For the general populace, Australian-made cars come in two categories and two categories only: Ford or Holden. But the simple truth is that probably the most exciting Aussie car* to be released in the past decade comes from neither – it's a Toyota, and it's a hybrid. Yesterday the Japanese company officially launched their new Australian-made hybrid Camry.
The move to create a mid-sized hybrid vehicle in Australia makes us just one of four countries making hybrid vehicles. Toyota had to completely rejig their Altona manufacturing plant to allow them to create the hybrid alongside the standard petrol model, and have spent countless hours customising the new car to not only perform economically, but also do that without effecting performance.
And from pure specification, they've done that well. The combined 2.4-Litre petrol engine and 105kW electric motor combine for a total output of 140kW, which is better than the current generation petrol-only Camry by almost 20%. It lets the new hybrid hit 100kph in 8.9 seconds, which isn't too bad for a "green" vehicle.
The official fuel economy rating is 6.0L/100km, which is apparently 32% better than the petrol version of the Camry. That figure puts it in the same realm as some of the country's smallest cars too - it's important to remember that this is actually a decent sized car.
But the most appealing thing about the Hybrid Camry is the price. Considering it contains a lot of the same technology inside as the Prius (although sadly not the HUD or the solar sunroof), it starts at $36,990.
I've spent the past couple of days driving the Camry around, but I'll save my opinions for another post...
HYBRID CAMRY OFFERED IN TWO MODEL GRADES
Toyota's new hybrid family car is offered in two model grades – Hybrid Camry and Hybrid Camry Luxury.
The new Hybrid Camry Luxury becomes the flagship of Camry's range.
Both model grades have the key mechanical features of a 140kW hybrid powerplant, Electric Power-assisted Steering (EPS), unique suspension calibration, 16-inch alloy wheels (including full-sized spare wheel) and Vehicle Dynamic Integrated Management (VDIM).
Standard safety equipment in Hybrid Camry includes rear-view camera, rear sonar parking sensors and six SRS airbags.
Hybrid Camry has numerous unique features in the built-in-Australia Camry range, including EPS, VDIM and brake-by wire (ECB).
In addition, it has a unique front mask (headlamps, radiator grille, front bumper and fog lamps), rear combination lamps, noise-reduction windscreen, satin chrome rear garnish with camera, Optitron instruments, push-button heating and cooling, dual-zone automatic air-conditioning with LCD climate-control panel and ECO mode, and Hybrid front-door scuff plates.
Hybrid Camry is priced from $36,990*.
It is also offered with an option pack, consisting of premium audio with eight speakers, satellite navigation and premium three-spoke steering wheel with Bluetooth™ controls. The option pack is priced at $3,000*.
Hybrid Camry Luxury, the new Camry flagship model, has the additional features of leather-accented seat and door trim, four driver and front-passenger's seat power adjustments (slide, recline, vertical adjust and lumbar support), electro-chromatic interior rear-view mirror, rain-sensing wipers and rear lip spoiler.
Hybrid Camry Luxury is priced from $39,990*.
It is also offered with an option pack consisting of: electric tilt-and-slide moonroof, premium audio with eight speakers, satellite navigation and premium three-spoke steering wheel with Bluetooth™ controls and rear personal lamps. The option pack is priced at $4,500*.
Standard models also have USB audio input, and share an AUX input with Option Pack variants.
Nine exterior colours are offered including the unique-to-hybrid Crystal Pearl Mica on the Luxury model and Diamond White on the standard Hybrid Camry.
There are two interior colour combinations – high-contrast European black-on-sandstone or the more sporty black-on-black.
Metallic paint is $400 extra.*
* All prices are manufacturer's list prices provided for media purposes only and do not include statutory charges or other on-road costs.
* I know exciting is a subjective term, but from a tech perspective, an Aussie made hybrid takes the cake.