A heavily revised version of the current model has just been
released. It may be a face-lift, but the car looks and feels like an
Appearance-wise, the sedan takes on a more dynamic countenance, with
design cues aligned with those on the latest Toyota Corolla. Although
not as aggressively styled as the American Camry, the car is now a tad
more continental and in a better position to compete with the shapely
Inside, a new high-definition digital instrument cluster, darker
veneer, blue courtesy lights and new infotainment system give the car a
The infotainment set comes with hand-gesture control - novel, but as
silly as Cheryl's games. First, it is not very sensitive and you end up
looking like you are swatting flies. Second, there are convenient
controls on the steering wheel and voice control too.
The main change lies beneath the bonnet of the 2-litre variant. The
engine is now a high-compression, directinjection unit with a variable
valve timing system that is more responsive to throttle input.
On paper, the 2-litre Camry has 164bhp and 199Nm, compared with
148bhp and 190Nm previously. Its top speed is unchanged at 187kmh, but
it is significantly quicker in the century sprint, clocking 10.8
seconds instead of the previous 12.5.
Toyota also claims the car is more frugal, with a consumption figure
of 7.1 litres/100km, noticeably better than the previous 8.3.
During the test drive, the 2-litre was actually thirstier than the
2.5 (which has the same engine as before). But this could be because
one tends to be a bit more heavy-footed in a smaller-engined car.
Although the car matches the 2.5-litre in low-rev situations, it is
not as perky from the mid-range. So one is often tempted to open the
throttle a bit more along the way.
Also, the engine is so creamy and willing - all the way to 6,000rpm
- that you feel no resistance to hold back. It is hard to think of a
naturally aspirated 2-litre that is smoother or more obliging.
Like the 2.5-litre, the 2-litre is now equipped with a six-speed
autobox which is as seamless and responsive as any. It works perfectly
with the engine to offer a balance between efficiency and performance.
In terms of ride and handling, the revised Camry is a tad more
European than before, although Toyota makes no mention of having
tweaked the suspension.
The chassis feels more stoutly sprung and its steering feels
noticeably weightier. Combined with the unburstable nature of its
engine (especially the 2-litre), the Camry makes for a more enjoyable
The Toyota sedan almost matches the verve and enthusiasm of the Mazda6, while offering better economy.
On the go, it actually feels nearly as refined as its costlier twin,
the Lexus ES, which has slightly better insulation and a plusher
As always, the Camry is the gold standard when it comes to space
packaging. Its cabin lets plus-size individuals stretch out in comfort,
while its boot is a black hole for golf bags. Its air-conditioning
system will be adequate for a far bigger car.
Its build quality is also unrivalled, although the 2-litre test car produces clicking noises when the steering is in full lock.
The latest revision comes with more features, such as follow-me-home
headlamps, daytime-running lights, hill start assist (which helps you
move off from a slope without rolling back) and an emergency brake
With this enhanced package, Toyota will have a harder time coming up
with a new model. And Cheryl might even keep her car beyond the fifth