Camry ZR of­fers fuel econ­omy

Rotorua Weekender - - Driven - Road Test: Colin Smith Pic­tures: Ge­orge No­vak

With mid-size and large sedan sales in the dol­drums, Toy­ota’s work to make its new gen­er­a­tion Camry a more en­gag­ing drive even ex­tends to the sen­si­ble ef­fi­ciency of the hy­brid ver­sions.

The lower and wider, edgier-look­ing eighth gen­er­a­tion Camry was launched in April with a lineup of en­try-level four­cylin­der and sports theme V6 ver­sions plus a trio of hy­brid mod­els. The price lad­der starts at $35,990 and climbs to $49,490 with the new Toy­ota Drive­away price pack­age wrap­ping war­rant of fit­ness, reg­is­tra­tion, a full tank of fuel, the Toy­ota Care Ser­vice Ad­van­tage pack­age, floor mats and the three years/100,000km war­ranty into the ad­ver­tised prices.

The Camry Hy­brid im­age has largely been built on taxi duty and large fleet roles but at the ZR end of the range there is a sharply styled sedan with gen­er­ous in­te­rior space and a high level of spec­i­fi­ca­tion that’s sig­nif­i­cant amount of time as an elec­tric car in 50km/ h city and sub­ur­ban run­ning, mov­ing from stand­still on elec­tric power and re­cu­per­at­ing en­ergy to the bat­tery while off-throt­tle and un­der brak­ing.

Toy­ota claims com­bined cy­cle fuel con­sump­tion of 4.5L/100km and my 5.6L/100km road test av­er­age — us­ing mostly Nor­mal — was the best fig­ure in the trip com­puter his­tory of the test car.

New Camry also has some in­creased ap­peal to its ride and han­dling and the ZR has 18-inch al­loy wheels shod with Dun­lop SP Sport­maxx 050 tyres in a gen­er­ous 235/45 R18 size that gives sure-footed cor­ner­ing grip.

For the V6 and the SX and ZR Hy­brid mod­els the Camry’ more edgy styling gets a sub­tle sport­ing flavour with a black mesh grille, side skirts and dual ex­haust treat­ment while the ZR fea­tures a bootlid spoiler.

Among the 2018 ad­van­tages is a smaller and lighter bat­tery pack now lo­cated un­der the rear seat. That no longer means any com­pro­mise of the Camry’s gen­er­ous 524 litres of boot ca­pac­ity or the ver­sa­til­ity of the 60/40 split fold rear seat con­fig­u­ra­tion.

On the space theme the Camry con­tin­ues to ful­fil the role of a roomy four­door with a wide-body cabin and plenty of head­room, gen­er­ous knee­room and footwell space for rear seat pas­sen­gers.

For that longer jour­ney there are com­fort­ably front shaped seats and the ZR of­fers eight-way power ad­just­ment and a power lum­bar ad­juster. I like the Camry’s new dash ar­chi­tec­ture with clear in­stru­ments and Toy­ota’s lat­est gen­er­a­tion 8.0-inch touch­screen dis­play prov­ing easy to use.

The ZR cabin fin­ish has pitched as a busi­ness class sa­loon or pre­mium fam­ily four-door.

Over a high­way jour­ney the Camry ZR Hy­brid of­fers an ap­peal­ing blend of easy per­for­mance, roomy fam­ily sedan com­fort and high ef­fi­ciency. The smooth hy­brid power de­liv­ery is ac­com­pa­nied by the abil­ity to eas­ily achieve fuel con­sump­tion of 5-6 litres per 100km in both open road and busy city driv­ing en­vi­ron­ments.

The Camry Hy­brid pow­er­train com­bines a new 2487cc four-cylin­der di­rect and port in­jected petrol en­gine with an elec­tron­i­cally con­trolled con­tin­u­ously vari­able trans­mis­sion while an 88kw elec­tric mo­tor and 244.8-volt nickel met­al­hy­dride bat­tery pack pro­vide the hy­brid con­tent.

The petrol en­gine de­vel­ops 131kw and 250Nm of torque and the full sys­tem out­put is now rated at 160kw. While Toy­ota doesn’t quote a com­bined torque fig­ure, there is up to 202Nm from the elec­tric mo­tor which mus­cles up the torque curve and means the Camry Hy­brid re­sponds at a light throt­tle with good up­hill per­for­mance and over­tak­ing. In the ZR model the E-CVT trans­mis­sion also of­fers pad­dle shifters with a six-step se­quen­tial shift func­tion when greater re­sponse is re­quired and the Camry can be driven in Eco, Nor­mal, Sport and EV modes.

The pri­mary hy­brid ad­van­tage is that con­sump­tion num­bers in city driv­ing are very sim­i­lar to a re­laxed high­way cruise. The Camry spends a some stylish touches in­clud­ing black leather seat trim with cop­per stitch­ing plus a leather steer­ing wheel and gearshift lever.

An elec­tric park brake frees up space on the cen­tre con­sole and the Camry of­fers an espe­cially large size cen­tre stor­age box along with plenty of space in the door bins and glove­box.

High­lights of the well­spec­i­fied Camry ZR Hy­brid are the leather ac­cented trimmed in­te­rior, dual-zone cli­mate con­trol, 8.0-inch touch­screen dis­play with satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion, power ad­justable front seats, power sun­roof, BI-LED head­lights with auto high beam, wire­less charger, sun­roof, head-up dis­play, re­verse cam­era and rain sen­sor wipers. There’s also a power tilt and reach steer­ing wheel ad­just­ment.

But there’s a win­ter­time dis­ap­point­ment with the lack of heated front seats when you set­tle on to the leather trim on chilly morn­ing — which seems odd when the ven­ti­lated seats (front and rear) will be ap­pre­ci­ated in the sum­mer months. And the ZR doesn’t have a power fold func­tion for the door mir­rors.

Across all mod­els in the new Camry range the Toy­ota Safety Sense pack­age is now stan­dard, com­pris­ing the Pre-crash sys­tem with au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing, all­speed Dy­namic Radar Cruise Con­trol, Lane De­par­ture Alert with steer­ing as­sist and Ve­hi­cle Sway Warn­ing and au­to­matic high beam con­trol.

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