By Samuel Smith
Last updated on: November 15, 2019 at 2:30 am
For the second year running, the petrol/electric hybrid Toyota Camry has taken out the title of Australia’s Best Medium Car.
Winner: Toyota Camry Ascent Sport Hybrid
Variant: Ascent Sport
Engine: 2.5 litre hybrid
ANCAP Safety Rating: 5 stars
Second place went to the Mazda6 Touring and the Peugeot 508 GT placed third.
What sets it apart from the rest
Just like last year, the Camry won on its strengths across all 3 fields: value for money, design and function, and on the road. Judges awarded the Ascent Sport Hybrid category-leading scores for smoothness and quietness, as well as environment, and perfect 10s for running and repair costs and fuel consumption.
Much of the Camry’s convincing win is down to a superior, all-round package that came to market in its 8th generation, back in late 2017. This was the first sedan to adopt Toyota’s New Global Architecture (TNGA), which the company said transformed the way its vehicles were designed, engineered and packaged.
As an example, TNGA packaging allowed the nickel-metal hybrid battery to be moved from the boot area to under the rear seat, improving cargo space and positioning weight lower in the car to assist vehicle dynamics.
- Class-leading smoothness and quietness
- Created using Toyota’s revolutionary TNGA design process
- Fantastic safety features
- Fuel economy as low as 4.2L/100km
- Autonomous emergency braking
- All Camry models are equipped with 7 airbags
What it’s like to drive
At the Camry Hybrid’s core is a new 2.5 litre 4-cylinder Dynamic Force Engine, which offers 11% more power and 4% better torque, with thermal efficiency amongst the best in the world. The new hybrid system delivers fuel economy as low as 4.2L/100km, a figure that Toyota said was better than the second-generation Prius hybrid, sold in Australia until mid-2009.
Combined with the boost in engine performance and efficiency, a host of changes to the MacPherson strut front suspension and new rear suspension brings an element of unprecedented driving engagement.
Even the CVT has 6 quick-shifting ratios for manual-like gear changes, while a new Sport drive mode has been added to the previous ECO and Normal modes, delivering improved acceleration response relative to pedal input.
How the finalists compared (scores for each category from 1-10)
|Medium under $65,000||Toyota Camry Ascent Sport Hybrid||Mazda6 Touring||Peugeot 508 GT|
|Cost of depreciation ($)||9||8||4|
|Running & repair costs||10||9||3|
|Warranty & dealer access||8||7||6|
|Build & finish quality||6||7||8|
|Smoothness & quietness||8||7||7|
Images: Mark Rogers, Magnum Photography Australia