Herald Sun - Motoring - - IN THE GARAGE - RB

day in the Camry — not only does it save fuel but the hy­brid mo­tor also acts as a gen­er­a­tor as you slow down, recharg­ing the bat­tery. Slide the gear lever into B for bat­tery and the brak­ing be­comes more ag­gres­sive, gen­er­at­ing more charge.

Claimed fuel use is im­pres­sive: 5.2L/100km, less than some city run­abouts.

Un­for­tu­nately, claimed is the op­er­a­tive word — we’re av­er­ag­ing 7.5L in our longterm test car, al­though most of the driv­ing has been in peak hour, at most 30km/h.

Do that in a reg­u­lar sedan and your thirst would be com­fort­ably into the teens. If you re­ally con­cen­trate in the Camry, it’s pretty easy to shave that to the low sixes. ev­ery­thing city streets bowl up — pot­holes, speed humps and patch­work bitumen.

The Camry also gets away pretty swiftly from the lights thanks to the elec­tric mo­tor’s in­stant peak torque.

Not that you find your­self en­gag­ing in such un­ruly be­hav­iour — you’re much more likely to be gen­tly squeez­ing the throt­tle to pre­serve the fuel con­sump­tion record you set ear­lier in the week. The Camry will store your best fig­ures and con­grat­u­late you if you set a new mark.

It sounds a lit­tle geeky but it be­comes ad­dic­tive af­ter a while. It also demon­strates how much fuel the av­er­age driver wastes sprint­ing from one red light to the next.

Coast­ing is the or­der of the AS the lo­cal car in­dus­try winds down, en­thu­si­asts are be­com­ing misty-eyed about V8 Com­modores and Fal­cons. Very few will be so moved by the end of the lo­cally built Toy­ota Camry hy­brid, which may yet go down as the best car Aus­tralia ever built.

It wouldn’t be the car nut’s first choice for a Sun­day drive through a wind­ing moun­tain pass but the Camry is a great com­pan­ion on the daily grind.

The cabin is qui­eter than some lux­ury cars, eerily so when you’re creep­ing along in bumper-to-bumper traf­fic with only the elec­tric mo­tor do­ing the work. If you don’t like the sounds of si­lence, the 10-speaker au­dio on our Atara SL is sur­pris­ingly good for a car this price, $40,440.

The sus­pen­sion copes with

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