Many owners tend to hold on to their Toyota Camry for a long time—some even for life. The popular midsize sedan is comfortable and solidly built, providing its passengers with a serene cocoon that shields them from the chaos of Metro Manila traffic. And because it’s a Toyota, the Camry maintains an industry-leading resale value and is equipped with parts that are easy to find. But there’s an all-new Camry in town, which boasts new compelling reasons for owners to keep it for a long time.
For starters, the new model has the looks. Previous Camrys always had understated styling over the years. The new one, however, takes a bold direction with a swooping fastback design similar to the larger Avalon sold in the US. The rear rake of the C-pillar terminates further down into the trunk lid, giving the impression that the cabin has plenty of back-seat space.
But the Camry’s stately presence has to start at the front. And while turning heads isn’t the main goal, hotel and restaurant staff members will certainly be rushing to open the door for you once they see the large radiator grille that declares “I’ve arrived” with confidence. Even dark driveways won’t be an excuse not to get noticed as the LED running lights with their three-tier design will surely catch the attention of even the most inattentive security guard.
Inside, the 2,825mm wheelbase makes itself well and truly felt. Even the tallest of occupants will have no complaints about a lack space. For the range-topping 2.5V variant, the leather rear seat is the place to be. The premium perches at the back recline electronically. What was once the domain of far more expensive German sedans can now be had onboard Toyota’s own executive cruiser. And because any back-seat dweller wouldn’t want to be caught rudely barking orders at the driver, all the controls for the seats, the rear automatic air-conditioning and the retractable sunshade are neatly tucked away in a capacitive touchscreen panel on the armrest.
The cherry on top in terms of safety? A total of seven airbags on standby
Taking over driving duties isn’t a chore in itself. The Camry’s European-inspired suspension system ensures poised handling over both fast expressways and winding mountain roads. The driver’s right foot need not frantically prod the accelerator for power as the 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine’s 231Nm of torque kicks in at a reasonably early 4,100rpm. The smooth six-speed automatic transmission, meanwhile, keeps the 2AR-FE motor within reach of its maximum pulling power.
It’s not just the mechanical stuff that provides driving pleasure to the lucky person manning the tiller. Standard on all Camry variants is a six-speaker audio system that comes with screen mirroring for both Apple and Android smartphones. Cruise control is also available to relieve the pilot’s right leg on long journeys. The 2.5V variant, in particular, has a heads-up display so that the driver’s eyes have an uninterrupted view of the road ahead.
Solidity in build quality Is not only manifested in how stable a car travels down the road. It is also judged by the structural integrity of the car’s bodyshell when the unexpected happens. The new Camry ticks off both boxes. Moreover, behind its handsomely chiseled body panels is a slew of electronic safety systems ready to spring into action should anything unforeseen rear its ugly head. Standard on all variants are antilock brakes, stability control and hill-start assist that will help keep those body panels, er, handsomely chiseled. The cherry on top in terms of safety? A total of seven airbags—two in front, two at the sides, two curtain shields and one driver-side knee airbag—are on standby to guarantee that it’s not just the aesthetics of the Camry’s sheet metal that will be preserved in case the driver loses the plot.
There is really quite a lot to like about the eighth-generation Camry: the exterior design, the toys, the technology, the safety equipment. Besides being possibly the smoothest way to get around in the executive sedan segment, it is also a dependable workhorse that truly deserves the loyalty of those who use it. It’s a Toyota, after all.
This branded article was produced in partnership with Toyota Motor Philippines.