Camry? Was not that a big Toyota, which is no longer offered? Almost right. The big sedan is back after 15-year abstinence. With economical hybrid drive, plenty of space and quite attractive prices. Above all, a very specific target group is being driven in Germany.
You may not believe it, but we know someone who bought the new Camry. This is worth mentioning because you rarely see the big Toyota sedan in this country. Too overwhelming is the German competition in this league, and who does not grow A6, 5er or the E-Class, which changes even more to Volvo the Jaguar. In addition, the Camry has a peculiarity that can be perceived as a strength or even as a competitive disadvantage depending on the view: it exists, at least in Europe only with hybrid drive.
Now Toyota yes Hybrid, the Japanese propagate and build the combination of gasoline - here a 2,5-liter four-cylinder with 131 kW / 177 PS - and electric motor (here: 88 kW / 120 PS) since the middle of the 90er years. In Camry you can see this experience on every meter. The system works flawlessly and efficiently. Incidentally, you can not simply add the two PS values, the system performance is 160 kW / 218 PS. More importantly, both engines jointly provide up to 400 Newton meters of torque.
The outstanding result of this sophisticated technology is already appropriate: We moved the four-door over the test period with an average of 5,9 liters per 100 kilometers, just 0,6 liters above the WLTP standard. And we're talking about a 4,90 meter long 1,6 ton car. Closer to the norm, apart from compact diesel vehicles, we did not have a model in reality, let alone one of the upper middle class.
The fact that consumption is so low is also due to the downside of this system; Driving pleasure in the true sense does not want to arise in the Japanese. You always notice the five-seater, that it is trimmed on the one hand on low consumption and on the other hand was not designed for Europe. Its market is on the other side of the Atlantic, where Toyota sometimes loosely sells 700.000's limousine each year. For the whole of Europe, the largest Japanese automaker calculates with modest 12.000 units, in Germany, one would look forward to a sales of annually 500 copies. But after all, there is the Camry now to buy again, Toyota had not offered the model since 2004 in Europe.
Hybrid driving pleasure
Back to driving pleasure: The fact that this can not be in the foreground, is also due to the so-called "planetary gear" of the vehicle, a kind of continuously variable transmission, which is also known from other Toyota hybrids. If you want to overtake quickly on a highway and courageously takes the accelerator pedal, you experience the well-known effect: the speed increases we desired, the vehicle accelerates but initially far from what the volume of the roaring unit wants to fool. Because this is unpleasant, the driver usually renounces such jokes, which in turn leads to a relaxed driving style. And that, of course, also contributes to low consumption and low blood pressure. Probably the developers wanted to achieve exactly that.
Fun aside: Who buys a hybrid should already know what he gets. For sporty drivers this is nothing, especially as the Toyota hybrid all abrue at 180 km / h. One may quite somehow find sympathetic. In any case, it hardly bothers, because the soft, "American" vote in the Camry seduces anyway more to leisurely driving.
The hybrid can be argued so, ultimately, the matter of opinion and should depend on the driving preferences of the pilot. But you can not argue about the old with seven inches and a pixilated display and a partly stunningly awkward operation. Thus, the Toyota engineers have not managed to disguise the running power of the lady during a Navi announcement. No, it is always only the radio can be regulated. If you want to hear the instructions to the target point louder (or quieter), you must always go to the menu. Which argument could be used for this kind of most cumbersome operation in the field, opens up to us even after much thought.
We were told at Toyota that a target group in Germany could be taxi drivers. Why not? The Camry offers plenty of space in the back and a rather large trunk with 524 liters. In addition, he appears in material appearance, sitting and processing significantly higher quality than about a Prius, the one in large cities such as Berlin or Cologne quite often encountered as sometimes even relatively worn taxi. Toyota also promises that in everyday life despite the small nickel-metal hydride battery up to 50 percent of driving can be covered electrically. It was not that far from us. But maybe that's different in a taxi. We have not sat in any Camry taxi yet, at the next opportunity we will catch up and ask the driver. Incidentally, the taxi package costs 1.770 Euro extra.
For those who prefer restrained driving and love soft ride comfort, the spacious and optically not unpleasant hybrid could be a recommendation. Just under 40.000 Euro Toyota demands for the Camry in the business version, which has all but a navi and LED headlights really important on board. Even leather seats with heating. Missing we have actually only a head-up display that you can expect in this class today, at least for an extra charge actually. Navi, LED and much more can be found in the higher executive equipment for just 42.400 Euro. But that's just the list prices: Since the Camry in Germany is anything but a self-runner, you can negotiate rich discounts at the dealer and press the real price significantly. Our friend, just that Camry driver, called us a percentage discount that we dare not even communicate here. So, maybe you'll see a Camry on Germany's streets sooner or later.
Toyota Camry Hybrid - Specifications
Four-door, five-seat sedan of the upper middle class, length: 4,89 meters, width 1,84 meters, height: 1,45 meters. Wheelbase: 2,83 meter, trunk volume: 524 liters
2,5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine, 131 kW / 177 PS, maximum torque: 221 Nm at 3.600 to 5.200 rpm, electric motor: 88 kW / 120 PS, torque: 202 Nm, system performance: 160 kW / 218 PS, planetary gear with six virtual shift speeds, Vmax: 180 km / h (decelerated), 0-100 km / h: 8,3 s, average fuel consumption: 4,3 l / 100 km (NEDC) / 5,3 l / 100 km (WLTP), CO2 output: 98 / 119 g / km, emission standard EU 6d-temp, efficiency class A +, test consumption: 5,9 liters / 100 kilometers
Basic price: 39.990 Euro
Why: sovereign hybrid system, low consumption, plenty of space, cheaper (real) price
Why not: only one engine, low Vmax, Infotainment / Navi system of this class not appropriate, small screen, cumbersome operation
What else: Lexus GS Hybrid, otherwise: E-Class, A6 or 5er