When less is bet­ter

The Camry has an en­tire in­dus­try rest­ing on its tyres. So Carsguide got reac­quainted with the hy­brid

Herald Sun - Motoring - - First Drive - JOSHUA DOWLING NA­TIONAL MO­TOR­ING ED­I­TOR joshua.dowling@news.com.au

THIS is Aus­tralia’s re­main­ing car man­u­fac­tur­ing hope. Toy­ota’s Camry, the top-sell­ing medium-sizer for the past 20 years, is built on the out­skirts of Mel­bourne by about 2500 fac­tory work­ers.

Th­ese are the same work­ers who last week won a Fed­eral Court bat­tle to ab­stain from vot­ing on key changes to wages and con­di­tions that Toy­ota says are vi­tal to se­cur­ing fu­ture in­vest­ment from Ja­pan.

Holden and Ford have useby dates for their fac­to­ries, putting the spot­light on the Al­tona fac­tory and its work­ers. De­spite their best ef­forts, Camry sales are down 10 per cent de­spite the ar­rival of a new model last year that should still be en­joy­ing its new-car glow.

Last month, sales dropped by 25 per cent, which is why you’re see­ing the base model four­cylin­der Camry in the news­pa­per for $26,990 drive- away, about $6000 off the full RRP. We’ve tested the Camry Hy­brid that’s be­come a favourite among taxi fleets.

VALUE

At $26,990 drive-away the reg­u­lar Camry is a steal. Toy­ota is los­ing sev­eral thou­sands of dol­lars on each one it de­liv­ers.

Don’t worry, it’s mak­ing up for the loss on high-gross im­ports such as the HiLux ute (al­though its price too has come un­der the knife this month).

We re­quested a base model hy­brid be­cause that’s our favourite in the line-up. At $34,990 it’s the best value and the nicest to drive. It wasn’t avail­able so we got a Hy­brid with the works, at $41,490.

It is dif­fi­cult to jus­tify the sig­nif­i­cant price pre­mium — de­spite the ex­tra equip­ment such as leather seats, sun­roof, sat­nav, dig­i­tal ra­dio and blind spot alert, among other trin­kets.

It is also dif­fi­cult to be­lieve but the high-grade Camry

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