Six years – that’s how long the seventh-generation Toyota Camry has been around for in India. It received a major update in 2015, and the well-priced hybrid variant was well received by the Indian public. Now, it’s time for the eighth-gen Camry to make its India debut, in 2019.
Spun off of Toyota’s New Global Architecture (TNGA), the new Camry is based on the GA-K platform, which it shares with the recently-launched new Lexus ES 300h. The eighth-gen model is longer, wider and lower than its predecessor, and the length of its wheelbase has gone up by 50mm, which should liberate more room inside an already spacious cabin. That said, it isn’t any heavier than the car it’ll replace, and to keep it silent, Toyota has beefed up insulation.
On the outside, the new Camry follows what Toyota calls its new ‘Keen Look’ design language. It has a V-shaped element up front, a grille that connects the headlamps and a large air dam. It features more prominent creases along the sides, and a raised boot lip. All added up, this promises to be the most aggressive-looking Camry of all time.
The makeover continues on the inside. Unlike the previous car’s uncomplicated but drab dashboard, the new Camry’s dash features a sweeping design, with an 8.0-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system that’s neatly incorporated into the centre console. Also present are a 10-inch head-up colour display and a 7.0-inch multi-information display that sits within the instrument cluster.
Toyota says this Camry’s interior features more soft-touch materials, and just like the seventh-gen car, this, too, will be loaded to the gills with equipment. Among other things, a nine-speaker JBL audio system, wireless smartphone charging, dual-zone automatic climate control could be part of the package. Rear-seat passengers of the Camry have always been a happy bunch, and that is likely to continue with the new car. Extra space aside, they could continue to enjoy features such as cooled seats, which also have electrically reclining backrests.
In India, the eighth-gen Camry will be offered in standard as well as hybrid form. The engine on offer will be a reworked 2.5-litre, four-cylinder petrol unit making 176hp and 221Nm of torque, which is a little higher than the outgoing car’s output. For the hybrid, teaming up with the petrol engine is a 118hp (88kW) electric motor, taking the combined (limited) output to 208hp. This Camry is equipped with the Toyota Hybrid System II, which brings a lighter Power Control Unit and moves the battery pack from the trunk to under the rear seat. As a result, Toyota claims energy losses have been minimised, making it a more efficient hybrid system.
Transmission options for the Camry are likely to include a new eight-speed torque converter automatic for the standard version, and a six-step CVT with paddleshifters for the hybrid model. As expected, what the Camry Hybrid will also get are four drive modes – Normal, Eco, EV and Sport. Also new is the Auto Glide Control coasting feature, aimed at boosting fuel efficiency.
In terms of safety, the new Camry is equipped with a total of 10 airbags (the outgoing Camry has nine), and the new car also gets a full suite of assist systems, like pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, dynamic radar cruise control and lane departure alert with steering assist, to name a few.
While one can hope the introduction of phase two of the FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles) scheme will bring relief to manufacturers of hybrid vehicles, it’s likely that the hybrid version of the Camry will, like before, command a hefty premium over the standard car’s price. Expect the new Camry to arrive in India sometime in themiddle of 2019, priced close to Rs 32 lakh for the standard model, while the hybrid version may have you to shell out about Rs 5-6 lakh more, taking the price to Rs 38 lakh (all prices, ex-showroom).