– By Rod Fuller –
I have been driving company vehicles now for over 25 years and in that time have clocked up over a million kilometres around all parts of NSW and the ACT. The fleet cars I have driven over this time include Falcons and Commodores, as well as my most recent company vehicle a 2013 Toyota Camry Altise. Recently I had the opportunity to drive the new 2015 Toyota Camry Altise. So here is a review from the fleet driver’s seat.
For a start the new model is much more aesthetically pleasing than the old one. With a whole new front grill and headlamp assembly that provides a striking new look to the car. The rear tail lamps are now much more sculptured with a nice chrome trim between them that works very well with the boot line and gives a the car a much more stylish look.
On the inside it’s pretty much the same as before. A plastic leather look dash, big cup holders in the console and the pseudo ‘Mercedes’ maze type auto gear selector.
There are a few nice additions though to elevate this base model from the poverty pack status of the outgoing model. There is now an upgraded digital touch screen that incorporates the display for the reserving camera, the stereo controls, as well as a trip functions for the car such as instant fuel economy and average speed. It is a little difficult to operate at first, but after much button pushing you get the radio station that you want.
One missing feature is the lumbar adjustment on the driver’s seat. This is something all fleet drivers appreciate after a long day on the road.
On the road the car is very quiet with minimal road noise entering the cabin. But like the previous model, unless you ‘drive it like you stole it’ from new, the adaptive shift pattern of the gearbox will consign you to a life of driving Miss Daisy.
An interesting change is the direction you move the gear lever to engage the manual mode on the gearbox, you now pull it toward you the driver, rather than push it toward the passenger side.
I imagine that this is to give the transmission a sportier feel being closer to the driver but the shift change directions still feel wrong. You need to push forward to go up and pull back to go down. In my opinion it should be the other way around.
All the usual Camry strengths are still there, ample space, comfortable ride and excellent fuel economy. Overall I found the car a pleasantly driving, fuss free type of car that will get you from A to B no problem. Just like a Camry should be.