Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Used Car Review - Toyota Camry (2006-2012)

Every executives dream ride can be obtained at entry level prices, and Myk Belmonte tells the tale of this car.

2006-2012 Toyota Camry

For the Filipino elite who prefers to be arrived in a low profile fashion, there is one top choice, the Camry. But during the 80s and 90s, the Crown and Corona are top picks due to their presence and the badge. You'll see these sedans doting inside posh subdivisions and inside golf courses with their bosses and their donyas being driven. Time had changed with both of them gone, the Camry became the executives car.

The year 2006 saw the introduction of the XV40 Camry but packaged differently for the Americans and Japanese and one for the Asian market. Multiple engine configurations had been made available in the form of inline four, V6, and hybrid. There is a "regular" and "prestige" models available but our market gets the former. Related models include the Aurion and the Lexus ES, both having the same body but different in many ways.

2002-2006 Camrys had been also an alternative in the premium sedan market alongside the Nissan Cefiro and the Honda Accord, but this one took control of the affluent market with the XV40 platform when it was launched in 2006. They said that you had arrived when you are driven in a Camry, it was the perfect choice for them. The XV50 still continues the generation of providing executives a reliable and safe transportation. Trim levels available are the 2.4 G and V and the top tier 3.5 Q with an update done in August 2009.

Value and Costs
Executives who are recently promoted, listen to me. For the price of a brand new compact, you can get all the presence in a meeting with a second hand Camry, since you'll see units ranging in the P680,000-P890,000 range. Even recent models can be had for a little over a million bucks, but make sure the unit is well loved.

Maintaining one is comparable with other Japanese and Korean premium sedans. Obviously, the 3.5 Q has a higher cost of ownership due to the V6 engine but with your high income that you will receive, don't complain about it.

Exterior and Interior
There are cues of German saloons present in the Camry, and it is more imposing and larger than the previous iterations. While smooth, the exterior dictates low profile and the agreement has already signed, but generic and bland in the most. You'll see some Bangle's work as an inspiration for designing the trunk but was streamlined properly. You get the presence if you are being driven, you are anonymous if you are driving it.

Wood, wood, and tons of wood are the highlight of the interior, since acres of them cover the dashboard. There is a silver trim present but the illegal loggers win this game. There is the presence of black hues in the leather seats and doors but you wont mind if you have a driver with you. The gauges can change colors but turns out that it is not exciting to stare at but on the other hand, it is very useful. Passenger space is excellent, especially in the rear portion.

A good reason why the Camry sold well is the variety of engine options. For starters, there is the 2AZ-FE 2,362cc that possess 167hp at 6,000rpm and 224Nm at 4,000rpm standard in the G and V levels. But if you have the money to splurge, then the Q model you are eyeing has the 2GR-FE 3,456cc which carries 277hp at 6,200rpm and 346Nm at 4,700rpm. The 2.4 engine is no slouch since it can haul the mass well without drama. Choosing the V6 engine would reward you with tons of power available in the lower end of the torque spectrum and uses the power efficiently.

Driving Impressions
Planning to drive on the weekends or when your trusted manong takes a day off? Here are some driving observations that you may notice. The leather seats will cocoon you from any road bumps while the steering is light, it wont inspire driving excitement. Going over corners will show the body roll and it definitely drives like a barge, it likes to be in a straight path. Remember, this is a passenger's car so look elsewhere for driving fun.

Good or bad economy, comfort and image can be had for less money. The Toyota Camry has both of them but just remember to stay at the back most of the time to fully appreciate this more. Speed junkies need not apply or buy this car.

The Good:
  • Cushy, very cushy
  • Quality is king
  • Roomy interior
The Bad:
  • Drives like a boat
  • Illegal logging advocates would hate this car (lots of fake wood)
  • Not fun to drive
The Pick: If you can find one, its the 3.5 Q

Engines: 2,362cc 2AZ-FE I4 and 3,456cc 2GR-FE V6 gasoline
Power: 167hp @ 6,000rpm (2.4), 277hp @ 6,200rpm (3.5)
Torque: 224Nm @ 4,000rpm (2.4), 346Nm @ 4,700rpm (3.5)
Fuel Consumption: 6-8km/L (city), 7-10.5 km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 5-speed automatic (4-cylinder models), 6-speed automatic (V6 models)
Suspension: Front independent McPherson strut, rear independent dual link strut

Price (New): P1,450,000-P2,025,000
Price (Now): P680,000-P890,000
Rivals: Honda Accord, Nissan Teana, Hyundai Sonata, Mitsubishi Galant, Mazda 6, BMW 3 Series, Mercedes Benz C Class, Audi A4
On Sale: Late 2006-Early 2012

Toyota Bicutan - (02) 777-9500
Toyota Makati - (02) 897-3333
Toyota Manila Bay - (02) 581-6168

Photos courtesy of

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