The Toyota Camry is Nigeria’s best-selling midsized family car in a competitive segment that includes strong entries such as the Honda Accord, Ford Fusion, Hyundai Sonata, Volkswagen Passat and Subaru Legacy. The Camry was most recently overhauled in 2015, and this year’s model carries over largely unchanged.
It’s a a comfortable commuter without much pretension; a very good appliance for car buyers who prefer substance over style.
Styling and performance
From the exterior, the Camry looks largely reserved with brief flashes of bold styling. Most notably, its “mechanical catfish” grille returns from last year and could be the car’s most polarizing statement. It’s unusually bold for Toyota and something that may not turn off many buyers from considering a Camry, but almost certainly won’t turn many on. Around the sides and rear, the Camry is handsome without overstating or relying on modern language like a floating roof or a too-high window line.
Under the hood, most buyers will find a modest 2.5-liter inline-4 that makes 178 horsepower, which is the base powerplant. That engine is mated to a conventional 6-speed automatic (many competitors now use continuously variable transmissions) that helps wring out the best from the busy 4-cylinder. The engine isn’t overwhelming, but it should be fine for most commuters.
A more potent 3.5-liter V-6 that makes 268 hp and a Hybrid battery-engine combo that makes 200 hp are both available in Nigeria but you will need a few additional millions to procure. The V-6 has enough pedal to be confident anywhere.
Quality, safety, and features
Inside is where the Camry comes alive. Its interior is spacious and considerate, with plenty of interior storage and sound-deadening, and places a premium on seating for adults—perhaps at a cost of versatility and cargo storage. Its 15.4 cubic feet of trunk space is in line with the rest of the segment, and isn’t heavily compromised by batteries if buyers opt for the Camry Hybrid.
The Camry performs well in safety tests, but not as good as others in its class. It has been given a five-star overall rating, despite four-star ratings in side impact and rollover crash safety.
The 2017 Camry comes equipped as standard with mostly acceptable features for cars in its class, but adds a 6.1-inch touchscreen on base models. The Camry comes in two flavors with different looks: LE and XLE models are plain-clothes models with more luxurious touches to the latter; SE and XSE are sportier-looking variants with the XSE more handsomely equipped.
In hybrid configuration, which is not readily available (except in the tokunbo car market), the Camry can be very fuel efficient.
The Camry LE comes equipped as standard with cloth seats, and suede-like material comes on SE models. XLE editions step up to leather and XSE models have sport leather ultrasuede upholstery. Most models get a 6.1-inch touchscreen front and center as base, while V-6 models are upgraded to a 7.0-inch touchscreen, and the center stack has large knobs and buttons. The dash is also accented by stitching to add both texture and eye appeal.
Both gasoline-only engines are mated to a smooth shifting 6-speed automatic that’s practically invisible. That’s not faint praise either: Toyota’s 6-speed is a little sluggish kicking down a couple gears in 4-cylinder models for passes or mountain jogs, but beyond that, it’s a reminder that not all mid-sizers need to have loud continuously variable transmissions (CVT).
Toyota hasn’t released details on the 2017 Camry Hybrid, but we expect it to be the same as last year’s model, which mated the 2.5-liter inline-4 to a nickel-metal-hydride battery system borrowed from the third-generation Prius. The total system creates 200 hp, and is connected to a electronically controlled CVT.
From the front seats, the Camry is spacious and accommodating. Its dash is pushed farther forward than some of its competitors, which makes the Camry’s cabin feel more open and airy than say, a Honda Accord. That styling is also functional, there are plenty of interior cubbies and storage areas in the Camry.
Stepping up to the sportier Camry models (SE and XSE) nets more contoured and firmer seats. We’ve found that the chairs don’t offer much more lateral support, but they’re still a snug—and better—fit compared to LE and XLE models.
All trims of the 2017 Toyota Camry have 60/40-split folding rear seats, which don’t completely fold flat, but there’s a good reason for that. Toyota favored adult-size contouring and padding in the rear seats, which we think makes the rear more functional for carrying people—its 15.4 cubic feet of cargo space is sufficient for its class anyway.
All Camry models include 10 airbags, with front passenger knee bags and rear side airbags for outboard occupants, as well as electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution, and a Smart Stop Technology brake-override system.
Safety options include a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, a forward-collision warning system, lane departure alert, and automatic high beams.
Official EPA ratings for the 2017 Toyota Camry are in, and they’re OK, but falling behind in the class.
The thirstiest of the bunch, the V-6 equipped Camry, has been rated by the EPA for 2017 at 21 mpg city, 30 highway, 24 combined. The more common engine (although we say its a little sapped for power) is the 2.5-liter inline-4, which has been rated at 24/33/27 mpg.
It’s this engine that we base our 7 out of 10 rating.
The Hybrid Camry will remain the best of the bunch: it was rated last year at 43/39/41 mpg.
The Camry’s natural competitor, the Honda Accord, manages 27/37/31 mpg with its 4-cylinder engine, 21/32/25 mpg with a V-6. The Nissan Altima’s most popular configuration manages 27/39/31 mpg.
The Camry is currently the most expensive vehicle in its class, selling higher than Volkswagen Passat, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Honda Accord, Mazda 6 and Nissan Altima. Prices range between N18m and N22m depending on your dealer. Independent dealers are usually at the lower end of the pricing spectrum than Toyota Nigeria Limited accredited dealers.