Toyota Camry 2002 2.4 VVT-i

Toyota Camry
One of the world’s best known luxury saloons comes to India this November in the form of Toyota’s brilliant new Camry. To be brought in via the CBU route, this Rs 18 lakh automobile is an outstanding example of what Toyota does best: make cars which do their job brilliantly.

Riding on the back of its success with the oddball styled but superbly reliable Qualis MUV, Toyota via its Indian subsidiary Toyota Kirloskar Motor Ltd is poised to leapfrog segments and get to the rarified end of the Indian car spectrum with one of its most significant and successful of models. The company has lined up its stunning Accord-sized Camry for an India launch this November and OVERDRIVE magazine laid its hands on the very first example of the Camry 2.4 which will be imported as a CBU for sale from the next month onwards.

The Camry is one of Toyota’s most important models, both from a name badge point of view as also from the success it has garnered over the years in Asia and the USA. The Camry (named from the Japanese Kan-Muri which means ‘crown’) first debuted in the year 1983, taking over from the Corona in the Toyota model range. In fact over the past decade, it has consistently been among the three best-selling cars in the US and crucially carries a running feud with the Honda Accord (one of our favourite cars, it must be said) in the US of A. As we find out, the portents of this battle spilling over onto Indian roads is an absolute eventuality, the Camry being an exceedingly good challenger.

Style & Build

Oriental and Yankee blend with good build integrity.

The Camry which Toyota is bringing to India is the latest fifth generation model which debuted in September last year. Its predecessor had been the best- selling car in the US for four straight years and the new car had to be good to continue in this very vein. From all reports it seems that Toyota has got it very right. As can be seen from the pics, the overall lines of the car give it a premium Euro look barring the rear end where the overhang is too pronounced for that typical Yankee concession for a large boot.

The front end is what gives the Camry its style and character with a blend of clean lines and supple surfaces. Stylistically it is most distinctive thanks to the fine integration of the bumper, grille and headlamps. The last named is a standout detail which merges with the bonnet shut lines to create a sharp impression of a slant-eyed feline. The deep dammed bumper with individual slits carved out besides the perforated grille truly help give the Camry a remarkably strong presence when viewed up front.

The sharply raked windscreen flows from the bonnet line and with a slightly wedgy stance to the shoulder line hints at a very sporty profile accentuated by the sweep of the rear C-pillar. I spoke about supple surfaces earlier and one only has to look at the bonnet creases plus those sculpted doors that bear me out on this.

The Camry’s slippery surfaces have endowed it with a very praiseworthy aerodynamic trait with one of the lowest drag coefficients in its class (Cd 0.28). Further underfloor detailing has helped not only in achieving this low drag coefficient but has also reduced wind noise and tyre roar from filtering into the cabin.

The rear end features a wraparound bumper (a la the Honda Accord) but with large tail lamp clusters on either end while the boot has a slightly lipped leading edge. The flush windscreen and the near flat lines of the boot mask the overall length of the car very well from most quarters though in a few it does come across slightly skewed. The boot is pretty huge - Toyota claiming a class leading 587 litres of luggage space. But there is no getting away from the attention to the overall form and the way the Camry has been put together with near uniform shut lines exhibiting very close manufacturing tolerances, something one has always come to expect of Toyota.

Chassis & Suspension

Euro feel and stance from the Far East works in Yankeeland as well as in Hamara Bharat.

In its fifth generation Camry model, Toyota recreated the car extensively, beginning from an extensively revised floorpan which has added not just to the overall length of the car but has also given it a lengthened wheelbase and liberated a lot more cabin space.

The Camry measures 4815mm in length and is a wide car at 1795mm, longer than the Mercedes E-class and near about on par with it. The superstructure made of high tensile steel panels with impact absorbing front and rear deformable zones built in makes for an outstandingly rigid chassis.

It is a sign of the times that even in the US of A there is an emerging trend towards better handling, precise turning and sure-braking automobiles. Toyota has not always had major success in Europe with the Camry, its smaller models much better suited to the Continent and therefore more successful there. But with the Camry Toyota has managed to put together a package that gives it the right sort of hardware to run on. Up front, Toyota has kept faith with the MacPherson strut set-up but these have been worked on in areas like revised (harder) spring rates and damper settings. The suspension also makes do with stiffer bushes for the lower arms while the anti-roll bar has been reshaped in the interests of stiffening it up further. Toyota say that this makes for great steering feel and stability.

