The Toyota Camry sedan has been ever-popular with Malaysians since the Japanese marque introduced it way back in 1994. Fast-forward to the present and the latest 2015 edition Toyota Camry has updated its looks, powertrain and features which makes this premium sedan even more attractive.
The Camry is available in three variants 2.0E, 2.0G and 2.5L Hybrid and is priced at RM149,900; RM159,900 and RM174,900 respectively. (All prices are on-the-road with insurance).
The most obvious change to the 2015 Camry is the top-of-the-range 2.5L which is only available as a hybrid. Its updated looks features an all-new front that has a powerful presence – the slender new upper grille and headlamps is unified by a chrome trim capping which runs the full width of the car.
The radiator grille has two designs to distinguish between the 2.0L and 2.5 Hybrid: a lateral fin type for the former and mesh type for the latter.
The rear bumper has been reprofiled for a three-dimensional look with dual exhaust tailpipes on the 2.0L variants.
The 2015 Camry has a bold, wide and low stance and profile-wise, it combines the clean, forward-leaning wedge shape of the previous 2012 generation with slightly increased front and rear overhangs.
The interior of the Camry for all variants features a black theme, a redesigned centre cluster with bevelled surfaces on the sides and an inverted U-shape in the middle.
And what would a Camry be without its woodtrim that gives it a premium feel and look? The Camry Hybrid is fitted with Zebra wood while the 2.0L variants have Crotch wood which has swirling, irregular figures and gives off an enhanced sense of depth.
The instrument panel has been revised as well with chrome plating for a more luxurious look and clear blue illumination is now used in conjunction with white illumination for improved visual clarity under all lighting conditions.
A 4.2-inch colour Multi Information Display(MID) sits in between the speedometer and tachometer.
Members of the media were given the opportunity to drive the mid-range Camry 2.0G on the highways of the Klang Valley and there were competitor models including the previous generation 2.0 Camry for comparison.
The new Camry 2.0G has a brand new 4-cylinder 16-valve DOHC 1,998cc engine with a new and advanced variable valve timing system known as VVT-iW (variable valve timing - intelligent wide).
This system improves fuel economy and lowers emission while delivering enhanced power, performance and torque.
The Camry 2.0G pushes out 165hp at 6,500rpm and a maximum torque of 199Nm at 4,600rpm. It is mated to a new Multi-Mode 6-speed Super ECT automatic transmission with torque converter.
Driving the Camry 2.0G, it was apparent that the gear shifts and power delivery were smoother compared to the previous generation Camry.
Another stand out the new Camry offered was the best in riding comfort, handling and quietness.
And part of this is due to the new pre-load differential on the front axle which increases straight line stability during acceleration and cornering.
The front and rear MacPherson and independent strut suspension systems have also been fine tuned for ride comfort. In terms of quietness in the cabin, a lot of noise has been cancelled out due to the sound damping material in the front doors.
Even the windshield glass has acoustic-reducing properties which is achieved by inserting a polyvinyl layer between the two sheets of glass.
This layer of insulation helps reduce noise and absorbs chassis vibrations and specific soundwaves for a quieter interior.
The 2.0G and the Hybrid offers a comprehensive set of Active Safety Systems which include Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) with Traction Control and Hill Start Assist.
The Hybrid however comes with a Blind Spot Monitor which uses radar waves to detect other vehicles within a metre of the car.
The warning indicator is present on the door mirrors and will flash to alert the driver. The Hybrid also has a system of sensors for the Rear Cross Traffic Alert System which is useful when reversing out of a parking lot and the view is obscured. A buzzer will sound and the warning indicators on the door mirrors will flash if a vehicle approaching at a distance between 5.5 and 20m.
The Bind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert System were tested in a controlled environment which was at the open car park at the Setia Alam Convention Centre. And while we didn’t manage to test the Camry Hybrid on the highway, there was an acceleration test provided which proved to be an eye-opener.
As it is a hybrid system, featuring a 2.5L engine which produces 202hp with 213Nm of torque with a small high-torque electric motor that produces 270Nm on its own.
All the twisting force of the small electric motor is at your disposal when starting off and the Camry Hybrid simply catapults you in a composed and safe manner.
Even though it was a brief experience of driving the new Camry 2.0G and Hybrid, it was enough to convey how exciting and relevant the Camry nameplate is after being around for 20 years.