Has the new engine and transmission made the 2022 XV70 Camry even better?
When the eighth generation (XV70) Toyota Camry was globally launched back in 2017, it really was a far departure from the seventh generation's design. It actually suited the seventh generation's 'New Era' (Emotional & Rational) tagline more than the seventh generation itself.
When it arrived in Malaysia in 2018, everyone was shocked, but not at its stylish and modern design, but at its price tag instead - because the Camry's price tag was closer to the RM200k mark more than ever before.
Although the only distinguishable similarities of the eighth generation Camry and the seventh generation Camry were its front and rear badge and its rear trunk lid, interested buyers were caught off guard by the RM15k price hike, where previously the most expensive Camry could be had for RM175k(Camry Hybrid).
Not only did UMW Toyota Motor up the price of the Camry, but they also dropped all other variants and left buyers with one option, the 2.5V, which was equipped with a tweaked version of the seventh generation's 2.5-litre 2AR engine.
So, the XV70 wasn't really entirely 'All-new', but the 2022 Facelift Toyota Camry has fixed this, as it now features a new powertrain and a few tweaks here and there to the exterior and interior.
The headline of the 2022 Facelift Toyota Camry is obviously the new engine and transmission, where it is equipped with a 2.5-litre Dynamic Force Engine (A25A-FKS) and a Direct-Shift 8-speed automatic.
The A25A-FKS engine and 8-speed transmission is not something that we have not seen before, as it is featured in the current Lexus ES250, even though the 2022 Facelift Camry has 209PS/253Nm and the ES250 has 207PS/247Nm.
For those wanting to know how the facelift's output compares to the pre-facelift Camry, the 2022 Facelift Camry has 25PS and 18Nm more than the older vehicle. There's also an 8% increase in fuel efficiency compared to the pre-facelift XV70.
On the design front, the exterior largely remains the same, but a new lower grille ornamentation gives the Camry more of an aggressive look. The middle bit of the grille is now more pronounced, just like the Toyota Altis. The exterior tweaks finish off with a set of new 18" 'twisted dark spokes' Alloy Rims as well as slightly smoked taillights.
On the inside, the two most significant changes are the floating 9-inch infotainment screen and powered rear seats. While the floating infotainment screen is just something that is being followed because it is on-trend, the addition of the powered rear seats is a genius move by Toyota as it adds another dimension to the Camry's rear passenger comfort.
You can now recline the most outward rear seats adding to the seats' already comfortable feel. All of this reclining can be controlled via a touch-sensitive panel on the flip-out centre armrest, which also houses controls for air conditioning temperature, audio system and powered sunshade. Speaking of air conditioning, the Camry now has Tri-Zone climate control, which means the rear passengers can also have their own prefered settings.
The new car also has some new interior trim bits, mainly at the dashboard and centre console, featuring a grey tiger stripe-like design.
With that being said, future buyers would probably want to know how the Camry feels with the new engine and 8-speed transmission.
Where it previously felt asthmatic and flat, the new engine and transmission combo have really given the Camry a new lease of life. It feels awake, sharp and ready to barrel down the road with poise. The engine is quiet, smooth and certainly doesn't lack power.
The 8-speed automatic transmission was also smooth, and it loved to smoothly kick down a gear when we gave the accelerator pedal more than just a soft push when travelling at high speeds. With 25% wider gear ratios than its predecessors' 6-speed auto, it's no surprise that the facelift Camry is an excellent cruiser.
On the handling front, the Camry is still the same as before. It's soft and pliant where it needs to be and capable of tracing along highway bends with composure. We can't say it is the most agile of vehicles, but it does provide confident handling for when you have to tackle those twisty back roads.
We are also pleased to report that its dynamic radar cruise control (DRCC) works smoothly on the highway as well in low-speed traffic. It stops and accelerates smoothly and is a pleasure during traffic jams.
Another welcoming feature that has been refined is the Lane Departure Alert and Lane Tracing Assist. It doesn't throw extra loud and alarming noises at you, but instead, work quietly in the background to keep your Camry in the centre of the lane. This is a particularly welcoming feature for long drives where perhaps fatigue might have crept in and affected your attention.
All in all, the Camry now feels complete thanks to the new engine and transmission. Where it previously might have lacked in mechanical prowess to match its svelte looks is now a thing of the past. The addition of those powered rear seats also gives the Camry a whole new dimension at the rear, one that'll be deeply appreciated by those who sit at the back. Budget Lexus ES250? We certainly think so!
2022 Toyota Camry 2.5V Specification
Wants to live the simple life, especially when it comes to cars and bikes. That's what tech is for he reckons, to make motoring simpler