27 November 2018 · New Vehicles

Toyota Camry Hybrid | Car Of The Year

The seven expert road testers that made up the Drive Car of the Year judging panel have praised the Camry - for its seamless performance, whether it’s carting the kids to school, bustling through the suburbs or its long-legged cruising ability out on the open road. See below their full review:

This might come as a shock, but the Toyota Camry, a car that has long been derided as ‘whitegoods on wheels’, is no longer an autoandate to vanquish the Japanese car maker’s cardigan-wearing reputation, the eighth-generation Camry, which is now fully-imported following the closure of Toyota Australia’s manufacturing facility in 2017, has won the 2018 Drive Car of the Year, presented by BP.

The Camry beat a stellar field of 48 other finalists across 14 categories to claim one of the country’s most comprehensive, and consumer-focused, automotive awards, impressing seven expert road testers during a week-long testing program in NSW’s Southern Highlands.

Drive’s Deputy Editor, Nathan Ponchard, wrote: “It’s best to leave all preconceptions about how a Camry Hybrid should drive at the gate because this Toyota will change how you view Japan’s most conservative car-maker".

Ultimately, it was the system’s economy that is a real stand out. Thanks to the assistance of its electric motor, and a battery pack that recharges while on the move, the Camry’s official 4.2L/100km consumption figure is totally achievable in the real world, which will result in significant fuel cost savings in comparison to conventional rivals.

Everyone loves a bit more cash in the hip pocket, and the Camry’s capacity to avoid visiting the servo more often isn’t the only advantage it has, with the judges recognising Toyota’s super affordable servicing costs (it costs just $585 to keep maintained over the first three years) as another hugely appealing element for modern families.

 The Camry has traditionally been one of the most boring cars on the planet to drive but that is no longer the case. Under the guidance of its effervescent global boss, Akio Toyoda, the Japanese car maker has banished its dynamic dullness, creating a collection of vehicles - including the Camry, but also the CH-R small SUV, Prius, new Corolla and upcoming RAV4 - on new building blocks, imaginatively dubbed Toyota New Generation Architecture.

The end result is a Camry that is both supple over bumps and quiet at highway speeds while also being thoroughly engaging and supremely surefooted through the bends. That is a statement that could never have been said about any Camry before this one, and gives the family car a greater depth of character.

"There’s a level of dynamic polish here in the way the Camry both rides and handles that is seriously mind-blowing if you’re familiar with the behaviour of its predecessors. It’s fluency, smoothness, handling balance and suspension control are a delight, making this a supreme long-distance cruiser.”

The Camry comes loaded with conveniences such as dual-zone climate control and sat nav, its cabin is spacious, comfortable and practical and it is fitted with the latest in cutting-edge safety technologies designed to prevent an accident from occurring, such as automated emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assistance and a reverse camera, giving it a near-perfect - and full five-star - crash-test rating from ANCAP with 36.16 points from a possible 37 when it was tested in 2017.

It really is a car that asks why you need anything else, and one that democratises fuel-efficient petrol-electric hybrid technology, making it affordable and appealing to the masses.

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The Camry delivers an excellent driving performance, with impressive fuel efficiency, responsive acceleration, and the renowned quietness of hybrid.

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Tailored to the drive, you'll sense a light steering feel at low speeds and quick responses at high speeds. The steering gear box also has a lower centre of gravity for enhanced dynamic performance.

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The stylish lines of Camry’s lightweight body hide a highly rigid frame that’s paired with double wishbone rear suspension to deliver responsive handling and precise steering.