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The latest iteration of one of Toyota's best selling appliances.
- 2009 Toyota Camry Ateva; 2.4-litre, four-cylinder, petrol; five-speed automatic; sedan - $32,490
Whitegoods on wheels, uninspiring, old man’s car and boring. These are all terms that have become synonymous with the Toyota Camry.
For years Toyota has been using its reputation to take advantage of the buying public, selling countless cars on the basis of rock solid reliability and perceived value for money.
Toyota released the new four-cylinder Camry to the Australian market in July 2006. It hit showrooms missing stability control – it wasn’t even an option (only standard on Grande) – along with reasonable fuel economy. Despite its shortcomings, people still bought it in droves.
It wasn’t until the Mazda6 – and more recently the Ford Mondeo – crept into the market that Toyota was forced to pull its finger out and reconsider the package they had on offer.
Great styling and impressive value for money from its competition hit Toyota for a six and so here we are now, with the revised Toyota Camry.
At face value, it looks much the same. The only visible differences lie in minor headlight and taillight styling changes. It’s only when you delve deeper that you see exactly what Toyota has done.
Toyota has reduced the price of the Camry, reduced the fuel consumption and increased the level of standard features – it’s a win-win in anyone’s language.
Our baby blue test vehicle was still a treat to look at, despite the Camry’s three and a half year tenure in the Australian market.
Inside the cabin, Camry drivers will be familiar with the general layout. While the radio fascia has changed, the rest remains well-known territory.
Rear seat passengers will remain amazed with the amount of leg room available. A 6-foot person will easily fit with leg room to spare, likewise with head and shoulder room.
Visibility from the driver’s seat is superb both front and rear. The thin A-pillars are great for city driving where cyclists and pedestrians are often lost in their girth.
A reversing camera is now standard fitment on both Ateva and Grande, further enhancing visibility during parking and low-speed manoeuvres. The reversing camera is integrated into the 4.3-inch LCD screen that controls the audio. Its small size makes it a bit difficult to see smaller objects, but is a step in the right direction considering the boot’s high waist line.
Standard features include: Dual-zone climate control, electric windows, electric mirrors, power steering, cruise control, automatic headlights, six-disc in-dash CD-player with six speakers and MP3 compatibility, six-way electric driver and front passenger seat, central locking, USB audio compatibility and Bluetooth connectivity.
Safety features include: Dual front SRS airbags, front side airbags, front and rear side curtain airbags, Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Traction Control (TC), engine immobiliser and ABS brakes.
Priced from $29,990 for the Altise, the Ateva tested retails for an impressive $32,490.
While the power and torque outputs remain identical, Toyota has managed to reduce fuel consumption by 1.0-L/100km to 8.8-L/100km. The reduction also sees carbon emissions dive from 235g/km to 208g/km.
At the helm, it drives just like a Camry is meant to drive. The steering is light and precise with brake feel firm and responsive. Cornering isn’t exciting with plenty of body roll and tyre squeal. Luckily, the Camry’s target demographic won’t be taking corners like Schumacher.
The Camry’s suspension is excellent. It soaks up all bumps thrown at it and rides well on both highways and B-grade country roads.
While the engine note is nothing to write home about, the engine responds with gusto when the driver jumps on the loud pedal. Even with a full complement of passengers on board, the engine is capable of propelling the Camry with no sense of lag.
A five-speed automatic transmission transfers torque from the 2.4-litre, four-cylinder engine. Producing 117kW and 218Nm of torque, the engine rarely puts a foot wrong. The ADR fuel consumption of 8.8-L/100km was achieved according to the trip computer. When we refilled, we calculated closer to 9.5-L/100km, indicating a slightly optimistic trip computer. This is to be expected though, considering the car had all of 500km on the clock when we collected it.
Although some will still find the Toyota Camry to be whitegoods on wheels and boring, there’s simply very little to fault. It won’t handle like a Mondeo or a Mazda6, but on the same token it doesn’t cost anywhere near as much and is loaded to the hilt with features.
The revised Toyota Camry hits the sweet spot for punters who couldn’t give a rat’s earlobe about performance, handling or image.
It’s the perfect balance between form and function.
CarAdvice Overall Rating: How does it Drive: How does it Look: How does it Go: