At this price, the new Camry really needs to deliver on the luxury quotient.
And it does not fail to do so, with a well-designed premium leather-clad interior and top-notch convenience and safety features.
It is also billed as delivering improved ride and handling, as it was built using Toyota’s New Global Architecture (TNGA) which also underpins the C-HR, Prius hybrid and RAV4.
Our test drive unit has a flamboyant Red Mica paint job, and buyers can also choose four other body colours - Platinum Pearl White, Silver Metallic, Graphite Metallic, Burning Black.
Dubbed as the “Beautiful Monster” by UMW Toyota Motor, the new Camry certainly looks sleek, sporty, solid and stylish.
It has grown bigger and it’s longer (+ 35mm), wider (+ 15mm) and stands lower (- 25mm) compared with its predecessor.
There’s also more interior space with a longer wheelbase (+ 50mm).
The new Camry features sleek proportions and a distinctive low and wide design while the huge intake grille for the lower front end section really emphasises a dynamic and sporty look.
When viewed from the rear, the twin tailpipes also lend a sporty profile to the Camry.
It’s also worth noting that in addition to the automatic Bi-LED projector headlamps, all lights around the car are LEDs which have a longer life span and lower power consumption.
Meanwhile, door mirrors fold automatically when the car is locked, and also tilt down for better visibility when reversing.
Also, another useful feature (especially at night) is the optional Graphic Welcome Light priced at RM990 - which is activated when the doors are unlocked; light puddles illuminate the area around the front doors, thanks to lamps on the side door sills.
The new Camry’s interior has quite a upmarket and classy look, replete with nice faux wood, shiny metallic trim and polished plastic panels.
Lending a premium quality to the cabin are plenty of soft touch materials and surfaces, bright Optitron meters for the instrument panel, and a driver-centric cockpit.
There are lots to like here including the powered tilt and adjustable steering column, powered rear window sunshade, two memory settings for the driver’s seat, dual-zone automatic air-conditioning with rear air vents, and an eight-inch touchscreen in the centre of the dashboard.
The nine-speaker JBL audio system provides crisp sound quality in the quiet and well-insulated cabin, and front occupants would enjoy the powered seats, upholstered in smooth black leather.
The side of the front passenger seat also has a switch for rear occupants to slide or recline the seat.
In summary, the high-grade materials and streamlined dashboard design as well as the upmarket features certainly provide a premium experience.
We found a roomy cabin, with plenty of leg, shoulder and head room for 1.7m tall adults.
There is a deep 427-litre boot and we particularly like the big centre compartment (between the front seats) which has a leather-clad cover that doubles as an arm rest.
This centre compartment is very useful as we can store all manner of items - keys, access cards, SmartTag and parking coupons.
To charge electronic devices, there are three USB ports and a Qi wireless charging pad for compatible smart phones.
There is also a space-saving electric parking brake with auto hold function, and two cup holders (between the front seats) for coffee takeaways.
A premium feature for the driver is the Head-Up Display (HUD) on the windscreen (normally seen in premium cars) which provides data like driving speed.
Another standard feature here is the Digital Video Recorder (DVR) which can provide evidence if there is a dispute regarding an accident.
Befitting its premium status, the new Camry has automatic functions for braking, adjusting driving speed to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front, and counter-steering in unintended lane departures.
These automatic safety assistance features are grouped in the Toyota Safety Sense suite and includes a Pre-Collision System (PCS), Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC), Lane Departure Alert (LDA) with Steering Assist, and Automatic High Beam (AHB).
Besides the wide-angle reverse camera view, the driver also benefits from Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) and front and rear parking sensors.
A Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) also alerts the driver about vehicles in the blind spot along the sides of the car.
The new Camry has seven airbags for occupant protection and also, a Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).
Ride and handling
Fitted with Bridgestone Turanza T005 high performance car tyres sized 235/45 R18, our test drive unit provided a smooth, comfortable and quiet drive.
The Parallel Axis Electric Power Steering System (EPS) is well-tuned and feels a little heavy, and while handling in the corners is decent, you won’t find adrenaline-pumping thrills here.
It is designed to provide a silky-smooth, refined and luxurious ride and that’s what it does very well.
The 2.5-litre DOHC all-aluminium petrol engine with dual VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing with intelligence) delivers 184PS and 235Nm of torque, and more than adequate muscle for a 1,550kg (kerb weight) car.
The 6-speed automatic transmission is responsive and fluid, and we also found the cabin to be a hushed environment thanks to low wind, engine and road noise instrusion.
The improved front MacPherson strut and rear double wishbone suspension helps to deliver a supple ride, and surface irregularities and bumps on badly maintained roads are competently cushioned.
Toyota cars are known for being fuel efficient thanks to innovative powertrains and wind tunnel testing to improve aerodynamic efficiency, and the new Camry continues to justify this reputation.
The Camry has a big 60-litre petrol tank and according to UMW Toyota Motor, its fuel consumption is rated at 13.5km per litre.
Of course, in real-life daily driving, it is almost impossible to achieve anything near an automaker’s claimed fuel consumption figures.
We had the Camry for a few days, during which we drove 392km in stop-start city traffic and also at smooth highway cruising speeds.
When we returned the car to UMW Toyota Motor, the trip meter calculated fuel consumption at 11.2 litres per 100km (or 8.93km per litre) and a remaining range of 74km before refuelling.
The fuel gauge needle showed remaining petrol at about one quarter tank.
In our opinion, this is very decent fuel consumption for a powerful and big 2.5-litre naturally aspirated D-segment family sedan.
A five-year warranty with unlimited mileage is provided. UMW Toyota Motor also offers a Toyota 24 Seven Road Assist service.
The new Camry is bigger and sportier in both looks and handling, and also a flagship premium D-segment sedan fitted with premium materials and top-notch safety technologies.
There are no turbocharged thrills here, and the drive quality is seamless, tranquil and buttery smooth.
The interior has a luxurious ambience and offers lots of space and a thoughtful design features, which we think brings a new dimension to premium cabin aesthetics in this segment.
We found ample power from the responsive powertrain, and the new Camry should continue to be a popular choice for those looking for an upmarket and reliable Japanese sedan.