The all-new Toyota Camry 2019 is no more an ‘uncle’s car’ – with a new sleek shape built on a totally new platform, the Camry certainly looks more appealing than its predecessor. It has grown ‘younger’ yet retains an elegant look as a worthy executive car. Perhaps the new dimensions also help, as it has a 2,825mm wheelbase that is 50mm longer than the outgoing model, and an overall length of 4,885 mm, which is 35 mm longer, wider by 15mm at 1,840mm, and sits lower by 25mm, at 1,445mm.
The Toyota DNA is very strong, but the front end looks neater with this new interpretation. Everything fits and blends in nicely, making it look trendy without being garish. The side silhouette looks sleek, with coupe-like lines, and accent lines in the right places that prevent the sides from looking boring. The back end is very ‘continental’. I like the overall package, with its LED headlights, LED DRLs and the LED Taillights. 18-inch alloy wheels with 235/45 R 18 low profile tyres also help the Camry look pleasing to the eye.
The Camry we tested is the 2.5 litre variant, priced at RM189,900 (OTR without insurance). The 2AR-FE four cylinder engine develops 184PS and 235Nm of torque. Drive is to the front wheels through a 6-speed automatic transmission.
Inside, leather seats are standard, and the driver gets a 8-way power seat, fore, aft, up, down and rake adjustments, plus lumbar support, while the front passenger does not get lumbar adjustments. Additionally, the front passenger seat rake and fore/aft movement can be adjusted by the rear passenger using a set of controls located on the side of the passenger seat. This set of switches is to allow the back passenger (the Boss) to get more leg room.
Steering is power-adjustable, and the Camry memorizes the last setting used – upon switching off, the steering retracts to ease egress and ingress, and when the engine is re-started, the power steering goes back to the last setting. There is an 8-inch touchscreen that includes a navigation system, a nine-speaker JBL system, and a 7-inch Multi-Info-Display, and tachometer and speedometer. A thoughtful feature is a heads-up display (HUD).
The parking brake is electronic, and another useful feature is AutoHold. Dual Zone air-conditioning is standard, with a rear vent. Sunshades are available for the rear side mirrors, (annual) while the rear shade is electrically operated.
Safety-wise, the Camry is up to the mark with Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Alert and Steering Assist, in addition to the usual stability and traction controls. Another useful feature is Dynamic Radar Cruise control, which can maintain distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you (above 40 km/h only). In addition to seven airbags, which includes a knee bag, there is Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
Perhaps the best single feature of the Camry is the ride and handling – built on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform, the Camry features Macpherson Strut suspension at the front, matched with Double Wishbone suspension at the rear. The result is a ride that is comfortable and befitting that of a premium sedan, yet when push comes to shove, it will tackle any corner superbly and without any fuss. We took the car up through some mountainous roads, and it performed surprisingly well – I would say that this set-up is possibly the best that I have experienced in a very long time.
The Camry’s 184 PS is not the best in its category, and some driving enthusiasts might hold that against Toyota, but for the majority of people who are likely to buy such an executive/family car, there is plenty of power, remembering that naturally aspirated engines do tend to be more durable, and of course, this is a Toyota.