Camry bridges gap between itself and its up-market sibling, Lexus ES350By Botchi Santos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Toyota’s Camry is the brand’s top-level executive large-size sedan. The name Camry is an Anglicized version of the Japanese word Kaemri, which means crown in Japanese, consistent with the other Toyota sedans such as the Corona (Latin for crown) and Corolla (Latin for little crown), and of course, the Toyota Crown, an equally large sedan but with a RWD architecture and longitudinally mounted inline six-cylinder engines.
Now on its fifth generation, codenamed XV50, the current Toyota Camry represents a bold step forward for Toyota. Going more upscale meant adding new features and making the looks fitting of a true regal executive sedan. Our Camry now shares its basic architecture with the Japanese Domestic Market Camry although we have a choice of two engines, the familiar open-deck 2GR-FE that displaces 3.5 liters from six cylinders, 24 valves and dual overhead camshafts, and a new 2AR-FE,a 2.5 liter inline-4 cylinder engine that replaces the older and slightly smaller (by 100 cc) 2.4-liter 2AZ-FE. That small difference in displacement was worth more as the new engine, now mated to a 6-speed automatic, produces roughly 10hp more than the previous Camry yet is much more fuel0-efficient and clean-burning as well. Progress indeed.
Going through various websites, one thing is apparent. Toyota rates their engines’ respective outputs with 87RON Octane, but switch to a higher RON Octane Rating fuel and some claim that the outputs can increase by as much as 30 hp, especially since the newer generation 2GR-FE engines have dual VVT-I that can make better use of high-octane fuel to produce more power both at the top-end and under the power curve, collectively.
The Camry looks bigger, somewhat bulkier, and ultimately more imposing; its target market will definitely be pleased with the new looks as the Camry bridges the gap between itself and its up-market sibling, the Lexus ES350. Interestingly, the basic dimensions of the new Camry are purported to be the same as the previous XV40 body Camry, so the new sheet-metal definitely created an impression of greater size and heft and with it, a more imposing presence on the road.
The dual tailpipes mean that despite being a luxury-limo first, there’s serious power under-hood to fend off most rice rockets.
Inside, the Camry boasts class-leading interior room and more niceties such as an electronically operated rear visor and manually operated visors on the rear doors, perfect for the executive looking to make a discrete exit. A reclining rear seat is also available, with controls hidden in the center arm rest. Much of the technology caters to the rear seat passengers’ convenience, as the Camry is considered to be a car primarily for the chauffeur driven executive. Leather is standard on the top-model variant, with dark-wood trim mixed high-quality plastics. A splash of bright silver accents help liven up the interior and give it a fresh and modern, upscale and sophisticated look. Other new features include Toyota’s new Nano-E Technology which is an air-conditioning filtration system that balances the positive and negative ions to a level that resists accumulation of fungus, dust and mold inside the cabin, making its occupants healthier.
Toyota expects between 80-100 units to be sold annually, with the top-model Q-variant selling the most. While other brands are slowly catching up with the established companies like Toyota, there are still specific segments where the newcomers have yet to offer an alternative to the Camry which has dominated its segment since its release.
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