Here it is, ladies and gentlemen – the facelifted eighth-generation Toyota Camry has just been launched in Malaysia, giving a much-needed refresh for the now three-year-old XV70. The D-segment sedan gains a new look, an impressive level of added equipment and, finally, the brand new engine and gearbox combination it was designed for in the first place.
Despite the Bukit Raja plant now being able to assemble cars based on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), the Camry continues to be imported from Thailand. So you still get only one variant – the full-spec 2.5V priced at RM199,110 on-the-road without insurance. That’s over RM10,000 more expensive than the outgoing model, which retailed at RM188,763.
This figure, in case you’re wondering, includes the 50% sales and service tax (SST) rebate valid until June 30. A five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty comes with every purchase.
The big news here is, of course, the new 2.5 litre Dynamic Force four-cylinder engine, replacing the dated 2AR-FE from before. Still naturally aspirated, it features D-4S direct injection, electric variable valve timing (VVT-iE) and a redesigned cylinder head for improved tumble flow; with a compression ratio of 13:1, it delivers a thermal efficiency of 40%. All in all, the Camry now produces 209 PS at 6,600 rpm and 253 Nm of torque at 5,000 rpm, representing increases of 25 PS and 18 Nm over the outgoing unit.
The mill is paired to a new Direct Shift eight-speed automatic gearbox, which comes with a wider spread of ratios and a lockup clutch for a more direct driving feel and greater efficiency, all while being more compact than the old six-speeder. Toyota claims a combined fuel consumption figure of 6.8 litres per 100 km, an improvement of eight per cent over the old engine and transmission combination.
On the outside, the changes are rather mild, limited to a new front fascia with a more defined centre air intake section and black slats that run the full width of the car, bookended by grey C-shaped frames. There’s also a new design for the 18-inch alloy wheels with a machined two-tone finish, plus smoked internals for the LED taillights. As before, you get full LED headlights and front and rear fog lights.
Step inside and you’ll find a new freestanding OEM infotainment touchscreen that sits atop the dashboard, now measuring nine inches across (an inch larger than before) and coming with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity for the first time. This pushes the centre air vents downwards, placing them just above the air-conditioning controls. The faux wood trim is also black instead of brown, while the window switch surrounds come in a matte grey rather than the previously glossy finish, presumably to reduce fingerprints.
But it’s the rear passengers that are the biggest beneficiaries, gaining power-reclining seats and a separate climate control zone (three zones in total). These, along with the powered rear windscreen sunshade and even the audio controls for the whole car, can be adjusted using a new touch-sensitive control panel on the centre armrest, which also houses twin pop-out cupholders.
Manual side window shades have been retained, although in the boot, the full-sized spare tyre has been switched to a space saver; even so, luggage capacity remains unchanged at 493 litres. You still can’t fold the rear seats (especially now that they are powered), but there is a ski hatch for transporting longer items.
The kit list is otherwise identical and includes keyless entry, push-button start, auto lights and wipers, power-adjustable front seats (ten-way for the driver, eight-way for the passenger) with driver’s side memory and passenger shoulder switches, black leather upholstery, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, a seven-inch multi-info display, a Qi wireless charger, a 360-degree camera system, a nine-speaker JBL sound system and a vehicle telematics system. A welcome light projector, visible in these images, is a RM990 option.
Safety-wise, the Camry has been upgraded to the latest Toyota Safety Sense 2.5 suite of driver assistance features, which adds nighttime pedestrian and daytime cyclist detection for autonomous emergency braking. The adaptive cruise control has also been improved and can now slow down for corners and speed up in anticipation of an overtaking manoeuvre when an indicator is switched on.
Also new is lane centring assist, which keeps the car in the middle of its own lane; an auto brake function for the rear cross traffic alert and an Intelligent Clearance Sonar (ICS, Toyota’s version of Perodua’s Pedal Misoperation Control) round off the safety improvements. Seven airbags, stability control, rear ISOFIX child seat mounts and a blind spot monitor continue to be fitted as standard.
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