The Japanese have always been good at coming up with interesting names for their cars.
The Nissan Murano had the feel of something special even if the car didn’t live up to the name.
The Daihatsu Charade didn’t do much in sales, not least because of its association with something that’s a sham or a fraud.
Fortunately the Mazda Bongo didn’t make it to these shores, but the Mitsubishi Pajero did, but only after its name was changed from something which, in some countries had sexual connotations, to the safer Shogun.
Now, thanks to Toyota, another name which all but disappeared 15 years ago has just been revived.
Camry will ring a bell to anyone with a memory of Toyotas of the past, but it hasn’t been used in the UK since 2004.
It left the British market as a reflection of the drift from mid-size saloons to smaller hatchbacks, but now the pendulum has started to swing back again and we are being attracted back to larger five-door cruisers.
The new Camry is the eighth generation to bear the name, although virtually nothing has been carried over from the previous model, which wasn’t even sold in the UK, and the latest car is light years ahead of the last Camry we saw in the early 2000s.
First of all, it’s a lot bigger, similar in size and close to the equipment level of the BMW 5 Series or Mercedes E Class, but is aimed at competing more with the likes of the more mundane Ford Mondeo, Vauxhall Insignia or Mazda 6.
The hybrid technology in the Camry is first class, delivering great economy of around 53 mpg and low emissions with sub-100g/kms CO2 levels which for such a big car with a two-and-a-half-litre petrol engine is quite remarkable.
The system includes a silky smooth sequential gearbox. The ride is beautifully smooth , thanks to insulation in the bonnet and front wings to absorb sound from the engine, a thicker dash silencer mat and vibration-damping coating on the underfloor.
Where the car scores, apart from its efficiency credentials, is in its space for passengers and luggage. The boot is cavernous and swallows huge amounts of cargo with ease.
There are just two trim levels, Design and Excel, sharing the same powertrain and running gear. The lower level is £30,000 and comes with 17-inch, nine-spoke alloys, heated and powered leather seats, reversing camera, parking sensors, satnav, Bluetooth, DAB radio and a catalogue of safety features.
Excel is £1,300 more and upgrades to 18-inch, 20-spoke alloys, LED lights, blind-spot monitor, wireless phone charging tray and Intelligent Clearance Sensor.
Both versions also have Toyota’s new dual-zone ventilation system which purifies the air by releasing particles of negatively-charged ions wrapped in water molecules through the dashboard vents.
The designers claim it has a gently moisturising effect on skin and hair and creates a refreshing cabin atmosphere. I’m not sure I noticed the difference but the cabin – and the whole car itself – is a great place to be.
It goes on sale in July.