There is no doubt that when you get your hands on a Toyota you’ve got a winner.
Not only are they the No1 on the production list worldwide they regarded as the best at putting things right should something go wrong, rare that ever happens. Compare that to European manufacturers who tend to hide behind red tape.
Back on the British roads after a 15 year absence is the Toyota Camry, one of the best saloon cars around and what a pleasure to welcome it back.
It’s big business around the world and almost 20 million of them have been built since it was first launched in 1982. But because there was never a diesel model it has not been the car of a choice for UK drivers, while the Americans, who love their saloons to bits bought 400,000 last year.
But with diesels now on the hate list thanks to the government insistence the Camry is ready to come back in fashion with its hybrid-petrol engine which is quite brilliant.
There are two models to choose from – Design or Excel. Both have the same 2.5-litre petrol-electric hybrid engine with a CVT gearbox, which is first class and the power is a useful 215bhp. Acceleration at 0-62mph takes just over eight seconds and there is a top speed of 112mph. You will be looking to get at least 50 miles to the gallon.
The engine produces 215bhp at 5,700rpm, along with 221Nm of torque and it is a quiet outing with good performance generally.
CO2 emissions are low at 98g/km, which means first-year road tax is reasonable and there is low company car tax costs. Toyota thinks that 80 per cent of Camry models will be driven by fleet users. A BiK rate of 23% applies. The insurance group is 31.
The Camry has the same basic build architecture as used in the Prius, RAV4, Corolla and the Lexus ES and the Camry does the business properly with the chassis, engine and electric motor working well together. You never need have to rev the engine too hard –and the car is punchy enough for everyday driving. Steering is practically perfect and the suspension handles the British roads as good as any manufacturer.
There is a sport mode as well as the normal and eco versions.
Design models get bags of standard equipment, including leather upholstery and almost every gadget you could need, including adaptive cruise control, sat-nav and front and rear parking sensors. Excel trim adds cross-traffic alert, blind spot monitoring, wireless phone charging and an electrically adjustable steering wheel and for those extras you will need another £1,300 giving you around a £30,0000 total price.
While the Camry only comes as a saloon the experts reckon that it will keep 45 per cent of its value over three years and 36,000 miles and being Japanese it will be reliable up to and after 10 years!
Only available as a saloon limits versatility slightly but overall space for both passengers and luggage is pretty impressive. The Camry has a large load area has 524 litres and the boot is nicely shaped and the rear seats fold with a 60/40 split. But cabin storage is not great in the way of cubby holes.
The high driving position gives you a decent view and there is a standard parking camera, all-round parking sensors and a large glasshouse make parking easier than you might expect.