Herald Sun - Motoring - - Head To Head -


If you are pre­pared to forgo the heated leather seats and more up­mar­ket plas­tics, there’s al­most $20K to be saved buy­ing the Toy­ota. It may not be as pre­mium but the price is far more prac­ti­cal. Stan­dard kit runs from sat­nav and a re­vers­ing cam­era to au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing, ac­tive cruise con­trol and blindspot and lane-de­par­ture alerts. It will cost $140 to ser­vice ev­ery nine months/15,000km for the first five vis­its to the dealer.


A 2.5-litre four-cylin­der en­gine is paired with an elec­tric mo­tor and 1.6kWh nickel-hy­dride bat­tery pack. Drive is via a reg­u­lar CVT to the front wheels and there’s a com­bined 151kW (Toy­ota doesn’t dis­close torque) and the 0-100km/h sprint takes 7.2 sec­onds. Claimed fuel use is 5.2L/100km.


The ex­te­rior look has leapt from ba­nal to stylish. It still won’t chal­lenge a Mazda6 for cut­ting-edge con­tours but the over­haul works well from ev­ery an­gle. The in­side didn’t earn an up­date so doesn’t look as mod­ern as its com­pe­ti­tion but it is roomy, well-as­sem­bled and func­tional.


All Cam­rys have a five-star ANCAP rat­ing and a score of 36.27/37. Seven airbags are stan­dard fare, as is a re­vers­ing cam­era. As the top model, the SL adopts the radar/cam­era-based driver aids that are com­mon­place on lux­ury cars but in­creas­ingly find­ing their way into main­stream mod­els.


Don’t ex­pect dy­namic ex­cel­lence and the Camry hy­brid won’t dis­ap­point. It does ev­ery­thing rea­son­ably well with­out ex­celling in any one area. It ab­sorbs bumps with aplomb, the steer­ing is never go­ing to lead you astray and the CVT drone isn’t overly in­tru­sive. It is a com­muters’ city car where ease of driv­ing and fuel use are the pri­or­i­ties and it achieves both aims.

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