All right at the back, calm down. On the face of it, the latest generation Camry doesn’t seem like the most obvious crankandpiston car. But trust us, it’s important. This is one of Toyota’s best-selling cars in the Middle East, and lots of people you know will buy, rent or lease one. They’re set to be a common sight on our roads, and many of you may even be tempted to try one yourselves, lured by the promise of plenty of tech and Toyota’s legendary reliability for a very reasonable price – the new Camry starts at just $23,414.
This is the seventh generation of a model that first appeared way back in 1982 and has become a staple of the region. Its ability to munch miles in comfort and with little fear of breaking down means it’s sold well in the Middle East, and been a great success with taxi fleets.
Our new model is more well appointed than a traditional cab though. This is the SE+ model, which sits at the top of the range alongside the Sport model which, as the name suggests, is more sporty. Unfortunately, one of those wasn’t available, so we’ve gone with the softer but more luxurious option. As with the rest of the range, this comes with a 2.5l, four-cylinder engine powering the front wheels through a six-speed automatic gearbox. Said lump makes 181bhp, which should give it a decent turn of speed.
So, what do we get for our $27,498-worth of Japanese saloon? Our new arrival is dressed in silver paint, with 16″ alloy wheels clad in Yokohama dB Decibel E70s, designed to run quieter than more traditional tyres. The overall visual impression, from the outside, is pleasant – the design language is more dynamic than the previous Camry, although it’s not what you’d call sporty in its looks. Some 17/18″ alloys and a lower stance would do it some serious stance favours.
Inside, the interior is cream, with pretty much all the kit available. We’ve got a touchscreen sat nav unit, which includes a nifty feature that lays virtual breadcrumbs on the map to show where you’ve been. I’ve yet to use this for anything practical, but it’s been fun figuring out where I’ve been in town and how often I cover the same ground.
The sat nav unit is part of an overall infotainment system that also incorporates a Bluetooth hands-free phone connection that can take music from my iPhone wirelessly. Which is great news – no more faffing about looking for appropriate wires. All of this is controlled either by the screen or by the myriad buttons adorning the steering wheel.