The new Toyota Camry range will go on sale in New Zealand early next year, fresh for the first time in three decades from the factory in Japan instead of Australia.
Since the 1980s, NZ-spec Camrys have been built at Toyota Australia’s factory near Melbourne. But the plant was shut down last month, weeks after Holden and a year after Ford closed their car-making operations.
Toyota NZ is typically keeping details of the eighth-generation model to itself until nearer the launch, but its product general manager Spencer Morris said Camry is a “totally new car from bumper to bumper.”
For starters, it is built on the TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) platform, said to have made the new car stronger by 30 per cent. The flexible structure also underpins the smaller C-HR and Prius.
Camry has already earned a maximum five-star crash safety rating from ANCAP. Toyota’s head office in Japan says TNGA “enables greater freedom in design … a better driving position and improved dynamics due to its lower centre of gravity and greater torsional rigidity.”
There are suspension changes to improve dynamics: redesigned MacPherson struts up front and a new double-wishbone arrangement replacing struts at the rear. The C-HR rides on a similar set-up.
The look of Camry is more athletic and better proportioned. It rides lower by 25mm overall and has a 50mm-longer wheelbase. Alloys are either 17- or 19-inch. There are LED headlights.
A couple of the powertrains are new, too. The current 2.5-litre four-cylinder and its six-speed ‘auto box remains largely unchanged, but there’s a redesigned hybrid four-cylinder and a V6 for the Aurion.
The hybrid reportedly delivers 131kW/221Nm from the direct-injection engine and 88kW/202Nm from the electric motor. Total output is said to be 160kW to the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission.
The direct-injection 3.5-litre V6 in the Aurion delivers its 224kW/362Nm via an eight-speed automatic. The current Aurion uses a six-speed auto’.
The Camry’s cabin comes with more technical gear and improved materials. For example, there’s a 10-inch heads-up display, a choice of drive modes, and a panoramic roof. Safety aids include a pre-collision warning and auto emergency braking.
• Toyota has sold more than 19 million Camry models worldwide. Toyota NZ has sold 53,996 Camrys and 5082 Aurions.