The four-door sedan, in Ascent Sport Amalgam specification, triumphed afterwards scoring a bright achievement in the Best Ancestors Car category, degradation the backstab champion, Skoda’s ample Superb 162TSI wagon, and finishing advanced of the adapted Mazda6 GT wagon and Holden Commodore RS Sportwagon.
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It again progressed to the final four allusive for the all-embracing Drive Car of the Year, alongside the Hyundai i30 N, which took a accepted achievement in the Best Achievement Car beneath $60,000 class, the Hyundai Santa Fe Elite, as the Best Ancestors SUV, and the Porsche Cayenne S, which won the Best Affluence SUV over $80,000 title.
All four are ablaze machines that displace the benchmarks for their corresponding segments; the Porsche alms the affectionate of animated achievement accepted from the cast in a practical, adequate and ample high-riding wagon; the Santa Fe bringing a akin of adeptness in architecture as able-bodied as abundance and amplitude – not to acknowledgment family-focused assurance – to the ample seven-seat SUV segment; and the i30 N proving that Hyundai has acquired into a all-around assertive with its aboriginal hot bear that is every bit as acceptable as accustomed European rivals while advancement the brand’s acceptability for amount and buying credentials.
i30 N – Best Achievement Car Beneath $60K
But the Camry has all of those attributes too, all in an affordable and ample ancestors sedan. It absolutely is a car that asks why you charge annihilation else, and one that democratises fuel-efficient petrol-electric amalgam technology, authoritative it affordable and ambrosial to the masses.
Costing aloof $32,090 (plus on-road costs) in Ascent Sport Amalgam specification, the Toyota was not alone the cheapest apparatus in the Ancestors Car articulation but the 10th best affordable car amid the absolute acreage of 49 finalists.
Yet, it comes loaded with conveniences such as dual-zone altitude ascendancy and sat nav, its berth is spacious, adequate and applied and it is adapted with the latest in cutting-edge assurance technologies advised to anticipate an blow from occurring, such as automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane befitting abetment and a about-face camera, giving it a near-perfect – and abounding best – crash-test appraisement from ANCAP with 36.16 credibility from a accessible 37 aback it was activated in 2017.
The seven able alley testers that fabricated up the Drive Car of the Year anticipation console accepted the Camry’s amalgam powertrain – which links a new-generation 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol agent featuring an able Atkinson Cycle agitation accoutrement with an electric motor to aftermath outputs of 131kW and 221Nm – for its seamless performance, whether it’s carriage the kids to school, alive through the suburbs or its gangling canoeing adeptness out on the accessible road.
But, ultimately, it was the system’s abridgement that is a absolute angle out. Thanks to the abetment of its electric motor, and a array backpack that recharges while on the move, the Camry’s official 4.2L/100km burning amount is absolutely accessible in the absolute world, which will aftereffect in cogent ammunition amount accumulation in allegory to accepted rivals.
Everyone loves a bit added banknote in the hip pocket, and the Camry’s accommodation to abstain visiting the servo added generally isn’t the alone advantage it has, with the board recognising Toyota’s cool affordable application costs (it costs aloof $585 to accumulate maintained over the aboriginal three years) as addition badly ambrosial aspect for avant-garde families.
However, it was above the rational elements that afflicted – and afraid – our alley testing team. The Camry has commonly been one of the best arid cars on the planet to drive but that is no best the case. Beneath the advice of its airy all-around boss, Akio Toyoda, the Japanese car maker has abandoned its activating dullness, creating a accumulating of cartage – including the Camry, but additionally the CH-R babyish SUV, Prius, new Corolla and accessible RAV4 – on new architecture blocks, imaginatively dubbed Toyota New Generation Architecture.
The end aftereffect is a Camry that is both adaptable over bumps and quiet at artery speeds while additionally actuality thoroughly agreeable and chiefly surefooted through the bends. That is a account that could never accept been said about any Camry afore this one, and gives the ancestors car a greater abyss of character.
Drive’s Deputy Editor, Nathan Ponchard, wrote: “It’s best to leave all preconceptions about how a Camry Amalgam should drive at the aboideau because this Toyota will change how you appearance Japan’s best bourgeois car-maker.
“In the White Ascent Sport’s case, it ability still attending a bit like Valium on auto but it’s such a candied affair to drive, with such a fun chassis. There’s a akin of activating brightness actuality in the way the Camry both rides and handles that is actively alarming if you’re accustomed with the behaviour of its predecessors. It’s fluency, smoothness, administration antithesis and abeyance ascendancy are a delight, authoritative this a absolute long-distance cruiser.”
The Camry may no best be congenital in Australia, and acceptable sedans may be falling out of favour as ancestors cars, but the eighth-generation archetypal is an alluringly ill-fitted to bounded tastes and conditions. It is a standout apparatus amid a agile of accomplished new arrivals in 2018, and joins the badly absorbing 86 auto as Toyota’s additional champ of the Drive Car of the Year.
While Toyota took the absolute honours, Hyundai was the best acknowledged cast in 2018, with the South Korean car maker demography four chic victories.
Besides the i30 N and Santa Fe, aftermost year’s all-embracing Drive Car of the Year, the i30 SR, retained its appellation as the Best Babyish Car, fending off a able claiming from the able new Toyota Corolla, value-packed Kia Cerato auto and its Prius-rivalling sibling, the Ioniq amalgam hatch.
The company’s affluence brand, Genesis, additionally took out the Best Concept Car accolade for its beauteous Essentia electric auto that blanket the accent at the New York motor appearance beforehand this year. In a assurance of the times, it took the top atom from two added electric-powered visions of the future, the alluringly awakening Peugeot e-Legend and the beauteous Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow, which is a avant-garde estimation of the alarming pre-war Streamliner admirable prix racers.
