Toyota Camry 2008 Review
The silent Toyota Camry Hybrid starts with a slight judder, the electric motor maybe deciding if it needs help to get away.
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Honda's latest Accord strikes deep into homegrown territory.
It is similar in size to Commodore, Falcon and Aurion, comes loaded with equipment, a choice of four and V6 engines, and is priced to hit the locals where it hurts.
And the V6 is clever enough to run on six, four or three cylinders, to save fuel.
This eighth-generation Accord is aimed at buyers looking for a large car at a keen price, with what Honda claims will be low running costs and a high retained value.
Prices reflect the free-trade agreement — no 10 per cent import tax — with Thailand, where the Accord is built.
There are two 2.4-litre, four-cylinder models, the VTi at $29,990 and the VTi-L at $36,490, and two 3.5-litre V6 models, the V6 at $38,490 and the V6-L at $46,990.
The new Accord is a larger car all round and a genuine adult five-seater.
Park it alongside its local rivals and it doesn't look any bigger, but it is 51mm longer than a Commodore, 15mm longer than a Falcon and bigger all round than an Aurion.
However the width is trimmer — 54mm narrower than a Commodore and 18mm narrower than a Falcon.
Behind the wheel it doesn't look or feel as big as the locals, due to the chamfered corners, wraparound lights, curved bumpers, slim roof pillars and a sloping tail.
Boot volume doesn't match the locals, but it does have a full-sized spare wheel.
The 2.4-litre, four-cylinder version is, as expected, no fireball. But it does its job admirably.
Tweaking the variable valve timing has helped lift power and improved fuel economy.
Output from the 2.4-litre engine is up 8kW to 133kW, and up 4Nm to 222Nm. Its combined fuel economy (standard unleaded) has improved 8 per cent, to 8.8 litres/100km.
Complementing the engine is the decisive and intuitive five-speed automatic.
Acceleration and mid-range response are brisk enough once it gets into stride and it cruises easily on the open road.
It is also relatively quiet and composed.
The transmission has an S (sports) slot below D (drive) and steering-wheel paddle shifters.
In S it operates in the first three ratios only, or by triggering the paddle shifts, allows manual selection of all five ratios.
The paddle shifts can also be activated in drive. This is useful when slowing, and reverts back to full auto after five seconds.
The upgraded V6 is a worthy rival to the Aurion for response and smoothness.
A lift in capacity, from 3.0 to 3.5 litres, has increased power by 25kW to 202kW and torque by 52Nm to 395Nm.
This just pips the Aurion as the most powerful engine in its class.
Step-off response is lively and the punch continues seamlessly through to maximum revs.
It also has the advantage of a three-mode cylinder deactivation system, to improve fuel economy.
Under load the engine fires on all six cylinders. When cruising and at light throttle it runs on three cylinders and in between it runs on four cylinders.
The transition is automatic and silent, apart from a slight exhaust growl on trailing throttle.
Whenever the green `Eco' light comes on, on light or trailing throttle, the driver gets a warm fuzzy feeling.
Honda says fuel economy improves 6 per cent over the previous V6 to 10 litres/100km on the combined cycle, marginally above the Aurion.
Dynamically the Accord is a safe and reassuring car to drive, although enthusiastic drivers will be left looking for more.
The suspension is set up to deliver a smooth and compliant ride over all surfaces and confident and secure handling.
Steering is light and accurate enough and the brakes confident.
The interior is attractive, with well-placed controls, high-quality trim and plenty of storage.
The driving position suits all sizes, the seats are supportive and head and legroom are generous for five adults.
Standard equipment includes stability control, front and side airbags, traction control, dual-zone climate control, a five-speed automatic transmission, cruise control, steering wheel paddle shifters and audio controls, a six-CD 160W audio system, steering wheel audio controls, power windows and alloy wheels, but no trip computer.
The rear seat folds and has a ski-port, but no split fold.
Parking sensors are an option on all models.
The VTi Luxury adds heated front seats, the V6 lumbar support for the driver and side mirror indicators and the V6 Luxury adds satellite navigation, a reverse camera and a trip computer.
Maximum towing weight is 1200kg, or 400kg below its rivals.
|V6||3.0L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO||$4,500 – 9,990||2008 Honda Accord 2008 V6 Pricing and Specs|
|V6 Luxury||3.5L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO||$4,990 – 12,995||2008 Honda Accord 2008 V6 Luxury Pricing and Specs|
|VTi||2.4L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO||$6,990 – 9,990||2008 Honda Accord 2008 VTi Pricing and Specs|
|VTi Luxury||2.4L, ULP, 5 SP AUTO||$4,999 – 12,995||2008 Honda Accord 2008 VTi Luxury Pricing and Specs|