There’s something for everyone here with the new Camry, at least everyone who hasn’t followed the call of the SUV
The all-new Camry is the 8th generation of a car that has won countless awards and distinctions since it first went on sale in 1982. The model is sold in more than 100 countries globally, with sales totalling over 19 million units to date. This is the first time the Camry has been available in Ireland in 14 years.
With annual sales of more than 700,000 units globally, Camry remains the best-selling D/E-segment saloon in the world.
The latest generation Camry showcases Toyota’s New Global Architecture (TNGA) design and engineering philosophy. TNGA places enthusiast-oriented ‘fun to drive’ characteristics and alluring styling on an equal footing with superlative build quality, highly efficient packaging, and innovative, user-friendly technology.
As a result, the all-new Camry builds on all the core values that have made it so popular to date – segment-leading levels of quality, durability and reliability, quietness and ride quality- with head-turning new exterior and interior design, outstanding comfort and roominess, state-of-the-art powertrain technology and new found levels of driving pleasure, thanks to driving dynamics specifically tuned for the European market
The new Toyota Camry based on more rigid underpinnings dubbed TNGA, is longer, wider and lower than its predecessor, has overhauled drivetrains, new suspension designs, a stylish interior and an exterior that is very recognisable as a Camry. The TNGA platform gives the Camry Hybrid a low centre of gravity, a highly rigid body and advanced double wishbone suspension, providing remarkable road holding and ride comfort.
The new Toyota Camry is available now at Toyota dealerships nationwide from €39,750 or €304 a month*. The 2019 model is the first Toyota Camry available with a self-charging 2.5-litre hybrid powertrain. In Ireland the new Camry will be available in three grades – hybrid, hybrid Sol and hybrid Platinum.
Toyota’s Safety Sense comes as standard in the new Camry Hybrid, including Automatic High Beam, Full-range Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Departure Alert with Steering Control. LED lights, smart entry, rear privacy glass, power retractable heated door mirrors, rear view camera, dual climate control and 3 years servicing are all included as standard. The bestselling Hybrid Sol grade that we drove comes with leather upholstery, heated front seats and satellite navigation.
The Hybrid continues to deploy two motor generator units that now combine with parallel gears (replacing planetary gears) to act as a pseudo CVT, or continuously variable transmission. The auto now also comes with six computerised gear steps.
It also has an old-school Ni-MH (Nickel-metal hydride) battery rather than the lithium-ion packs that have become very popular as the electrification of the car industry gathers pace.
However, the pack has been moved from the boot to under the rear seat, improving boot space from 415 litres to 524 litres and allowing the installation of a split-fold rear seat function. Toyota uses lithium batteries in their plugin in hybrids, where they want power density. They continue to use Ni-MH batteries for their consistency and proven long life in their hybrid models.
In an era when pure battery electric vehicles are starting to infiltrate the market, the Camry Hybrid is the old stager. It can’t really run on electricity alone for long or at much of a pace, but the system does provide a great fuel economy aid, as well as a bit of a performance boost.
The official claim for the Camry Hybrid is 4.3L/100km, which is obviously fanciful as most of those ratings are. But after a week in the Camry Hybrid we achieved a 5.2L/100km average. That’s the hybrid system, idle-stop and a new auto glide coasting function working together there nicely.
In addition to the familiar quietness the hybrid drivetrain delivers in EV mode, there’s a confidence to the handling and suppleness to the ride that’s unrecognisable. This Camry is actually very enjoyable to drive. Rolling on 17-inch Michelin Primacy rubber, it has nice steering, decent body control and a willingness to respond with promptness to instruction. There’s no sign of any steering kickback, desperation to lean all its body-weight on the outside front tyre or early onset understeer.
And then there’s the clever drivetrain, which combines low-rev electric torque with solid petrol power further up the range to deliver step-off response and mid-range depth. You can vary that response via the new Drive Model Select that provides pure EV, eco, normal and sport options. The higher you go up the chain the better the response. The pseudo-CVT also gets into the act, actually allowing manual down changes with some revs onboard rather than killing it off with a conservative limit. But it would still be nice if there were flappy paddles to select gears as well.
The interior of the new Camry is a marked improvement thanks to a more modern dashboard design and some nice materials, including good-looking stitching. There is space and storage aplenty front and rear. Two adult passengers will comfortably be accommodated in the back in terms of head, knee and foot-room.
The Toyota Camry Hybrid is an affordable, frugal and actually fun car. There’s a lot to like here and not that much wrong. OK, it’s not an SUV, but if you’re not fashion-conscious then that’s no bad thing. But know that it’s capable, spacious, quiet and very comfortable.
Model Toyota Camry Hybrid Sol
Engine Size 2.5-litre Petrol electric hybrid
Transmission CVT Automatic
Acceleration (0-100km/h) 8.3 seconds
Top Speed 180 km/h
CO2 Emissions 101g/km
Road Tax €190 per year
Base Price €39,750
Our Test Model €40,750