Things had almost come to a point where car buyers had to be bold to buy the Toyota Camry. Self-proclaimed aficionados couldn’t utter the five-letter word without disfiguring their mouths with a derisive smirk. That is because no one likes five-letter words that are synonymous with ‘boringly value-for-money’, tediously enduring and functionally mobile.
Before I tell you about the 2016 Toyota Camry – widely known as the bold new Camry – I should keep you seated by assuring you that you won’t have to drive Dubai’s favourite taxi this time around – at least for sometime. The new Camry is not going to be available for corporate and Taxi fleets for a year. And eventually, when you pass by a Dubai Taxi that looks like yours, seriously, you won’t mind. Because, there has been no other Camry in decades that can get almost everyone nodding to its good looks.
The 2016 Camry with its masquerade ball rear lamps and subtle spoiler resembles the new Avalon and with its concave grille and cascading mesh below, it takes cues from the Lexus – and that too, the sporty new RC. Now, if someone says the new Camry looks like the new Lexus, you aren’t going to sue them for it, are you?
The engine is the same but the drive isn’t quite. 181 hp leaves the car powerfully self-sufficient with what Toyota claims to be the most fuel-efficient engine in its category. In his opening speech Jon Williams, the Managing Director of Al Futtaim Toyota, highlighted the silent cabin. The subdued “drarl” (yes, that’s something I just invented to describe the gentle retroflex flutter of the 2.5 L four-pot.) and the noise-sealed ambience make the Camry cabin a good place to ride in. The fabric seats with the leather bolsters and sides also play their part well.
The new Camry is being imported from Australia like the previous models; except the top of the line variant. That one comes straight from their Kentucky plant in the US. And at AED 105,900, fries and frills are included. Read sunroof, navigation, rear view camera, parking sensors and 17” alloy wheels, leather and Alcantara seats and even 10 JBL speakers. Now what does the American source add to the drive? Precisely 3 horsepower and 4 newton metres of torque extra from the 2.5 L four pot! (The lower trim levels have 178 hp)
Some trivia to go with the occasion: Toyota Camry sold 332 cars in 1992, the first year of its launch in the UAE. The next year, it increased by five times.
The Toyota Camry in recent years is used to having four trim levels in its line up. Of which I have wondered how the one named Sport earned its name. The 2016 Camry too has four variants. While there is none named Sport, all of them could be called just that! The sporty looks and impressive handling are expected to woo many youngsters away from giving into peer pressures of disparagement. Yet this could also alienate some who think the bold new Camry looks too sporty and aggressive to front-end the character and values the Camry stood for.
But then, I think it’s only a matter of a second glance, or may be a third. After all, how sporty were several Lexus or Infiniti models when they flaunted their new large lower grilles? Agreed, for most model launches ‘sport’ was just a variant. As for the bold new Camry, it has been made integral to the redefined character.
The Camry is new; and Toyota bold.
PRICE: The Camry 2016 prices start at AED 83,900 for the S variant and AED 87,900 and AED 95,900 for the SE and SE+ respectively. The car is also available with a 30,000 km service package for an extra AED 3000.
Now, here is my exit line to those who are believers in the Camry, and those perpetual skeptics of the world’s largest selling mid size car. This is the best handling, best looking Camry of the century. Take it; or Try it.