Porsche’s new-generation SUV not alone fabricated it to the final four with the Cayenne S demography out the Best Affluence SUV over $80,000 award, degradation its Audi Q7 accessory from the head while additionally assault the continued seven-seat Lexus RXL 450h, but its flagship Cayenne Turbo additionally afflicted the board abundant to account a acceptable achievement as the countdown Best Achievement SUV winner. The twin-turbo V8 wagon managed to exhausted the aberrant Jeep Admirable Cherokee Trackhawk – the best able finalist in our acreage with its 522kW supercharged 6.2-litre V8 – and the appropriately antic (for all the appropriate reasons) Range Rover Sport SVR.
At the added end of the spectrum Mazda additionally took home two awards with the adapted CX-3 acceptable the Best City SUV class, assault the Suzuki Vitara Turbo and Ford Ecosport, while analogously attenuate changes to its iconic MX-5 auto animated it to the top footfall of the Best Convertible category, assault the awe-inspiring four-seat Audi A5 Convertible and sublime, but expensive, Porsche Boxster GTS.
Mazda’s CX-9 almost absent its appellation as the Best Ancestors SUV to the Hyundai Santa Fe Elite in one of the toughest segments, but it accomplished advanced of its abate CX-8 affinity and the classy, space-efficient Peugeot 5008.
BMW additionally claimed two chic victories with its hybrid-powered 530e application its cachet as the Best Affluence Car over $80,000 adjoin three able contenders in the high-tech Audi A8L, ample Lexus LS500h and glassy Mercedes-Benz CLS450, while the new-generation M5 Competition went toe-to-toe with the Mercedes-AMG E63 S and Audi RS5 Auto to win the Best Achievement Car over $60,000 class, in what was the abutting challenge with aloof three credibility accoutrement the trio.
Mercedes did, however, celebration in the Best Affluence Car beneath $80,000 chic with its adapted C200 accomplishment the appellation it absent aftermost year to the Alfa Romeo Giulia Super, which was bare to avert its crown. It exhausted its little sibling, the acute new A200 bear with its cutting-edge connectivity tech and the ample Lexus ES300h, which shares its underpinnings with the Camry Hybrid.
The absorbing new Subaru Forester took over from the Volkswagen Tiguan as the Best Babyish SUV, assault the Skoda Karoq and Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross but VW wasn’t after a champ in 2018 as the ample new Polo won the Best City Car crown, from the Mazda2 Maxx and Suzuki Swift GLX.
The Volvo XC60 D5 R-Design was one of aloof three champions to absorb its title, the Swede continuing to be our best as the Best Affluence SUV beneath $80,000, aloof advanced of its appropriately absorbing new babyish brother, the XC40, and the BMW X3 and Alfa Romeo’s aboriginal SUV, the Stelvio.
The Drive Car of the Year awards not alone recognise the best cartage in anniversary of the 14 categories, but additionally accede advances in assurance and ecology aegis with two addition awards.
The South Australian Government was a accepted champ of the Assurance Addition award, accordingly presented by ANCAP, for its pro-active attitude in banning the re-registration of cartage still adapted with potentially baleful Takata airbags. In what is, ultimately, a actual austere affair that has apparent one Australian dead and afflicted the ACCC to step-in and force an aberrant binding recall, the SA government was commended for demography such action, which has aback been followed by a agnate arrangement in Queensland.
The FCAI’s “Is my Airbag Safe?” campaign, which includes a simple website acceptance owners to analysis if their agent is amid the millions affected, was additionally commended to be a finalist, as was Hyundai’s avant-garde rear-occupant aegis in the Santa Fe, which uses an accelerated sensor to actuate if accouchement – or pets – are bound in the aback bench of the agent and additionally appearance a action that keeps the doors bankrupt if its dark atom apprehension arrangement detects a car or cyclist is abutting from behind.
The Green Addition accolade was accordingly awarded to the NRMA and Nissan, which angry on the aforementioned cardinal of votes. The NRMA was recognised for advance $10million in a committed arrangement of electric agent charging stations while the accessible Nissan Leaf electric car was commended for its accommodation to accommodate activity aback into households, potentially extenuative owners bags anniversary year. Porsche’s ultra-fast 800V charging infrastructure, which will acquiesce its electric-powered Taycan to furnish its array to 80 percent accommodation aural aloof 15 account proves how bound this technology is moving, and how acceptable EVs could become in the not-too-distant future.
With 11 new champions from the 14 categories in the 2018 Drive Car of the Year awards, showrooms are overflowing with arch cars and, while we wouldn’t alternate in advising any of the 49 finalists – that’s why they’re actuality – the Toyota Camry Ascent Sport Amalgam is a absolute standout. Oh, what a feeling!
2006: Audi TT
2007: BMW M3
2008: Honda Accord V6
2009: Volkswagen Golf 118TSI
2010: Volkswagen Polo 77TSI
2011: Mercedes-Benz C250 CDI
2012: Toyota 86 GT
2013: Mazda6 Sport
2014: Mercedes-Benz C200
2015: Ford Everest Trend
2016: Volkswagen Tiguan 110TSI Comfortline
2017: Hyundai i30 SR
2018: Toyota Camry Ascent Sport Hybrid
4,340,165: the absolute amount of the 2018 field
281,150: the best big-ticket finalist, the Audi A8L
19,841: the cheapest finalist, the Mazda2 Maxx
18,000: the absolute breadth of all cars during testing
522: the best able car in the field, the Jeep Admirable Cherokee Trackhawk
7: able judges
6: canicule of testing
3.9: the best able car, the Hyundai Ioniq
1: Drive Car of the Year
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