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New Camry Hybrid provides luxury in a larger model with electric advantages

The Thaiger & The Nation

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New Camry Hybrid provides luxury in a larger model with electric advantages | The Thaiger

by Kingsley Wijayasinha – The Nation Weekend

The interest in electric cars is hotting up in Thailand but Thai manufacturers, so far, have been reluctant to take the FULL electric plunge.

In the meantime Toyota is hoping their new Camry Hybrid will draw a good number of customers thanks to its packaging overhaul. The hybrid is battery operated with a back-up petrol engine to boost performance and help recharge the batteries.

The 2.5 HV Premium hybrid, priced at 1.799 million baht, is the top Camry model in Thailand and brings to mind Lexus, Toyota’s luxury brand. And then there is also choice between the traditional petrol-engined 2.5-litre (1.539 million baht) and 2.0-litre (1.445 million baht) powerhouses.

The 2018 Camry boasts large body dimensions – 4,885 millimetres in length and 1,844mm in width. The wheelbase is 2,825mm (50mm longer than the previous model) and the car runs on 215/55 tires on 17-inch alloy wheels.

While the exterior design may appear provoking, with its unnaturally huge and aggressive front grill and muscular dimensions, the interior is furnished with high-quality genuine leather upholstery along with artificial leather, powered front seats with memory for the driver’s seat and steering positions.

The larger dimensions result in a larger cabin both front and rear, while the seats are comfortable too. The cabin is the total opposite of the previous model, which wasn’t so flashy. And that’s something you would expect from Toyota. But with the new Camry, the thinking has changed much – it just reminds me of the Lexus ES300 (which actually shares the same TNGA platform).

While the Lexus gets a Mark Levinson sound system, the Camry gets a JBL DVD with navigation system, eight-inch touch screen and nine speakers (including subwoofer), as well as T-Connect Telematics that connect easily. There is one USB port in front and two at the rear.

The driver gets a head-up display on the windshield and there’s a full package of smart safety systems including blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert, auto high beam and lane departure alert. There’s also a dynamic radar cruise control that slows down or speeds up depending on the vehicle in front.

New Camry Hybrid provides luxury in a larger model with electric advantages | News by The Thaiger New Camry Hybrid provides luxury in a larger model with electric advantages | News by The Thaiger New Camry Hybrid provides luxury in a larger model with electric advantages | News by The Thaiger New Camry Hybrid provides luxury in a larger model with electric advantages | News by The Thaiger

It’s a pity that Toyota hasn’t decided to offer a plug-in version of its hybrid products. The Camry gets into pure EV mode occasionally, for example after pressing the start button, but the nickel metal hydride battery’s capacity isn’t large enough to cover long distances.

Nevertheless, the fuel economy is pretty good since it’s a hybrid – Toyota claims it can achieve an average of 25km/litre in combined city and highway driving mode.

The efficient 2.5 gasoline engine in the Camry Hybrid pumps out 178 horsepower and 221Nm, while the electric motor is capable of producing another 88 horsepower and 202Nm (though the combined engine and motor output is limited to 211 horsepower). When that happens, the Camry was able to raise eyebrows with its powerful straight-line acceleration, and it gets even better when the sport button is pushed. The stepless E-CVT (Electronic Continuously Variable Transmission) is silky smooth and gives the Camry Hybrid a cultured performance.

Despite the powerful acceleration, the hybrid is 100 kilograms heavier than the 2.5-litre version, and the driver will easily feel the added weight during cornering. Make a normal U-turn and you can feel it’s a pretty heavy car.

On the other hand, the Camry 2.5G (which I also drove after the hybrid) has a better weight balance and cuts through corners easily. But even in sport mode, the power and response is incomparable to the hybrid when both the engine and motor is going full rev.

The steering isn’t too sharp, but offers decent precision and weight. The brakes, meanwhile, have and improved feel although it still takes some getting used to due to the energy regenerative system that turns deceleration forces into electric energy.

After a few days of driving both the Toyota Camry 2.5HV Hybrid and the 2.5G, it was the hybrid that offered a better and more complete package even with the higher pricing.

Toyota Camry 2.5 HV Premium specs

Engine: 4-cylinder DOHC 16-valve

Displacement: 2,487cc

Bore and stroke: 87x103mm

Compression ratio: 14.0:1

Max power: 178ps/5,700rpm

Max torque: 221Nm/3,600-5,200rpm

Motor Generator: Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor

Hybrid Main Battery: Nickel Metal Hydride

Capacity: 6.5 A/hr

Max power: 88ps

Max torque: 202Nm

Combined engine and motor max power: 211ps

Transmission: E-CVT (Electronically-controlled Continuously Variable Transmission)

Final drive ratio: 3.193

Average fuel economy: 25km/litre

Average CO2: 92g/km

Suspension (f/r): McPherson strut/double wishbone

Steering: powered rack-and-pinion

Turning circle: n/a

Brakes (f/r): vented disc/disc

Dimensions (mm)

