Con­vince me

Due in a few months, the hy­brid has the zip and grip to be­come a fun drive

The Advertiser - Motoring - - FIRST DRIVE -

The styling brings a bon­net that has more creases than a slept-in shirt, a more dra­matic (LED) light­ing dis­play front and rear and the choice of an ag­gres­sive mesh-pat­terned nose job on the sports vari­ants.

The in­te­rior gets a sim­i­lar sculpt­ing job, from the seven or eight-inch in­fo­tain­ment screens to dis­creet in­te­rior light­ing on up­mar­ket mod­els, a 4.2 or seven-inch dig­i­tal dis­play be­tween the ana­log dials and soft touch ma­te­ri­als to re­flect the push to­wards pre­mium.

Toy­ota ex­pects the hy­brid ver­sion to be­come the vol­ume ver­sion in the range, selling along­side the carry-over en­try level ver­sion with 2.5-litre petrol en­gine and top-spec V6.

The hy­brid’s bat­tery pack, stowed un­der the 60-40 fold­ing rear seats rather than in the boot, gives the car 30L more boot space.

Lo­cal specs and pric­ing won’t be re­vealed un­til closer to launch but all ver­sions will pick up adap­tive cruise con­trol with stop-start, au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing, ac­tive lane de­par­ture alert and au­to­matic high-beam. Se­lected mod­els gain blind spot mon­i­tor­ing, rear cross traf­fic alert and 10-inch colour head-up dis­play.

DRIV­ING

Ore­gon does good roads, even on the sec­ondary routes that con­tour around the fir-lined hills and vine­yards that make the US state fa­mous. That isn’t rep­re­sen­ta­tive of our tar­mac so it’s hard towork out how good the sus­pen­sion up­grades are.

What are ev­i­dent are the im­prove­ments in steer­ing pre­ci­sion and chas­sis stiff­ness. Point the Camry at a cor­ner and it dili­gently arcs its way around the bend at speed.

It doesn’t quite feel as lithe as the best of the mid-size sedans, partly be­cause of the weight of the hy­brid mo­tor and bat­tery pack, but it’s a big im­prove­ment on the out­go­ing job.

The Camry also sounds qui­eter in the cabin. There’s a dis­tant drone from the con­tin­u­ously vari­able trans­mis­sion up­hill but it’s a rel­a­tively re­fined ex­pe­ri­ence. The re­gen­er­a­tive brakes also have the best pedal feel we’ve tested on a main­stream hy­brid.

Power de­liv­ery from the hy­brid is lin­ear with­out be­ing quick — we’ll need to wait to test the V6 in Aus­tralia to see just how well the Camry copes with 225kW/360Nm but the early in­di­ca­tions are pos­i­tive.

The only draw­back was the for­ward col­li­sion gear shut­ting down af­ter be­ing hit with road grime. We drove pre­pro­duc­tion jobs, so it may have been a flaw in the lo­ca­tion of the sen­sor or just an aber­ra­tion.

VER­DICT

The com­ing Camry hy­brid won’t be a gi­ant-killer but Toy­ota could well en­tice en­thu­si­asts to buy a car of­ten been de­rided as white­goods on wheels.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.