New Sasol GTC cars set for thrills

The iconic Grand Prix Circuit will present a new challenge to the GTC drivers as they tackle the country’s fastest racetrack on June 16.

Suzuki’s new Swift hatch and sedan in SA

Suzuki kicks off its new model assault with an all new Swift hatchback and standalone sedan called the Dzire.

New Toyota Camry driven

2004-11-15 11:58

John Oxley

And to emphasise its involvement in South African cricket, Toyota's special guests at the launch were former Protea's all-rounder Steve Elworthy, long-time first class all-rounder Rodney Ontgong, and former test umpire and provincial selector Cyril Mitchley.

However, the star of the show was Camry, Toyota's second most important model internationally, after the Corolla, and the top-selling model in the US, where it is expected to sell 450 000 this year.

Along the way to market leadership the Camry has received numerous awards including prominence in the Consumer Digest "Best Buys" since 1986, while Car and Driver has on several occasions named the Camry amongst its "Best Buys", and the influential JD Power market research group has regularly applauded the Camry for its quality and reliability.

Although it is manufactured in no fewer than seven countries - and sold in 45 - the most important arena for South Africa is Australia, which has been building Camrys since 1987, and recently topped the 1-million mark.

Full import

Reason for this is that Australian conditions are the closest to South Africa's, and the Camry is now fully imported into SA from Aus.

The latest Camry styling package includes revised front and rear end treatments, new design alloy wheels, and a number of interior improvements.

A revised pricing structure compliments the styling changes to add further appeal with prices reduced by over 8% on average across the range.

The most striking feature of the latest Camry front end is the new headlight design that enhances the frontal appearance with more rounded lamps with their clear lenses and stacked tubular light elements for turn indicators, dual headlamps, and park lights.

Also new are the grille and front bumper to compliment the new light design.

The revised rear end styling provides for new garnishes and boot lid styling.

Rear lights

Rear light clusters are restyled and, like the front light clusters, feature a stacked tubular lens treatment. Restyled alloy wheels, with individual designs for the Xli, Gli, and V6 models, complete the exterior package.

Inside the Camry a number of changes have been made and features added.

These include revised instruments, an extended centre console with revised heating and ventilation controls and steering wheel mounted remote controls for the audio system. GLi and V6 variants feature more prominent use of plush wood-pattern garnishes.

But the big news is the pricing.

The base line Camry 2.4 XLi manual is now priced at R192 240 including VAT. This is 10% lower than the previous price for the equivalent model.

Savings on other models in the range vary between R18 365 and R25 185, depending on the model.


An added benefit for customers is that leather-covered seats and door trim panels, which would usually carry an add-on price of R5 000, will be available at no additional cost on all 2.4-litre Camry XLi and GLi models delivered up to the end of January 2005.

After that they will become a R5 000 option. Leather bolsters and Escaine, mock suede cloth inserts are standard on the latest version of the luxurious, top-of-the-range Camry 3.0 V6 automatic.

"The price repositioning of the Toyota Camry range is an extension of a programme initiated by Toyota South Africa in October 2002 with the introduction of the new Land Cruiser Prado," says Toyota president and CEO, Johan van Zyl.

"That all-new Prado range was introduced with significant additional specification over its predecessor and with a 5-year/90 000 km service plan, all at an average price that was 6% lower than that of its predecessor.

"It is significant that Toyota has not had a price increase on imported models since September 2002. We have followed a similar policy of striving to offer more for less on locally produced models. Toyota has not had a general price increase on these models since October 2003.

"The Camry combines the values of interior space, comfort and economy together with an aggressive pricing policy.

"Add to this a superb active and passive safety package, extensive warranty support with cover for 3 years/100 000 km, a 5-year/90 000 km service plan, and the Camry is positioned as an aggressive competitor in the medium sized sedan market in South Africa.


  • 2.4 XLi 5-speed manual transmission* R192 240
  • 2.4 XLi 4-speed automatic* R211 180
  • 2.4 GLi 4-speed automatic* R225 710
  • 3.0 V6 4-speed automatic R296 980

    *Includes leather seat special offer applicable to the end of January 2005. Thereafter leather option will be priced at R5 000. Prices include VAT and are subject to change without prior notice.

    Camry is the leader in the D segment in SA, where its main opposition comes from smaller cars such as the Mazda6 and Volkswagen's Passat.

