The return of the solid and stylish Toyota Camry

Toyota made a lot of Irish motorists happy last year when they brought back their popular Camry after a 15-year absence. The Camry has been re-introduced in Ireland and across Western Europe, to maintain Toyota’s presence in the saloon segment.

Fifteen years is a long time off the road and while many mature Irish drivers who previously drove the old Camry, welcomed its return, there should be plenty of new younger customers who will also be interested in purchasing this very solid and stylish motor. 

The Camry replaces the Avensis in the Toyota stable and is available as a self-charging 2.5-litre petrol hybrid. The new Camry expands Toyota’s line-up of hybrid vehicles to eight models. That engine provides 218 brake horse power, which won’t leave you floundering at the traffic lights.

The new Camry is the eight generation of a car that has won several awards and distinctions since it first went on sale in 1982. The model is sold in more than 100 countries globally, with sales totalling over 19 million units to-date.

My test car was bronze-coloured and externally it looked very impressive with bulges and creases to imply stature and strength. 

Naturally I got a lot of questions from some young drivers who had never seen a Camry on Irish roads before. The first question was always the price and if it was a Hybrid?

Inside the cream leather seats provided a classy look. My Platinum version really looked luxurious and some people have described the new Camry as a cut-price Lexus. Of course Lexus are part of the Toyota family.

I drove an automatic and it was really smooth on the road. The dash is a bit old-fashioned, but nothing wrong with that for a mature driver like me. Sometimes these huge touch-screens can be an irritant for older drivers, while younger drivers love them. 

It’s a fairly long car at 4.8 metres and the boot is massive with 524 litres of space, but sadly no spare wheel, just the dreaded repair kit. However, a plus for Toyota in that you do get a CD player, a rarity in new cars nowadays.

There are three different driving modes, eco, normal and sport. And as usual with Toyota three different versions: Camry Hybrid, Sol and Platinum.

Fuel economy was very good, but of course economy always depend on how hard you drive a car and whether you drive in city traffic or on motorways.

Prices start at €39,750 or €297 per month on a PCP deal. That’s only a starting price and as with most manufacturers the higher the spec you choose, then the price will rise accordingly. My top of the range Platinum version will cost you €42,950.  Road tax is €190.

The Camry was truly gorgeous to look at and so comfortable to travel in. All family members, who availed of a ‘lift’ enjoyed the experience of drive in the car. There was plenty of head and leg room for five people.

 My only complaint was the driver’s window tended to be a bit noisy when opening and closing plus the absence of a spare wheel. There is a massive ‘well’ in the boot, so once again the advice is to haggle for a spare if buying new.

Sean Creedon

Sean Creedon is a national motoring journalist.

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