CAR OF THE WEEK
BY TRISH WHELAN
THE current Toyota Camry, which arrived back on the Irish market in 2019 after a 14-year absence is one of those big cars that buyers who don’t particularly want a premium brand will always appreciate.
Beautifully elegant and sleek, but with a little bit of an edge for added interest, Camry is a big executive saloon in which all five occupants can travel in first-class comfort with a high degree of inside space front and rear. Rear headroom is good while legroom is amongst best-in-class.
The stylish dash layout of with its sweeping curves takes centre stage along with the seven-inch information touchscreen. It’s certainly an upmarket look and there’s just enough brightwork on the dash, steering wheel, and other fittings to look smart without being blingy.
The size does mean that the doors are long and heavy and for someone my size it was a tad difficult to reach the handle to pull the door shut. But my review car looked smart in a Graphite Brown exterior colour matched with lovely beige leather upholstery.
There’s a 12v socket and USB in front as well as a wireless phone charger which slides across to reveal a good cubby below, besides the two very deep cupholders and a big area below the front armrest. The big glovebox is lockable.
Camry in previous generations was much loved by taxi drivers for its spacious interior and huge cavern of a boot which could swallow up large suitcases. This feature still exists with its 524 litres of luggage capacity. The arrangement of space is well designed as the wheel arches do not encroach on the boot space so you can fit a full set of golf clubs in sideways.
The self-charging hybrid electric powertrain — the only one offered — combines a very efficient petrol engine with a large electric motor and high capacity hybrid batteries which are located low and more centrally under the rear seats to help with centre of gravity, handling, and to save on space. The total system output is 218hp. Automatic transmission is standard with all electric and hybrid cars.
The hybrid engine allows you to experience a really smooth drive while producing substantially less emissions compared to driving a diesel vehicle.
Camry can do 0 to 100km/h in 8.3 seconds which is more than sufficient. A quiet drive is even more tranquil with the decent sound insulation that reduces road and wind noise. Urban drivers can select a special EV mode button for city driving; otherwise, drive modes are Eco, Normal and Sport.
I found driving the car a real pleasure in terms of its drivability, comfort and space. The steering is well balanced, not either light nor heavy. Just right for me.
The official combined fuel consumption figure is 5.3 L/100kms WLTP (I achieved 6.6 L/100kms, or 42.80mpg).
Even the entry level model gets a very decent amount of standard spec including multimedia system, power-adjustable lumbar support on the driver’s seat, LED headlights and DRLs, rear privacy glass, a spare wheel, and a full set of advanced driver assistance technologies. The Sol grade adds satellite navigation, leather seat trim, heated front seats with powered adjustment, and leather door trim.
My review car, the top Platinum grade, added 18-inch alloys, a wireless charger and Tiger Eye design wood inserts, and some extra assist tech.
This was a car I didn’t want to leave back.
What I like: The smooth,
Price: From €40,795.