Petrol power

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SummaryEver since diesel cars started getting popular, a plethora of options have cropped up across the market.

what gives the initial push, or pick-up in stop-and-go traffic, instead of the peak power that is usually only experienced on longer rides.

There are also the gizmos that are expected in the segment, like auto-levelling HID headlamps, rain-sending wipers, car information system and an in-dash touch-screen DVD/audio system that also offers Bluetooth connectivity for phones. While the instrument cluster is well-lit, with a premium feel, the outside gets LED lighting to liven up things.

What is interesting in the Camry is the extremely high focus on fuel efficiency. While there are multiple digital meters for fuel efficiency—one in the dash shows history of the car’s mileage as a bar diagram, while another in the instrument cluster measures it on a real-time basis—there is even a third analogue meter on the extreme right, just below the fuel indicator. This may be an industry first and some may wonder why it is needed. There is also an ‘Eco-drive’ indicator that shows how efficiently the car is being driven.

Alas, there is a downside. What is disappointing is the lack of some premium features that today are found even in a segment below. For a R24 lakh car and with only a single variant on sale, things like heated seats, sunroof, paddle (gear) shift on the steering wheel and reverse camera should have been standard features. For safety, there are only two airbags on offer, where competitors boast of six and beyond. There are also no controls for the audio system for the rear passenger—big miss considering most Camrys are likely to be chauffeur-driven.

The Camry is pitted straight against compatriot carmaker Honda’s Accord. The Accord had been the last word in the premium segment for many years, until the diesel deluge began in 2010. Till date, individual buyers looking for a petrol option tend to stick with the Honda, while Toyota’s range has always remained a favourite with institutions such as hotels and car rental firms.

Why the Accord then? For one, it is the smoothest petrol engine you’ll find anywhere across segments. Though also available in a 3.5-litre V6 (275ps) variant, the 2.4-litre i-VTEC version with 180ps of power at 6,500rpm remains an enticing option. A light steering, typical of any Honda, makes for the smoothest drive in daily city traffic and around corners, while low maintenance and high resale value of the brand have always been strong pull factors. A status symbol in the

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