The Camry, its name derived from the Japanese kan-muri meaning ‘crown’, has been coming and going in Australia since 1983, sometimes attracting the not-so regal tag of the ‘white goods’ of the automobile industry. Not any more.

Led by Toyota’s North American design centre Calty, Camry’s 2015 upgrade sees a bumper-to-bumper makeover and the arrival of a dynamic sports version, the Atara SX, the latter all down to a bunch of Aussies. This dynamic SX package, conceived and put together by Toyota’s Australian-based engineers, has created the most agile and responsive Camry yet.
Announcing the arrival of the Atara SX are black five-spoke alloy wheels – the first 18-inchers on a Camry Down Under – and wide low-profile tyres. Complementing these is a new sports suspension delivering impressive body control and ride comfort, while a reworked electric power steering system comes with a faster gear ratio for a more connected driving feel.
Camry’s global chief engineer Masato Katsumata praised the work of the Australian engineers who developed the 18-inch sports package, which is also optional on Atara SL with silver wheels. “It is amazing that this Aussie know-how makes Camry much more fun to drive – what we call ‘waku-doki’ – without affecting the ride comfort expected of a Camry,” he says.

Extended to seven variants, the new more aggressive look Toyota says it has dialled in to the Camry also applies to the mid-size car’s pricing which starts at $26,490 for the Altise petrol and tops out at $40,440 for the Atara SL petrol / electric hybrid.

The Atara SX (the test vehicle), with its touch of the Aussie larrikin, can be had for $31,990.


Calty, responsible for the such ground-breaking designs as the 1989 Celica, 1992 Lexus SC 400, 1993 Supra, 2003 FJ Cruiser Concept, 2007 FT-HS, 2012 Lexus LF-LC and the 2014 FT-1 Concept, led in production design for the 2015 Camry and it shows.

With only the roof panel carried over, the Camry has come late to the deep set mesh radiator grille / lower air intake favoured by such trendsetters as Audi and Lexus, with the Atara SX snout weighing in with, jaws gaping, a snout reminiscent of a shark on the attack.

Sharp headlights complement the raw look, while LED daytime running lamps, integrated into the bumper, tone things down a touch. A new bonnet links up with a pronounced body line that runs from the beefy front fender through the door handles and onto the rear quarter panel and freshly styled boot.

While Camry’s body is 10 mm wider, a sleeker, more dynamic profile is accentuated by a second character line along the bottom sections of the doors that sweeps up from front to rear and merges into the rear wheel arch.

New LED tail lamps have been slightly lowered and connect with tapered sheet metal to reinforce Camry’s new planted stance. Atara SX’s sporty nature is further highlighted by its rear lip spoiler and dark diffuser on the rear bumper.

Finally, wheels always say much about the character of the car (and its owner) and Atara SX black rims and low profile tyres match perfectly the athletic body they support.


Sports seats in the SX incorporate a unique leather-accented treatment with the reddish-brown Raizen colour moved from the seat-back insert to the bolster, accentuating the sporty nature of the seat design.

Atara SX is fitted with a three-gauge instrument display, featuring grey highlights. The smaller-diameter leather-wrapped steering wheel on all Camrys is more ergonomic and incorporates more integrated switchgear for the audio, a connected smartphone, MID and other functions. The three petrol Atara models have paddle shifters.

The upgraded Camry range has three audio head units, all with touch-screen displays, Bluetooth, auxiliary/USB port, AM/FM radio and a CD player. Altise has a six-speaker audio with 6.1-inch screen that also displays the image from the reversing camera.

The display audio in Atara S and SX is upgraded with voice recognition and Toyota Link with apps that can help drivers find a destination, fuel and weather details as well as roadside and other assistance.

Pandora music streaming allows users to create their own ‘stations’ using a particular artist, track or genre as a base. The service will then find similar music to play. Connected via a compatible smartphone, Pandora is operated through the vehicle’s audio head unit, making it as easy and safe as using the CD player or conventional radio station while on the move.

All new Camrys make use of specialised versions of Toyota’s 16-valve twin-cam 2.5-litre 2AR engine family introduced with the current model. In Altise, it delivers maximum output of 133 kW at 6000 rpm and 231 Nm of torque at 4100 rpm. Dual exhausts on petrol Atara models lift power to 135 kW and torque to 235 Nm.

Key efficiency and emission-reduction features include an intelligent variable valve timing system for the inlet and exhaust valves, as well as internal exhaust-gas recirculation. An acoustic-controlled variable induction system boosts torque between 2000 and 4600rpm.
Matched to an electronically controlled six-speed sequential-shift automatic transmission, the petrol driveline is frugal on fuel, achieving 7.8 litres/100km on the combined urban / highway cycle with carbon dioxide emissions of 183g/km.

