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Toyota Camry

Camry

Toyota logo1 Jul 2009

By HAITHAM RAZAGUI

A MIDLIFE makeover brought more standard safety features and equipment, updated interior and exterior cosmetics and a price reshuffle across the Camry range.

Engine and transmission tweaks resulted in an 11 per cent cut in fuel consumption of the automatic four-cylinder Camry, to 8.8 litres per 100km.

In addition to six airbags as standard, all facelifted Camrys came with Bluetooth hands-free telephone connectivity and sound systems with an auxiliary audio-input jack and at least six speakers (two more for the Altise), plus sunvisor lamps and seatback pockets.

The mid-range Ateva also gained a rear-view camera, automatic air-conditioning and a new audio system with 4.3-inch colour LCD display, while the Sportivo added dual-zone climate-control air-conditioning, push-button heater control and an LCD display.

A rear-view camera became standard on the top-shelf Grande, as did a keyless entry and starting system, rear parking sensors, upgraded premium sound system and an electrochromatic rear-view mirror.

Completing the technical upgrades was a shift position indicator and outside temperature indicator for the Altise and, for all grades, a warning signal if the car moved with the handbrake engaged, and storage a area with 12-volt socket and aux-in socket instead of the ashtray and cigarette lighter.

Larger projector headlights, a new front bumper with larger lower intake and fresh grilles – curved grille bars with chrome accents for the Altise, Ateva and Grande, and a black lattice patterns for the Sportivo, which added a new front spoiler.

At the rear, new LED tail-lights across the range were claimed to contribute to improved fuel economy and safety by consuming less energy and lighting up faster than regular bulbs, while new rear garnishes were chromed on the Grande and body-coloured for other variants.

The Altise’s 16-inch steel wheels got a new seven-spoke plastic wheel cap, while the Ateva had a new 10-spoke alloy wheel design and the Sportivo and Grande got machined five-spoke 17-inch alloys.

Inside there were new interior trim colours and seat fabrics, updated instruments and warning signals and a darker upper instrument panel surround, while Liquid Metal replaced Inferno and Tungsten in the Camry’s exterior paint colour palette.

At its launch in February 2010, Australia’s first domestically-built hybrid vehicle, the petrol-electric Camry Hybrid joined the range and returned official fuel consumption of 6.0 litres per 100km. At the time, this made it more efficient than any other locally produced vehicle.

The Camry Hybrid was also significantly more efficient than the petrol-only Camry, which had an official fuel economy rating and also produced less exhaust pipe CO2, with an official rating of 142 grams per km.

All Camry Hybrid models came standard with electronic stability control, six airbags, a rear-view camera, audible rear parking sensors, 16-inch alloy wheels with a full-sized spare, dual-zone air-conditioning and keyless entry and start.

They also scored a unique front-end with new-look headlights, grille, front bumper, foglights and unique rear lights, as well as a noise-reducing windscreen, Optitron instrument cluster and Hybrid-branded front-door scuff plates.

Stepping up to the Luxury model added different seat and door trim with leather accents, four-way electrically adjustable driver and passenger seats, rain-sensing wipers, an electro-chromatic rear-view mirror and a rear lip spoiler.

A 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol Atkinson Cycle engine was supplemented by an electric motor fed by a boot-mounted nickel metal hydride battery pack.

The petrol engine delivered 110kW at 6000rpm and 187Nm of torque at 4400rpm, while the electric motor could produce 105kW and 270Nm. Those figures suggest the Camry Hybrid would be quite a fast machine, but it was tuned for economy, recording a claimed a 8.9-second 0-100km/h time (0.9 seconds faster than the regular petrol model).

Importantly, the Camry Hybrid could take off and travel at low speed in electric-only mode for up to 2km. The petrol engine, mated to a continuously variable automatic transmission, also switched off at idle and when the vehicle was coasting.

The Camry Hybrid’s steering and air-conditioning were electrically assisted and the brake control was also electric to reduce the vehicle’s fuel consumption and enable operation when the petrol engine was deactivated.

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