Visually distinguish the updated Toyota Camry sedan of the eighth generation from its predecessor is not easy. You can’t even pull up a journalistic stamp about “cosmetics”. The framing of the wide radiator grille has been changed: the elegant C-shaped decorative inserts can be black, silver or chrome, depending on the configuration. The design of the wheels has changed — but you can hardly see it on the move.
Only the GR Sport version, which replaced the S-Edition version, is easily recognizable. The sport, however, comes down exclusively to styling and does not affect the technique. But the bright red body with a black roof at least stands out among the black and white mass of other Camry. You can order such a flashy car with two older engines. Moreover, the six-cylinder GR Sport is distinguished by transparent lights, black window frames, wheels, and moldings.
The “bold” hand of the interior designer only replaced the decorative overlays over the glove box and castled the multimedia screen with central deflectors blowing in the manner of RAV4. Thus, the touchscreen with a diagonal of seven or nine inches now rises above the front panel. The simple interface is not annoying.
The real buttons on the sides of the screen, the response speed, and the support for Apple CarPlay/Android Auto protocols are pleasing. The graphics of the regular maps are depressing, but Toyota hopes for the help of Yandex services still in development. Otherwise, we have a thoroughly studied spacious Camry interior with comfortable seats and good visibility. The graphics on the trip computer screen, the location of the keys around the driver, and the tactile sensations of interacting with them still leave much to be desired.
The highlight is the new power units. The former atmospheric “fours” gave way to engines of the Dynamic Force series of a similar volume, which we already know from the RAV4 crossover. The six-speed “automatic” is also retired. The base 150-horsepower 2.0 engine is now paired with a Direct Shift CVT variator (see “Technique” below). The traditional “hydromechanics” is preserved in version 2.5 with a capacity of 200 hp, but now there are eight gears. Camry 3.5 has not technically changed.
The freshness of driving sensations is primarily responsible for the bundle of a two-liter engine with a variator. The old machine was not very efficient: it took theatrical pauses before turning on the downshift. Sometimes, you hit the right pedal, and while waiting for a response, you already forget what you wanted. The variator was expected to treat the Camry. Good communication on the accelerator, a quicker start from the spot, faster acceleration on the move, and more comfortable overtaking outside the city. However, it became a little noisier under load.
The claimed acceleration time to 100 km/h was reduced from 11 seconds to nine and a half. It is unlikely that the Camry is really capable of such a thing, but by the hundred on the speedometer, the updated sedan is winning back two or even three cases from the pre-reform. We are especially conducting parallel launches on the runway of a small airfield near Krasnodar. However, it is much more important that Toyota with a variator is noticeably more elastic when exercising 80-100 km/h and 100-120 km/h. There is no talk about sports ambitions, but there is no longer an unpleasant feeling that you are superfluous on the highway.
There is no such contrast between the old and new versions of the 2.5 as in the two-liter, but the changes are still noticeable. An increase of 19 forces and 12 Nm allows the updated Camry to be a little more lively in the entire speed range. There was no increase in noise or vibration loading from the A25A-FKS motor with combined injection. The eight-band “automatic” works faster and smoother than the previous six-speed box.
Mutual understanding with the car is more developed, and accordingly, it is more comfortable to move around in it. However, if we abstract from the comparison with more style, there is still a noticeable hitch on the knockdown, while the transmission changes several gears down before a sharp acceleration. After a couple of alarming overtaking on two lanes of the Krasnodar Territory with a dense flow of trucks, I move the lever to the manual control position of the “automatic” and before the maneuver I choose the necessary step myself.
Last year’s comparative test of the Camry with the Kia K5 prompted Toyota’s representative office to turn to the Drive for additional comments, in particular about the impact of tires on the final alignment. And look, test sedans with 17-inch wheels flaunt pedigree Continental tires from the Premium Contact line, for the use of which we praised the Koreans. However, Toyota installed a more recent sixth-generation Kontik only on demonstration pre-reform machines and chose the outdated Premium Contact 5 as a conveyor solution.
This model entered the market in 2012. The press office refuses to comment on why they chose her. It seems that the change of supplier pursues rather an image effect — after all, tires from the premium line of the European manufacturer are used. At least it didn’t get any worse. The Camry suspension is generally left unchanged, and the two-liter Toyota on 17-inch wheels still smooths out small bumps better and transmits fewer vibrations to the steering wheel than the 200-horsepower 2.5 version, shod in an 18-inch T005 A Turanza.
The list of point updates continues with the Connected mobile service for the Safety Suite – in other words, an application that allows you to monitor the condition of the car. And the Toyota Safety Sense complex is now trained to reduce the speed in turns when using adaptive cruise control, adjust its operation to the requirements of road signs and keep the car in the center of the lane. In addition, the radar is able to track oncoming traffic in a turn at intersections and apply emergency braking in case of danger…
By the end of 2020, Camry occupied almost half of its segment with a result of 27,373 cars sold. According to Toyota, the share of corporate sales reaches 46%, and among private buyers, 40% already owned a Camry. And until now, the most popular modification in Russia was the Camry 2.5, which provides as much as three-quarters of sales. So, the main result of restyling may be the strengthening of the role of the two-liter version. And although both four-cylinder engines have been improved, it is the younger one that shows the greatest progress with the supply of the variator.
Even switching to Continental tires should play into the hands of the base model first of all, since 2.5 is more often taken with 18-inch wheels. And the price increase for the Camry 2.0 turns out to be the most sparing: on average by 50 thousand rubles. The rest added about a hundred thousand. At the present time, the rise in price looks justified even in the case of the top 3.5 model, where you pay extra mainly for multimedia. And in relation to the more modern, economical powertrain version 2.5 – even more so.