Toyota Camry RZ Limited Edition : Review & Road Test
Review by Michael Tancredi - 20 September 2016
Toyota recently released the Limited Edition Camry RZ to add to it's Camry range. The RZ includes a number of enhancements and additional features to differentiate if from the standard Camry Altise/Atara and give it a more sporty look and feel. In essence, the key differentiators are the 18" black alloy wheels and low profile tyres coupled with an enhanced suspension system, duel exhaust, and styling enhancements. In the main, the RZ retains all the excellent features of the Camry range: engine/transmission, safety, drive, performance, handling and economy.
The Camry has a long and illustrious history in Australia with its launch in 1987 and has spent the last 22 years as Australia's as the top selling mid-sized car.
Toyota have indicated that just 1,100 Camry RZ petrol sedans are being produced over a three-month period with a recommended retail price from $28,490
We had the pleasure of taking a Camry RZ out for a spin over several days recently and found it to be a very comfortable and easy car to drive with very many similarities to the Atara but with a sportier look and feel.
The Camry RZ is an extremely smooth, quiet and comfortable car to drive. It's 2.5L petrol engine provided very good acceleration in all situations. The handling is excellent and moving through traffic, turning corners and getting in and out of tight parking spots is effortless with its responsive and smooth electric power steering.
In the RZ the driver has an excellent view in all directions as well as a clear view of all instrumentation. The vehicle provided a firm ride on all road surfaces and the suspension (front Independent McPherson strut, rear Independent Duel Link McPherson and tweaked for the RZ) handled unsealed roads with ease. Road noise up through the tyres was hardly noticeable at lower speeds but, as one would expect, as the speed climbed so did the road noise increase - but the noise remained within manageable limits.
The sculptured bonnet didn't present any visual distraction to the driver and provided clear forward vision therefore providing an unobstructed view when parking nose to kerb. The side mirrors were large and enabled a wide and clear view of approaching traffic either side.
Acceleration was more than sufficient to enable safe overtaking. The six-speed automatic transmission was smooth and moved up and down the range quietly and with a good ratios between changes. To squeeze that little extra out of the vehicle engage S(port) by moving the gear stick to the right when in D(rive). We found that, while in S(port) mode the gears did not automatically revert to first when stopped. First had to be manually engaged.
We took the Camry over a mixture of terrains: freeways, suburban streets and up and down winding country roads. We pushed it into corners and accelerated out of bends and drove over sealed and unsealed roads. It performed well on all surfaces and when pulling out of bends or chicanes at speed. In the main, the vehicle held its line beautifully under hard and consistent braking (296mm front ventilated disc, 286mm rear disc) at various speeds on a range of surfaces.
Keyless entry and start were standard. The park brake is foot operated and can be a consideration if the driver has mobility issues.
The Toyota Camry RZ comes in a 2.5L, 4 cylinders, in-line, chain driven DOHC with variable valve timing and four valves per cylinder, two balance shafts, alloy block and cross-flow alloy head. engine (code 2AR-FE). The engine has a maximum power output of 135kW @ 6000rpm and generates torque of 235Nm @ 4100rpm. A hybrd version is not available for the RZ.
The transmission on the RZ is a six speed automatic with sequential shift (or manual mode: change from [D]rive to [S]port). The system is extremely smooth and efficient.
The stated average fuel consumption for the Camry RZ under controlled conditions is 7.9 L/100km. According to the on-board computer we clocked ot at around 9.2L/100km over suburban streets, highways and freeways and over a range of speeds and a variety of driving styles. Our actual consumption compared reasonably to that obtained under controlled conditions.
CO2 claimed emission under a variety of driving conditions for the RZ is 183g/km. As a guide, the Australian national average carbon emissions from new passenger and light commercial vehicles was 192g/km [Carbon Dioxide Emissions from New Australian Vehicles 2013 : Information Paper May 2014*]. For those conscious of their CO2 footprint this represents a better than average result.
Recommended fuel is 91 RON.
(*The represents a 3.4% reduction from the results of the 2012 Guide.)
The Toyota Camry RZ is a neat looking medium sized sedan. It's most distinguishing feature is it's sculptured bonnet and beautifully styled and bold front profile. It's eye catching trapezoid shaped black meshed grill which dominates the front of the vehicle gives it a sporty look and helps it stand out from the crowd. This coupled with the stylishly shaped, wrap to the side, halogen headlight array and recessed and curved LED running/park lights complete the picture.
In profile it presents a rather pedestrian sedan look and style with subtle swage lines running parallel across the top and bottom of the doors from the front wheel arch to the rear of the vehicle.. It has a lot of glass that provides for lots light and good views for all passengers. RZ decals on the lower rear door and boot lid identify the model.
