Auto Review: 2016 Toyota Camry Atara SX

IT’S goodnight from me, and it’s goodnight from him. And it’s goodnight from the Camry, with Toyota signalling the end of their Australian built car with the 2015 Toyota Camry Atara SX, which will see out the model right up until 2017.

User friendly is probably the best way to describe the final Camry to be built in Australia. It’s a product we know, and many of us love, with a hint of styling in black 18″ alloy wheels, low profile tyres and that funky black Lexus inspired grill that graces the ‘sports’ model – the Atara SX. It looks fantastic on the road though, and would be easy to mistake for a Lexus.

Leather accented seats and sports suspension add to the improvements made to create the new look Camry, along with a rear lip spoiler and sports pedals. The standout of these is the seats, which are not only comfortable, but look good too. There’s also smart key entry and a push button start to bring it in-line with most of its rivals, who were already there.

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As always, it also offers great value for money, with a great specification list including Bluetooth, cruise control, reversing camera, electronic stability control, powered drivers’ seat, custom headlights and seven airbags – although the one thing that is missing, significantly is a SatNav as part of the infotainment system. Oh, and there’s no manual option – it’s automatic or nothing.

But as always, the Camry is not the most exciting car on the road, with its four cylinder 135kW powerplant being just more of the same from the previous model, and with fierce competition from the likes of the Subaru Liberty, Mazda6, Ford Mondeo, Holden Malibu, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, and Honda Accord, Toyota’s product will likely struggle to excite.

The driving experience is actually really nice, if you leave out the dull engine, because the handling is good, the steering is sharp, and the power and performance work very well together and are an improvement on previous models – it’s why they’re so popular as a taxi – because they feel comfortable, really comfortable, but they won’t blow your socks off.

It’s fairly thirsty too, with Toyota claiming 7.8L/100km, but we only managed a 9.1 over a week that included significant freeway driving and getting stuck in plenty of traffic. We did spy a 7.2 briefly a number of times on the freeway, but overall we were on the high side of the claimed figure.

That said, if you are looking for reliability and a known quantity, the Camry can deliver that in spades. The boot is mammoth, at 515 litres, the interior is beyond roomy, it’s got a five star ANCAP safety rating, and is in fact the safest mid-sized sedan on the road (compared to its key rivals).

It’s definitely family friendly, as the Camry has always been, but we found one minor beef with the clip lock system for the child seat. It was incredibly difficult to unclip as the angle of the eye hook meant you nearly had to climb on to the rear parcel shelf to angle it out.

Pricing for the Camry Atara SX starts at $34,490. It’s available in Diamond White, Silver, Graphite, Eclipse Black, Ocean Mist, Indigo, and Wildfire (as tested). It comes with a three year, 100,000km warranty (Kia and its seven year warranty and Hyundai and its five year warranty make the Toyota offering a little pedestrian).

Our test vehicle was provided by Toyota Australia. To find out more about the 2016 Toyota Camry Atara SX, contact your local Toyota dealer.

Mark Holgate
Mark Holgate
A journalist with more than 24 years experience, Mark Holgate has worked with a number of regional, suburban and metropolitan newspapers, as well as stints with motoring specific publications like Which Car? Motorsport News, Auto Action and Street Machine. He is also a contributor to DriveTribe.


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