, things get a bit noisy.

Toyota Camry Driving

The new architecture has made the Camry’s body lot more rigid and along with the lower centre of gravity and new double wishbone suspension set-up at the rear, its driving dynamics are completely different. Gone is the floaty ride and the wallow, body-roll is now well controlled, the steering is more connected and communicative with further heft at higher speeds, that is confidence inspiring. There is a welcome tautness in the ride quality and while you may hear some of the deformities in the road, you scarcely feel them. There is just no doubting the fact that the new Toyota Camry drives and performs far better now. It may not have transformed into a fully dedicated sports sedan, but the balance between ride comfort and driving pleasure cannot be faulted. View offers on Toyota Cars in Ahmedabad at Autozhop.

The regenerative brakes are a revelation too, and offer good modulation and bite without making you aware that they are recovering energy and sending it to the batteries. It’s only at slower speeds and in heavy traffic that they get a little grabby with the brake pedal responding differently to pressure. But to the credit of Toyota engineers, these brakes do their job of recapturing kinetic energy and converting it to electricity quite unobtrusively. The overall NVH levels are first-rate and the Toyota Camry’s new engine mounts and more extensive insulation measures have clearly paid-off.The driving modes like eco, sport and normal do change the performance characteristics fairly significantly and what I really like is that the lower bonnet and narrower A-pillar have resulted in far better frontal visibility. This reduces stress and allows one to manoeuvre the almost 5 metre Toyota Camry Hybrid more authoritatively.

Toyota Camry Safety

To keep you safe, Toyota is offering 9 airbags on the Camry. There’s anti-lock braking, brake assist, vehicle stability control and traction control as well. You also get front and rear parking sensors that lets you park this behemoth without breaking a sweat.

Toyota Camry Cost in Bangalore

Toyota Camry On-Road Price in Bangalore ranges from 47,37,890 to 47,37,890 for variants Camry Hybrid and Camry Hybrid respectively. Toyota Camry is available in 1 variants and 7 colours. Below are details of Toyota Camry variants price in Bangalore. Check for Camry price in Bangalore at Tryaldrive.

Toyota Camry Final Thought

The new-gen Camry has benefited massively from the switch to the TNGA underpinnings-the body’s torsional stiffness has increased by 30 per cent and the old car’s rear struts are replaced with a double wishbone setup. The Camry feels more composed now and even the larger bumps are dealt with ease, with no aftershake.

We can officially say that the Camry is now a sporty car. Now that’s one word you’d never associate it with, over all the years it’s been in the country. Yes, you want to now get into the front seat and want to drive it and it’s because everything is tauter now and you don’t even mind throwing it into a corner and come out with a smile on your face. The modes do not alter the suspension setup, but it’s got just the right bit of sportiness and comfort, all of which work in the favour of the Camry. Finally, it’s got everything to take on the likes of the Superb and even the Passat.

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