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More details of Toyota’s new Australian Camry emerge

Power up: The Oz-only Camry Atara's twin exhausts raise power by 2kW over other variants.

ADR approval for locally-built seventh-gen Toyota Camry yields clues to line-up

Toyota logo29 Sep 2011

By HAITHAM RAZAGUI

TOYOTA this week received Australian Design Rule (ADR) approval for its Australian-built seventh-generation Camry sedan that is scheduled to go into production in October ahead of a late November launch.

ADR documentation lists three variants and, interestingly, two slightly differing power outputs from the new 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine.

A Toyota Australia spokesperson told GoAuto a November launch for the Camry was yet to be confirmed.

As GoAuto reported in August following a media preview of the new Camry, a sporty new flagship variant badged Atara will be introduced, while the entry-level Altise name will be retained.

The three variants receiving ADR approval all get dual front, side and curtain airbags and all but entry-level cars get front foglights and alloy wheels plus an optional sunroof.

Base model Camrys get 16-inch steel wheels, with the option of upgrading to identically-sized alloys, which are standard on the mid-spec variant.

The top-level variant – which at 1450kg is 10kg lighter than the middling model and 85kg lighter than the outgoing Sportivo – gets 17-inch alloy wheels, (an option on the mid-spec car).

8 center imageLeft: US-spec Toyota Camry.

Compared with the 117kW power output of the outgoing model’s 2.4-litre engine, the new Camry will gain a healthy power increase, helped by an automatic transmission upgrade from five to six speeds across the range, with no manual option to be offered.

The two engine outputs of 133kW and 135kW – the former being identical to that quoted for the US market Camry – are likely a result of the twin exhaust system fitted to the Atara, which Toyota has said is more than just for show and contributes a small power and torque increase.

Toyota Australia remains tight-lipped on the new Camry’s fuel consumption and CO2 emissions figures, but senior executive director sales and marketing David Buttner has said it will return a 10 per cent improvement.

US combined-cycle figures equate to 8.4 litres per 100km, indicating a 0.4/100km improvement over the current 8.8L/100km here, although differences between test regimes used by the US and Australia must be taken into account.

Japanese-built imported engines will be used until Toyota’s new $300 million four-cylinder factory at Altona starts full production in November next year.

The refitted Altona plant – part funded by the now defunct Green Car Innovation Fund – will also build an Atkinson cycle version of the engine for the new hybrid Camry rather than importing the engines as before.

In addition to the new engine and gearbox, the Japanese-designed new Camry gets all-new body panels, although the styling has been criticised for being too conservative and not moving the game forwards sufficiently.

Claimed to be quieter, safer and more spacious compared with the current model, the new Camry is 4805mm long, 1825mm wide and 1480mm tall, making it 11mm shorter than its predecessor but 5mm wider and taller.

While it rides on an identical 2775mm wheelbase, the front and rear tracks have also widened 5mm, to 1580mm and 1570mm respectively. Ground clearance is raised from 129mm to 145mm.

Towing capacities remain the same, with a maximum 1200kg for a braked trailer and 500kg unbraked. The car itself is claimed to be up to 70kg lighter than its predecessor owing to greater use of high-strength steel in its construction.

Toyota claims a new benchmark in ride smoothness and quietness for the new Camry range, its stiffer body said to help with noise reduction and redesigned MacPherson strut suspension and a tweaked rear dual-link suspension design help to improve straight-line stability.

The Camry is a critical car for Toyota Australia, which exports 70 per cent of locally-manufactured vehicles, mainly to the Middle East.

Unlike previous generations, which have been up to a year late arriving to Australia compared with other markets, preparations for the new Camry have been co-ordinated with Japan and the United States.

The new hybrid Camry – set for a major drivetrain upgrade claimed to enable a 2.6km electric-only range – will emerge in the first quarter of 2012, followed by the Camry-based, V6-powered Aurion in the second quarter.

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