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Camry time: Toyota goes head to head with the Mondeo after ditching the Avensis

By Paul Connolly

Toyota has revealed the UK price and spec for its Camry model, a Ford Mondeo-rivalling large quality saloon.

It heralds the end of a 14-year gap as the Camry name returns to the UK and Ireland despite the fact that it was a very well-known brand in these islands in the 1980s and 90s.

Despite its (rather inexplicable) absence from these shores, the Camry is actually the world’s best-selling saloon.

Toyota pulled the Avensis saloon from the UK market last year due to falling sales, so the return of the Camry is no surprise.

The bigger, more luxurious and more technologically-advanced Camry is expected to perform better against big beasts like the all-conquering Ford Mondeo.

This is a competitive segment, not least because of its attractions in the important fleet and business markets.

At 4885mm long, 1845mm wide and 1445mm tall, the Camry is around the same length as the BMW 5 Series.

One big innovation is that UK Camrys will only be offered with hybrid powertrains, a move similar to that offered by sister company Lexus’ ES model, which competes directly with the BMW 5 Series.

With full details still to be announced, we do know that the Camry will be offered for sale in the UK from £29,995 when it goes on sale next month.  First deliveries are expected in July.

Toyota describes the Camry as a “self-charging hybrid saloon”. It’s the eight-generation model to bear the Camry name, and will, initially at least, be available in two equipment grades – Design and Excel.

On-the-road prices are £29,995 for the Design version and £31,295 for the Excel.

The cars are well specced for the price. The Design model comes as standard with 17-inch nine-spoke alloy wheels, leather upholstery, LED headlights, dual-zone automatic air con, smart entry and push-button start, front and rear parking sensors and a reversing camera.

There’s also heated and power-adjustable front seats with lumbar support, seven-inch TFT multi-information display and Toyota Touch 2 multimedia system with seven-inch touchscreen, navigation, Bluetooth and DAB.

Toyota Safety Sense active safety systems are also included in the package, comprising Pre-Collision Safety system with pedestrian detection, Adaptive Cruise Control with full speed range following, Lane Departure Alert with steering assist, Road Sign Assist, Sway Warning and Automatic High Beam.

The Camry Excel builds on this specification with 18-inch 20-spoke alloys, LED fog lights, LED dual-beam projector headlights, Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, wireless charging tray, Intelligent Clearance Sonar and Lane Change Assist.

There are five body colour options at launch, including new Platinum White Pearl and Graphite Shadow shades.

Camry’s hybrid system features a new 2.5-litre self-charging hybrid powertrain that combines fuel efficiency, low emissions and quiet operation with more power and greater responsiveness.

It delivers 215bhp/160kW and CO2 emissions from 98 to 101g/km, according to model grade, with combined cycle fuel consumption from 50.5 to 53.3mpg (according to much stricter WLTP data).

Toyota retailers are accepting orders for the new Camry from 1 April, with sales and customer deliveries from 1 July.

The decision to revive the Camry brand in the UK is interesting. Sales of the Avensis had dipped significantly in the UK, and Toyota obviously believes it has the brand power and customer loyalty to compete in a higher segment.

The Camry has sold in impressive numbers around the world including in Europe, the US and Australia since it first emerged in Japan in 1982.

The name, incidentally, is an English approximation of the Japanese word for “crown”, which is part of a long tradition of Toyota names linked to royal titles - for example the Corolla (“small crown”) and Tiara.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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