Toyota has revealed the 2018 Camry at the Detroit Auto Show, confirming that the new model will be sourced from Japan after local production shuts down at the end of this year making it the first Camry to be imported to Australia since 1992.
Production timing means a slight, unavoidable delay between the Victorian-built current model and this new, fully imported model, which is expected to arrive in December and will see the return of V6 power to the Camry for the first time since 2006.
The return of a V6-powered Camry also spells the end of the Aurion nameplate, which for the last two generations has been offered as Toyota's large car entrant, despite being little more than a lightly restyled version of the Camry.
Six cylinder Camry's will feature a 3.5-litre direct injection V6 engine and eight-speed automatic transmission, both of which are set to debut locally in the Kluger large SUV next month.
While the US will receive a new 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine with direct injection and dubbed Dynamic Force, linked to an eight-speed auto, local Camrys will retain the existing 2.5-litre and six-speed automatic combination.
An overhauled 2.5-litre/electric motor Camry Hybrid will also serve in the new range hooked to an automatic continuously-variable transmission (CVT), with Toyota claiming that "an upgraded Hybrid Synergy Drive system is more powerful … smoother and quieter."
Because the new Camry is built on the scalable Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) that also underpins the C-HR small SUV and Prius hybrid, the batteries for the Camry Hybrid have for the first time been moved underneath the rear seat to permit a 30-litres-larger boot volume (to 451L) and split-fold backrest capability for the first time.
Boot space in petrol-only variants also rises 10L to 525L.
The new sedan is grows by 9mm in length compared to the outgoing model (at 4859mm) but stretches its wheelbase by 50mm to 2825mm overall. It is nominally 4mm wider (now 1839mm) but height drops 30mm to 1440mm.
The lower roofline comes without impacting cabin headroom, Toyota claims, because the new platform places occupants lower in the car (the hip point is 25mm lower at the front and 30mm lower in the rear) to improve the centre of gravity and enhance the dynamic feel for the driver.
A new cabin featuring soft-touch dashboard and door trim materials also offers technology such as wireless phone charging and a 10-inch colour head-up display for the first time.
Toyota Australia has confirmed that pre-collision warning with autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and active cruise control will be standard on all models – although it has not said whether the existing Altise, Atara S, Atara SX and Atara SL model range will remain.
The company lists a lower centre of gravity, higher torsional rigidity, new steering mount, and a new fully independent double-wishbone rear suspension as serving to inject "a fun driving experience that plays on all the senses", however local tuning for Australian conditions has been ruled out.
Previous Camrys have been tested and tuned for local conditions by Toyota Technical Centre Australia (TTC-AU) that closed its doors last year. Toyota Australia said the team had some input in the new car, but would not confirm whether locally bound models would adopt the Japanese or US-market suspension tune.
A range of 17-inch, 18-inch and largest-ever 19-inch alloy wheels will be available, along with a black-roof two-tone colour scheme for the first time.
The last Toyota Camry to be fully imported from Japan was the V6-only model grade produced between 1988 and 1992. The overwhelmingly more popular four-cylinder models have been made locally since 1987 when the Camry succeeded the ageing Corona.
Toyota Australia will make 2500 people redundant from its Altona, Victoria, manufacturing facility when seventh-generation Camry production ends in the fourth quarter of 2017, while the overall workforce will reduce from 3900 to 1300 as departments are consolidated.
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