New Toyota Camry to offer diesel-level economy without diesel downsides
First look in Barcelona: Toyota Camry
A nameplate once beloved of taxi drivers when they could get a good used one, and by An Garda when they wanted something with a bit more poke, the Toyota Camry was discontinued in Europe in 2004 because the cult of diesel made it unsaleable with its petrol-only powertrain.
The Camry has remained one of Toyota's best-selling cars, with 19m copies sold in more than 100 countries since 1987.
I drove the latest version, the eighth generation, in prototype form, this week.
The Camry will be brought back to Europe next year, and it still doesn't have a diesel engine.
But a brand new 2.5 petrol hybrid motor is Toyota's business case for the return, offering diesel-level economy without diesel downsides.
Many of Toyota's European dealers have been appealing for the return so they can have a model for the space that includes the Opel Insignia Gran Sport through to the Audi A6 and Mercedes E-Class.
However, while the Camry might be one of the most successful saloons in the world outside Europe, it was perceived as being, well, a bit dull.
"Normally, a mainstream sedan is considered to be a rational choice but not particularly fun to drive," says Masato Katsumata, chief engineer with the Toyota Motor Corporation for the new Camry's development.
"With a younger generation of customer who is moving in an emotional direction, we reached a conclusion that there should be unprecedented change with the new car."
The company has endeavoured to create a car that will prompt people to say "that's too cool to be a Camry".
Using the new platform introduced with the current Prius and underpinning the popular C-HR crossover, Toyota has produced an executive car with a low, edgy styling and a spacious interior that rivals prime European competitors such as the Skoda Superb.
With the placement of the hybrid battery under the rear seat, and a realignment of other components thanks to the new architecture, the car's centre of gravity is lower.
Add in a rigid base structure and the new Camry deals with twists, turns and awkward cambers more like a sports car than the large saloon that it is.
The engine is the first of a new generation, a 2.5 inline 4cyl with more power and better economy.
I had a full afternoon with the car in a mix of roads near Barcelona on Monday, some of them challenging to a large vehicle like the Camry.
In an uncannily quiet tramp through the hills, I experienced the ride and handling that had been promised.
The set-up of the hybrid system also provided ample acceleration when a fast response was needed.
See for yourself when the car gets here at the end of 2019.