Week 1: We drove Toyota’s everyday champ and it changed our opinion of the Camry nameplate. But, will living with one make our affection fizzle out?
For the next two months we are going fully sensible here at Motormouth Arabia, as is probably evident from the arrival of our latest 2018 Toyota Camry long-term car. However, before we begin some explanation is in order. I stand guilty of deriding the Camry as a boring car. A good transportation device, but a boring one nonetheless. To me it was a mere synonym for the colour ‘beige’ or a white good. Efficient but soulless.
But then something changed. The new 2018 Camry dropped and things were quite different. I drove one a while ago and it was surprisingly good. Not spectacularly amazing, but it did seem to have developed a certain character, which made it endearing. And I still can’t believe I’m saying that about a Camry.
So, I wondered, would the first positive impressions wane if I spent an extended period of time with it? I floated the idea with the Al-Futtaim Toyota PR team and they seemed confident that my newfound appreciation for the Camry would not be a fling. They threw me the keys to the V6 Grande Sport version and let me at it for two months — confidence or misplaced optimism, only time will tell.
For starters, our tester is the most posh Camry you can buy. It’s powered by a 3.6-litre V6 engine making 298 horsepower, which makes it reasonably peppy on the go. The steering is nicely weighted too, one of my biggest failings of the previous car. However, the biggest change is the styling – it’s a genuinely good-looking car now. Relatively speaking, of course.
The ride quality is fine and there is plenty of room, hence the Camry-ness of it remains intact, which could both be a good or a bad thing. Our testers weighs in at a substantial AED 122,500, which also means it is not cheap by any measure. Especially when you can get things like an Infiniti Q50, albeit with a 2.0-litre engine, for about the same money.
To be honest, I do still like it. Let’s see how long the romance lasts.
More next week.
2018 Toyota Camry — Long-term review
Average fuel economy: 12 litres/100km
Lows: None so far
Highs: Looks much better than before, more characterful than before
Costs this week: None