At the rear MacPherson struts are at work yet again but this time with a dual link set-up. The struts feature offset coil springs while new generation hub bearings can withstand more loads and in turn offer better stability in the handling and braking chores.

Overall the Toyota engineers have gone in for suspension components designed with specific geometry that not only gives longer suspension travel but also low unsprung weight making for a better handling and stable automobile when on the move.

One of the items which surprised us concerned the brakes. No not that they weren’t working or inefficient but Toyota has fitted ventilated disc brakes up front which are smaller in diameter than the solid discs on the back wheels - 220mm dia in front as against 250mm dia at the rear with what the company calls anti-fade pads. This detail apart the Camry employs an anti-lock braking system with Brake Assist to help sense emergency braking scenarios and take quicker corrective measures.

The Camry rides on very stylish 15-inch seven-spoke aluminium alloy wheels shod with 205/65 R15 rubber. Our test car came with Japanese Dunlop SP Sport radials. This is near par for the course but Toyota has to be complimented over going in for tubeless rubber, just like Mercedes-Benz while some of the others in this class yet do not want to make the move up - technologically - in this area.

Engine & Transmission

Proof that Toyota is ready for F1!

Quite simply the greatest attribute of the Camry, apart from its large cabin and comfort has to be its outstanding engine and transmission package. Over the years Toyota has worked quite seriously on its engines but the lack of a proper racing effort - read that as everything else but F1 - meant that not many enthusiasts raved about their motors as much as one would engines powering Hondas or BMWs. The engine in the Camry is one such which is highly capable and bristling with high tech.

The Camry for India comes powered by the all-aluminium BEAMS 2.4-litre 2AZ-FE engine which sports VVT-i (refer exclusive tech details elsewhere in this feature) as also a large diameter long port intake manifold which is tuned to delivering smooth performance all across the rev range. Toyota’s VVT-i might not have similar awareness levels among enthusiasts as does Honda’s VTEC system but you have to drive the car as we did by putting it through the OVERDRIVE road test grind to appreciate its brilliance and pedigree.

The engine features oversquare cylinder dimensions with bore and stroke measuring 88.5 x 96.0mm making for a 2362cc displacement. The chain driven double overhead cam engine also features a magnesium cylinder head cover plus a plastic intake manifold which helps keep both weight and friction to very low levels. In addition to that the 2362cc engine also features a compact balancer shaft which makes this very large four near vibe-free.

The fuel-injected engine works on a 9.6:1 compression ratio and TKM engineers informed us that they had tested the car in Indian conditions without a bother. In India-spec the engine develops 149.87bhp (at 5600rpm) and 218Nm of torque at 4000rpm. The engine performance curves reveal a very linear torque spread with serious torque being made from as low as 3500rpm and stretching all the way to 6000rpm. One can now understand why the Camry did its maximum speed in fifth gear in our test.

With internal friction kept to a bare minimum with innovative thought, Toyota has gone on to mate the 2362cc engine with a five-speed manual transmission. It does offer - in other markets - the option of the Super-ECT four-speed automatic transmission but the five-speed manual with its positive detente shifts brilliantly compliments the engine performance. In certain markets, Toyota also offers an all-wheel drive version of the Camry while in markets like the US and Japan there is also the choice of a 3.0-litre V6 engine with matching five-speed auto ‘box. If there is demand this sort of tranny could materialise in India but presently the 2.4-litre engine with 5-speed manual is a great bit of kit on a car of its class and performance.


Get on to the fast lane folks

Just like its great rival the Accord, the Camry delivers all that it promises in a fuss-free and exhilarating demeanour. But being a top notch Japanese product, it is pretty well mannered even if pushed pedal to metal because that is what she has been designed for! Nothing gets in the way of application and duty and the Camry is a fantastic performer which will jolt many a competitor out of its reverie!

What struck me most about the Camry was the way its engine behaved, smooth and suave in all respects even when given the heavy right foot treatment. Where the Honda releases its horses in an audible and overtly sporty manner, the Camry is the quintessential aristocrat, unruffled yet thrusting forward at a prodigious rate of knots which you cannot fathom until the test data gear spews out the speeds. The silky smooth power delivery which we spoke about is awesome in its linearity and uncanny in its feel, unmatched by the competition, I dare say.

For a car weighing the better part of 1470kg (kerb weight), she is exceedingly quick-footed, sprinting from zero to 100kmph in 10.33 seconds and from zero to 150kmph in 24.74 seconds. I must also qualify the fact that the day we did our performance testing, it was far too windy and we knew that there were still some more seconds in the car to be shaved out in all the acceleration figures.

