Worried about dry skin, a dull complexion or flat hair after a long drive this sunny Easter break? Try this: air conditioning that acts like a moisturiser. 

I’ve been driving Toyota’s new Camry saloon – returning to British roads this summer after a gap of 15 years – which comes with an air purification system that provides in-car air to keep both you and your skin feeling refreshed after hours on the road.

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Toyota's new Camry saloon comes with a special air purification system that provides in-car air to keep both you and your skin feeling refreshed and less fatigued after hours on the road

Toyota’s new Camry saloon comes with a special air purification system that provides in-car air to keep both you and your skin feeling refreshed and less fatigued after hours on the road

These have mildly acidic properties and ‘a gently moisturising effect on the skin and hair, while creating a crisp and refreshing cabin atmosphere,’ says Toyota.

Well, after a long two days’ testing in sunny Croatia, I can confirm I felt pretty good. The Camry will be available only as a ‘green’ self-charging petrol-electric hybrid; no diesels or pure petrol versions.

Well after many hours spent on the road over two days during the Camry’s global launch in sunny Croatia, I can confirm I felt pretty good.

The new Camry will be available only as a ‘green’ self-charging petrol-electric hybrid, with no diesel or pure petrol versions on offer. 

To keep matters simple, there are only two well-stocked trim level versions in automatic: the entry level ‘Design’ on 17 inch wheels costing from £29,995 and the top of the range ‘Excel’ riding on larger 18-inch 20-spoke wheels from £31,295. 

Ray Massey said he 'felt pretty good' after testing the vehicle out for two days during its global launch in sunny Croatia

Ray Massey said he ‘felt pretty good’ after testing the vehicle out for two days during its global launch in sunny Croatia

It’s the eighth generation of a car that has sold more than 19million globally. Launched in 1982, it was discontinued in the UK and mainland Europe in 2004. 

But now it’s back, with order books open for first deliveries in July, to take on the likes of Volkswagen’s Passat, the Mazda 6 and the Skoda Superb.

About 80 per cent of sales will be to ‘user chooser’ company car drivers who can specify which car they want, with the remaining 20 per cent to private buyers spending their own money.

But why bring it back now? Toyota bosses point to a collection of issues. The replacement of the Avensis with the new Corolla, and a new improved chassis which is based around the same platform as the Lexus ES – Toyota’s upmarket brand.

From behind the wheel it’s a smooth operator with plenty of space for five, with a big boot suiting mid-level executives during the week and the family at the weekend.

Setting off in near silent electric mode is calming before the petrol engine kicks in for a relaxing ride.   

There are three driving modes: eco, normal and sport. 

Normal is great for general driving and feels nimble and light. Sport gives added oomph but feels a bit heavier. 

The hybrid's nickel-metal hybrid battery – which stores the car's self-generated power from braking - sits under the rear seats so now doesn't compromise the cavernous boot

The hybrid’s nickel-metal hybrid battery – which stores the car’s self-generated power from braking – sits under the rear seats so now doesn’t compromise the cavernous boot

The automatic gear-box also allows drivers to make ‘shifts’ using the lever on the centre console to mimic a quick-shifting six speed gear-box. 

The hybrid’s nickel-metal hybrid battery – which stores the car’s self-generated power from braking – sits under the rear seats so now doesn’t compromise the cavernous boot.

But a big selling point is likely to be the relatively frugal fuel consumption.

With a 50 litre tank it enjoys fuel consumption of between 50.4mpg and 53.3mpg – figures which were broadly matched on my own drive. 

CO2 emissions are also low, from just 98g/km, keeping road tax levels in check.

Reliability is also a strong selling point with Toyota.

With a 50 litre tank, the car enjoys fuel consumption of between 50.4mpg and 53.3mpg – CO2 emissions are also low, from just 98g/km, keeping road tax levels in check

With a 50 litre tank, the car enjoys fuel consumption of between 50.4mpg and 53.3mpg – CO2 emissions are also low, from just 98g/km, keeping road tax levels in check

The Camry’s smart if conservative looks and styling combine with a comfortable interior and very supportive, enveloping sports-like seats, soft touch padding and satin chrome trim to provide a functional but relaxing sanctuary that leaves you less prone to fatigue.

