Goodbye Avensis and welcome back, Camry!
The last time Toyota used the 'Camry' name in the UK was, ohh, over a decade ago. Well, production ended by 2004. But, as can be seen, the Camry is back to UK shores. However, it seems to possess an extension to that name - ''Hybrid''. Yes, the new Camry will be a hybrid. Expect to see it sometime in the first half of 2019.
Mind you, America have had this Camry for a little while now. Apparently this Camry Hybrid, however, will be very much a European offering. What could they have done to it, I wonder?
ENGINE AND DRIVETRAIN
The Camry sits on Toyota's New Global Architecture (TNGA), which brings hybridisation to the 'new' 2.5 four-cylinder petrol engine. A decently large and powerful engine. (Unlike anything the Avensis ever had, at least the 2.2 diesel was good.) It'll be mated to a battery pack and electric motors similar to those you'll find in the Toyota Prius. Expect 215bhp and 220Nm at it's own disposal. Sounds plentiful for most, with a 0-62 sprint being over in 8.3 seconds. That should suffice for most humans, but to enthusiasts it may not sound like much. However, it has to be said that this is clearly aimed at families, perhaps executives or company car drivers. With the Avensis gone, the Camry should fill that gap for fleets.
With use of the TNGA, the Camry aims to provide a low centre of gravity and high body rigidity while also delivering a supple ride with pleasant handling and positive feedback for (what Toyota claims is) ''a truly dynamic drive.''
We'll all be the judges of this when it actually hits the road in 2019.
Every Camry Hybrid comes with Toyota Safety Sense (Unlike most Avensis models before). In English, that means that it comes with a great deal of driver assistance technologies that are quite very advanced. It includes things like Lane Departure Warning with steering assistance. That comes into play if you appear to be moving out of lane (Smart for someone who might, say, have a heart attack or for a fool who falls asleep behind the wheel), of course. Expect Pre-Collision Warning and the likes to feature as standard, then.
The Camry Hybrid can recognise road-signs and has automatic high beams so that you don't end up getting a bunch of flashes and middle fingers from the opposing lane of traffic. With the intelligent cruise control system, the road-sign recognition is likely to function in such a way that automatic speed changes occur. Very helpful, adding to that luxurious and relaxed feel that such a car should provide.
Toyota highlighted the fact that this will definitely be a ''European offering''. Meaning, it isn't identical to America's Camry. I presume stiffer suspension and improved dynamics for us Europeans over Camry USA, but that is to be seen. A more dynamic chassis is neccessary for it to work on European roads, especially those in the UK We don't have the well-paved, vast 'highways' that our American friends have, so the correct set-up is neccessary to provide a subtle but engaging-enough drive. If it wants to challenge the likes of the Mondeo Hybrid, the Camry will need to adapt to Europe, properly.
The Camry seems to be a handsome looking thing, with a very hyperbolic front end. (Unlike the Avensis). But, first, to the rear. The Toyota badge has some blue effect within it, signifying the fact that the Camry will be a hybrid vehicle. It sits on exciting wheels, removing the boredom out of the Avensis even more. It's a shame that there aren't twin-exhausts, but it's understandable seeing as this isn't meant to be an M550i rival.
The spoiler seems to be part of the body, a soft but effective lip that rises across the whole width of the rear end. The bumpers look solid but shaped quite roundly. My guess is that crash safety is important for Toyota, and the rounder shape means less pedestrain injury. But, I'm no crash safety expert. Maybe that's the case. If there's anyone out there who knows, I'd love to know (or be corrected).
It boggles the mind that manufaturers like Mercedes, BMW and Audi use fake exhausts to such an extent that it tends to be very, very scandalous (Looking at you in particular, Mercedes). You'd expect those vehicles, which are more dynamic in nature, to have proper exhausts. But, more often than not, they don't. They're fake. The Camry, on the other hand, is a car that you'd expect that very crime to appear on. But, no! It has a real exhaust pipe. Yes, it's just the one but, it's still there and it's real and I reckon we give Toyota a small but true cheer of appreciation.