Toyota’s claimed 0-100kmph time is 9.4 seconds for its European version so being just under a second adrift with a slightly detuned India-spec motor running on local fuel was not bad by any means. More impressive was the max speed recorded with Aspi at the wheel, the average of our two-way runs producing a 208.24kmph figure, Toyota’s claim being a 210kmph top whack. This figure was achieved when stuck in fifth, the Camry really making our testers work with the gearshift but in an orgasmically delightful way.

But the Camry will turn on everyone who gets behind the wheel and expects to play endurance racer. If used in a spirited manner with the proper sequencing of shifts with clutch and throttle interplay, this is a Toyota willing to come alive. The engine responds quickly as you snick her into first and release the clutch with the throttle on its way to the floor before you shift into second (around the 46kmph mark). By now you are motoring at a none the legal pace as the VVT-i mechanism takes over and hurtles you past the 100kmph mark before you shift into third. The next change up happens around the 155kmph mark (with the silly grin still plastered all over your face) and you expect to really go for the land speed record. But this Toyota wants you to use the fifth cog in its gearbox in the manner expected and this you have to, if you want to breast the double ton mark and aim for its 210kmph top speed. Well, we got darned close but hey it is how we get there that is important in this car and not just attaining the mark. That the Camry was capable enough of doing this regularly and for hours at a stretch truly made it apparent that we had to revise our opinion - already of a high order - of all what she stood for!

One word about the transmission though. This has got to be one of the most entertaining of 5-speed ‘boxes in the business and while this is no slick shifter in the Accord or Baleno mould, it delights nonetheless with its positive detente gear shifts with that mechanical snicks as you go up the ‘box, cog from cog. The Daewoo Matiz gave that sort of snickability as did the earlier Opel Astras but the Camry’s five-speeder takes the theme onto a far more efficient and pleasurable zone. Helping it is the superbly weighted clutch with its impressively positive actuation and while this isn’t the place to bring it in, the driving position gets you in the right mood to play gentleman racer.

Fuel Efficiency

Respectable even though we tried our best to defame it!

Thanks to the brilliance of the VVTi mechanism and the advanced electronics controlling every facet of the engine’s performance, the Camry doesn’t exactly make a beeline to the nearest petrol bunk every now and then. Only if one is in the habit of doing major highway runs day in and day out then you would be looking at a refill once every 700 kilometres thanks to her 70-litre fuel tank and the stupendous 10.25kmpl overall mileage she returned. This was a mix of everything, performance testing, booting it on the highways and the Pune-Mumbai Expressway, hot-footing it in Pune city while taking the utmost care to avoid the challenging cyclists and also sometimes playing it cool and motoring in a stately serene manner. That the VVTi works is evident in the way the Camry turned up a best of 13kmpl on the highway run while constantly returning between 8 and 10kmpl in the daily pleasurable grind in Pune city.

Many have the wrong notion that buyers of D-segment cars don’t give a fig for fuel efficiency. In fact, research has found that those who have come up the ladder in life to be able to afford such cars place fuel efficiency on just as high a perch on their automobile wish list as they would style or comfort or pleasure or image. Yes, they would also live with a performance offering if it came with everything else we mentioned above! As such the Camry did enough to deserve a high rating by our testers in this regard as well.

One would do well to remember yet again that this performance has to be seen in the light of the Camry having one of the biggest four-cylinder mills pumping away efficiently under that stylish bonnet and the ratings are richly deserved. In fact many of the B-segment cars today just about deliver such fuel efficiency with none of the refinement or the pleasure from their smaller 1.4- or 1.6-litre engines. So a four-star rating with the sort of range the Camry packs is spot on and worthy of emulating by the rest.

Handling & Braking

Fuss-free yet driver-friendly but could do with slightly better low-speed ride quality.

What does an enthusiast driver do when he has the task of driving a car with a brilliant chassis and with the performance envelope to explore in the most positive sense? Take it out on to roads where the car comes alive under his controls. The Camry is an incongruous automobile for the performance-minded but one needs to get behind the wheel of one to experience all what I say.

