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Toyota Camry Altise Car Review

Author: NRMA MotoringDate: 1 December 2002
Toyota Camry Altise Car Reviews

The Camry is one of four locally manufactured vehicles to undergo either a revamp or the release of a new model in recent times. In the case of the Camry, Toyota has released an all-new range that has increased levels of local development and content.

One of the highlights of the new Camry is its unique built-in-Australia body that uses the Toyota Modular Platform (TMP). The new body is said to have greater torsional rigidity than overseas models and is larger than the outgoing model. Around the new platform, Toyota has locally developed much of the componentry that ensures the vehicle is well suited to Australian roads and conditions, including the suspension, brakes, seats, headlights and security system.

Toyota's launch of the new Camry has revealed an 11 model range that is significantly altered from previous models. While the addition of new sports models bolsters the line-up, a wagon is no longer available. Five models feature an all-new 2.4 litre four-cylinder engine, while the remaining six are fitted with a 3.0 litre V6. Revised model names in ascending equipment order are the Altise, the Ateva and the Azura (V6 only).

The engine in the four-cylinder Camry is a brand new locally manufactured 2.4 litre unit that produces 18 kW more power and 13 Nm more torque than the superseded 2.2 litre engine. The new engine is an all-alloy, twin camshaft, multivalve unit that is equipped with Toyota's VVTi (allowing infinitely variable inlet valve timing).

Toyota claims all new model Camrys are cheaper than the old models on a specification adjusted recommended retail price, with all models now fitted with airconditioning as a standard item. Pricing for the new models starts at $26,990 for a 2.4 litre Altise with a manual gearbox and rises to $48,990 for the comprehensively equipped Azura (V6 and automatic transmission only). The four-cylinder automatic Altise evaluated for this report is priced at $28,490 plus dealer and on-road costs.

The entry level model Camry is not loaded with features, but is fitted with sufficient standard equipment to provide a reasonably good level of comfort and make the Camry an easy and pleasant enough vehicle to drive. Some of the standard equipment includes airconditioning, power windows and mirrors, tilt adjustable steering, single CD stereo system, engine immobiliser, power steering and remote central locking.

In line with increasingly stringent crash safety requirements and evolutionary manufacturing processes, the new Camry body offers improved levels of occupant protection. Standard safety features fitted to the four-cylinder Altise include dual front airbags, lap/sash seat belts for all seating positions and front seat belt pre-tensioners. While four-wheel-disc brakes are standard on all model Camrys, unfortunately anti-lock brakes (ABS) are not standard on the 2.4 litre Altise tested.

The Camry has a new look, courtesy of a larger body (35mm longer, 10mm wider and 70mm taller) and revised, but still quite conservative and uninspiring, exterior styling. Greater interior space and improved passenger comfort are positive spinoffs of the new body. While front and rear head room have both been increased, rear seat leg room has grown by a massive 98mm over the previous model.

The seating position is quite upright in the new Camry, giving good all round vision and facilitating entry and exit from the vehicle. The seats are quite basic in shape and while they are comfortable, some additional bolstering would provide better support. The interior layout of the Camry is functional, but quite bland and rather ordinary to look at. Generally the controls are easy to operate, although the handbrake lever is located on the left side of the centre console requiring a somewhat awkward action to apply firmly.

The new Camry is clearly set up for comfort, with the suspension providing a very smooth and well insulated ride. Generally, the Camry is quiet and refined, although some harshness in the engine is apparent under hard acceleration. The new 2.4 litre engine provides a good level of performance and the automatic transmission delivers smooth shifts and is well matched to the engine's characteristics. The brake pedal is quite light to operate, but without ABS, it is quite easy to lock the wheels during an emergency stop.

Summary

The new look Camry is a physically larger vehicle than the superseded model, and offers more interior space and a high level of comfort. There is a choice of an all-new 2.4 litre four-cylinder engine or a V6 in the 11 model range that includes new sports models. The new engine delivers good performance for its capacity and the Camry provides a comfortable ride that is well suited to Australian roads.

Test vehicle supplied by Toyota Motor Corporation Australia Ltd.

Quick Facts

Make Toyota
Model Camry Altise
Category Medium
Year 2002
Body type Sedan
Price of vehicle tested $48,990
Pluses

Smooth and comfortable ride
Increased interior space
Good performance

Minuses

Conservative styling
Position of handbrake
Bland interior

Country of manufacture Australia
Warranty 3 years, 100,000km
Models Available

2.4 litre Altise manual
2.4 litre Altise auto
Azura V6 auto only

Prices

$26,990 - 2.4 litre Altise manual
$28,490 - 2.4 litre Altise auto
$48,990 - Azura V6 auto only

Specifications

Engine

 
Number of cylinders 4
Engine size 2.4 L
Induction Multipoint fuel injection
Fuel ULP
Claimed max power (kW) 112 kW @ 5600 rpm
Claimed max torque (Nm) 218 Nm @ 4000 rpm

Transmission

 
Type Automatic

Wheels

 
Wheel type Steel
Wheel size 15 "

Tyres

 

Steering

 
Type Power assisted rack and pinion
Turns to lock 3.0 m

Dimensions

 
Mass 1415 kg
Length 4805 mm
Width (including mirrors) 2005 mm
Height 1490 mm
Seating capacity 5
Fuel capacity 70 litres

Towing

 
Max towed mass (trailer plus load) 1200 kg

NRMA Theft Rating

 
Points on scale 0 - 120 (high score is best) 65

Acceleration - Test results

 
50 - 80km/h 4.4 secs
60 - 100km/h 6.8 secs
0 - 80km/h 8.0 secs
0 - 100km/h 11.7 secs

Fuel Consumption

 
Best recorded during testing 8.8 L/100km
Worst recorded during testing 13.6 L/100km
Average on test 11.1 L/100km

Braking

 
Distance to stop (from 80km/h) 31.4 metres

Noise

 
Interior noise at constant 80km/h 67 dB(A)

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