Toyota ditches petrol Camrys to focus on hybrids

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Words: Matthew Hansen
14 May 2021

Toyota New Zealand has confirmed its updated Camry line-up for 2021, complete with a handful of aesthetic and tech changes. And, absent from it all is a pure internal combustion engine option.

The new Camry line-up contains three different trim levels and just one powertrain; the 2.5-litre 160kW four-cylinder hybrid. Toyota claims a 4.2–4.7L/100km economy with this powertrain, which it claims is a segment best (the 19-inch wheels of the SX explain the higher 4.7L economy figure).

“Globally Toyota is pushing the adoption of its mainstream hybrid electric models as a major CO2 reduction strategy in developed markets prior to the availability of battery electric vehicles,” says Steve Prangnell, Toyota New Zealand’s General Manager of New Vehicle Sales and Product Planning.

“Toyota New Zealand is fully committed to supporting this locally as well. With only 4.2 per cent of global automotive sales being EVs or PHEVs in 2020, hybrids are the mainstream option to reduce CO2 and Toyota offers a hybrid in almost every vehicle across our range.”

The announcement comes at the expense of the Camry V6, which is something of an institution in Kiwi motoring. The six-pack model had already been quietly phased out, with the non-hybrid 2.5-litre GX lasting in showrooms just a touch longer.

The range starts with the $42,490 GX, with the mid-spec SX and flagship ZR priced at $46,990 and $50,990 respectively. It’s a slight price rise, with the same models having previously retailed for $41,990, $43,490, and $49,990. The new models launch locally later this month.

Like equivalent Corolla, Yaris, and RAV4s, the entry-level GX gets a handy amount of standard kit, including a seven-inch touchscreen, 17-inch mag wheels, and most of Toyota’s safety tech suite (including radar cruise control, lane centering, pedestrian/cyclist detection, and more).

That radar cruise control now comes with curve speed reduction. This uses camera-based line recognition which can spot curves in the road ahead while the car’s cruise control is activated, and slow the car for them — theoretically meaning the driver won’t have to switch the system off and on so frequently.

The SX adds a larger nine-inch touchscreen, a more aggressive looking front bumper, and black 19-inch wheels, plus blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert on the safety front.

At the top of the pile, the ZR gets a slightly smaller set of 18-inch wheels, a panoramic view monitor, black wood highlights in the cabin, heated front seats, and a JBL sound system that throws in a 265mm subwoofer in the back.

One of the curiosities of the Camry range are the standard tyres. All three models have different wheel sizes, and subsequently different tyres — but each tyre comes from a different supplier. The GX gets Michelins, the SX Dunlops, and the ZR Bridgestones.

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