Understand that this is a car built by Toyota for the middle class in the developed lands but which suddenly is pushed into Hamara Bharat’s rarified upper crust and this is an altogether different ball game.
Ride quality and plushness of the suspension are far more important attributes for those who will splurge out on this car than going round corners fast and holding the line as steered. Many cars can do either one of these things in an outstanding manner, some close to doing many things right and just a few get very close to attaining nirvana in class. The Camry is one such; there I have said it. Of course, it is not without its flaws, chief of them being its inherent tramlining at slow speed. At times we also experienced front wheel skip, again at slow speeds, when running over indifferent tarmac but that was the sum total of our grouses with this automobile. TKM is still fine-tuning the Camry’s suspension for Indian roads, the final spec being to firm up the ride slightly, just before the CBUs begin appearing in TKM dealerships (would make an eclectic pairing with the Qualis, I think!).

High-speed grip is awesome under any conditions - wet or dry - and a performance-oriented driver can play the car through the turns on the throttle admirably well. The balance of the car under direction changes and also during weight transfer when braking hard is fantastic and doesn’t in any way give the impression that she is there to daunt you into submission. It is a most forgiving car to drive with neutral handling characteristics in abundance.

The steering is brilliantly weighted and has that right assist all through the performance spectrum. Coming from the Japanese school of car building, the Camry has a light and precise yet perfectly weighted feel to whatever she does as against the firm, heavy planted feel of the European cars. It is not whether one is right or the other is wrong but the fact that there are two different philosophies at play and the Camry does its best in the manner its makers intended. No faulting it on this count.

Turn-in is crisp and the car can sit through fast or slow corners with poise and perfection so as not to upset any occupant getting the woollies in the stomach after a heavy meal. Ride quality improves as the car gains speed and once over 50kmph the car rides firm yet is well damped without any roll or pitch.
The brakes are another accessory which impress. Given that the size differences stumped us, the retardation on offer with the ABS and the brake assist pitching in every now and then makes this a car which is superlatively confidence inspiring. The best part is that under heavy braking with weight transfer happening on to the front wheels, the car’s behaviour is to be experienced both from behind the steering wheel as well as from outside as the body is controlled superbly without the suspension getting loaded up and upsetting the poise. We would rate it as one of the best all round cars one can buy from November this year.


The best no-nonsense cabin this side of the Taj Intercontinental!

Even if the style, poise, road manners and the performance hasn’t got you as yet (must be something wrong there methinks!) surely the Camry’s interior will help make a believer out of the most jaded. The cabin of the Camry is the place to be the other side of the excellent but pricey E-class Mercedes-Benz. Thanks to the longish 2720mm wheelbase and the punched-out roof, the Camry has acres of living room with some of the best seats in the business to seat four occupants. I don’t mean this lightly because in the course of our 1100km plus evaluation trial the Camry kept yours truly and Aspi Bhathena at ease, whether one was in the driver’s seat, the front passenger’s seat or in the plush rear bench. The seats up front are great with phenomenal support all round and many other car makers would do well to emulate Toyota in this regard. Having said that, the driving position was spot on with just a few adjustments but thanks to the electronic adjustments and also the steering wheel rake adjustment, getting into the best driving position for most will be a breeze.

The Camry is big, thankfully big for its immediate competition. The door swing wide open and the optimised hip points mean that occupants can slide into, and out of their seats in super comfort. The space at both front and rear is impressive and leather upholstery as on our test car, will be standard fitment. Our test car came with a moon roof and rain deflectors which are optional items. Central console houses brilliant Pioneer tape deck and audio system plus one of the finest climate control systems. Instrument panel houses two large dial units for the rev counter and speedo with temperature and fuel guages built in. Large thick-rimmed steering wheel has controls for clock and multi-functional display neatly arranged between its centre spokes on the left while the boot is big enough to camp in! Fit and finish are typically Toyota - perfect in all respects.

But the most important fact even before getting into the car concerns the doors which swing wide open to allow unhindered access along with the superbly thought out hip points which allow you to just slide onto the seats without doing a contortionist’s act. Space at the rear is in fact one of the defining features of the cabin and a majority of Camry owners will revel in the leg, elbow and headroom.

The dashboard is huge and flowing the way it needs to be but thankfully devoid of any jazz and glitz. Instead there is an air of class which pervades with outstanding ergonomic thought on display, be it in the steering wheel, switchgear stalks or the air con controls on the centre console or the pedals-seat-steering wheel relationship. The instrument panel comprises a speedo cum rev counter plus fuel gauge along with various telltales while there is a very thoughtful multi-function display above the super sounding Pioneer audio system with logic control deck. The interior and its ergonomics are hard to fault, again the superlatives trickle through!

Summing it up

The competition is warned, the Camry means business.

