The Toyota Camry quietly faded from the South African market about five years ago, its lack of popularity inspiring Toyota to replace it with the Avensis - which also eventually went away without a whisper.
Yet this pillar of spacious, solid and reliable (but boring) motoring is quite a hit in North America, where it's been the best selling passenger car for all but one of the last 14 years.
Little surprise then, that Toyota chose to unveil the all-new, 2012 Camry in that country - a car that promises a little more of everything its renowned for and a “sophisticated new design.” Well, by Camry standards this one seems like a step in the right direction with its slightly crisper and more angular lines.
There is also a small possibility that this new large sedan will make it to South Africa. TSA's corporate communications manager Leo Kok stated that although the company has no firm plans to reintroduce the Camry to our market, the company will gauge customer interest and right hand drive availability.
So what exactly have they improved? In a nutshell, Toyota claims more interior space, improved driving dynamics and a quieter ride, along with class-leading fuel economy, safety and modern multi-media technology.
The American market gets three engine choices starting with a 2.5-litre Dual VVT-i four-cylinder petrol motor that gets a mild power increase to 133kW. For the more discerning Camry enthusiast (and you can use your imagination here) there's also a more economical version of Toyota's trusty 200kW 3.5-litre V6. Both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox with a manual shift mode.
Toyota also offers a petrol-electric hybrid Camry that's 30 percent more economical than the previous hybrid - the new one boasting a claimed combined fuel consumption of 5.47 litres per 100km.
Inside the bigger cabin, buyers will find modern-age connectivity with Bluetooth wireless calling now standard, as is full iPod integration. The six-speaker sound system is mated to a 6.1-inch screen, which also serves as a portal for Toyota's new Entune multi-media system - which can mates with a smartphone to provide fully integrated access to navigation, entertainment and information services.
Finally, safety is well taken car of with all models fitted with 10 airbags, including knee-protecting bags for both front occupants. Like many high-end cars today, this Toyota also offers a blind spot monitoring system as an option.