IT’S one of those cars that many will know but few consider and it’s one of those cars that has reliability at its core. Well it’s a Toyota! The Camry is a very stylish looking car and during my time several people stopped to express surprise that it was a Toyota. Most thought it looked too upmarket and expensive!
While not selling in anything like high numbers here, unlike in the US where it is hugely popular, the Camry is a car that deserves greater appreciation. It may not carry a premium badge but it looks and feels very premium and there’s a solidity that almost wouldn’t be amiss in a German badged saloon, plus there’s that enviable reputation for reliability.
Priced from €37,991 (£32,260) there are two versions and both utilise the same 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol electric hybrid with CVT automatic transmission. Standard fare is good with leather upholstery, adaptive cruise control, electrically adjustable and heated seats, dual zone air conditioning, auto lights with high beam assist, auto wipers, powered and heated door mirrors, Bluetooth and navigation all included on the lead-in model.
On the road the 2.5-litre engine is a smooth performer and although as with every CVT there’s a rise in revs under hard acceleration, the Camry does things with little fuss or audible intrusion. It doesn’t handle as well as a premium sporting saloon, but then you wouldn’t expect it to, nonetheless it acquits itself remarkably well. Decent mpg, hybrid tech to charge the battery and a comfortable interior all go to make the Camry a sensible choice and a nice place to be on any journey.
The Camry costs roughly the same as an entry level BMW 3-Series saloon and you get better kit, more space and arguably more exclusivity given how few Camrys are likely to be sold. One of the downsides is you’ll have higher depreciation, and the Camry won’t impress those who value badge above all else. What this means in practice is that the Camry doesn’t have the premium pedigree we Brits love in our cars.
However, those who dismiss the Camry as a posh Uber are missing the point, not least Mercedes Benz are taxis all over the world and still produce high end premium cars. The Camry has a style that belies its lack of premium badging and I would happily have one in the garage as my daily driver.
Facts at a Glance
Model: Toyota Camry Excel
Engine: 2.5-litre, 4-cylinder petrol electric hybrid
Gears: CVT automatic
Performance: 0-100 kph (62 mph) 8.3 secs
Maximum Speed Petrol 178 kph (111 mph)
Economy: Petrol 5.3 l/100km (53.3 mpg) WLTP
Emissions: 120 g/km WLTP
Model tested was UK-specification and equipment levels and prices may vary in other markets.