Forget everything you have read here about how great the Camry is in its performance, power delivery, handling, ergonomics and comfort, plushness and safety etc. At the end of the day you would buy it for the Toyota brand of reliability and peace of mind. My Qualis after over 32 months and 36,000km of rugged use has nary a squeak or a rattle. Expect the Camry to be as good if not better. Does one need to say more? Go check it out. Or should that be cheque it out?

Toyota first ushered in the Camry name plate in 1983 (pic left) as a replacement for its well-loved but slow-moving Corona. The second generation Camry (lower left) debuted in 1987 and came with a 2.0-litre dohc engine as OE. Within five years, in 1992, Toyota had the third generation Camry (below centre) model out on the markets while 1997 saw the launch of the fourth generation Camry (lower right).
Technical Specifications

Overall Rating

0-100 kmph 10.33s
Quarter Mile 31.95s
Top Speed 208.24kmph
Ride Excellent
Handling Very Good
Brake rating Excellent
Type 4-inline, FWD
Installation Transverse
Valvetrain 4 valves/cyl
Displacement 2362cc
Bore & Stroke 88.5mm x 96.0mm
Comp Ratio 9.6:1
Max Power 149.87bhp @ 5600rpm
Max Torque 218Nm @ 4000rpm
Max Engine speed 6000 rpm
Bhp/Litre 63.45
Power/Weight 101.95bhp/ton
Fuel Delivery Electronic fuel injection
Fuel Unleaded Petrol


Oil/Filter change Every 20,000km
Tuneup Every 20,000km
Basic Warranty 2year/50,000km


Chassis & Body

Layout Front engine, FWD
Body/Frame Monocoque
Brakes front 220mm ventilated discs
Brakes rear 250mm solid discs
Assist Type Hydraulic with vacuum booster, ABS with brake assist.
Wheels 15x6.5J aluminium alloys
Tyres 205/65 R15 Dunlop
Steering Power assisted rack and pinion
Overall ratio 48.68:1
Turning circle dia 5.3m
Turns lock to lock 3.2
Suspension front Mcpherson struts, gas filled shock absorbers with stabiliser bar.
Suspension rear Mcpherson struts, gas filled shock absorbers with stabiliser bar, multi-link strut, offset coil springs.

General Data

Kerb Weight 1470kg
Gross Weight 1935kg
Wheelbase 2720mm
Track (F/R) 1550/1535mm
Length 4815mm
Width 1810mm
Height 1490mm
Ground clearance 150mm
Boot space 587litres


Seating Capacity 5
Head Room, F max/min 940/900mm
Head Room, R 890mm
Leg room, F max/min 1130/950mm
Knee room, F max/min 860/640mm
Knee room, R max/min 925/695mm
Shoulder space 1430mm


Clutch: Single 236m dia dry plate
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Gear Ratio Overall Ratio Kmph/1000rpm
1st 3.538 13.954 8.513
2nd 2.045 8.065 14.730
3rd 1.333 5.257 22.598
4th 1.028 4.054 29.304
5th 0.820 3.234 36.734
Final Drive Ratio     3.944
Rpm @ 90kmph in 4th     3071.25


260kmph speedo, 8000rpm tachometer, fuel/temp guages, digital odo/tripmeter, multi-function display, etc.

Test Conditions

Terrain All tarmac
Temperature 15 to 30єc
Distance 1107km



Time to Speed Seconds Meters
0-30kmph 1.93 8.69
0-40kmph 2.67 15.83
0-50kmph 3.53 26.59
0-60kmph 4.77 45.24
0-70kmph 5.92 66.06
0-80kmph 7.11 90.87
0-90kmph 8.67 127.69
0-100kmph 10.33 178.17
0-110kmph 12.81 242.85
0-120kmph 15.15 317.78
0-130kmph 17.69 406.26
0-140kmph 21.36 544.39
0-150kmph 24.74 680.22
Time to Distance
Quarter Mile 17.52s @ 129.47 kmph
Standing 1km 31.95s @ 168.51kmph
30-70 kmph 3.99s


Kmph 4th 5th
40-50 3.23s 2.83s
50-60 3.09s 2.80s
60-70 2.67s 2.96s
70-80 2.67s 2.61s
80-90 3.16s 2.93s
90-100 2.70s 2.84s
20-80 in 3rd 12.63s

Max Speed

Gear True Speed Speedo
1st 54.45 59
2nd 93.74 99
3rd 143.46 152
4th 187.54 199
5th 208.24 220
*Top speed achieved in 5th using Datron Correvit µEEP-20 laser test gear


Minimum Stopping Distance

From 100kmph 42.59m/3.17s
From 80kmph 28.27m/2.76s
Control Superb
Brake Feel Great yet easy
Overall Brake Rating Excellent

Fuel Economy


Overall 10.25kmpl
In-Town with AC on 7.5kmpl*/8.1kmpl
Highway without AC 13kmpl
Fuel Tank capacity 70 litres
Range 717.5km
  * with AC

Tester Ratings

Design & Style
Fuel Efficiency
Dynamic ability
Creature Comforts
Driver Appeal
Ride Quality
Variable Valve Timing - Intelligent

Toyota’s Camry has been at loggerheads with its great rival, the Honda Accord since a very long time. And just as Honda has its brilliant VTEC system for its entire product portfolio, Toyota also has an ace up its sleeve in the form of the VVTi system which many Indians will now get to experience with the new Camry. Short for variable valve timing - intelligent, the VVT system was first introduced onto a Toyota production engine (the sporty 4A-GE unit) in 1991 in order to increase both torque and output while also, like Honda’s VTEC, to try and keep a lid on fuel consumption. VVT achieved this feat by enabling the intake valves to open and close in two steps based on engine load and throttle position.

The VVT-i system followed soon thereafter, being an improved version of the base VVT. By continuously monitoring the opening and closing of the intake valve, the system sussed out the optimum valve timing needed for any particular driving condition there by increasing both power and torque and also reducing fuel consumption as well as reducing NOx and hydrocarbon emissions.

Main components of VVTi system and the valve timing with VVTiAs can be seen in the main schematic up above, the VVT-i comprises of: (1) the electronic control unit or ECU which helps calculate optimum intake valve timing based on various engine operating parameters; (2) the oil control valve or OCV which helps maintain hydraulic pressure as per inputs from the ECU; and (3) the VVT pulley which continuously changes the intake valve timing using hydraulic pressure. The VVT pulley dispenses with the need for an additional pump because it runs off the engine’s normal oil pump. In the VVT pulley operation sequence, a piston with a helical spline is moved hydraulically in the direction of the camshaft axis to move the camshaft by the exact amount required. Thanks to advances in machining technology, Toyota has been able to make the spline with a large spiral angle of 300. This produces a very swift response and a large variable angle (up to 600 crankshaft angle) with a small stroke in the direction of the camshaft axis. The OCV helps modulate the right hydraulic pressure constantly for both advancing and retarding the valve timing.

Valve overlap (the timing when both intake and exhaust valves are open), created by continuous broad control of intake valve timing based on engine speed and load helps to increase fuel economy and tail pipe emissions. In conventional petrol engines, the throttle valve controls the air intake when the accelerator pedal is not completely depressed, meaning that the driver is in partial-load driving mode. This causes vacuum pressure within the cylinder in effect causing pumping losses.

In comparison the VVTi advances the timing for opening the intake valve during partial-load driving, increases valve overlap and draws partial exhaust gas back into the cylinder resulting in negative pressure inside the cylinder which mitigates in lowering the power loss and increasing fuel efficiency; the combustion temperature is lowered to reduce the production of NOx and finally unburned gas is returned to the combustion chamber to be reburnt. The system is further designed so that the valves do not overlap so as to stabilize combustion during idling thereby reducing idling speed and enhancing fuel efficiency.

During spirited driving which calls on both ample power and torque, the intake valve timing is given the optimum (continuous and broad) control based on engine speed. The intake inertia effect is fully utilised to increase intake air thus raising both torque and power.

To increase the amount of intake air, the timing for intake valve closing must be determined in relation to the intake inertia effect and the intake air return caused by a rising piston. The optimum timing changes in relation to engine speed. The system is very akin to Honda’s VTEC and it increases low- and medium-range torque by controlling, in advance, intake valve closing in the low and medium rev range. With an increase in engine speed, the VVTi senses the need to retard the timing to close the intake valve so as to boost power output. All this functions seamlessly and the Camry’s engine delights in the way it not only makes its 150bhp and 218Nm of torque but the way it delivers the power - sweetly or with a rush - depending on inputs from the man at the wheel. And just thought I’d lay my feelings on the line: there’s not much to choose between the VVTi and the VTEC but then Honda’s new iVTEC could be another ace altogether! Whoever said all such techno-gizmos are boring doesn’t know what he’s missing in life.

How the CAMRY stacks up against the competition

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