2019 Toyota Camry: Same price, other options

Wilbert Tan
·6 min read

Although it is building more and more crossovers and SUVs, Toyota certainly hasn’t abandoned the vehicle that made it a household name, the Camry sedan. Recently, the Japanese carmaker imbued the 2020 model of their luxury saloon with an all-wheel-drive system, allowing many sedan lovers to enjoy the enhanced traction and handling that the system affords without moving up to a crossover or SUV.

Unfortunately, the 2020 Camry hasn’t reached our shores yet, and while the 2019 Toyota Camry remains a capable car, there will be those who are on the lookout for something different. That’s what the free market is for, after all.

toyota camry
toyota camry

FYI, the currently available Camry is offered in two variants, the base 2.5 G and the higher level 2.5 V. use a Four-cylinder, In-line, 16 Valve, DOHC, Dual VVT-i, and its maximum output is around 181hp with 231Nm of torque. Both have 6-speed automatic gearboxes.

The Camry's sleek and stylish exterior is matched by the interior's luxurious ambiance. The seats are not only reclining, but also have lumbar support plus side and vertical adjustment features. Wood trims add to the Camry cabin’s upscale exotic flare. Safety is enhanced by a bevy of active and passive systems including side impact door beams, anti-lock braking system with electronic brake force distribution, vehicle stability control, multiple airbags (passenger, driver, side, curtain shield, knee), cruise control, vehicle security system, and clearance and back sonar sensors, among many others.

The Toyota Camry costs PHP1.84 million for the 2.5 G and PHP2.03 million for the 2.5 V. For those of you whom the Camry simply just won’t do, here are some of the vehicle’s competitors to consider.

Chevrolet Malibu (PHP 2.13 million)

chevrolet malibu
chevrolet malibu

The Chevrolet Malibu may not be a huge seller locally, but there’s no denying that it’s a completely decent ride and a respectable alternative to the Camry. In fact, its host of features and capabilities allow it to stand tall against contemporaries such as advanced safety tech (lane keep assist, lane departure warning, front collision alert, front pedestrian detection, forward automatic braking, side blind zone alert, rear cross traffic alert), eight airbags, inductive mobile charger, Bose 9-speaker premium audio system, and the intuitive Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system housed in an 8-inch touchscreen display with voice control.

Powering the locally available Malibu is a 2.0-liter DOHC VVT turbo engine that puts out 250hp and 353Nm of torque. Shifting is handled by a smooth 6-speed automatic transmission.

Honda Accord (PHP2.29 million)

honda accord
honda accord

The tenth generation of Honda's answer to the Toyota Camry is available in the lone EL Turbo CVT Honda Sensing variant, which comes powered by a 1.5-liter inline 4-cylinder, 16-Valve DOHC VTEC engine with Earth Dreams Technology. Output is at 187hp and 260Nm, and the engine is matched with a Earth Dreams Technology Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) controlled by paddle shifters.

Honda describes the Accord's cabin as 'Executive Space,' focusing on spaciousness for both front and rear passengers. Available features include Honda Sensing suite of driver assistance technologies, 8-way power driver’s seat with lumbar support, and 8-inch touchscreen advanced display audio with trip computer, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities.

Mazda6 (PHP2.0 to 25 million)

mazda6
mazda6

The Mazda6 lineup is powered by three different engine types: a 2.5-liter SkyActiv-G Turbo (228hp, 420Nm) and 2.2-liter SkyActiv D Turbo (187hp, 450Nm) for the sedan, and a standard 2.5-liter SkyActiv G for the wagon (187hp, 252Nm). All engines are paired with a 6-speed automatic SkyActiv-Drive transmission, with the 2.5-liter sedan and wagon enhanced by Sport Mode drive selection.

The biggest story for the Mazda6 though, is the interior. Plushness and comfort comes front and center with the greater use of premium materials, an updated dashboard look, and wider, comfier seats. Across the range, Senwood Accents enhance the Nappa Leather-upholstered chairs, which boast an elegant deep chestnut hue. Drivers enjoy more comfortable seating via the eight-way power adjustable seat with ventilation, memory, and lumbar support. Front passengers also get their share of coziness with the six-way power adjustable passenger seat with ventilation. For infotainment, there's the Mazda Connect-powered eight-inch touchscreen LCD monitor that links to an 11-speaker BOSE Sound System.

Safety features are also the same across the range, which includes 6 airbags, anti-lock brakes, dynamic stability control, 360-degree camera, blind spot monitoring, lane departure, i-STOP idling, and i-ELOOP regenerative braking.

Kia Stinger (PHP3.32 million)

Kia Stinger
Kia Stinger

Though not a direct Camry rival due its focus on performance, the Kia Stinger manages to stand toe-to-toe with the Toyota make in terms of luxury. There’s plenty of leather upholstery to go around, with numerous refined design accents that scream upscale elegance. The aircraft-inspired vents are quirky focal point at the center of the dash, but it does serve as a nice reminder of what the cockpits of classic sports sedans used to be like before LCD screens came along.

Other upmarket trappings include an instrument panel that consists of a seven-inch multi-function display, to the Integrated Memory System lets you store seat and side mirror settings, ambient lighting, triple-zone climate control, and ventilated front seats. Meanwhile, a 15-speaker Harman/Kardon premium audio system pumps out hi-fidelity music for occupant’s listening pleasure.

The locally available Stinger is powered by a 3.3-liter V6 direct-injection twin-turbo engine that propels the car with 365hp and 510Nm of torque. The muscular engine links to paddle-shifter controlled 8-speed auto transmission. A limited-slip differential keeps responses quick and vibrant.

Volkswagen Lamando (PHP1.6 to 1.7 million)

volkswagen lamando
volkswagen lamando

The priciest car in Volkswagen’s local lineup maybe made in China, but it’s still backed by the German car brand’s reputation for solid engineering and reliability. And we should actually be thanking VW for its decision to produce the VW Lamando in China, where labor and parts are much cheaper than in VW's home base of Germany. Otherwise, we could be facing a whole lot more expensive car.

As expected in this price range, the Lamando’s interior features are impressively swank and ritzy. Conservative is a keyword however, so despite the upmarket leanings, the overall feel of the cabin is, fuss-free, displaying monochrome styling all throughout. Notable interior features include a Leather seats, surround airbags, electronic stability system, and a touchscreen infotainment display with eight speakers.

The Lamando's power comes courtesy of a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gas engine with BlueMotion Technology mated to a 7-speed direct shift gearbox (DSG)—a front-wheel drive pairing that helps this luxury sedan deliver 148hp and 250Nm of torque. Designed for urban flexibility, the focus of the naturally aspirated engine is more on economy and durability than powerful performance. Zero to 100kmph can be achieved in 8.5secs, while top speed is 215kmph.

Photo/s from Toyota, Chevrolet, Honda, Kia, Mazda, Volkswagen

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