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View all Toyota Camry reviews
Parkers overall rating: 3.9 out of 5 3.9

An appealing, leftfield cost-effective big saloon

Toyota Camry Saloon (19 on) - rated 3.9 out of 5
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PROS

  • Efficient hybrid powertrain
  • High levels of build quality
  • Thoroughly equipped
  • Fine body control and comfort

CONS

  • Infuriating multimedia system
  • Pricey to buy, if not to run
  • Driving experience is unlikely to excite
  • Dwindling interest in four-door saloons

PROS

  • Efficient hybrid powertrain
  • High levels of build quality
  • Thoroughly equipped
  • Fine body control and comfort

CONS

  • Infuriating multimedia system
  • Pricey to buy, if not to run
  • Driving experience is unlikely to excite
  • Dwindling interest in four-door saloons

Toyota Camry Saloon rivals

After a 15-year hiatus during which British buyers have been denied two generations of model, 2019 sees the return of the Toyota Camry nameplate, once again adorning a large four-door saloon body in what’s becoming a declining corner of the market.

So why bring back a model that may be a big seller in other parts of the world – North America in particular, we’re looking at you – yet barely registered more than a blip on the sales charts the last time it was offered here?

Who will the Toyota Camry appeal to?

Toyota cites two reasons. Since the Avensis range was discontinued at the end of 2018, the Japanese brand has been without a large saloon range. Although it’s a shrinking market, demand is still strong enough to justify some sales – Toyota is initially importing 500 Camrys to mop-up disgruntled Avensis buyers who don’t want to downsize to the Corolla. Importing the global Camry is also significantly less expensive than developing a Euro-centric Avensis.

Toyota Camry Saloon side elevation

As such, the Camry’s natural rivals are economy focused versions of the Ford Mondeo, Skoda Superb, Vauxhall Insignia and Volkswagen Passat.

More important is the CO2 output-conscious fleet market, which Toyota expects to account for 80% of Camry sales. While a fleet may only comprise of a couple of hybrid Camrys, it gets Toyota onto consideration lists that the old Avensis was excluded from – even if people eventually opt for another model such as a C-HR or RAV4, the Camry’s been a door-opener.

What is the Toyota Camry based on?

Virtually every new Toyota – and Lexus – passenger car is based on a version of the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) scalable platform that will eventually underpin models all the way down to the next-generation Aygo city car.

The Camry uses TNGA-K, which is similar, but not identical, to the configuration employed by the Lexus ES range, although the Toyota is a shade shorter, taller and devised to feel less sporty.

That said, every TNGA-based Toyota we’ve driven has displayed well-judged handling with fine body control and the Camry’s no exception. It’s not going to excite a driver in the way its development engineers hope, but its lightyears ahead of the snoozefest that was the Avensis.

Hybrid-only powertrain for the Toyota Camry

At the heart of the Camry is a petrol-electric hybrid powertrain – petrol-only versions won’t be sold and Toyota’s already set out its commitment to ditch diesels in all but the hardcore Land Cruiser SUV range and its commercial vehicle line-up.

Under the bonnet is a torquey 2.5-litre petrol engine with a compact electric motor attached to it – the battery pack is housed under the rear seat. Together they produce 218hp and sufficient pulling power for a swift 8.3-second 0-62mph time.

It’s efficiency where the Camry excels, though, offering up to a claimed average of 53.3mpg and CO2 emissions of just 98g/km on models equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels.

Auto Glide Control (AGC) allows the engine to be shut off when the driver’s not demanding accelerative force from it, ensuring that the Camry runs in EV mode for longer bursts of time, particularly noticeable when driving almost silently in urban environments.

Which trim levels does the Toyota Camry come in?

Just two grades of specification make up an ultra-simple Camry line-up, with Toyota expecting the entry-level Design trim to account for 76% of sales, the Excel to soak-up the remainder.

Toyota Camry Saloon Hybrid badge

Not that the Camry Design is a poverty-spec special by any stretch of the imagination coming with standard metallic paint, leather interior, LED headlamps, keyless entry and starting, electrically adjustable and heated front seats, plus Toyota comprehensive Safety Sense package.

Excel versions add 18-inch alloy wheels (pushing CO2 output to 101g/km), projector LED headlamps, a wireless smartphone charging pad and a couple of other niceties.

How practical is the Toyota Camry?

Four-door saloons inherently aren’t the most flexible of bodystyles, but the passenger cabin will comfortably accommodate four adults and five is unlikely to prove to be much of a squeeze. Legroom in particular is generous front and rear.

Boot space is generous at 524 litres, plus the rear seats fold over to increase carrying capacity, but ultimately its practicality is compromised by having a bootlid rather than a tailgate – the opening of which is rather restrictive.

Toyota Camry Saloon rivals