If you want a new Toyota Camry Hybrid in Australia, sorry, you’re out of luck.
Toyota has paused orders of its popular electrified sedan in Australia, leaving just the base Ascent Sport petrol that accounts for only around 20 per cent of Camry sales.
Suffice it to say, if you want a new Camry Hybrid you’ll be waiting until the company re-opens orders – whenever that is – or the new model arrives in the second half of 2024.
So, what do you do if you’re after a mid-sized sedan? Well, you could look to the segment’s second best-selling vehicle and – oh wait, that’s the Mazda 6, which our data says is facing wait times of over six months.
There are precious few direct rivals for the spacious, smooth and comfortable Camry Hybrid, while the Mazda 6 – despite its advanced age – still represents a compelling proposition at this price point.
There are just six vehicles in the mainstream mid-sized segment, and by year’s end there will just be five. Do you just give up on the idea of a new sedan and embrace SUVs as so many Australians do, do you spend more to get a more premium experience, or do you save some dollars and get a small sedan?
The world, or rather the Australian new car market, is your oyster. Here are some suggestions from the CarExpert team, however, to help you.
What can you get instead of a Camry or Mazda 6? More like what can’t you get!
Even if passenger cars (and sedans specifically) are much less popular than they used to be, there are still plenty of options.
You could make the switch to electric and get a Tesla Model 3 or BYD Seal.
You could drop down a segment and get a surprisingly roomy Kia Cerato, or treat yourself and get a more expensive model like a Lexus ES, Skoda Superb or Volvo S60.
The pricier Honda Accord hybrid is the most direct rival to the Camry, while the Skoda Octavia comes as a liftback or wagon and shapes up as a solid Mazda 6 alternative.
You could even resign yourself to a crossover and get something like a Nissan X-Trail e-Power, because lord knows you’ll be waiting forever and a day for a new RAV4 Hybrid.
What would I do, though? I’d probably head to a Hyundai showroom.
I know this is super left of field, but depending on what you’re using it for and how much you were planning on spending on the Camry Hybrid originally, something like the new BYD Seal could be a good option.
It’s a sedan, it’s loaded with technology and there are still rebates available in parts of Australia for electric vehicle purchases.
MORE: Everything BYD Seal
It’s not quite as big as the Camry, but the Honda Civic Hybrid is a pretty tidy alternative.
Honda’s hybrid system is excellent, with a driving feel that’s far more natural than Toyota’s setup, and the Civic is way more fun to drive than it has any right to be.
It’s also spacious inside, with a monstrous boot and solid back seat. It’s not quite the practical alternative to the Camry, but it’s a much more appealing car.
MORE: Buy a Honda Civic
If you’re not willing to wait over six months for the Mazda 6 and are one of the few people still wanting a passenger car, I’d say you should consider the Skoda Octavia.
The Czech-made liftback and wagon is currently only available in two different trim levels locally – 110TSI Style and RS. The latter is only a touch more expensive than the Mazda 6 20th Anniversary special edition.
Opting for the Skoda Octavia RS not only gives you a sportier-looking package that doesn’t compromise on any storage space, it also gives you the zesty powertrain from the Volkswagen Golf GTI.
If you’re not after the glitz and glam of the Octavia RS, you can instead go for the entry-level Style model that’s a lot more conservative-looking. It’s also powered by the tried-and-tested Volkswagen Group 110TSI engine that’s an absolute pearler.
MORE: Buy a Skoda Octavia
Having recently stepped out of the Hyundai Sonata, there’s a level of new-age design and tech that the Camry, let alone the Mazda, can’t match.
With a beefy 2.5-litre turbo petrol engine under the bonnet and quad pipes out back, the Sonata is a picture of understated athleticism and something of a sleeper.
It doesn’t handle with nearly as much verve as the now retired Kia Stinger, but it has distinctive looks and a spacious, feature-laden cabin that might make you think twice about buying a base Audi A4 or BMW 3 Series.
MORE: Buy a Hyundai Sonata
My affable colleague, Scollie must have read my Honda Civic review and come to the very same conclusion as myself about the current-generation Honda Civic, particularly the hybrid variant.
I’ve always classed the Toyota Camry as the proverbial, ‘white goods on wheels’ – reliable and efficient transport but utterly soulless when it comes to offering any semblence of driving pleasure. It’s not overly practical either when compared with Civic’s hatchback body with a fantastic aperture to a huge flat boot floor.
The Honda also feels demonstrably more premium inside and offers rock-solid build quality and engineering. Its handing and ride comfort are peerless in the segment. It’s genuinely a great car to drive.
The Honda Civic Hybrid proves family cars don’t have to be boring.
MORE: Buy a Honda Civic
There aren’t many direct rivals that compete on size, engine specs, and pricing.
I would consider a Sonata N Line, however, which offers a sportier drive and a plusher interior in comparison to the Camry. For the size and engine, it’s going to be as close as you can get to the Toyota Camry and Mazda 6.
It’s a shame the Mazda 6 has a long wait time because the wagon version ticks a lot of boxes for me.
MORE: Buy a Hyundai Sonata