Toyota Camry Atara SL: Bloody impressive as a daily driver – EFTM

Toyota Camry Atara SL: Bloody impressive as a daily driver

Sometimes the bland can be surprising, the thought of the Camry surprising never crossed my mind

It’s almost a year since Chris drove the Camry Atara SX – something a bit sporty, and there’s no doubt that surprised him.  So this week when I jumped into the Camry Atara SL I wasn’t expecting much.  What I got surprised this Commodore owner into thinking a Camry might just be a good next car.


I’m not for a minute saying the Camry is a bad car, it’s just not your aspirational “geez I’d love to own a Camry” kinda car right?

Well loyalty is out the window and Toyota being the top seller of vehicles in this land is well placed to capitalise on the demise of the Commodore and Falcon.


On the downside, I still find Toyotas to have a rather bland and somewhat cheap interior finish.  If there’s one thing I think Holden absolutely nailed with the VF Commodore it’s the interior – for a car of its price, it was great.


Perhaps it’s the large numbers in which they produce, perhaps it’s the number of countries they export to – whatever it is, Toyota could win my heart with a complete interior overhaul.

That said, it does the job, perhaps that’s the best way to describe why people flock to Toyota – It just works.

Throw two car seats in the back and I’m struggling to see a huge difference in size to my Commodore.  This is a large car, forget what the category makers tell you, it’s certainly the size of a Falcon or Commodore not long ago.


Ride and handling are smooth – nothing to write home about in terms of performance off the line, but lets consider for a moment where this car is being driven.  Mums and Dads all over Australia are dropping the kids at school, they’re off to the shops, heading to work.  As Chris said, you’re not likely to be seeking out the twists and turns of the Bells line of road.

But here’s where it gets interesting, impressive perhaps.


The tech inside this car, sitting, waiting, is fantastic.

Lane departure warnings – got those now and then – because I’m a sloppy driver.

Rear parking/reverse assistance – beeping its head off because I couldn’t see the cars that are coming.

Emergency Brake Assist – because I’m a bit late on the anchors now and then

Automatic High Beam – because I’m the goose who forgets to turn them off when a car is coming.


Digital Radio – simple, but man it’s good to listen to

Wireless Charging – yes, you heard me, for compatible phones with qi charging, it’s easy!


So look, all those things make me realise this thing has some serious bang for your buck – and they’re just the things I noticed!


Honestly, for $37,440 – this is your next family car, what used to be bland on the outside had a styling update last year and now looks great.


My only advice is to go for a colour that sets you way apart from the Taxis, there’s just too many Camrys in the Taxi fleet now.


Trevor produces two of the most popular technology podcasts in Australia, Your Tech Life and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He has a weekly radio show on 2UE, as well as appearances across the country and regularly provides Technology Commentary to Channel 9’s Today Show and A Current Affair. Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave. Like this post? Buy Trev a drink!
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