The Toyota Camry has been a staple model in the Australian market for a long time now.
Loved by fleets and rental companies for its famed Toyota reliability, the question we had was whether the Camry is still worth considering, given that the increased competition from small sedans/hatchbacks on the road.
Our review model was the Toyota Camry Altise, the Australian built, entry level model starting in the mid-$20K price range.
For that money, you get a four-cylinder petrol engine producing 133kW and 231Nm of torque, connected to a 6 speed automatic transmission. All of the power is then put through the front wheels.
You also receive 16” alloy wheels, steering wheel cruise control and radio functions, Bluetooth phone & audio capabilities, electric power steering, automatic headlights, and a 5 star ANCAP safety rating.
Over the years, the Toyota Camry has evolved gradually in size, and it isn’t until you are standing next to one, you notice the size that they have become.
They look smaller in photos.
On the inside, the cloth interior and soft touch materials are super comfortable and looks significantly better than it has in the past. A wide range of colours are available, our favorite is easily the Wildfire red.
The steering wheel design with its soft touch materials and shape is comfortable and won’t fatigue your hands over long drives.
There won’t be any fighting for legroom or headroom with the Camry, giving all occupants a huge amount of space to enjoy.
Available as an Auto only model, the Toyota Camry Altise design gives you a lot of space and makes it easy when you need to get the whole family from point A to point B.
The ample space also means that you are able to fit three Baby seats across the rear seats.
What most people want is the huge boot space. What is technically a medium sized sedan, the boot space allows you to easily fit a pram, a dose of shopping and whatever impulse purchase you’ve managed to make in the meantime. It practically eats sets of golf clubs with ease.
If you have something longer than the boot, you’re able to drop the 60:40 split rear seats and enjoy the extra space you gain.
Could a small hatch or sedan do that? No way.
Putting the Toyota Camry Altise on the road, it feels super light and easy to drive.
Why does the light weight matter? It means that the fuel economy is kept to a reasonable 7.8litres per 100km, and that your acceleration makes overtaking on the M1 quite the easy maneuver.
The electric power steering and suspension, like most other Toyota’s, is well tuned to the Australian conditions. This results in a great feel in your hands and for your passengers.
As for navigating car parks and finding spaces, you can option to fit parking sensors and a reversing camera if you wish. In our test, we didn’t find it a challenge at all to park in your regular car spots.
Compared to smaller hatches and sedans, it won’t be winning any awards for overall sportiness, but it has improved. If you want a reliable, easy to drive A to B car, the Camry Altise covers these bases well.
The Toyota Camry Altise mixes practicality with reliability, and delivers a highly competitive feature list for either the same or less money as smaller competitors, like the Holden Cruze.
The Toyota Camry Altise is currently priced at $26,990 drive away. This includes Toyota’s 3 Year/100,00km warranty and Toyota’s Capped Price Servicing for the first 5 standard scheduled services during the first 4 years or 75,000km, at $130 each.
Being a 4cyl (think cheaper registration then a 6cyl), with good fuel economy, the Camry makes for great value motoring for a car of this size.
The Toyota Camry isn’t the current number 1 selling car in Australia (it's actually in the top 10), that honor goes to the Toyota Corolla, but it doesn’t mean that it should be overlooked.
Whilst you do omit some of the extra comfort options, you can always step up to the Atara S which starts from the low $30,000 mark that adds a reversing camera, 17” alloy wheels, and higher power output of 135kW.
As for the Altise, we loved its practical cabin and generous boot space, and its overall feel as an easy car to drive. Toyota really have worked hard to improve the exterior sportiness and feel from Camry’s a few years ago, shedding its previous ‘boring’ stereotypes.
So, if you were looking at a small hatch or sedan sub $30,000 to get you around, the Toyota Camry Altise would be a very compelling car to have on your shopping list.