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The Camry Whats It Like

By Wolfe Tone

What’s the fifth generation Camry like to drive? Does it live up to the hype Toyota’s spin doctors put in our newspapers and on TV?

The answer is yes. And no.

Yes, it’s the most involving, most enjoyable and most rewarding Camry we’ve ever driven. But it still falls a little short on each of those ‘seat-of-the-pants’ criteria. Let me explain in more detail.

We’re impressed with the new Camry, no doubt about it. The new four cylinder engine is an absolute ripper compared to the 2.2-litre four previously available. It accelerates quickly in all gears, and is especially eager from a standing start. Toyota’s numbers will tell you it reaches 100km/h from rest in 9.3 seconds, and we’ve no reason to argue. But Camry’s new found appeal is more than that.

Once the revs hit 1500rpm the engine responds quickly and decisively to throttle prods. Revs climb quickly and the Camry lunges forward. The four cylinder Camry is far from a performance rocket ship, but the gear ratios are well spread to keep the engine on song as much as possible. The gear lever action is very bitty, often grabby, and takes some of the shine of the straight line strut as you fire forward.

Engines can often be a black art. The difference between building a truly great six cylinder engine, like Nissan, BMW and Alfa Romeo, and building a run of the mill one like Toyota has done is not something you can put on paper. Perhaps Toyota’s flat torque curve, which peaks at 4000rpm but has 90 percent on tap from barely off-idle, is the problem. Strong low-down torque is important because most of our driving is done in this range, but the downside is it saps any character or personality the engine may have otherwise had when you really rev it out.

That said, Camry’s V6 engine is never found wanting for in gear acceleration, happy to pull from as little as 2000rpm, and just as happy to spin at 4000rpm all day.

It’s in the corners that Camry has grown up – big time. Toyota’s chassis and suspension blokes have done a remarkable job and this Camry is a world apart from the old one.

Mid corner stance is impressively flat and stable, firmer dampers and springs fitted to the all-independent suspension by Toyota do the job brilliantly. And with good mid-corner body control comes the ability to adjust the car’s line to exactly where the driver wants it. Front drive cars can often fight this as the same two wheels have to not only withstand the driving force of the engine, but also the cornering force applied by the steering.

Camry doesn’t care, it simply gets down to business and flies through the corner, providing you’re realistic with the throttle. Get overly ambitious with your power request and the front wheels will spin, make no doubts about it – this is still a front drive car after all.

All Camry models get disc brakes front and rear, and during our time with the car, never had reason to question their abilities, apart from craving more feel through the pedal – in our opinion crucial with a sporty front drive car.

Toyota’s addressed a lot of areas in which previous Camrys were caught short, both dynamically and practically. It’s on-road manners are significantly better, and it’ll now barrel along a twisty road with a new found verve. It’s got a practical, useable cabin with plenty of room and benchmark quietness. It’s also competitively priced, especially with twin airbags and air conditioning standard across the range. For 80-90 percent of buyers that might be enough.

Camry’s good to drive but not quite a driver’s car, held back from that laurel largely because its four and six cylinder engines can really only be described as adequate. A sporty car should have character, should have power to burn, involve the driver seamlessly at every turn and make you feel better just to be in it.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Tone, Wolfe "The Camry Whats It Like." The Camry Whats It Like. 25 Jun. 2010. 28 Dec 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Tone, W (2010, June 25). The Camry Whats It Like. Retrieved December 28, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Tone, Wolfe "The Camry Whats It Like"

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