Pros: Refinement, smooth hybrid drive, quality
Cons: Superior rival infotainment, less exciting to drive than rivals
Following a fifteen year hiatus, the Toyota Camry returns to Ireland in modern splendour, with sharp new styling and hybrid technology at its core. The original Camry has been a monumental sales success for Toyota around the world thanks to its famed reliability and comfort, and first impressions of the new model are very good indeed. The return of the Camry has certainly spurred interest with increased searches on Carzone. We recently spent a week with the Camry Hybrid on Irish roads to see how it has evolved for 2019, and if it can re-establish itself against rivals like the Ford Mondeo Hybrid and Volkswagen Passat.
In terms of style, the new Camry draws more attention than its predecessor. It is long and sleek from the outside, with Lexus-esque traits throughout. The Camry’s wide front grille and pronounced spoiler lends it lots of presence up front, while the sharp LED lights add further appeal. From the side, the Camry’s sloping rear roofline and length is evident, while the rear is more understated. There are three grades of specification to choose from, with Hybrid, Sol and Platinum versions. As standard, the Camry is fitted with 17-inch alloy wheels and LED headlights, while there’s plenty of optional extras available at an extra cost.
Stepping inside, the Camry looks quite luxurious in higher specification, with quality materials a throughout. Up front, it's welcoming with a cosseting driver’s position and acres of room between the front seats. It’s easy to get comfortable with a wide range of adjustment available through the steering wheel, seat and important controls in close reach. The driver’s seat is high which means it doesn’t feel particularly sporty to drive, but it offers a commanding view of the road nonetheless. The Camry is very spacious, and it can ferry five adults in comfort with lots of storage areas throughout. Boot space is better than we would have expected, as the hybrid system is now located under the rear seats instead of the boot floor. The boot door opens via a tap of the key fob with 524 litres of room.
In terms of infotainment, the Camry is now equipped with a touch screen system which is very user friendly, but it lacks the vibrancy of trival offerings. It also doesn’t include Apple CarPlay or Android Auto connectivity. Nevertheless, there are several USB ports to charge devices with and a digital driver’s display incorporating driving information, hybrid system information and more. Higher specification models like our test car include desirable features such as wireless smartphone charging, beige leather upholstery and heated seats.
The Camry features Toyota’s latest hybrid technology, combining a new 2.5-litre petrol engine with a small battery, electric motor and e-CVT automatic transmission for a combined output of 218 horsepower. The Camry excels during urban driving and it’s very relaxing to drive around town. It’s quiet and refined, transitioning between petrol and electric power seamlessly. At higher speeds, the e-CVT automatic transmission is more accurate than before, though it does take getting used to and it is best driven with a considered approach. The Camry accelerates faster than you might expect, with 0-100km/h taking eight seconds and a top speed of 180km/h. We achieved 5.5l/100km in fuel economy during over 500 kilometres of driving on Irish roads, while annual motor tax is rated at €180.
The Camry handles well with direct steering and reasonable agility for such a lengthy car, though it’s ultimately not as fun to drive as certain rival models. Most buyers won’t mind this fact though, as it’s hushed with minimal road noise, especially when the hybrid system is operating on electric power. This means, it is best-enjoyed driven in a relaxed manner. As is the case with all of Toyota’s latest models, the Camry is equipped with a suite of safety technology, including Lane Departure Control, Road Sign Assist, Automatic High Beam, Hill Start Assist Control and Driver Attention Alert as standard.
Prices and features:
Prices for the new Toyota Camry start from €39,750 in base specification. Toyota claims the Sol is the ‘most stylish’ option, with a starting price of €40,750, while the Platinum is the ‘premium’ option and it starts at €42,950. As standard, the Camry features alloy wheels, a reversing camera, dual zone climate control, Toyota’s touch screen infotainment system, LED headlights and the aforementioned safety features.
Carzone verdict: 4/5
The new Toyota Camry comes with high expectations based on its predeccesor, and it meets said expectations with gusto. With hybrid-power as standard, lots of equipment and kit, a spacious interior and relaxing drive, the new Camry builds improves the formula of its predecessor with a modern twist. This time around, the Camry is competing with more affordable rivals however, which are ultimatelt more engaging to drive too. That said, it’s a welcome return, expect to see plenty on Irish roads soon.
Test Car Details:
Model driven: Toyota Camry Hybrid Sol
Prices from: €39,750
Annual Motor Tax: €180
Engine: 2.5-litre petrol-electric hybrid
0-100km/h: 8 seconds
Body style: Saloon
Boot Space: 524 litres