In 1987 Toyota Australia began production on the Camry and in 2009 the Camry Hybrid. It is a family sized sedan which has evolved through eight generations. The 2016 Camry Hybrid was called by one pundit ‘the best car Australia ever built’ and the 2018 Hybrid took out Drive’s Car of the Year.
- Known for their reliability which is evidenced by the amount of earlier model cars still on the road
- Repairs, parts and servicing tend to be cheaper than European brands
- Noise-reducing materials mean the cabin is quieter than its competitors
- Hybrid's instant peak torque makes it super reactive and has excellent fuel consumption
- 2014 models include a 6.1 inch display screen and reversing camera
- Seventh generation cars even more fuel efficient thanks to CVT transmissions with numbers down around the 4.2L/100km mark.
- Performance is adequate but not spectacular
- Fuel consumption often cited as a negative by owners with petrol-engine Camry's
- Hybrids manufactured between October 2011-July 2012 were recalled over concerns about kinking in the fuel line.
- The Camry has been described as bland without the sleek styling of some of its competitors.
Need to know
2006-2011 cars were available in 5-speed manual, 6-speed auto and 6-speed sports auto. By 2012 manual transmissions had been discontinued.
2006-2011 cars had a 2.4-litre petrol 4 cyl engine with power ranging from 110-120kW and torque ranging from 4000-5700rpm depending on the model.
2006-2011 cars used around 8.9-9.9L/100km. The 3.0-litre, six-cylinder cars fared even worse at 11.2L/100km. Even the Hybrid cars (6.0L/100km) lost some of its advantages when highway driving as the petrol engine was doing much of the work.
Seventh generation cars (2012-2017) saw an improvement in fuel economy across the board. By 2017 the Ascent with CVT was boasting an impressive 4.2L/100km.
Engineered for local conditions, the handling and suspension are great for city driving. Steering is responsive and hugged the road when cornering.
The boot in petrol models boast a spacious 504 litres of storage and excellent leg room, both front and rear. Hybrid’s storage capacity is somewhat smaller.
Between 2006-2011 the Camry only offered ABS brakes and side airbags, achieving a 4-star ANCAP safety rating. By May 2011 shortfalls in safety equipment were rectified and both conventional and hybrid vehicles achieved a 5-star rating. Features included airbags, pretensioners, intelligent seatbelt reminders, Anti-lock braking system (ABS), Electronic, Brake Force Distribution (EBD) and Electronic Stability Control (ESC).
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Camry - base model
The base model of the Camry range is the Altise four door sedan. The 2006 manual transmission entered the market with a starting price of $27,500 and the auto around $29,150. Among its standard inclusions, this model offered basic airbags to the front, remote central locking and cruise control.
Camry - mid-level model
The mid-range Ateva for an additional $5,000, added a 6 speaker stereo system and 16 inch alloys as standard, with the option to upgrade to partial leather trim and sunroof. The Ateva name was dropped for the next generation Camry.
The Sportivo, as the name suggests, was equipped with sports seats, pedals, instruments and suspension, along with 17-inch alloy wheels.
The Azura, came complete with GPS Satellite navigation, woodgrain dash and leather-look trim while the Grande came with all the bells and whistles including an electric sunroof and leather, woodgrain and metallic trim.
In 2009 the first hybrids were available featuring a 1-speed Constantly Variable transmission and a combined fuel consumption of 6 L/100km.
By 2012 the Atara and Hybrid variants such as the Ascent, had taken over from the Ateva and Azura models.
While it is hard to fault the Camry, one thing to look out for is mileage. The Camry was a popular choice for fleet buyers and car hire companies due to its reliability as well cheap parts and servicing; this may have resulted in some cars being driven into the ground.
Inspect the condition of the trim in the cabin as heavy use may have resulted in cracking or damage to plastic.
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