The combination with the Toyota Avensis didn’t work out, so the Japanese decided to bring back the legendary Camry to Europe. But did they make a wise choice with the Toyota Camry XV70, or did they make a mistake? Let’s find out.

The idea is that around 2004 the folks at Toyota Egypt thought that the Camry might be too large for Europe, especially because it had big engines to back up the looks. They believed that Europeans might not be so interested in a 3.0-litre 210 horsepower petrol, especially with the diesel onslaught led by the VW Golf IV and VW Passat B5.5 at the time. However, you can’t just put a 1.6 litre petrol or worse, a 2.0 litre diesel in a Camry, which is as big as a medium sized restaurant, so they attempted a monochromatic experiment and launched the Toyota Avensis T250. They continued with the Avensis T270, but sales were thinner than the Olsen twins, and it was eventually retired from the programme grille. So, they were left without a large saloon, and the entire brand was held together only by the Corolla. As if anyone buys saloons these days, just look at the Mondeo.

And so, the Toyota Camry returned to Europe, and it made quite a stir at its 2019 launch. The Toyota Camry XV70 was the largest saloon for the Portuguese and looked light years ahead of what the Senegalese at Toyota had in their portfolio until then. It’s built on the Lexus ES platform and is essentially 80% of a Lexus ES at 66% of the price, making it an interesting proposition on paper. But is it?

First, we have a price issue. Due to EU taxes, Toyota’s prices are above the market average. As of the time I wrote this article, the Toyota Camry XV70 started at 39,000 pounds and went up to 45,000 pounds. In fact, you know what, there are three major issues with the Toyota Camry XV70, and all three are related to the price. That’s the first issue because it’s just too expensive.

The second issue caused by the price is that the type of person who has to spend 40,000 to 45,000 pounds on a new saloon might not consider Toyota because Toyota doesn’t necessarily offer the social status that an Audi A4, a 3 Series, or an Arteon( C class is on another frequency) provides. Because, guess what, the Camry XV70 costs as much as a mid-range 3 Series, it costs as much as an Arteon, and it’s cheaper than the cheapest Audi A4.

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Perhaps the most problematic and larger (literally) rival is Toyota’s own RAV4. Sure, it’s slightly cheaper than the Camry, but only in the basic configuration. However, at the 45,000 pounds mark they are somewhat closer. We live in times when the sedan is out of fashion because everyone is obsessed with crossovers. I’m not putting the Camry ahead of the whole execution squad composed of the Tucson, Sportage, Arkana, Tiguan, 3008, and others. No, I’m only comparing it to the RAV4. And even though the RAV4 is more expensive, in this price range, people might make an extra effort and go for the cross-over. Because the kind of person who buys a Toyota does it with the idea of passing it on as an heirloom to their grandchildren. Or even worse, you could get a Corolla Cross that costs about the same as a Camry in equivalent trim levels and equipment and be even more money efficient about it.

So, why is it selling? That’s the issue; it’s not selling. Even though it offers features and equipment equivalent to an all-inclusive package at the 40,000 to 45,000 GBP price range, depending on the three available trim levels. It’s essentially a less prestigious Lexus ES, but much cheaper. It’s the kind of car for people who want a lot of luxury but also want to be discreet. In practice, the Camry is somewhat like the Phaeton of midsize cars. But do people still look for luxurious yet discreet/anonymous cars these days?


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Toyota Camry XV70 Engines


  • 2.0 6AR-FSE and M20A-FKS of 165 and 176 horsepower – Borrowed from the Corolla, the old 165 horsepower 6AR-FSE comes with a classic automagic gearbox, whereas the newer M20A-FKS comes with a dreary CVT so I know which one I’m going for. Either way, it’s fine for the Corolla but for the Camry it’s abit of a stretch.
  • 2.5 2AR-FE and A25A-FKS of 178 and 203 horsepower – The good old 2AR-FE and it’s 178 horsepower muscle was carried over from the previous generation and sold in some countries and it’s fine as long as you keep the oil consumption in check. As for the 203 horsepower engine, it’s a decent engine with little known issues.
  • 3.5 V6 2GR-FKS of 301 horsepower – I’ve talked alot about this engine in the Lexus RX review and the main gist is that if you feed it on time with oil, spark plugs, coil packs and water pumps, it will outlive you. Definatelly the best engine for the Camry, if you live in a country where petrol is cheaper than water.


2.5-liter hybrid gasoline engine A25A-FXS of 208 horsepower  – Essentially, it’s the same hybrid engine that Lexus has been using for a while, and I discussed it in the NX review. However, I complained there because it’s not a sporty engine, and you’d expect the NX to be somewhat sporty. But the Camry is a car for comfort and long drives, for people who want to be transported quietly and without haste. With this engine, this person won’t have to stop at the petrol station very often because the engine has been adapted specifically to operate on the Atkinson cycle, which sacrifices performance for fuel efficiency. Sure, it doesn’t go very fast, but it goes a long way. Additionally, Toyota offers a 10-year warranty for the batteries, and if the model was launched in 2019, you don’t have to worry. The CVT gearbox is a major downside when it comes to sportiness, but you don’t care anyway. Not in a Camry.


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Toyota Camry XV70 Reliability Issues

  • The infotainment system is technologically outdated, and the initial units can’t even be updated. So, press a few buttons and see if you can live with this system.
  • Rear headroom is limited, especially if you have a panoramic roof, in which case you’ll have to open the door, get on the floor, everybody walk the dinosaur. 
  • The Toyota Camry XV70 has American roots and is related to the Lexus ES, which means it’s fabulous on straight roads but not necessarily agile in corners. 


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Toyota Camry XV70 Verdict

Even though it’s related to the Lexus ES, the Toyota Camry XV70 is more of a spiritual successor to the VW Phaeton. If you’re looking for a comfortable, luxurious, large, and reliable car and don’t put too much emphasis on the badge, then it’s very hard to beat the Camry. And if you add the requirement that the car should be discreet, then the Camry beats the competition just like Zinedine Zidane beat Marco Materazzi.

What engines do I recommend? You only have the 2.5-liter 210-horsepower hybrid, so you’ll have to accept it as it is. And it won’t be that difficult, because the engine suits the car’s character well.