Toyota Camry Excel

Toyota Camry Excel, front
Toyota Camry Excel, front
Toyota Camry Excel, side
Toyota Camry Excel, side
Toyota Camry Excel, interior
Toyota Camry Excel, rear
Toyota Camry Excel, rear
Toyota Camry Excel, boot
Toyota Camry Excel, front

IT is always a good day when the car you are driving achieves MORE than its claimed official fuel economy figure.

Take a bow Toyota's replacement for the British-built Avensis as the Camry's hybrid motor defied the listed WLTP maximum figure of 53.3mpg on my petrol-saving run.

At this stage we should take a moment to explain WLTP. It is the acronym for the pithily titled Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure and is the EU's new fuel efficiency ratings for all petrol, diesel, electric and hybrid cars.

The standard replaces the largely discredited NEDC regulations - and reduces reliance on laboratory results alone by adding real-world testing.

The result is more realistic fuel economy figures giving customers a better idea of what any vehicle can actually achieve.

So the 50-plus stat for the Camry is pretty impressive in its own right. To get to the 60mpg displayed on completion of my test run you need an extremely light touch on the accelerator and the assistance of the car's eco drive mode.

On more carefree excursions employing the other two settings - normal and sport - I found the readout was in the high 40s which, while not to be sniffed at, is probably a fairer indication of where most normal owners' fuel consumption will live.

The stars of the show are a 2.5-litre petrol engine and an electric motor which, while offering fuel efficient propulsion, also give plenty of get up and go when the sport mode urge takes you.

On the Excel models emissions are limited to 101g/km thanks to the amount of time it spends in EV mode where no petrol is used at all. Running on just electric power is only available for short journeys though.

The hybrid unit - linked to a CVT transmission - generates 215bhp which is put to good use as the Camry is propelled from 0-62mph in 8.3 seconds on its way to a top speed of 112mph.

The car uses Toyota's TNGA mechanical underpinnings - which to you and me means a motor that handles well ensuring smooth progress. The emphasis is on relaxation rather than thrill seeking with the holes and humps making up the nation's roads these days easily soaked up giving a comfortable ride.

This is a cruiser with refinement guaranteed as virtually all external noise is prevented from entering the cabin. It all adds up to a car made for travelling long distances with the minimum of fuss.

The interior is top notch with the four-door saloon offered in two levels of trim - Design and the Excel model - priced from £29,990 and £31,295.

Despite being cheaper, the Design models do not lack for goodies with the Excel adding 18-inch alloys, LED fog lights and projector headlamps, plus wireless phone charging and extra safety kit to a star cast already featuring two seven-inch display screens, adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors plus sat nav.

Toyota's Touch 2 multimedia system offers sharp graphics and is easy to use via the central touchscreen, but full smartphone compatibility is still on the ‘to do' list as it lacks the latest connectivity technology.

That said the Camry has a luxury feel about it with many clever ideas on show including a climate control system that uses nano technology to ionise the air in the cabin creating a pleasing environment.

There is plenty of room for five adults as this is a big beast with boot space of 524 litres more than capable of swallowing their luggage.

FAST FACTS

Toyota Camry Excel

Price:£31,295

Mechanical:215bhp, 2,487cc, 4cyl petrol engine and electric motor driving front wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed:112mph

0-62mph:8.3 seconds

Combined MPG:53.3

Insurance Group:32

C02 emissions:101g/km

Bik rating:24%

Warranty:5yrs/100,000 miles

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