Toyota Camry Hatchback First Drive Review

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Toyota Camry Overview

Around 70% of the total sales of the Toyota Camry were generated out of the Camry Hybrid variant. This is why Toyota had planned to introduce the updated version of its Camry Hybrid to gain more popularity. Toyota Camry 2019 is all set to launch in the Indian automobile market with some vital upgrades after six years. The four-wheeler is said to be based on GA-K platform that also supports the newly launched Lexus ES 300h. Toyota Camry 2019 is indeed the crucial variant for the company since the former Camry Hybrid got an amazing response.

Toyota Camry Design & Style

Stylish and sophisticated are the best words to describe the new Camry’s design. Gone are the boxy and slightly awkward looks of the older car replaced by something much more futuristic. The front of the car looks very nice with the twin-grille set-up. The top grille is minimal with a large chrome strip across it merging into a ‘V’ at the centre with the blue-tinged Toyota logo atop it. The lower grille looks busy with several lines running on it but is neatly flanked by sharp housings for the fog lamps. The tail-lights are sharp and intricate adding to the smartness of the front. There are many cuts and creases across the bonnet but none of it looks overdone.

It is surprising how elegant the Camry looks despite so much on its body. Even on the side, there are many lines flowing across but it looks purposeful and not done for style’s sake. We love the design of the alloy wheels and the long, stately character of the side-profile. The rear may not be the prettiest part of the Camry but the large tail lamps look like they are brought in from Lexus. The prominent scoops on either side of the bumper and the air vent like element that extends from the taillamp to the bumper look interesting. There is that typical chrome finish with Camry inscribed on it above the registration plate. Overall, we think this design will age better than the previous one.

Toyota Camry Cabin & Comfort

The interiors have a beige colour theme and feel bright and spacious right from the moment you open the door. The design of the dashboard is typical Toyota with a massive ‘Y’-shaped kink on the central console and onyx trim inserts in certain areas. Materials used are largely good, and the soft-touch plastics and leather feel high quality. The touchscreen, however, could have been better, as the one here is feels quite fiddly to use, and it even misses out on Apple or Android connectivity. For those who enjoy their music, there is a 9-speaker JBL sound system, and while it sounds quite nice, it’s worth noting that the outgoing version had a 12-speaker JBL unit.

The front seats are large, cooled and comfortable. To aid visibility, the bonnet of the Camry is 40mm lower, the A-pillar is narrower than before and the outside mirrors are mounted on the doors to eliminate blind spots. Most owners, however, would be seated at the rear, and is the place to be. The seat here is large and almost sofa-like with good support, and although it is a bit low-set, the space is so good, you can really stretch out. The front passenger seat can be slid forward electrically (via buttons on its backrest), to free up more room. The backrest can recline up to eight degrees, and while that might not seem much, it does the trick. The coolest bit at the back though is the touch-operated controls in the rear armrest; these include controls for the rear sunshade, audio, rear air-con and the backrest recline.

In terms of equipment, the Camry is well loaded with kit like nine airbags, ESP, 18-inch alloys, auto LED headlamps, LED fog lamps, leather upholstery, front seat cooling, electric steering adjust, head-up display, cruise control, electric reclining rear seat, three-zone climate control and tyre pressure monitor.

Toyota Camry Engine & Transmission

The Toyota Camry Hybrid shares its powertrain with the 2018 Lexus ES 300h. Meaning, it has a 2.5-litre petrol engine which comes matched to an electric motor. Yes, the previous generation Camry had a similar powertrain but Toyota has made significant changes to the engine such as a longer stroke and high compression ratio and enhanced cooling. The location of the hybrid battery has also been moved from the boot to the area under the rear seat. The powertrain produces a combined 215 HP. Like I had mentioned in the ES 300h review too, this powertrain is extremely refined, it doesn’t make any noise even when you start the car. To know more information on Toyota Camry  check Msresearch

Power delivery is also ultra smooth. The engine has a lot of kick and it doesn’t mind going all the way to the redline too. In city driving, the 10th generation Toyota Camry fares really well, with the powertrain delivering a good punch. You won’t be disappointed on the highways too, because this motor pulls very cleanly and takes you to triple digit speeds without any strain. The e-CVT gearbox works well with this powertrain, the rubber band effect isn’t felt as much as it does on conventional petrol-CVT cars and this transmission is very refined too. The Camry also gets paddle-shifters but I found little use of them.

There’s no tachometer on offer, but the older Camry’s display did throw up a tacho if you went into Sport mode. This time around, the instrument cluster display just has a change of colours when you toggle different modes. Of course, these modes do alter the driving experience too. In Normal mode, the Camry feels at ease, delivering power when you want it and cruising comfortably otherwise. Things change when you move into Sport mode when the powertrain starts feeling more responsive. It reacts very swiftly to throttle inputs and delivers power more aggressively. With the transmission shifted to S, it works in tandem with the powertrain for a more linear and quick output.

There’s an Eco mode too, which makes the Camry feel a bit laid back and you can use it if you’re going to be driving on a really long patch of highway and don’t want to push the car much. It’ll reward you with good efficiency too. There’s a pure EV mode too, but the range is very limited. The Camry gets the 4th generation hybrid system and I really liked the smoothness with which it transitions from EV mode to hybrid mode and vice versa. With a mixed driving cycle, you can expect a fuel efficiency of about 10-14 km/l, which is pretty decent for a sedan in this segment. Check for car loans at Fincarz.

Toyota Camry Driving Dynamics

Toyota has taken several measures to lower the centre of gravity and improve the balance of this car – its overall height has reduced by 25mm, the wheelbase is now longer by 50mm, and the battery pack, which earlier sat behind the rear seat, is now placed beneath it (for a better balance and lower centre of gravity), within the wheelbase. The other significant change is the new independent rear suspension, which has resulted in a wider rear track. Sure enough, all these drastically improve the car’s dynamics. It is still a softly sprung, comfortable cruiser, but it now glides over potholes and imperfections with a sense of poise and composure. Yes, there’s a bit of initial firmness due to the large 18-inch wheels, noticeable over sharper bumps, but the suspension does a competent job of soaking up most road shocks. At higher speeds, though, it can tend to float over expansion joints or wavy surfaces but, still, vertical movements are kept in check.

There’s also newfound confidence in the way the Camry drives. Body roll is present around corners, but grip levels are good, and it feels far more capable and willing to change directions. The steering column is all new; it is a lot more direct and predictable, and it weighs up consistently. Turning radius has increased from 5.5 to 5.8m. The Camry Hybrid, of course, gets regenerative braking, and the pedal is quite sensitive, so even the lightest of dabs result in rapid deceleration. Book Toyota Camry Test Drive.

Toyota Camry Safety & Security

Safety is never a bother with Toyota’s India line-up. It is but natural then that the top-spec car from the company’s range gets a whole hog of safety. Toyota gives 9 airbags, ABS with EBD, traction control, ESP and child seat anchorages as standard. It is likely that the Camry will score top marks in crash tests with so much on offer. The Camry offers world-class safety and it is right up there with the competition. Toyota’s service and reliability, as we all know, is top class too.

Toyota Camry Price in Chennai

Toyota Camry On-Road Price in Chennai ranges from 44,57,568 to 44,57,568 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 Chennai. Check for Camry price in Chennai at Carzprice.

Toyota Camry Last Words

Toyota Camry, the 4th generation amongst the lavish sedans and 8th generation model of the car across the globe, is expected to be released on 18 January 2019. The updated engine and transmission, improved silhouette, and better interior finish are all that makes this revised hybrid version stand out from the crowd. However, the model is a bit heavier with larger dimensions than its former variant.

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