Toyota updates the Camry for 2002
Toyota's new Camry
Choose a 2.4-litre inline-4 or 3.0-litre
The V6 creates 200 horsepower
Improved styling adds flair
Sports instrumentation on high-end models
For Toyota, the Camry is one of its biggest earners. In fact,
in America, the car has sold more than any other - four years
running. The Toyota mainstay is also very popular in Europe
and even on local turf, here in Australia.
Toyota's huge market share is something the company isn't
keen on letting slip and, as a result, has come up with an
all-new Camry for 2002.
Toyota is the world's third largest automaker and the Camry
is an important model - a money spinner, if you will. For
10 years, Toyota's Kosaku Yamada has been at the helm of designing
the successful Camry and the 2002 model is looking like a
solid performer, yet again.
The first major change will be in the engine department.
The V6 engine from the 2001 model Camry will be used in this
year's V6 models, but the inline four engine has been totally
Camry chief designer, Kosaku Yamada, had this to say about
the new engine: "Toyota is doing many vehicles at the
same time. We have 10 new models coming globally within one
year. Doing that affects the development of a new engine family.
The current performance of the V-6 was good enough. However,
the inline-four was not good enough, so we changed that."
Indeed, the new 2.4-litre, inline four-cylinder engine pumps
out an extra 24-horsepower, compared to last year's model.
This brings peak power to 155bhp (116kW) @ 5,600rpm and is
sure to impress both Toyota loyalists and newcomers to the
The new 2.4-litre mill will take advantage of variable valve
timing. This will maximise the spread of torque and together
with sequential mulitport fuel injection, four-valves per
cylinder and double-overhead cams, the base-model Camry now
offers even better performance. The four-cylinder comes standard
with a five-speed manual transmission, though the four-speed
auto gearbox will cost extra.
The V6-engined models will sport the same six-cylinder as
the previous year's model, which is no bad thing, considering
the specs. Pumping out 200bhp (150kW) @ 5,300rpm, the more
powerful six-cylinder engine uses a variable induction system
for better engine response. Factor in 24-valves and DOHC and
you've got one very reliable and sporty powerplant. Interestingly,
it is rumoured that the V6 will only be available with the
four-speed manual transmission.
While the two different engines offer a good choice for drivers
who want either solid economy or increased performance, the
new styling should help shift a few thousand vehicles from
the showroom floors, too.
Looking more Lexus than Toyota, the 2002 car is wider, longer
and taller. It comes standard with better components and a
redesigned interior and, although the base model is now gone,
prices are said to have been lowered.
Yamada said: "Our target was to build a better, higher quality
Camry for a customer who would not spend a premium. For Camry
to succeed, we knew it would have to move from sensible to
We're not quite sure if the new car is exactly sensual,
but it is definitely a lot more pleasing to the eye than the
current Camry. With more curves, a new headlight cluster and
other more subtle changes, the Toyota mainstay looks to consolidate
it's position once again at the top of the list.
The new Camry should arrive on Australian shores sometime
in 2002, though no official release date has been set. As
it stands, the next evolution of the Camry is very pleasing
and the fact that Toyota is able to bring costs down even
further means that those looking for a bargain could do a
lot worse elsewhere. In all, Toyota looks to be on a winner
with its all-new Camry, which should carry the company well
into the middle of the decade.