Toyota Camry overview
As a global model, the Toyota Camry has been a massive success for the Japanese firm. However, while it's a big seller globally, especially in the USA where four-door saloons still sell well, it's not a common sight in Ireland. Buyers and manufacturers have switched their attention elsewhere, with most families either choosing smaller and more versatile hatchbacks or the latest SUVs.
Toyota is plugging away with the Camry, though, and the car has been subject to a round of updates for 2022. This includes a new grille with a chrome surround, revised taillights and new wheel designs, while inside Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now standard. Go for a top-spec Platinum model, as tested here, and there's a 360-degree camera system, a new nine-inch infotainment screen, heated and ventilated front seats and lane assist has been added to the suite of safety systems.
The Camry is one of two four-doors that it sells in Ireland, the other being the smaller Corolla saloon. Both cars feature hybrid drive, with the Camry using a 2.5-litre petrol and electric motor set-up that drives the front wheels. This is the same system that's used in the RAV4 SUV.
If you can stretch your budget to a Lexus ES, then it's one of the few alternatives to the Camry that's available. There aren't any other full hybrid saloons sold in Ireland, but cars such as the Mercedes E-Class and BMW 5 Series now come with mild-hybrid assistance. The only other hybrid models really offered are plug-ins, including the VW Passat GTE, Peugeot 508 Hybrid and Skoda Superb iV.
The Toyota Camry model range
Irish pricing for the Toyota Camry starts from €44,190, and the line-up is pretty straightforward. The only choice of drivetrain is the petrol-electric hybrid system with front-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox. That starting price is for the Sol model, while the only other trim level is the Platinum Edition, which starts from €47,470.
Sol models are pretty well equipped, with an upgraded Toyota Safety Sense 2 system fitted as standard. This includes forward collision alert with pedestrian and cyclist detection and autonomous emergency braking, lane departure alert with lane-keep assist and lane tracing, which is new for 2022. This keeps the Camry in the centre of its lane. There's also adaptive cruise control and road sign assist, while automatic high beam is also fitted.
Elsewhere, Sol models feature 17-inch alloy wheels, parking sensors front and rear, LED headlights, a rear camera, heated front seats, two-zone climate control and a seven-inch Toyota Touch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto now fitted.
Move up to the Platinum Edition, and the tech and luxury are upgraded. There are heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, 18-inch alloys, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, keyless entry, 360-degree cameras and an uprated infotainment system with a nine-inch display and navigation.
If you want to add options, your largely out of luck. You can choose from eight colours and black or beige leather trim, but aside from Toyota's accessories catalogue, that's all the extras that can be selected.
For the latest finance offers on the Camry, visit the Toyota Ireland website.
The Toyota Camry interior
While the Toyota Camry has been updated, the changes are subtle. It does look a little sharper on the outside, admittedly. Thankfully, the Camry's large dimensions mean that there's plenty of space in the cabin, and the car's build quality makes it feel like a premium product, with a level of luxury that's a match for the similar Lexus ES.
Space for four is generous, although it gets a bit tighter if you're planning on travelling three-up in the back of the Camry. Storage is good, too, with a big cubby space under the centre armrest between the front seats and decent, if not massive door pockets, too. Platinum models feature a wireless phone charger on the centre console, and handily this slides out of the way to reveal another storage space beneath.
The other benefit of the Camry's size is its generous boot. There's 524 litres on offer, while the back seats fold in a 60:40 split if you need more space. That saloon shape means loading larger items will be tricky, though, while the boot lid shuts with a clang, which detracts from the upmarket vibe that comes across from the rest of the car.
The Toyota Camry driving experience
If there's one thing that the Toyota Camry does well, it's travelling in comfort to back up the luxury feel of the interior. The combination of a big body, long wheelbase, soft suspension and relatively modest wheel and tyre sizes combine to deliver a masterclass in cruising comfort.
Toyota offer a Sport mode for the e-CVT automatic gearbox that also allows you to 'change gears' - in reality it just steps the response of the gearbox as you shift up and down - but the whole set-up seems like a waste of time. In reality, the standard hybrid set-up left to its own devices is perfectly adequate.
The system favours electric drive most of the time - even at motorway speeds - yet when the engine does fire up, it's not a harsh sound, like you might expect in hybrid Toyotas of old. Instead it just hums away in the distance, never really revving exceedingly high to disturb cabin comfort and helping to keep you isolated from the outside world. Of course, the other benefit of the hybrid system favouring electric drive is a boost to fuel efficiency: even with lots of motorway driving we managed a return of around 6.4 litres/100km.
Our verdict on the Toyota Camry
There was a time when the Toyota Camry was just one of many family saloons on offer to the public. Today, it's a niche choice, but it's a decent niche, because it's proof that you don't need an SUV to get a spacious and comfortable family car. If you aren't bothered about driving particularly quickly and want a comfortable, well-specced saloon, but don't care about or want a German premium model, then it's well worth considering. We get the feeling that while the Camry isn't a car that anyone will get excited about, it will be hugely satisfying to own.