Striking. The Camry seems very attractive, to me. Very much an upmarket design if you ask me. Maybe the fact that a Lexus is a sister-car to this has something to do with it.
Now, the controversial front. On American sites, I've seen the debate about the Camry and it's front end unfold into violent name-calling and, often, no real conclusions or pleasant debates ever result. For me, however, the Camry is a good-looking and brave car. For so long there have been comments about the dull-nature of Japanese cars, especially the likes of Toyota. But, when they go off and design a daring new car the world just seems to spark displeasure at the thing. Now, I don't think that's a fine thing to be doing to a company that seems to be on a design-roll. Think about it. With the Camry coming, Toyota has a load of new and current car's that are (Now, anyway) really good looking. The Corolla/Auris, the Yaris and, dare I say, the latest Prius are all good looking cars! Camry counts, too.
I like how the design of that lower grill is quite excessive. Okay, maybe it's a bit tall and too wide but it's certainly exciting! I can't fault a designer for being allowed to implement excitement into a car. Ever. It's clever how the fog lights have some cohesive place in that mouth, with a decent splitter finishing things off. The LED daytime running lights seem to match the design of the grille, adding symmetry to the car's aesthetic. The bonnet lines are very sharp and almost performance-car like, adding girth to the look of what would normally be a standard-looking saloon (Like the Avensis). It has to be said, this is a fine looking thing and I can't wait to see one on the road. What do you think about the Camry's looks? Comment below, I'd be happy to discuss!
The Camry is definitely a massive step-up from the Avensis by adding wood, leather and what may be alcantara into a collective mixture of well crafted dimensions. The swoopy line going across the centre console is a little odd, but it makes sense with this car's adventourous styling. It shows that there's a correlation between interior and exterior design and, I must say, I like that they've done it. Still, it IS a bit odd. The steering wheel is standard Toyota stuff. The buttons will probably out-live me and you but, it's a Toyota. It's just the way it has to be.
Lack of symmetry in the triangular/square/Idontknow shaped infotainment section of the dash. It does look dop drawer, though.
I can't fault the wood design. Whether fake or not, it adds a hint of Lexus to the Camry and that's a fine thing. This is supposed to be the sister car to the Lexus ES (also upcoming for the UK) and it makes sense that there are some parts that are shared between them. One thing I can critique (And, if I'm honest, Lexus isn't great at this either) is the infotainment. Now, I understand it may seem very logical in it's positioning with the correct balance of touchscreen options and hard buttons but, it doesn't look very well organised to me. You've got buttons around the screen that are illuminated in cool blue but then you've buttons by the gear selector that are completely different and lack the blue illumination. It honestly looks like the infotainment is Toyota and the centre console is Lexus. Now, I did commend the similarity of quality a few lines before but, that should mean that the parts and design are implemented logically and not in such a confused manner. It might just be me, or the image, but that's how I feel.
I'm very much looking forward to seeing and experiencing a Toyota Camry Hybrid here in the UK and Europe. I've always been jealous of the Japanese-exclusives that America get (Like their Accord, Camry and any Acura) but now that we're actually getting one of those, I'm beyond excited. Where I live in Wales, Toyota are a very popular choice for taxi drivers. I sure hope that these taxi companies use Camry Hybrids. They've been using Avensis and Auris Hybrid models for a while now, so it makes sense that the Camry comes into play. It'll be a more upmarket experience than the dreary Avensis that is now (thankfully) saying goodnight.
Also, I think everyone reading this understands I wasn't a big fan of the Avensis. I've sat inside one and it's a truly dull place to be, with weirdly set out controls and uncomfortable seating. Maybe it was because they weren't the best seats you could get, but I expect comfort from a family-saloon car. I won't even go on about the handling because it was truly dreadful compared to a Ford Mondeo (outgoing model) or Mazda 6. One good thing about the Avensis was an estate model. I'd be very, very, very surprised if they ever made a Camry Sports Wagon or Tourer.
Avensis rant aside, I am truly excited for the Camry Hybrid. It should add some spice to Toyota's attractive but restrained lineup, alongside the GT86, (Yaris GRMN) and upcoming Supra.