Who said the mid-sized sedan is dead?
Well, don't tell that to the folks at Toyota as the Camry has made its ASEAN debut over in Thailand. For the first time in three generations, the ASEAN-spec Camry now also follows the look of the Japanese and North American models. That means what we see abroad may likely be what we'll be seeing here in showrooms as well, and perhaps soon.
“Under the design inspiration of 'Sensual-Smart Confidence' the all-new Camry has been reborn as 'Modern Sport Luxury' car that has never been seen before. We have also enhanced the Camry’s driving dynamic thanks to Toyota New Global Architecture or TNGA, which includes a newly developed platform, a powerful but efficient Dynamic Force Engines. Besides that, the fourth generation Hybrid System has been re-engineered to offer both a fun drive as well as fuel efficiency,” said Michinobu Sugata, president of Toyota Motor Thailand Company, Ltd.
The main difference of the ASEAN-spec Camry and the models sold in the West is the lack of a sport-oriented model. No ground hugging body kits here, it's all the natural lines of the standard model. That said, it is significantly different from the soon to be outgoing model, and that's even before we get to what's under the skin.
For 2019, the Camry sports a more daring look with a sleeker roofline, a huge lower grill, and upswept character lines from front to rear. It's also larger than the 2012-2018 version, now measuring in at 4,885 mm long, 1,840 mm wide, and 1,455 mm tall. Most significantly, the all-new Camry now rides on the brand's modular platform dubbed TNGA-K. It also underpins the all-new RAV4 as well.
Seeing that Thailand is our close neighbor, equipment levels are possibly close to the version that will be sold there. All Thai models get power seats, leather, remote keyless entry, rear sun blinds, wireless charging, and a digital multi-information display. Features such as ventilated seats, head-up display, power lumbar support, triple-zone climate control, and a JBL sound system is reserved for the top of the line variant.
As for the rest of the cabin, it's the same as the ones sold in the West and Japan. It has a unique dashboard which sees the center console bisecting the driver and front passenger areas. This look has since spread to the other all-new models from Toyota's line-up. Toyota also says the 2018 Camry packs more room inside as the seats have been set lower.
In Thailand, there are four variants to choose from. It starts with the 2.0G, followed by the 2.5G. The V models are now named HV, at least in Thailand. The affixed 'H' also stands for hybrid.
The entry-level model is powered by a 2.0-liter engine that's good for 167 PS and 199 Nm of torque. Moving up, the new 2.5-liter engine is significantly more powerful than the current unit, now making 209 PS and 250 Nm of torque. Last are the hybrid models which use a modified version of the standard 2.5-liter mill. Thanks to the addition of electric motors, combined output is rated at 211 PS.
All three engines have different types of transmissions. The 2.0G has a six-speed automatic, while the 2.5-liter gets bumped up to an eight-speed unit. As for the Hybrid, that uses a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
For now, it is yet to be known when the 2019 Camry will arrive in the Philippines. Given that it has already made its debut in Thailand, it may not be long until we Toyota's largest sedan make its way to local showrooms. It's unlikely that we'll be getting the 2.0-liter, but the 2.5-liter is a more likely shoe-in for PH-spec models. Also, the hybrid may join the local line-up due to the favorable tax breaks in the TRAIN law.