Length: 4,885

Width: 1,840

Height: 1,445

Wheelbase: 2,825

Track (f/r): n/a

Weight: 1,650kg

Wheels: 17-inch alloys

Tyres: 215/55 R17

Fuel tank capacity: 50 litres

Price: Bt1.799 million

Distributor: Toyota Motor Thailand Co Ltd

New Camry Hybrid provides luxury in a larger model with electric advantages | News by The Thaiger New Camry Hybrid provides luxury in a larger model with electric advantages | News by The Thaiger

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Politics

Piyabutr warns Army Chief’s remarks will deepen national divide

Greeley Pulitzer

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Piyabutr warns Army Chief’s remarks will deepen national divide | The Thaiger

The Future Forward Party secretary-general says that Army chief General Apirat Kongsompong’s remarks on politicians, academics and national security could deepen the political divide in the country and spark a “clash of generations”.

Piyabutr Saengkanokkul made the remarks at a seminar where he spoke on “homeland from the democratic perspective and the role of the people in building the nation”. The seminar was held in response to Apirat’s special national security speech on Friday.

During his speech, Apirat warned of the continuing threat to Thailand from communism and dissidents. He claimed some former communists had become politicians, and some had become academics but the “communist ideology chips were still implanted in their heads”.

He also cited threats from information warfare and propaganda, and the spread of fake news, which he saw as a collaboration between former communists and “foreign-graduated leftists and unethical scholars”.

Meanwhile, in his speech Piyabutr emphasised respect for difference of opinion, human dignity, rights and liberty.

“National security is equal to the people’s security”.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Thailand

Finance Ministry approves stimulus package to spur tourism

The Thaiger

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Finance Ministry approves stimulus package to spur tourism | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Among other things, the TAT are organising some big concerts over the last three months of 2019. Some of the 50,000 that attended the BTS ‘Love Yourself’ stadium concert in Bangkok in April 2019.

The Finance Ministry has now approved a stimulus package for the last three months of the year to boost Thailand’s tourism sector. The aim is achieve a 3% growth rate.

The Thai Tourism and Sports permanent secretary Chote Trachu says the purpose is to increase the total tourist arrivals for the second half of the year to 20 million, with the aim to reach the year-start projections of more than 40 million tourists to Thailand for 2019.

Tourist arrivals for the first eight months of the year totalled 26.5 million, generating 1.3 trillion baht of revenue, according to official figures from the Ministry of Tourism and Sport. For the remaining four months of the year, Mr. Chote said there would likely be another 13 million tourist arrivals, with expected revenue of 750 billion baht.

Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Yutthasak Supasorn says that events have been planned to boost tourism for the final months of 2019 including World Cannabis Festival, Super GT, a Tour de France cycling competition and concerts featuring famous bands such as Tomorrow Land and EDC.

Meanwhile, last Thursday, the World Bank slashed Thailand’s economic growth projection for 2019 to 2.7%, down from an earlier 3.5%, because of the contraction of the country’s exports.

In its latest “East Asia and Pacific Economic Update”, the World Bank said today the 2.7% GDP forecast for Thailand is the lowest among ASEAN’s developing countries. The Washington-based institution also cut Thailand’s GDP growth forecast for 2020 to 2.9% from 3.6%.

The World Bank’s report attributes the lower GDP growth outlook to an export slump in the first half of the year, the global economic slowdown and fallout from the US-China trade tensions. The World Bank also says “the Bank of Thailand has limited scope to tackle the baht’s strength, but the currency’s climb is a sign of investor confidence in the country’s economic fundamentals”.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Economy

Thailand’s growth forecasts for the rest of 2019 slashed again

The Thaiger

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Thailand’s growth forecasts for the rest of 2019 slashed again | The Thaiger

Following their most recent meeting, the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking has announced Thailand’s economic growth this year has been revised downward to between 2.7 – 3.0% from the previous projection of 2.9 – 3.3%.

It has also revised down its prediction of this year’s exports to between minus 2 – 0%.

The committee says the revised export outlook reflects uncertainties in the economies of major countries, the prolonged US-China trade war and the strong baht. They added that the economic indicators in July and August suggest possible softening of economic growth in the third quarter, due to the slowing global economy, US-China trade war and the strength of the baht.

The committee estimates that the floods in north-east and central Thailand will cost the economy between 20 – 25 billion baht.

It has estimated that the government’s economic stimulus “Eat, Shop, Spend” campaign, which has proved popular with Thais, will inject 20 – 30 billion baht into the economy. The committee says it hopes to see additional new monetary and fiscal measures from the government to boost the economy.

Earlier this week the Kasikorn Research Centre revised downward its economic growth forecasts for 2019 from 3.1 – 2.8%, while predicting that the economy may grow at less than 3% next year amid numerous negative factors.

SOURCE: The Nation

Thailand's growth forecasts for the rest of 2019 slashed again | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: The Nation

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