EVEN before the Sales and Finance Manager at Wonthaggi Toyota, Justin Gitz, took the steering wheel of the all-new Toyota Camry Atara SL last week, he could tell they were on a winner.
He rates the final Aussie built Camry the best in a long line of highly successful models and has invited locals to call him to arrange their own test drive when the car is launched later this week.
“The styling is completely different. Every panel, except the roof has been re-engineered.
“It’s fantastic; quiet, smooth, responsive; a really lovely car,” he said this week.
Justin is one of a select few from around Australia to have already driven the new Camry, which isn’t officially released until Thursday, but he’ll have a selection of the cars on the showroom floor as soon as they’re out.
Last week he headed down to Flemington racecourse to attend a special drive day and was delighted with what he saw and experienced.
“I had the opportunity to drive the Camry Hybrid Altise and the top of the range, the Atara SL. They were both very impressive.”
The Hybrid is a personal favourite of Justin’s, after driving one backwards and forwards to Melbourne from Phillip Island for a number of years.
“I used to drive one from Cowes to Heidelberg for work every day and there was absolutely no comparison for comfort and efficiency.
“I filled it up at the start of the week for $80 and got more than 1000kms out of a tank.
“They’ve tweeked the new Hybrid and it’s getting better fuel efficiency and there’s certainly been no compromise on performance. In fact it’s arguably better than a standard model because it has two engines; electric and petrol drive, working for you.
“The new Hybrid is fantastic. Well-appointed, stylish and a great car to drive.”
Justin believes that for business owners, fleet buyers and individuals who do a lot of driving, or anyone watching their budget, the cost efficiency of the Hybrid Camry is hard to toss.
“Not only do you get the great fuel efficiency figures but you can also tie down the on-going costs via fixed-price-servicing at a guaranteed $140 for the first four years or 75,000kms on scheduled servicing.”
And by taking advantage of the unique opportunity provided by Toyota through its ‘Toyota Access’ program, you can control your financing and car changeover planning too without any fuss.
The top-of-the-range Toyota Camry Atara SL was simply superb.
“It has every conceivable safety feature from its pre-crash safety system which can detect the risk of a collision, warn the driver and start braking, to the blind spot monitor, lane-departure alert, and all the rest; ABS, Electronic Brake-force Distribution; front, side, curtain and knee airbags… etc.
“All Toyotas feature Safe-T-Cell technology.”
Not only is the product exceptional, but according to Justin, Toyota’s aggressive pricing also offers huge benefits to buyers.
He said the new Toyota Altise was priced at $28,990 on the road, noting that Wonthaggi Toyota was determined to meet and beat the market when it came to new car and changeover price.
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.
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.