2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-27 05:39
In Germany, Toyota has not had a wheel on the floor with its mid-range Camry. With the new hybrid drive, the eighth generation will now primarily attract taxi and fleet drivers.
With sales of more than 19 million million since 1982, the Toyota Camry is one of the bestsellers almost everywhere in the world. Only in Europe and especially against the German phalanx of Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class, or even VW Passat or Skoda Superb, the mid-range sedan could never prevail.
Only with a V6 petrol engine and no station wagon variant, Toyota's top model fell by the wayside and disappeared from the European market in 2004. Now it's back. After 15 years, the eighth generation Camry will return to local dealers on April 26th.
New full hybrid drive
The Japanese think times have changed. The diesel crisis as well as the increasing acceptance and penetration of hybrid drives could finally help your misunderstood world bestseller to break through. For this they have given the 4.89 meter long sedan a new full hybrid drive. The petrol-electric hybrid consists of a 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 177 hp and an electric motor with 120 hp. According to Toyota technology, it makes a total of 218 hp system output, with which the four-door car sprints from zero to 100 km / h in 8.3 seconds. The top speed is electronically limited to 180 km / h.
Of course, big or even sporty jumps cannot be achieved with it. In return, the new Camry demonstrated its cultivated run and high long-distance comfort on our test drives overland and on fast motorway stretches. Even the continuously variable automatic transmission, which the Japanese were unwaveringly used, shifts noticeably more harmoniously and calmly than with its brother Prius due to the larger gasoline engine.
Its notorious rubber band effect can still be lured out in the Camry with an accelerator pedal kickdown or increased acceleration on the mountain. But as unwilling as it sounds, its use under these conditions is just as inappropriate.
Fantastic real consumption
The Camry, like the Prius, shows its true strengths in the stop-and-go of the urban bustle and in short-distance traffic. Although the so-called power-split hybrid seldom drives purely electrically, the automated use of the electric motor at low speeds results in fantastic real consumption.
The Camry also scores here - as long as it moves in urban conurbations and is not chased on the highway. After about 200 kilometers of forced drive overland and a lot of stop-and-go in the city, our on-board computer showed an average of 5.3 liters, which was exactly one liter more than the specified standard consumption, but exactly with the new, more realistic WLTP Standard value matched. A proud figure for a full-fledged almost five-meter sedan.
New star in the taxi sky
And that brings us to the customers that Toyota has particularly targeted: the taxi drivers. In Berlin, for example, Toyota proudly announces, one in four cab owners is already behind a hybrid steering wheel, preferably in the Prius and Prius Plus. But also in Hamburg, Munich and the Ruhr area, the Japanese are increasingly competing with the classic cab diesel with their hybrid drive.
The only drawback: the passengers in the models with a star on the hood sit better than in the Toyota. Here the Camry is supposed to catch up and become “the new star in taxi heaven”, as the business customer manager of the German importer, Mario Köhler, confidently puts it. It has enough space and spaciousness for it. In the back seats, passengers will find plenty of leg and knee room. And the leather upholstery makes an impression that is as comfortable as it is elegant. And the generously sized trunk with its decent 524 liters also hauls family luggage to the airport.
But the taxi chauffeur will also feel at home in view of his elegantly designed workplace and the lavish furnishings. Even the basic “Business” version for 39,990 euros includes automatic air conditioning, 17-inch aluminum rims, electrically adjustable and heated leather seats, an infotainment system with a 7-inch touchscreen including a reversing camera and USB interface, and Toyota's Safety Sense package To have collision warning, pedestrian and traffic sign recognition, distance cruise control, high beam and lane departure warning.
For 2400 euros more, the “Executive” edition also has LED headlights, an 8-inch monitor including a navigation system, reversing and lane-keeping assistant with steering intervention and 18-inch aluminum. In these versions, the Japanese tend to see company and fleet drivers, if not exactly the kilometer-guzzling commercial traveler.
Despite the new strategy and targeted increase in customers, the Japanese are not counting on too large quantities of this Camry generation either. Toyota has only planned 12,000 vehicles for the first year - for all of Europe. In the rest of the world they sell 700,000 Camrys a year.
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