Peter Hitchener road tests and reviews the 2016 Toyota Camry.
There’s a lot to admire about the Toyota Camry. After all this is the Toyota that conquered the world, along with stablemate, the trusty Corolla. A car that goes and goes, is ever efficient, reliable, and beloved of families and fleet operators.
Years ago cars of this ilk reminded me of Japanese taxis. Doilies on the headrest of every seat, drivers resplendent in cap and gloves opening and closing the doors by remote control at the beginning and end of your journey.
Cars tuned for comfort, built to tackle the rigours of downtown Tokyo. Anonymous looking, yes indeed, bland even, and not exactly a ball of fire.
Exciting? Not so much.
That was then, long ago, but things have changed!
Take a look at the stylish 2016 Toyota Camry. Chances are this locally-built model will exceed your expectations.
Is it the facelift, with that glamorous and anything-but-bland grille? Or the body? Just about every panel of the vehicle has been redesigned. Maybe it’s the $100 million development budget, tightening up the look of the thing, and just maybe, the handling and steering as well.
Whatever the engineers have done, they should take a bow.
The car tested is the petrol/electric hybrid model, an offering that is priced from $35,490 and available in two model grades – H and HL.
I remember testing out a hybrid, another model altogether, many years ago when hybrids were first released. There was something glum, earnest and humourless about the whole thing. You knew it just had to be doing you and the world good, whether you liked it or not.
Things have come a long way since then. Hybrids and electric cars abound and hydrogen cell propulsion is in the wings. Because of its petrol/electric power plant, the 2016 Toyota Camry Hybrid is quite fun to drive, with great acceleration and relatively frugal too.
The cabin seems not greatly changed from before. It is efficient – it is a Camry after all – and everything is where you expect and need it. Comfortable seating, nicely adjustable too, and plenty of room, even in the back.
The boot? You might have expected it to be overloaded with batteries and bulky hybrid running gear taking up most of the useable space. Not at all. While not as roomy as in the boot in petrol only models, it still had plenty of room for my golf clubs, cart and accessories.
It drives as you might expect. A relatively engaging experience, predictable handling and comfortable rather than sporty. You might not feel the need to tackle Bathurst in it, but it should be more than enough for most requirements. Reliable, no-fuss motoring and an affordable price.
As you might expect the full Toyota Camry range is covered by a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating.
Summing it up; The 2016 Toyota Camry is a tribute to its makers…the Australian workforce and design teams, as well as those in Japan.
It is a shame that cars of this quality, like those of competitors Ford and Holden, will no longer be made in Australia when local production comes to an end.
With cars like this, the local car manufacturing industry has certainly proved itself capable of great things.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2016 Toyota Camry Hybrid
Engine: 2.5 litre petrol/hybrid producing 151kW
Transmission: CVT automatic
Safety: Five stars
Price: From $35,490