December 11, 2017




Toyota launches it’s brand new Camry.

2017 Toyota Camry SX

11,000,000 Camrys have been sold since the model went on sale 23 years ago.

The car is not only all new, but demonstrates an all new ethos.

2017 Toyota Camry SX

There are 4 models: Ascent, Ascent Sport, SX, and the range topping SL. The latter two have a delightfully 70’s retro feel to the name.

The looks are helped by a new global platform allowing the bonnet to be lowered by 40mm and the roof by 25mm.

This allowed seats to be lowered by the same amount, which in turn has lowered the centre of gravity. Toyota claims improved handling as a result.

New engines, including a new Hybrid, have made big savings on the fuel bill too.

The new TNGA platform has a 50mm longer wheelbase. The body is 30% more rigid thanks to hot-stamped steel, laser screw welding, and increased use of body adhesive.

Some models have 19” wheels, and all cars get one of two LED lighting setups. All Camrys have Daytime Running Lights to increase daytime visibility.

Petrol engines “blip” on downshifting. This matches revs to a new gear avoiding that lurch forward as the lower gear kicks in. The engine is revving at a lightly higher spin as the gears engage.

2017 Toyota Camry SX

There are 3 transmissions, and 3 new engines. A 2.5 4 cylinder (133kw/231Nm), a 3.5 V6 (224kw/362Nm) which is not to be confused with the old one, and a rejigged hybrid system.

The latter uses the 2.5 4 cylinder combined with a heavily revised series hybrid. It uses a parallel gear arrangement in lieu of the previous planetary gears to reduce energy loss. This system produces a combined 160kw while giving an improved 4.2L/100k fuel figure.

The battery is now under the rear seat allowing rear seats to fold down for the first time in a Camry Hybrid.

The model range inclusions are complex with increased cabin te

2017 Toyota Camry SX

ch, and drivetrain combinations.

All models have either a full-size spare wheel, or a space saver depending on grade.

Ascent (4-cylinder petrol)

Safety:

  • Pre-Collision Safety System
  • Autonomous Emergency Braking
  • Lane Departure Alert with steering assist
  • Auto High Beam
  • All-Speed Cruise Control
  • 7 Airbags
  • VSC, TRC, ABS with EBD and Brake Assist, Brake Hold
  • Reversing camera with Back Guide Monitor
  • Immobiliser & alarm

Mechanical:

  • 2.5-litre petrol engine
  • Six-speed automatic transmission
  • Independent suspension
  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Full-size spare wheel
  • Drive Mode Select

Exterior:

  • LED headlamps with auto levelling
  • LED rear combination lamps
  • LED DRLs

Interior:

  • 4.2-inch multi-information display (MID)
  • Fabric seat trim
  • Urethane steering wheel with audio, phone and MID controls
  • Urethane gear shifter
  • Manual tilt & telescopic steering column adjustment
  • 60/40 split-fold rear seat
  • 12V accessory connector

Audio:

  • 7-inch display screen
  • Toyota link
  • 6 speakers
  • Auxiliary and USB ports

Comfort & Convenience:

  • Electronic parking brake
  • Manual air-conditioning
  • Driver’s seat power lumbar adjustment
  • Auto power windows front & rear

Hybrid:

  • Hybrid specific 2.5-litre engine
  • Electric motor
  • Electronic CVT
  • Nickel-metal hydride (Ni-MH) battery (under rear seat)
  • Dual-zone air conditioning
  • Keyless smart entry and ignition
  • Space-saver spare wheel

 

Ascent Sport (4-cylinder petrol and hybrid)
As per Ascent, with these additions/changes

Mechanical:

  • Temporary Spare Wheel

Exterior:

  • Sports front grille (matte finish)
  • Sports rear bumper
  • Sports side skirts

Interior:

  • Premium steering wheel
  • Premium gear shifter
  • Stainless steel scuff plates
  • LED glovebox lamp

Audio:

  • 8-inch display audio
  • Satellite navigation

Comfort & Convenience:

  • Dual-zone air conditioning
  • Power driver’s seat (slide, recline, vertical adjustment)
  • Front and rear parking clearance sonar
  • Keyless smart entry and ignition

 

SX (4-cylinder petrol and V6)
As per Ascent Sport, with these additions:

Mechanical:

  • Paddle shifters
  • Sports independent suspension
  • 19-inch alloy wheels

Exterior:

  • High-grade LED headlamps with auto levelling
  • High-grade LED rear combination lamps
  • Sports front grille (high gloss)
  • Rear boot-lid spoiler

Interior:

  • Sports seats
  • Sports leather-accented seat trim

Audio:

  • Two Additional USB port (rear)

Comfort & Convenience:

  • Wireless phone charger

V6:

  • 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine
  • Eight-speed automatic transmission

 

SL (4-cylinder petrol, hybrid and V6)
As per Ascent Sport, with these additions/changes

Safety:

  • Blind Spot Monitor
  • Rear Cross Traffic Alert

Mechanical:

  • 18-inch alloy wheels

Exterior:

  • Sports front grille (high gloss)
  • Rear boot-lid spoiler
  • Panoramic roof glass opening (on petrol models)
  • Electric tilt & slide moonroof on Hybrid

Interior:

  • Leather-accented seat trim
  • Intelligent ambient illumination
  • Power tilt & telescopic steering column adjustment

Comfort & Convenience:

  • Driver’s seat memory
  • Electro-chromatic interior mirror
  • 10-inch colour Head-up Display
  • Power driver’s and passenger seat (lumbar, slide, recline, vertical)
  • Ventilated seats
  • Rain-sensing wipers

 

 The Drive:

The 4 cylinder feels light and responsive. This will be the workhorse of the range, and we can expect the hybrid to continue as the backbone of the taxi fleet.

Toyota claims a greater appeal to private buyers, but this segment is a shrinking one. SUVs are booming and customers who would once have bought a medium-to-large sedan, have changed to a high-set off-road-wannabe instead.

Steering feels light and more direct than before. The electric Motor is mounted on the rack rather than the steering column, and has been calibrated for the slightly heavier tastes of Australian buyers.

When pushed hard, Camry understeers making the electronics kick in to put things right. It wasn’t unpleasant, and is more than compensated for by excellent ride quality.

We noticed badly pot-holed surfaces had most of the knocks and bumps soaked up by the fabulously capable chassis.

The fully independent rear arrangement is completely new, and you notice this most when the conditions are the worst. The MacPherson Struts at the front have also been redesigned.

On a cruisy Sunday afternoon spin, you’d feel well catered for.

Most notably, the interior has pleasing surfacing. The leather interiors has a combination of natural and man-made coverings that give the cabin a premium air.

Some models even have ventilated seats in addition to heating.

The steering system helps keep you centred in lanes, but need decent line markings to work reliably. While this is becoming more ubiquitous, I worry that some people will rely on it too much.

Autonomous braking and Active Cruise Control (with queue/traffic function) is standard across the range. I use this often in city traffic. It relieves the driver of the monotony of snarls.

Toyota claims Camry is sporty, which I think does Camry no favours. It is not sporty, but it is nice to drive.

Toyota also claim Camry is more premium than before, and that claim is absolutely borne out at even a casual glance.

Camry felt most at home on the open road where big K’s were swallowed whole in a single gulp. I could easily do a road trip in comfort, even in the Hybrid.

Currently, EV range is limited by many factors, not the least being the small battery pack under the back seat. This system is meant to supplement a petrol engine only. It isn’t really meant to do distance in EV mode. However, you can cruise silently through a car park, which is fun.

The regenerative braking now has a different feel, and there is a coast function too. There is an odd sensation when braking with an “on/off” feel to it. It takes a little getting used to, but I quite like it.

The upper models have a massive 10” HUD display, and this is my favourite feature. It “virtually” replaces the driver instruments by putting all info on the windscreen, in full colour.

Traditional instruments are where you expect them to be, and the smaller LCD has, among other things, a digital speedo. I find digital speedos invaluable.

Conclusion:

Even the base model has a premium feel.

Fleets will no doubt continue to buy Camry for its value and longevity. Residual value is an even bigger consideration, and Camrys hold their price when trading in.

Satnav is in the upper models only. The LCD displays make accessing data easy, and the centre console unit has touch input.

Disappointingly, Toyota does not have CarPlay/Android Auto in any of its cars. It feels as if the big Japanese car maker isn’t listening to its customers. The ability to take an existing phone in to any vehicle, and have the navigation, Audio, messaging, and phone, all handled the same way, is paramount.

Toyota says their improved system is better than before, and went as far as saying it is comparable to CarPlay. Even if that is true, an owner, and anyone who borrows the car, will need to become familiar with a new system.

Quite simply, it is not as good, or as easy to use, as CarPlay, which reflects your phone on the centre screen.

Since rental, and other fleets, will have multiple users, this seems incredibly short sited.

Having said all that, new Camry, the 8th generation, it’s a good car. It ticks boxes for the market it is aimed at.

Does that mean it will attract new customers? Only time will tell.

What we like: active/passive safety, premium look/feel, space, spare wheel

Not so much: No CarPlay/Android Auto, too much understeer

Price (including comparison to old model):

4 Cylinder models

Ascent:                            $27,690              + $1,200

Ascent Sport                   $29,990              – $200

SX                                     $33,990              – $200

SL                                     $39,990              + $2,550

Hybrid

Ascent                             $29,990              – $500

Ascent Sport                   $31,990              – $2,000

SL                                     $40,990              + $550

V6

SX                                     $37,290              n/a

SL                                     $43,990              n/a

 

Engine/trans:

4cyl:      Euro 5, 131kw/221Nm, 91ron, 7.8L/100k, 6 speed aut0

6 cyl:     Euro 6, 224kw/362Nm, 95ron, 9.9L/100k, 8 speed auto

Hybrid: 2.5 4cyl + electric series hybrid, 160kw, 4.2 L/100k, CVT auto

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