- Interesting interior styling, good quality plastics
- Easy to find a good driving position
- Sat-nav system proves infuriating
Toyota’s not a brand with a legacy of cars displaying interior flair or squidgy, soft-touch plastics, but this has changed in recent years, with the Camry being the latest beneficiary.
If you’ve ever sat in a Mk1 Ford Focus then you’ll spot a similarity in the way the Camry’s centre console swoops down, housing a multitude of buttons and the multimedia touchscreen. That’s our main gripe with the cabin – or specifically the sat-nav system.
Thankfully it doesn’t employ the touchpad control used in all manner of Lexus models, but the screen tends to be slow to respond to finger prods, often resulting in a second poke just as the next menu appears, taking you further away from your intended selection.
Not only does this make the sat-nav itself tricky to use, the map graphics look like an old 8-bit video game and the system tends to zoom back out once you’ve passed a junction, without focusing back in when you get to the next one. If you’re driving somewhere unfamiliar this quickly becomes tiresome. Android Auto or Apple CarPlay? These could become part of the package for models sold from 2020.
Upmarket feel for the Camry interior
While the grades of plastic aren’t up to Lexus levels of quality, there are far more appealing than those recent Toyota drivers will have experienced, particularly those progressing from an Avensis. It’s all well-assembled, too.
That suite of buttons on the centre console is refreshing, too as the many of the functions other than the multimedia can be adjusted on the move once you’ve learned where they’re located. It’s got something of a high-end hi-fi look to it, with a lovely weighting to the rotary knobs.
Within the low-set binnacle the instrumentation is comprehensive and clear, if lacking much in the way of visual delight.
There’s plenty of electrical adjustment for the seat and wheel, ensuring a spot-on driving position, but there’s a welcome development with the cruise control. Gone is the archaic and awkward-to-use wand sprouting from the 4 o’clock position on the wheel itself, replaced by a much more satisfying circular button arrangement. No word yet on whether British buyers will be limited to 5mph adjustment increments…
- Roomy cabin can accommodate five
- Well-judged ride quality promotes comfort
- Hushed driving experience most of the time
Traditionally, large saloon buyers have sought comfort above almost all every other consideration and despite the Camry’s engineers promoting its handling virtues, it remains a pliant, pleasant car in which to travel, feeling stable at higher speeds and dealing adeptly with road imperfections at lower ones.
Space-wise it’s generously proportioned inside, with ample space for four, while accommodating a fifth passenger in the central rear seat won’t prove challenging. Taller teens and adults may find the slope of the roof impinges upon headroom in the back, but there’s ample shoulder- and legroom front and rear.
Three-zone climate control, with separate controls for the rear bench further promote a sense of wellbeing, but UK market cars do without the additional control module located within the centre armrest, a feature more commonly seen on luxury cars.
Aside from the engine noise caused by the way the Camry’s transmission works, Toyota has engineered a quiet car, albeit less good at isolating external noises than the closely related Lexus ES. Around town in EV mode it’s impressively hushed, but at motorway speeds you’re more aware of air rushing around the tops of the door frames and roar from the tyres, particularly on abrasive road surfaces.