The Toyota Camry’s dominance of the Australian medium car segment is virtually unbeatable – the humble four-door has been the top-seller in its market for 23 years running, with more than 900,000 sold locally since its arrival in 1983.
And now there’s a brand new eighth-generation model.
Revealed this morning at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the all-new Camry will go on sale in Australia in the last quarter of this year as a 2018 model, replacing the locally-built current-generation Camry once production ends at Toyota Australia’s Altona assembly line.
To be sourced from Japan, the 2018 Toyota Camry will see a return to V6-power – a powertrain that hasn’t been part of the Australian Camry lineup since 2006. The 2018 Camry V6 will also replace the Aurion in Toyota’s local showrooms.
Three powertrains will be offered in total – a 2.5-litre naturally-aspirated petrol inline four, a 2.5-litre petrol-electric hybrid and Toyota’s proven 3.5-litre naturally-aspirated and direct-injected petrol V6.
The petrol four-cylinder of both the regular Camry and the Camry Hybrid is an all-new engine from Toyota and is claimed to be more powerful, have more torque and lower fuel consumption than the existing Camry’s 2.5-litre thanks to a long-stroke design, high compression ratio and direct injection.
Regular Camry and Camry V6 engines will come mated to a new eight-speed transmission with a lock-up torque converter for crisper shifts, sending drive to the front wheels. The Hybrid will make use of a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
Though a previously-released teaser image suggested the new Camry would be pushing design boundaries (at least for a Toyota), the 2018 Camry instead sports what could be seen as an extreme evolution of the present-model’s styling. Slim, slanted headlights remain and on regular models are separated by a wide T-shaped grille, while the lower air dam is spanned by long horizontal slats like those on the current Camry Altise.
Higher-grade models get a sportier front end that ditches the slats for gloss black mesh, but all models benefit from a lower bonnet line, reduced roof height and stretched wheelbase, and the more pleasing proportions that they bring. Sheetmetal contouring emphasises the rear wheel arches to inject a little more athleticism to the Camry’s shape, and V6 models even feature a set of quad tailpipes at the rear.
Another new design feature is a blacked-out roof, which can either be confined to the panel between the roof rails or extend down the A-pillars and halfway down the C-pillars for a floating effect.
Built on Toyota’s new TNGA platform, which also underpins the C-HR SUV and Toyota Prius hybrid, the new Camry is longer and lower than the outgoing model, with a wheelbase that’s around 25mm longer.
Cabin space is claimed to be more generous as a result, especially for rear-seat occupants. Both the front and rear bases are mounted lower too, meaning no headroom is lost from the Camry’s reduced roof height.
The TNGA underpinnings also bring a double-wishbone rear suspension setup that promises better roadholding and ride comfort.
The driver’s instruments are angled inwards and the asymmetric dashboard tilts an eight-inch colour infotainment display toward the driver’s side. Between the analogue speedo and tachometer lies a seven-inch trip computer display, while a 10-inch colour head-up display is bounced off the windscreen into the driver’s line of sight. When it comes to screens, the new Camry has more than your local JB Hi-Fi.
Toyota says the new Camry sports vastly improved cabin furnishings too, with more premium materials and more soft touch surfaces for occupants to enjoy. Improvements to sound suppression in the form of new engine mounts and the stiffer TNGA architecture helps cut cabin noise.
Available safety equipment includes a collision warning system with pedestrian detection, active cruise control, AEB, lane departure warning, auto high beam, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert. It’s unclear which of these systems will be standard on Australia-bound vehicles, but we can count on all models having an airbag count of ten.
Local specifications and pricing will be released later in 2017, closer to the new Camry’s anticipated launch in the fourth quarter.
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