To further differentiate the RZ from the look of the standard Atara the model has added duel exhausts, boot lip spoiler and a rear-bumper diffuser.
The Camry measures in at 4850mm long, 1835mm wide and 1470mm high and has a wheel base of 2775mm and a turning circle of 11.0 metres.
The RZ sits on 18" x 7.5" 10 spoke gloss black alloy wheels within low profile tyres.
Apart from the grill, pillars, external mirrors, rear spoiler and rear window edging and a touch of chrome on the grill and boot lid the body is one solid colour. There are five paint options from which to choose, all prestige although two are available at no extra charge. Our test vehicle came in a "no extra charge" prestige Cherry.
The Toyota Camry has been awarded a 5-star ANCAP safety rating with an overall score of 36.27 out of 37.
Standard with the Camry are: Front impact airbags for driver and front passenger and front and rear side curtain airbags.
Other standard safety features include:
- anti-lock braking system (ABS) with;
- electronic brake-force distribution (EBD); which varies the amount of force applied to each of a vehicle's wheels, based on road conditions, speed, loading, etc;
- brake assist (BA); which applies extra force when braking if it senses an emergency situation;
- electronic stability control (ESC) or electronic stability program (ESP); which improves a vehicle's stability by detecting and reducing loss of traction (skidding) by detecting loss of steering control by automatically applying the brakes to wheels individually;
- traction control system (TCS), which limits wheel spin during acceleration so that the drive wheels have maximum traction; and,
- hill start assist control (HAC); to prevent the car from rolling when starting on an incline.
Rear park assist sensors (2 x front and 2 x rear) and rear view camera. The top of the line SL comes equipped with a pre-collision safety system, active cruise control, lane departure alert, rear cross traffic alert and blind-spot monitor.
The Camry has a well finished interior and provide more than sufficient head and leg room for front and back seat passengers. Three average sized adult passengers would fit comfortably but with little wriggle room in the back seat. The design is such that back seat passengers don't feel claustrophobic. The driver is well positioned and has a clear view in all directions. The view forward is excellent and little of the bonnet is seen a this provides a good view of obstacles when parking nose to kerb.
The driver and front passenger bucket seats are very comfortable and supportive of the body and flanks. The driver seat can be electrically adjusted and the upholstery is black fabric.
The three-pronged steering wheel fits comfortably in the hand and is a good shape and size and houses the entertainment, telephone and on-board computer controls. All are easily manipulated by the respective thumb and are intuitive to use. The cruise controls are located on a stork attached to the right of the steering column and viewable below the steering wheel. This is the standard positioning across the Toyota range.
The driver is in easy reach of all controls and had good line of sight to all instrumentation. The dash instrumentation is analogue, simple in design and uncluttered. It comprises, in the main, a circular dial speedo with inset petrol gauge and a circular dial tacho with inset temperature gauge. The dials and display were easy to read day or night, with a good contrast and large enough numbers. The on-board computer digital display sits centred in the instrument panel and provides for a range of settings, is intuitive to use and easy to read.
The RZ entertainment system powered the AM/FM radio and could handle input from CD, Bluetooth, USB (x1) and Aux (although the USB and Aux plugs were awkward to access). Output was via a six speaker system located to the front and rear of the cabin. Sat Nav is not standard on the RZ. It's a shame ToyotaLink, which is available as standard on the S, SX and SL is not available on the RZ.
All functions could be managed/monitored through the 6.1" colour LCD touch screen on the RZ was straight forward and intuitive to use and provides for basic features.
The duel zone climate control system provided more than adequate volumes of air and ran quietly but became became progressively louder the higher the fan was set. It has a fair range between cold and hot. Heating or cooling kicked in sufficiently quickly.
There is more than ample storage for anything from cups, maps, sunglasses papers, books, bottles and all other paraphernalia that you may need while driving.
The boot is a reasonable 505L with a 60/40 folding rear seat. A minor irritant: folding the rear sear forward was a two step process, pulling a lever in the boot and then lowering the seat via the rear door. When the seats are folded forward they don't sit flush with the boot floor.
This recent addition to the Camry line is a very stylish looking vehicle with a touch of the sporty about it. It performs and handles very well, has very good acceleration and its petrol consumption is quite low, making it a very economical car to drive. It's stylish front profile gives it a sporty look which sets it apart from previous iterations.
If you looking for something which does not quite look like the family sedan, then the Camry RZ might do the trick. With all the features, reliability, performance and safety of the Camry sedan but with the sporty enhancements and additions (wheels/tyres, suspension, exhaust, colouring) this one is worth a test drive.
* Prices are manufacturer list prices only, for the drive away price please contact your local authorised Toyota dealer.
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