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The Toyota Camry may finally be cool, but the UK won’t get it

One of the world’s most popular saloons has been refreshed with a hybrid-only range of powertrains

The Toyota Camry name has long been associated solid and stable four-door saloons, but in its new ninth generation guise it’s gained a little extra spark.

Toyota as a brand has spent a decade trying to turn around its own somewhat dull image, launching the GR performance sub-brand and a substantial design revolution affecting icons like the Prius and Land Cruiser, now the Camry is next to undergo a funky transformation. Unfortunately, while the Camry did briefly find a home here in the UK, this new model is unlikely to return, despite a range of Euro-friendly hybrid engines. 

The new Camry’s changes start with its bold new look. Elements shared with other new Toyota models like the Prius and Crown blend with those derived from the previous model, such as the door skins. Most of what you see is new, however, such as the more aggressively sloping windowline and more distinctive front and rear lights. 

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In the USA – where the car will initially launch – there’s an option of two distinct design specifications, with a base model and a Sport variant. The latter comes with its own lower bumper design, with a body-coloured mesh grille, larger front openings and an optional two-tone paint finish. 

For the first time, the new Camry will be offered solely with a hybrid powertrain, utilising the brand’s fifth-generation hybrid system that pairs a 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine with two electric motors. It drives through a Toyota-typical CVT transmission, but will be available in both front- and all-wheel drive forms. 

System power outputs are rated at 225bhp for the two-wheel drive model, with the iAWD model bumping this up to 232bhp. The rear axle is not driven via a mechanical linkage, but uses one of the electric motors to aid traction in slippery conditions rather than for more performance oriented tasks. The suspension has also been re-tuned, with the Sport model picking up its own bespoke calibration with stiffer springs and dampers. 

The changes are even more dramatic inside, with a totally redesigned dash layout featuring a larger 12.3-inch central touchscreen and digital instrument cluster. The cabin’s material quality has been of particular focus, with new soft-touch finishes applied to the dash and door cards, as well as a more contemporary aesthetic to the overall design. 

Those taken by its sleek design will be disappointed to learn that the latest Camry is unlikely to be offered in the UK after the previous model failed to find enough of an audience to justify its place in the Toyota range. At least we’ll have the stylish new Prius to occupy us.  

Do you wish the Camry was coming to the UK? Let us know in the comments...

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Senior staff writer

Senior staff writer at Auto Express, Jordan joined the team after six years at evo magazine where he specialised in news and reviews of cars at the high performance end of the car market. 

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