Camry’s five-star safety rating is the result of standard fitment of seven airbags, a reversing camera, vehicle stability and traction control, and anti-skid brakes with brake assist and electronic brake force distribution.

The steering-wheel mounted paddles give the driver the feeling of being in control. However, the shifting process is so smooth it takes away much of the manual feel.

Leaving the transmission in full automatic has the SX scooting along to the legal speed limit and untroubled cruising in between.

Over a 50 kilometre run at the legal motorway speed and a steady 2000 revs, the Atara SX recorded an average fuel use of 7.2 litres per 100 kilometres and in varied city driving consumed up to 13 litres per 100 kilometres.

The more-than generous 515 litres of luggage space in the boot should satisfy the needs of up to five passenger cabin occupants and can be increased even further by flipping the rear seat backs almost flat by means of latches under the boot upper edge.

Wider than the model it replaces, this to the advantage of shoulder width and hip space. Rear seat leg room is more than ample, as is head room, and front sports seats offer side support during spirited driving.

The cabin surroundings are quiet and offer a safe and comfortable environment on long journeys.

Toyota says its decision to adopt more emotional styling and greater driving enjoyment confirms the company’s commitment to Camry, which is now in its 22nd straight year as Australia’s best-selling mid-size car. The Atara SX takes the Camry outside the square with its Aussie larrikin character.


Camry Altise petrol: $26,490 (automatic)
Camry Altise Hybrid: $30,490 (automatic)
Camry Atara S petrol: $29,490 (automatic)
Camry Atara S Hybrid: $32,490 (automatic)
Camry Atara SX petrol: $31,990 (automatic)
Camry Atara SL petrol: $37,440 (automatic)
Camry Atara SL Hybrid: $40,440 (automatic)
Note: These prices do not include dealer or government charges. Contact your local Toyota dealer for drive-away prices.

18-inch alloy wheels
ABS anti-locking brakes
Electronic brake-force distribution
Vehicle stability control
Traction control
Sports front seats
Leather upholstery
LED daytime running lights
Reversing camera
Touch screen
Voice recognition
Toyota Link
Pandora music streaming

(2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine)
Capacity: 2494 cc
Configuration: 2.5 litres, 4 cylinders, in-line, DOHC, variable inlet cam timing
Bore and stroke: 90 mm x 98 mm
Compression ratio: 10.4:1
Maximum Power: 135 kW @ 6000 rpm
Maximum Torque: 235 Nm @ 4100 rpm
Emission rating: Euro 4

Drivetrain: Six-speed automatic transmission

Length: 4850 mm
Width: 1835 mm
Height: 1470 mm
Wheelbase: 2775 mm
Track: 1580 mm (front); 1570 mm (rear)
Front overhang: 990 mm
Rear overhang: 1085 mm
Kerb weight: 1460-1505 kg
Gross vehicle mass: 2100 kg
Tare mass: 1420-1460 kg
Towing capacity: 1200 kg (braked) / 500 kg (unbraked)
Towball max download: 120 kg
Drag coefficient: Cd 0.29
Seating capacity: 5
Cargo capacity 515 litres
Fuel Tank Capacity: 70 litres

Suspension: McPherson strut, stabiliser bar (front); dual link system (rear)
Brakes: Ventilated discs (front; solid discs (rear). ABS anti-skid brake system with Electronic Brake-force Distribution, brake assist. Vehicle Stability Control. Traction Control
Steering: Electric power assisted rack and pinion
Wheels / tyres: Alloy 18in x 7.5J / 225/45R18.16×6.5J steel spare

Acceleration 0 to 100 km/h: N/A
Top speed: N/A

Fuel type: 91 RON unleaded
Combined Cycle (ADR 81/01): 7.8 litres per 100 km. CO2 emissions 183 g / km

3 years / 100,000 kilometres

About Derek Ogden

On graduating with an honours degree in applied science in London, Derek Ogden worked for the BBC in local radio and several British newspapers as a production journalist and writer. Derek moved to Australia in 1975 and worked as a sub-editor with The Courier Mail and Sunday Mail in Brisbane, moving to the Gold Coast Bulletin in 1980 where he continued as a production journalist. He was the paper's motoring editor for more than 20 years, taking the weekly section from a few pages at the back of the book to a full-colour liftout of up to 36 pages. He left the publication in 2009.
Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *