Toy­ota’s old faith­ful

No thrills, but this car won’t let you down, writes GRAHAMSMITH

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

IF ALL we ever wanted from our cars was re­li­able ba­sic trans­port to get from A to B, we’d all drive Toy­otas like the Camry. The big Ja­panese car­maker has made an art form out of build­ing plain mid­dle-of-the-road cars that do ev­ery­thing quite well without be­ing ex­cep­tional apart from their build qual­ity and reli­a­bil­ity.

For most car buy­ers that’s per­fectly ac­cept­able, but for any­one with even a drop of petrol flow­ing through their veins, Toy­otas pull up short in the ex­cite­ment stakes.

The lat­est Camry is the per­fect ex­am­ple. It was promis­ing at first sight in 2006 and it looked more at­trac­tive than pre­vi­ous mod­els, but fell short in the driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence once you dug deeper.

What it does have in spades is build qual­ity, reli­a­bil­ity and dura­bil­ity. They’re ad­mirable and ul­ti­mately they’re the things that keep buy­ers head­ing to Toy­ota dealers. pro­pel, but the Camry han­dled the task with man­ful determination.

In most cases it was aided by a smooth five-speed auto. There was also a five-speed man­ual.

The five-speed self-shifter could be shifted man­u­ally if pre­ferred.

In­side, the av­er­age fam­ily found it roomy with comfortable ac­com­mo­da­tion for five. The cabin was airy and quiet, there was plenty of rear-seat space and a gen­er­ous boot.

Toy­ota of­fered the Camry in a choice of sporty and lux­ury mod­els.

The range kicked off with the Al­tise, which was nicely equipped with air­con­di­tion­ing, twin airbags, anti-skid brakes with brake as­sist, rake-reach steer­ing col­umn, wheel­mounted sound-sys­tem con­trols and auto head­lamp con­trol.

Next up was the Ateva, which added a CD stacker, al­loy wheels, side-front airbags, head airbags, power seats and trac­tion con­trol.

The Sportive had a more sport­ing edge with sus­pen­sion tuned to lo­cal con­di­tions, and a lo­cally de­vel­oped body kit.

At the head of the pack was the Grande, which came with all the fruit you could pos­si­bly want. TOY­OTAS re­tain their value, which makes them a good ini­tial buy, but sub­se­quent own­ers have to stump up more when they hit the mar­ket.

The Camry is no ex­cep­tion; it has a good record for re­sale value.

Pay $16,000-$18,000 for an Al­tise, add $2500 for an Al­teva, $3500 for a Sportivo, and $7500 for the lux­ury of a Grande. EVEN though Toy­ota’s build qual­ity is re­spected and their reli­a­bil­ity held to be among the very best, they are not im­mune to prob­lems and break­downs.

The ear­li­est of the sixth gen­er­a­tion Cam­rys are show­ing 50,000km and more on their odome­ters, and are com­ing up for ma­jor ser­vic­ing.

That is likely to be due within the next two years, so prospec­tive own­ers should be aware they will soon face heftier ser­vice bills.

Check for a ser­vice record to make sure the en­gine oil has been re­placed at reg­u­lar in­ter­vals.

Camry own­ers re­port few faults with their cars, so they’re liv­ing up to the Toy­ota rep­u­ta­tion. WITH twin front airbags stan­dard across the range, and side and head airbags stan­dard on some mod­els, the Camry came well equipped to stand up in a crash.

It was also well equipped dy­nam­i­cally with stan­dard anti-skid brakes and brake as­sist on all mod­els. THE Camry is no light­weight, so its four cylin­ders have to work hard and the re­sult can be seen at the pump.

Ex­pect to see 9.5-10.5 litres for 100km in nor­mal motoring and a lit­tle less on the open road. NOT a thrilling ride, but the Camry is a well­built mid-sized car that de­liv­ers on its prom­ise of comfortable, re­fined and re­li­able motoring.

Part of the fam­ily: the Toy­ota Camry is re­li­able, well built and per­forms well, but never set the world on fire.

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