“Same, same but different” those were the words of my colleagues from the corporate sales team on the all new Toyota Camry. Indeed the new Camry provokes an “I’ve seen this car before” response from the uninitiated while treating the seasoned Camry buyer to subtle yet wide ranging changes. While the changes are comprehensive they cannot be perceived as bold. However, considering the year Toyota has had and the relative success of the Camry they could be forgiven for not reinventing their wheels.
In line with a large number of new models the new Camry has adopted a slightly more boxed look with sharper lines defining a newer more aggressive look and feel. The nose, with a prominent metallic grille holding the Toyota badge, also looks far straighter and less rounded than previous models. The back end of the car continues the theme of sharp lines with the boot, whist retaining its usual features, is just that little more squared off.
On sitting into the Camry that same “I’ve been here before” feeling would come over anyone who has ever sat into an older version. Here again Toyota have managed to change almost everything whilst retaining exactly what one would expect from the other versions of the vehicle. With the usual steering wheel controls, safety features and spacious centre console the only curious note is the position of the park brake. Located to the left of the brake pedal in the automatic, it felt remarkably counter intuitive, especially as ordinarily I drive a manual and the park brake feels like the clutch pedal. Despite this I would imagine a new buyer would get over the minor inconvenience in a matter of hours.
With a 2.5 litre dual VVT-i engine, acoustic insulation technology, traction control, vehicle stability control and the usual power steering and Anti-skid Braking System (ABS) the Camry works hard to block out the bumps and loudness of the road in the usual Camry way. With fuel economy between 7.7- 10 litres per 100km the Camry offers a reasonable prospect for a fleet buyer who wishes to control fuel bills without compromising on vehicle size.
The new Camry is not a wildly exciting car but like its predecessors it is not expected to sell on an excitement proposition. The Camry, like a number of mid sized sedans is viewed as a reliable workhorse with a reasonable look and a solid parts and maintenance record. 2012 however, should see the competition heat up with Hyundai’s i45 gathering momentum in the mid sized sedan range. With this in mind future Camry’s may need to encompass more impressive additions and potentially even bolder design statements.