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The Mercury Cars Guide : September 12th 2009
6--- Classifieds 62 300 400 • carsguide.com.au Saturday, September 12, 2009 Comfortable Camry set to join the green team POISED: The hybrid has 30 per cent more torque on tap than the petrol car, translating into better 0-100km/h acceleration. The remarkable thing about the Toyota Camry hybrid is how unremarkable it is --- but that's not said to sell it short. Neil McDonald reports THE efforts of Toyota Australia's local engi- neering boffins have delivered a car that is fun to drive and economical, yet has practical, real-world space for a family and kids. Compared to the regular 2.4-litre petrol model, the Camry hybrid feels more se- cure on the road, quieter, and more confident when pushed through corners. Toyota's operations man- ager, engineering, Phil King, says the company has taken the best from the Thai-built version of the car and engineered it for Australian conditions. The sus- pension settings are not quite Sportivo, but a cut above the entry Altese petrol model. ''We did discuss at the start of planning what a hybrid should be, in the sense of whether it should be a comfort car or sporty,'' King says. ''We decided we were not going to do a Sportivo and the car will be highly specced, not a bare-bones vehicle.'' King and Toyota chassis en- gineer Paul Diamandis were among the team who fine-tuned the car, throwing some Aus- tralian dynamic know-how to the suspension, steering and handling. The move has transformed the car into what King de- scribes as the best execution of the global Camry hybrid. ''We've tried to get more control with the body, which makes it a more pleasant drive,'' King says. The new electric power- steering, recalibrated suspen- sion and better weight distribu- tion all contribute to greater on- road poise. ''It's certainly better than the American version,'' King says. The addition of the 50kg battery pack in the boot has added some weight, but it now helps the car's balance. The hybrid is between 60-70kg heav- ier than the standard petrol car, depending on the spec. With the battery pack in the boot, Toyota has almost achieved the holy grail of ve- hicle dynamics --- perfect weight distribution. The standard 2.4-litre, four- cylinder, front-wheel-drive pet- rol version's weight split is 60/40, while the hybrid is closer to 55/45. This translates into a more secure turn-in into corners and the extra weight evens out the ride over rougher roads. In side-by-side standing starts, the hybrid accelerates as quickly, if not quicker, than the petrol car thanks to the seam- less power delivery of the CVT gearbox. There's 30 per cent more torque on tap, which translates into better zero to 100km/h acceleration. The bonus of a better ride and more dynamic feel through the steering and suspension does come at a cost though. The battery pack eats into boot space. You can still load through items, but the opening is re- stricted. The petrol fuel tank has also slimmed down in size from 70 litres to 65 litres. King is clearly proud of Toyota's efforts with its version of the global green car. ''It's a green car but still a family car,'' King says. ''I suspect there are some large-car buyers who wouldn't be seen in a Camry but this will change their minds.'' The fuel-miser sedan arrives in showrooms next February, priced from about $33,000. It is expected to be available in an entry level and a luxury model. ^Offer excludes the all-new Audi Q5 and Audi A5 Cabriolet. *On-road costs exclude Dealer delivery charge which may vary between Dealers. Offer applies to vehicles ordered and delivered in September 2009. Offer ends 30th September 2009. †† You may be able to claim a 50% tax credit on new and demonstrator vehicles purchased for your small business before 31 December 2009. To check if your small business is eligible, talk to your tax adviser. Overseas models shown. AUDI4261_SDE_HM_20x7_0509 Tax Break Available to eligible small businesses until 31 December 2009.†† 50% 100% of your Stamp Duty 100% of your Registration 100% of your CTP insurance SEPTEMBER 1-30 ONLY SEPTEMBER 09 Audi covers on-road costs* Celebrate Audi's 100th anniversary with exceptional value across the range^ This year marks the 100th anniversary of Audi. In celebration of this event, your Audi Dealer is offering exceptional value across the prestigious range^ of new and demonstrator Audi models -- by covering the on-road costs* on vehicles ordered and delivered in September. To take advantage of this exceptional opportunity - contact Audi Centre Hobart, 246 Murray Street Hobart, or call (03) 6238 3344 today.
September 5th 2009
September 19th 2009