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Driven: Toyota cuts up to $5000 from Camry prices

Final countdown: Prices of the final Australian-built Camry have been cut across the board so it can better compete with its sharply-priced rivals.

Chunky price reductions and a sporty version for Toyota’s updated Camry

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Toyota logo11 May 2015

By DANIEL GARDNER

UPDATED: 12/05/2015 TOYOTA Australia has lopped up to $5000 from prices of its segment-dominating Camry mid-sized sedan that has just been given a major mid-life facelift and technical updates across the board.

Kicking off from $26,490, before on-road costs, the 2015 Altise is the cheapest Camry in nearly 18 years and a significant $4000 cheaper than the version it replaces.

Adding Toyota’s tried-and-tested hybrid technology to the entry-level model boosts the price to $30,490, which represents a $5000 reduction over the outgoing model.

For now, Toyota is also offering the entire range at a driveway price that adds $2500 to the RRP.

In addition to range-wide price reductions, Toyota has introduced a new, sportier Atara SX version to appeal to a younger audience.

Priced at $31,990, the SX has the largest wheels fitted to a Camry to date, measuring 18-inches and wearing low-profile Bridgestone tyres. The warmed up version also has a smoked chrome bar in its new restyled front grille, as well as a quicker steering ratio and revised suspension for a more rewarding drive, according to Toyota.

Australian engineering devised the chassis tuning for unique local conditions, using Hitachi-sourced dampeners with higher-flow valves for a responsive road manner but without compromised ride comfort, the company says.

A two-tone leather interior also adds to its sporty credentials.

Speaking at the launch of the new-look Camry in the Yarra Valley this week, Toyota Australia executive director of sales and marketing Tony Cramb told GoAuto he did not expect the sporty SX variant to be a volume seller, but added that it would attract a new type of Camry buyer.

“What the sporty version looks to do is go to a different part of the Australian public – people who wouldn’t have normally considered Camry in that light,” he said.

“The reason we are confident it’s going to do well is we’ve just done the Camry RZ which was a special edition and we launched that car last year and it did really well.

“This has been designed and engineered with the suspension, not just an appearance package, so we are very confident there will be as small group of people that will go for that.

Mr Cramb said that with about 1500 to 2000 sales to its name, the RZ indicated a more sporty Camry wearing the new look would continue to attract attention.

“I don’t think the SX will be any more than 10 per cent but that’s still a significant volume by most people’s standards,” he said.

All versions have been treated to the updated front and rear end styling as well as a tweaked differential preload, further improving the driving experience.

The sporty SX version sits above both the entry Altise and mid-spec Atara S that is now priced $4500 cheaper than its predecessor at $29,490. New to the range is a hybrid version of the Atara S, costing $32,490.

Moving up to the flagship Atara SL costs $37,440 or $40,440 for the hybrid version – another newcomer to the Camry club. The price of the 2015 petrol SL is cheaper to the tune of $2550.

With its sharpened pricing, the Camry is an even stronger opponent in the tricky mid-size segment, and while the number two-placed Mazda6 offers high levels of equipment, it commands a higher premium at $32,540, plus on road costs.

Ford's freshly arrived Mondeo offers European styling, and a solid standard features list from $32,790, while shoppers might also consider the Holden Malibu that opens proceedings from $28,890 for the 2.4-litre CD.

Hyundai's just-launched Sonata from $29,990 and the soon-to-be-replaced Kia Optima starting at $31,490 are also in the target market.

Opting for the top-spec Camry variant brings a premium leather interior and a significant boost to safety equipment. All versions get seven airbags and the usual raft of ABS, EBD and ESC, but SL gains a forward-facing radar.

The system enables forward collision mitigation with a driver warning or full autonomous braking if the driver does not respond. The system also brings adaptive cruise control.

Top of the range Camrys also get blind-spot monitoring and cross-traffic alert for backing out of tight spots.

Atara S Camrys get rear parking sensors – SL gets front sensors too – while all versions now have a reversing camera as standard.

All variants have been given a smaller three-spoke steering wheel which is wrapped in leather for SX and SL options.

Another update to the Camry interior sees a 6.1-inch touchscreen added to the entry-level Altise, allowing access to various applications including Pandora, while higher-spec vehicles have a larger screen.

Variants above the Altise get trick blue-glow gauges with a 4.0-inch information display, while top-spec versions have keyless entry and engine start.

Petrol Camrys are powered by an unchanged 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine which outputs 133kW/231Nm in Altise guise or 135kW/235Nm in Atara versions thanks to an additional tailpipe.

Hybrids have less power available from the petrol engine thanks to a more efficient Atkinson cycle, but the electric motor tops up total combined output to 151kW.

Fuel consumption is rated at 7.8 litres per 100km for the petrols or 5.2L/100km for the hybrid-powered versions.

This is the final Australian-built Camry to roll off the car-maker's Alton production line before Toyota shuts its Victorian manufacturing operations in 2017.

Camry pricing has recently dropped as low as $26,490, driveaway, for the outgoing base variant that it is run-out.

Toyota Camry pricing*
Altise (a) $26,490
Altise Hybrid (a) $30,490
Atara S (a) $29,490
Atara S Hybrid (a) $32,490
Atara SX (a) $31,990
Atara SL (a) $37,440
Atara SL Hybrid (a) $40,440
*Excludes on-road costs.

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