30 Aug 2020 Amit Saraswat
Toyota India has given us some advanced and iconic cars and one of them is the Camry. It is obvious that keeping the monikers like the Camry in the Indian market isn't lucrative. That's the reason why cars like Accord Hybrid have been ruled out from the Indian market. Toyota Camry is the only hybrid (not mild-hybrid) car in India from a mass-market brand. Toyota also recently hiked the price of the already expensive Camry by Rs 1.14 lakh. So why the Toyota Camry so expensive and interesting, we tell you just that in its first look review.
With the onslaught of SUVs, we are very used to the boxy shape and masculine appeal. The Camry takes a different approach and impresses with its elegant and smooth design. Toyota must have taken some keynotes from Lexus while designing the front grille which is much larger than before. The front grille is shaped in V-pattern and merges with the LED headlights. The DRLs are fixed in the headlights whereas the fog lamps sit much lower on the bumper.
The side profile of the Camry is sleek with a much-pronounced shoulder line. The side ORVMs sit on the doors rather than on the pillars - to aid visibility. Just to show how environment-friendly you are, Toyota has given a subtle "Hybrid" badge on both the front fenders. The 18-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels do look good and the chrome surroundings on the windows make it look elegant. Coming to the rear, we get wrapped-around LED taillights which are connected with a chrome slab in the middle. The sloping roofline gives it a coupe-esque effect and the Toyota logo has blue surrounds - for some obvious reasons.
Toyota Camry's interiors are sumptuous in every way. And if you are planning to buy a Camry, you are surely looking to be chauffeured-driven, so let's start from the back. The rear seats of the Camry are set low - as in the case with every sedan. The seats are cushiony and well-bolstered. If you want to get more comfortable, you can electrically recline the rear seats by 8 degrees. The centre armrest of the Camry sports touch controls for rear sunshade, audio and climate controls. The front passenger seat can be electronically sild fore and aft with a touch of a button mounted on the side of the seat.
The dashboard of the Toyota Camry very impressive - sports terrific quality and clutter-free design. The centrally-stacked touchscreen is crisp and accessible but doesn't offer Android Auto and Apple Car Play. However, you do get 9-speaker JBL sound system and in-built navigation. The instrument cluster is analogue with a digital screen in the middle. In place of the tachometer, we get ECO, PWR and CRG indications - just hybrid things.
Talking about features, we get steering mounted controls, paddle shifters, cruise control, three-zone climate control, 10-way adjustable front seats with memory function for the driver, rear sunshades, touch panel for rear-seat controls, ventilated front seats, power-adjustable steering with memory, heads-up display, illumination package, wireless charging, rain-sensing wipers etc. In terms of safety, Toyota has got you covered with 9 airbags, ABS, EBD, VSM, traction control, auto hold, e-parking brake, park assist, ISOFIX seats, tyre pressure monitoring system etc.
The powertrain of the Camry is what makes it different from other cars in the Indian market. Powering the Camry Hybrid is a 2.5-litre four-pot petrol engine and an electric motor mounted on the front axle. The 2.5-litre petrol engine is mated to a CVT box and solely produces 178 PS and 221 Nm of torque. The electric motor churns out 120 PS and 202 Nm of torque, combined, we get 218 PS. The Camry is a self-charging hybrid sedan and it charges the 245V battery whilst you are wafting on the highways.
The hybrid powertrain uses both the engine and electric motor but uses EV power while coasting. If you demand power, the petrol engine joins and the transition is not noticeable. Toyota has not disclosed the range from the battery pack but you can drive the Camry on EV mode which uses battery power only. The fuel economy of the Camry is impeccable, rated 23.27 km/l - thanks to the hybrid propulsion.
Talking about the final point, as the biggest caveat hampering the sale of the Camry - the price. Toyota launched the fourth-gen Camry at Rs 36 odd lakhs and now, it is priced at Rs 39.02 lakh ex-showroom. The price has increased by quite a good margin but you can also expect some good discounts on the Camry too. The Camry isn't for everyone, that's a fact. You will get way better offerings in the market from German carmakers. But if you want a sedan with a reliable and economical powertrain along with great comfort, Camry deserves to be in your checklist.