    It is popular with fleet buyers who require the security of a boot and the space of a large car - there really IS room for five large adults in this one, with legroom and headroom galore, back and front.

    On the road

    On the road the car impresses with its excellent ride qualities, while handling prowess is tempered by its size and softer suspension qualities.

    That said, we managed to press on with alacrity on the launch, the car still feeling well under control even at the sort of limits buyers are unlikely to ever aspire to.

    Even the 2.4-litre automatic was able to maintain a healthy cruising speed, while the 3-litre V6 proved to be a long-distance cruiser of note.

    The cars also impressed with their excellent build quality - long a Toyota asset - as well as high specification levels.

    Engine options are either the new generation 2,4-litre 2AZ-FE four-cylinder multi-valve engine with VVT- i (Variable Valve Timing - intelligent) and twin balance shafts, or the 1MZ-FE 3-litre all aluminium 24-valve V6 engine.

    The 2AZ-FE engine produces 112 kW at 5 600 r/min and provides 218 Nm of torque at 4 000 r/min.

    A feature of this engine is that it delivers 90% of the maximum torque from 1 500 r/min through to 5 000 r/min.

    The 1MZ-FE V6 engine produces 145 kW at 5 200 r/min with 284 Nm of torque at 4 400 r/min. Both feature Toyota's TDIS direct ignition system and are clean burning high efficiency engines.

    The Camry 2.4 XLi is offered with the choice of either a 5-speed manual transmission or a 4-speed automatic transmission with lock-up torque converter and engine torque control.

    Advanced electronic control provides for high efficiency and a smooth shift action for the automatic transmission. The Camry 2.4 GLi and 3.0 V6 are only available with automatic transmission.


    Features include disc brakes on all four wheels with ABS anti-skid braking; speed sensitive power steering, cruise control; climate control air conditioning with ducting for rear seat passengers; multi-function display with trip computer; power windows with driver's side one-touch down feature; height adjustment for the steering wheel; and electric remote external rear view mirrors.

    There are also variable speed intermittent windscreen wipers; tinted glass all round; cup holders for front seat occupants; a centre console storage area with lid and auxiliary 12V power point; a RDS radio/CD combination with concealed antenna; and 60/40 split rear seat backrest.

    The rear windscreen demister is fitted with a timer. Remote fuel flap and boot openers are provided.

    Safety features include driver and passenger airbags; full three point seatbelts for all five seats; energy absorbing door trim; head impact protection trim and a high mounted stop light. ISO-FIX rear child seat anchors for the two outer rear seats are standard.

    Vehicle security is provided by a transponder key immobiliser system with virtually infinitely variable combinations and a vehicle alarm system. This is activated by remote control in concert with the central locking system.

    Central locking

    A selective unlock feature is available on the central locking system. A nifty feature is a programmable headlamp-off delay to provide lighting for a short period when you leave the car.

    On the 2.4 litre XLi 15 inch 6JJ alloy wheels are standard. Tyres are 205/65R15.

    On the Gli and 3.0 V6 model the wheels are 16 inch 6JJ alloy fitted 205/60R16 tyres. Distinctive wheel designs differentiate these two models.

    On the 2.4 GLi and 3.0 V6 models side airbags for the front seats are added.

    Also standard at this level are steering wheel mounted remote audio system controls. A rear fold down armrest with two cup holders is standard as is woodgrain trim and rear seat pockets on both front seats.

    Body colour side mirrors and side protection mouldings are fitted. Illuminated sun visor mirrors for driver and front passenger are fitted at this level. A leather covered gear knob and steering wheel are standard at this level.

    Additional specification enhancements on the Camry 3.0 V6 include tilt and slide sunroof; front fog lamps; manually operated rear windscreen sun shade; sports type instrumentation and pedals; rear spoiler; 3-spoke leather-covered steering wheel and gear knob: leather and Alcantara seat trim, and full-range power adjustment for the driver's and front passenger's seats.

    A boot mounted 6-CD shuttle is provided.

    The service interval for the Camry is 15 000 km.

    There's a 3-year/100 000km warranty, including corrosion perforation. "In Touch 24" roadside assistance from the Automobile Association (AA) is also provided for three years.

    A valuable element of the peace of mind ownership package is a 5 year/90 000 km service plan included in the purchase price.

    Toyota Camry gallery


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