Toyota Camry is no stranger in the D-segment sedan category. It has been one of the longest running and best selling D-segments in the highly competitive market around the world due to its good reliability, quality and comfort. In Malaysia, the Camry is still selling like hot cake despite the Koreans (Kia and Hyundai I mean, not K-Pop) are gaining popularity. Everything happens for reasons.
Those who never drove or sat in a Camry will find that it is as plain as a white A4 size paper. Unadventurous design and certainly not as curvy as its competitors. It does have some road presence, however, which appeals to family man who needs space for his family and travel in class.
Those who did will find the Camry is something which, like they say, more than meets the eye. A cabin with great built and quality will greet you when you enter the Camry. Everything felt right and classy, and wouldn't disappoint your father and mother-in-law when you are fetching them, knowing their daughter is in good hands.
Here comes my favourite part of the Camry. Sorry, it's not about the comfort nor refinement, but it's the instrument panel. Don't get me wrong, Camry has one of the best comfort and refinement around, but like I said, those who are familiar with a Camry wouldn't find this intrigued. Starting the engine will reveal an Optitron instrument panel which glows from dim to bright. This really gave me a sense of classiness and luxury and I'm glad that Toyota put some efforts in designing the instrument panel, which is very important since it's the first thing the driver will look at when they starts the engine.
The one I drove was the facelifted Camry 2.4V variant which tick every box on the equipment list. It has a VVT-i powerplant which churns out 167PS and 224Nm of torque, which I can say the power output is more than enough for the Camry to take on the highway's right lane proudly. Toyota Camry is not a car for spirited driving, where its steering is light but predictable. Body roll was apparent but well controlled when taking the car into a corner at high speed.
However, Toyota Camry has always been a serious contender when it comes to comfort, refinement and smoothness of the car, and glad to tell you that it got better and better after each generation of Camry. Its only contender which comes close to what the Camry offer is the Nissan Teana, which even triumphed Camry in terms of smoothness thanks to its CVT gearbox and smooth engine.
Without any surprise that the Camry isolated noises well and suppressed road imperfection almost perfectly (unless it's a magic carpet, right?). Sitting at the back makes you feel like a 'lou sai', or 'boss' in English. Abundant of space for you to move around (thanks to the absense of the transmission tunnel too) and best of all, buttons at the side the front passenger seat so that you can adjust the seat forward when it's hampering you from enjoying your comfortable journey. Something worth mentioning are the plasmacluster air-conditioning and perforated leather seat, they are there to make you enjoy in your long trips.
At the end of the day, people will continue to purchase a Camry thanks to its reputation and comfort. The all-new, 7th generation Toyota Camry is on its way to Malaysia, probably sometime from mid to the end of 2012. Buying a good all-rounder like the Camry will never go wrong.
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