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First Drive: New Toyota Camry

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Toyota is ready with a refreshed Camry, scheduled for an August 24th launch. We had a first drive of the car and it does come across as a younger model with the way it drives. The older car was every bit a proper limo but Toyota has gone for a bit of more unconventional approach when it comes to the way it drives. Powered by a new 2.5-litre engine mated to a six-speed automatic, the Camry now feels more buzzy without letting go if its pliant ride.

On-road behaviour is still stately. Throw it into a corner and it holds its line well. Ditto, when it comes to a sudden stop. Although bigger and more refined, the new engine doesn’t necessarily make this a faster car. But it is ultra smooth and has a good sound to it when you floor it.

The steering is light but responsive and you don’t have vague moments behind it. It’s the right size too. The genuine leather grip helps to make you feel in control. However, a whopping 87 per cent of Camry sold in India are chauffeur-driven. So not surprisingly, the new car has more in terms of rear headroom and distance to front passenger although exterior dimensions don’t change.

Plus the fit and finish is impeccable. There is nice-touch button to push the front seat forward while seated behind. One wonders though why they haven’t given audio controls in the rear armrest?

Toyota had been silent on its flagship model for quite fresh and attractive to look at. Build quality remains superlative. The equipment list isn’t great but it’s a much better drive now, which kind of forces us to respect it more.

The Specs
LxWxH: 4825x1825x1480mm
Ground Clearance: 160mm
Fuel tank: 70 litres
Fuel efficiency: 8 kpl (estimated)
Engine: 2494cc, 179bhp, 233nm
Tyres: 215/60 R16 Tubeless (Yokohama)
Gearbox: 6A with Sequential Shift

Price: Rs 28 lakh (on-road estimated)

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