Like the car or not, the Toyota Camry is the best-selling family/salesman vehicle that the world has ever seen. It screams vanilla, in a safe and secure sort of way. Companies love it, families love it, and it makes you feel intrinsically secure. The Camry is more than a means of transportation; it’s a way of life.
Since the late 1980s, Toyota has built over 1.5 million Camrys here. Granted, many of those get exported to the Middle East, but the fact remains that Toyota loves our market. And they do with good reason; they sell many types of vehicles here. Utes, 4x4s, sedans – you name it, there’s probably a Toyota badge to fit.
One of those vehicular mainstays is the Toyota Camry, and it’s the kind of car that can be adapted to any market. In the US, the Camry gets lots of cup holders, in Europe it gets lots of diesel engines, and in Abu Dhabi it gets lots of ‘taxi’ signs. But no matter where you are, the Toyota Camry translates to reliable transportation.
The previous generation Toyota Camry was not terribly exciting. The styling was uninspired, the interior looked a bit bland, and it very much looked the part of a run-of-the-mill car. This was okay, because the Camry wasn’t intended to be exciting.
Now those shortcomings have been dealt a serious blow, and the most recent Toyota Camry wears some rather provocative lines. Granted, provocation is a relative thing, but Toyota did inject some much-needed style into their popular mid-sized car.
When the Toyota Camry was initially introduced here in the early 1980s, the only engine offered was a 2.0L that offered roughly 77kW of power. The next few generations also saw a range of engines with relatively low power come off the line. In the mid-to-late 1990s, Toyota released the 2.2L turbodiesel engine, which marked the point where Toyota went from a reliable sedan to a reliable sedan with a decent amount of power. However, the real turning point was with the 1996 to 2001 generation of vehicles, which offered a 2.2L or 3.0L engine as well as a supercharger kit that could boost the power to 184kW and the torque to 328Nm.
The late-2000s generation of the Toyota Camry, which ended with the release of the newest generation in 2011, offers a 2.4L engine option, which provides 117kW of power and 218Nm of torque. Along with that, there is a 2.5L engine that provides 126kW of power and 226Nm of torque. The 3.5L provides a very impressive 200kW of power and 336Nm of torque.
The newest generation offers a few engine options, though the most popular choice seems to be the 2.5L, which produces 135kW of power and 235Nm of torque. That puts it higher than most cars in its bracket, and it helps explain why the Camry is such a popular choice among buyers.
The Toyota Camry has, for the most part, always been capable of keeping up with the times. Though you won’t see anything high-tech in older vehicles, you can expect them to be at about the same level as other cars produced in the same year. The upmarket trims from previous years may have a few bells and whistles that would become standard with later generations of the car. Power locks, windows, and alarm system have been standard since the early 2000 models.
In the newer Toyota Camry, the seats have been redesigned to reduce fatigue and repositioned within the cabin to increase rear legroom. The back seats also fold flat, allowing you to access the rather large 515L boot. There are 4 cup holders, 6 bottle holders, and a bunch of useful storage cubbies sprinkled throughout the cabin.
Here, the Camry’s trims are branded as the Altise, Atara S, SL, and SX, as well as the Camry H and Camry HL. The Altise represents the base model of the Toyota Camry, while the Atara SL is the upmarket Camry, with touchscreen satnav and wireless connectivity for mobile phones. The audio features aren’t all that exciting, and include a CD player, thought there is no satellite radio.
It’s hard to pick out competition for the most popular sedan in Australia, but there are a few cars that might tempt people away from the Toyota Camry. Perhaps the biggest competition is Honda with the Accord and Civic, both of which are beginning to see a rise in popularity. The Civic’s 1.6L turbo 4-cylinder provides an 88kW of power at 4000rpm and an impressive 300Nm of torque at only 2000rpm. As if that alone was not enough to draw some attention away from the Toyota Camry, the Honda Civic offers a lot more kit, from the intelligent display system, which allows you to upload your own wallpaper, to the inclusion of a rear view camera, rain-sensing wipers, and much more. You can get a Honda Civic or Toyota Camry from the same year for about the same price, though depending on the kit and the trim, you may find one or the other to be a bit more expensive.