')">The Toyota Camry at the recently held Surat Auto show caught my attention. The reason for this was that it has been a very long time that I have actually sat in one. The steady diet of grandeur and the boringly perfect German interiors had actually made me to look elsewhere for other cars and the Toyota Camry in India is the perfect foil for it. For starters, it isn’t a German and rather is a Jap which we usually associate with cheap and reliable engineering. Secondly, it is highly luxurious, though not in the same ballpark as the Germans. Third, it is more expensive than some of the Germans out there. So after coming back to Mumbai, I thought of having a review of this car. Since we have our tie up in place with the Toyota dealership, this was the right time to exercise the benefit of it. So a few phone calls later, I have the Toyota Camry in front of me ready for a review. By the way, this is a slow selling product and hence there aren’t many visitors coming Toyota’s way for getting a test drive of the Toyota Camry. So Toyota were kind enough to lend us the car for a review. Mission accomplished.
Check on Road Price
Very much American and sharing the family grille with the rest of the Toyota sedans. Like other companies, even Toyota are planning to bring in a family face for all their cars and the Camry being the flagship,would serve as an ideal place to make for some tinkerings. The Toyota Camry in India is the seventh generation vehicle and it would be replaced soon by the eight generation one. Compared to the 6th generation vehicle, 7th gen one looks far more youthful as also better. The head lamps now look even more American in their approach whereas the fog lamps are very tiny. Like the Corolla Altis, even this one now gets HID lights with cornering function. The 215/60 R16 tyres are Yokohama units and look the stately part. The rear end in the meanwhile is even blander than the front end and features a single tail pipe which though looks chunky, doesn’t quite cut the mustard in these days of twin tail pipes. Nothing much about the tail lamp design as it looks very much the big bad American in its profile.
The version for the Toyota Camry that I had with me is the 5 speed auto transmission and hence the half fake wood trim around the gear lever is for given. Well, the wood also parts apart to reveal a storage space for cup holders and also an aux input. Very neat. The central console system is made up of brushed aluminium and while it looks understated, it isn’t so and is of very high quality. It has got a 11 CD changer system from Sony with 6 speakers to boast of plus two 12 volts power outlets. Not to mention the rain sensing wipers, rear parking sensors, heated retractable outside rear view mirrors, 6 air bags, auto head lamps, powered leather seats for both the front passenger and driver as also two zone climate control system. Other power goodies are also present inside the cabin. Front seats are supremely comfortable not to forget the rear ones which are called as luxury sofas by some. Leg room, head room, shoulder room, under thigh support. Name it and all are ample in this car. Moreso in the ball park of the Skoda Superb. Can’t help taking the names of the German or rather Czech here. Though the other Japanese, the Honda Accord has also got plenty of space, it is the Czech which ultimately trumps it on the luxury part. The Camry would also give it real tough in this department. The multi information display or MID instrument cluster with its semi circular dials looks superb when lit. the steering is also rake and reach as also tilt adjustable. The steering wheel also has the cruise control and audio controls on it. Boot space at 535 liters also is very great and usable. Did I forget to mention that this Camry also comes with a foot operated parking brake lever? A rarity, definitely.
Handling and ride quality
The Toyota Camry in India comes with MacPherson struts in the front and Dual link struts at the rear. Another highlight of a Camry is that it has one of the best ground clearances amongst its breed, just like the Corolla Altis. Handling was never the forte of the Toyota Camry and the seventh generation doesn’t even try to rectify it. Starting with the steering wheel, it is not at all a responsive unit. Infact while turning the steering, there was many a times when I actually turned off the music system and likewise. Moreover, once on the highway, the steering wheel feels totally dead. Cornering is accompanied with lots of body roll. Generally the car feels unenthusiastic about being cornered and would like to take things sedate. It is more like foreplay with your lover and in the end you find out that she is a lesbian. However the ride quality is something which cannot be faulted. Even though Toyota Kirloskar Motors have jacked up this car, it still has a very comfortable ride quality. So much so that it even can be said that this vehicle devours the roads. Come whatever, the Toyota Camry possess an unfazed stance that is absent in its German as also Japanese competition. NVH is on the lower side however once past the 125 kmph mark, the 4 cylinder unit becomes vocal enough.
Engine, performance and fuel efficiency
The Toyota Camry in India produces 167 bhp at 6000 rpm from its 2.4 liter petrol engine. This engine features the legendary VVT-I technology and has got 4 cylinders. The transmission options range from a 5 speed manual to a 5 speed auto transmission. Earlier Toyota used to offer the Camry with a 4 speed transmission however customer feedback made them realize that the need of the hour is an advanced 5 speed transmission. The transmission is responsive and almost like the German units. There is no jerkiness displayed that is usually associated with the auto transmissions. However at speeds, I did realize that the ratios were not spaced out evenly. The transition between 4th to 5th takes a bit long than expected. Kickdown however is at par with the other transmissions in its class. The 0-100 kmph comes up in only 11 seconds whereas the top speed that I achieved was 194 kmph. Brake feel was fantastic though with the all wheel discs shedding speed in no time. Moreover the ABS also cuts in perfectly and alongwith the traction control reigns in things nicely.
Safety features are tad a many, of course in context with the Indian public and those include the 6 air bags, collapsible steering column, side intrusion beams and reverse parking sensors. Fuel efficiency is however a downer with the Camry that I had for the review with 8.2 kmpl in city and 11.1 kmpl on the highway. A 70 liters tank and an overall fuel efficiency of 9 kmpl means that the Camry would travel around 676 kms before needing a refuel.
The Toyota Camry in India isn’t Toyota’s bread and butter model however it represents Toyota’s quality revolution as also the brand prowess that Toyota carries. It may not be desirable enough but then if cars were sold only on desire then Lamborghinis would be an everyday car for even the Tata Nano buyers. What the Camry does is combine practicality and luxury together. I loved the very fact that this car brings in all the luxury trappings that anyone would desire for and plus all the features provided for are useful, even the cruise control. What the Camry basically lacks is some inspiring looks and a better handling package. The very fact that this car runs with a Toyota badge up its nose is testimony enough of how highly revered the Toyota badge is in this parts of the world. The pricing is the biggest dampener to the car setting the sales chart on fire. The Toyota Camry price in India starts from Rs 27 lakhs and goes all the way upto Rs 30.2 lakhs. All these prices are ex-show room, Mumbai. There are 4 variants of this car and they are the Toyota Camry MT W1, Toyota Camry AT W2, Toyota Camry MT W3 with sunroof, Toyota Camry AT W4 with sunroof.