Toyota has trumped the bold new styling for its 2015 Camry with aggressive prices that have not been seen on Australia's best-selling mid-size car since last century.
Camry's latest upgrade is far more extensive than usual with a sweeping redesign from bumper to bumper and the arrival of a dynamic Australian-developed sports version produced exclusively for local customers.
New-look Camry is also available for the first time with a suite of potentially life-saving technologies, including a pre-collision safety system designed to help avoid an accident or reduce the severity of an impact*.
The scope of Camry's transformation extends emphatically to the bottom line with customers paying up to $5,000 less compared with the equivalent car in the superseded range.
Prices start at $26,490# for petrol variants, which is the cheapest launch price on an automatic Camry in at least 18 years - even though today's car is three generations newer and has significantly expanded safety, comfort and convenience features.
Even more aggressive is Toyota's value-focused drive-away strategy on all grades - adding just $2,500 to cover all on-road costs including dealer delivery and, where specified, optional paint (usually $450).
Camry's hybrid-powered line-up has never been more accessible with the entry price tumbling to a remarkable $30,490# - a figure that includes additional equipment over its petrol equivalent.
Toyota Australia's senior executive director sales and marketing Tony Cramb said designers and engineers had injected Camry with more passion and greater emotional appeal by crafting a more vibrant and compelling outline.
"This is the boldest-looking Camry yet - and even bolder is the commitment we have made to Australian car buyers by dialling up Camry's appeal and features while going 'back to the future' with last-century pricing," Mr Cramb said.
"The price for today's petrol Camry Altise is just $90 more than its equivalent launched 18 years ago in 1997, the automatic Camry CSi - a vehicle without features that are now standard such as seven airbags, vehicle stability control, anti-skid brakes, a reversing camera and touch-screen audio display.
"Equally significant is that Camry is now available in two guises for drivers with distinctly different tastes: the well-known Camry that is more comfortable and capable than ever and a true sports version that brings to life the fundamental excitement of driving a car."
More than 800 parts in the updated Camry have been changed or re-engineered. Every exterior panel except the roof has been redesigned, creating a more expressive and athletic appearance with prominent character lines.
The hybrid model line-up has been expanded from two to three variants. Camry Altise, Atara S and Atara SL are available with 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol or hybrid petrol-electric drivetrains. Atara SX is a standalone sports model powered by the petrol engine.
The dynamic SX package, conceived and executed by Toyota's Australian-based engineers, elevates the car's handling to create the most agile and responsive Camry yet.
Immediately obvious are its brawny black five-spoke alloys - the first 18-inch wheels offered on a Camry in Australia - and wide low-profile tyres. A new sports suspension provides impressive body control and ride comfort simultaneously while a revised electric power steering system comes with a faster gear ratio for a more connected driving feel.
Camry's global chief engineer Masato Katsumata praised the work of the Australian engineers who developed the 18-inch sports package, which is also optional on Atara SL with silver-coloured wheels.
"It is amazing that this Aussie know-how makes Camry much more fun to drive - what we call 'waku-doki' - without affecting the ride comfort expected in a Camry," Mr Katsumata said. "This is a Camry that will be sought by people who want a true driver's car."
The decision to adopt more emotional styling and greater driving enjoyment confirms Toyota's commitment to Camry, which is now in its 22nd straight year as Australia's best-selling mid-size car.
Camry now exhibits a far more confident style with its aggressive-looking front bumper and grille, pronounced side character lines and low-profile headlamps and LED daytime running lamps.
Interiors are more refined than ever with freshened upholstery and new three-spoke steering wheels across the range. Revised instruments and an upgraded multi-information display on all hybrids and the petrol Atara SL incorporate two-dial Optitron meters separated by a full-colour 4.2-inch thin-film transistor multi-information display. The display's colour animation conveys a wide range of vehicle functions and coordinates with the multimedia system to display audio, navigation, warnings and communications.
While the standout achievement of the Australian engineering effort was the sports version, their input and evaluation played a vital role in ensuring every Camry is suited to local customer preferences and the rigours of Australian conditions.
Every Camry now exhibits smoother take-off, turning and deceleration on slippery roads and greater straight-line stability, particularly on rough roads, thanks to the decision by the local team to adopt a preload differential across the range.
Camry's five-star safety rating is supported by standard fitment of seven airbags, a reversing camera, vehicle stability and traction control, and anti-skid brakes with brake assist and electronic brakeforce distribution.
For the first time, uniquely styled alloy wheels distinguish each grade - 10-spoke 16-inch rims for Altise, 10-spoke 17-inch for Atara S, 15-spoke 17-inch for Atara SL and the 18-inch wheels for Atara SX (optional on Atara SL).
Altise hybrid has keyless entry and ignition and auto dual-zone air-conditioning. From Atara S upwards, all variants adopt these features as well as a power-adjustable driver's seat, leather-accented steering wheel and two rear parking sensors. Toyota Link connected mobility apps^ will be expanded later this month to provide access to Pandora internet radio.
All Atara petrol grades employ paddle gear-shifters mounted on the steering wheel and dual exhausts. Atara SX's sporty nature is further highlighted by its sports mesh grille, rear lip spoiler, leather-accented sports seats and dark diffuser on the rear bumper.
In a first for Camry, Atara SL is equipped with radar sensors and a windscreen-mounted camera that are at the heart of advanced safety technologies: the pre-collision safety system, active cruise control, lane departure alert and rear cross traffic alert. Its other features that contribute to safety and convenience include automatic high beam, rain-sensing wipers and blind-spot monitor.
The range-topping variants also offer leather-accented power-adjustable front seats with a memory function, premium audio with a seven-inch screen, satellite navigation** and front clearance sensors. Petrol Atara SL has a rear-lip spoiler.
A tilt-and-slide moonroof is optional for Atara SX and SL. Two new exterior colours are offered, Indigo (deep blue) and Ocean Mist (pale blue).
Powerful and efficient powertrains start with the 2.5-litre petrol engine that develops 133kW mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Dual exhausts on petrol Atara models result in slightly higher output. Fuel use is just 7.8 litres/100km##.
Hybrid variants develop a maximum 151kW from the combination of the petrol engine, 105kW electric drive motor and electronic continuously variable transmission, sipping just 5.2 litres/100km## - a figure typical of a much smaller and less powerful car.
The upgraded Camry is covered by Toyota Service Advantage^^ with up to five standard scheduled services at $140 each during the first four years or 75,000km (whichever occurs first).