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The rear exterior looks rather reminiscent of BMW styling and rear-view camera is standard.

Customers have a choice of five exterior paint colours, including a new platinum white pearl and graphite shadow.

All cars come as standard with kit that includes smart entry and push-button start, front and rear -parking sensors, reversing camera, heated and power adjustable front seats, a multi-media system, lane departure alert, road-sign assist, and ‘sway warning’.

The ‘Excel’ version I drove came additionally equipped with extra technology and safety features including LED fog lights and dual-beam projector head-lights, a useful blind spot monitor warning, a wireless charging tray for the latest mobile phones.

Toyota estimate its hybrid system will achieve zero emissions for up to half a daily commute.

The 2.5-litre 4-cylinder petrol engine and electric motor together provide 215bhp of pulling power to go from rest to 62 mph in 8.3 seconds up to a top speed of 112mp.

Will it fit in my garage?

Will it fit in my garage? Toyota Camry hybrid Self-charging hybrid

Price (two trim levels): With ‘Design’ starting from £29,995 and the ‘Excel’ model at £31,295

First deliveries: July 01

Length: 4,885mm

Width: 1,840mm

Height: 1,445mm

Wheelbase: 2,825mm

Weight: 2.1 tonnes

Petrol engine: 2.5 litre 4-cylinder

Power: 176bhp

Electric motor: 120bhp/88kW

Full pulling power: 215bhp

Gears: Automatic

Hybrid battery: Nickel metal hydride

Wheels: 17 inch and 18 inch

Top speed: 112mph

0-62mph: 8.3 seconds

Fuel consumption: 50.4mpg to 53.3mpg

Fuel tank capacity: 50 litres

CO2 emissions:

  • 17-inch wheels: 98g/km
  • 18-inch wheels: 101g/km
Ray Massey also got to have an early crawl round the new Mini Clubman ahead of its sale this month. The car maker celebrates its 60th birthday this year

Ray Massey also got to have an early crawl round the new Mini Clubman ahead of its sale this month. The car maker celebrates its 60th birthday this year

Mini turns 60 

Mini’s new facelifted Clubman is flying the flag with its Union Jack brake lights in the maker’s 60th anniversary year.

I had an early look and crawl around it before it goes on sale this month, from £21,200 following its launch at the Shanghai show this week. Though compact, the luggage area expands from 360 to 1,250 litres with back seats down.

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There are design tweaks and two new colours – Indian summer red and British racing green.

The twin turbocharged engines comprise the 1.5 litre 136hp 3-cylinder petrol in the Cooper Clubman, the 2 litre 192hp 4-cylinder in the Cooper Clubman S (which goes from 0-62 mph in 7.3 seconds up to 142 mph) and the 150 hp 2-litre 4-cylinder diesel in the Cooper D Clubman, the latter two from £24,100. An even sportier John Cooper Works Clubman joins later this year.

Easter bonnets aplenty in China 

Aston Martin's all-electric Rapide E made its global debut in Shanghai. The car is tipped to appear in the next James Bond film

Aston Martin’s all-electric Rapide E made its global debut in Shanghai. The car is tipped to appear in the next James Bond film

Easter bonnets aplenty in Shanghai as Aston Martin’s all-electric Rapide E made its global debut there this week – just as the firm simultaneously opened a new showroom at the end of the silk road in Jinan, Shandong province, famous for Shantung silk. 

Jinan was twinned with carmaking Coventry when I first visited in the mid-Eighties to cover pioneering trade links with Britain.

Only 155 of the 155mph electric Astons, which accelerate from rest to 62mph in under 4 seconds, will be built, priced at around £250,000 each.

Movie sources have reported that the eco-friendly zero-emissions car could appear in the next James Bond film.

British sports car maker Lotus blossomed in Shanghai, too, by unveiling plans for a new £1million-plus pure electric hyper-car code-named Type 130. 

It marks the start of rapid expansion by the firm headed by former Jaguar Land Rover executive and Sunseeker luxury yacht boss Phil Popham and now owned by China’s Geely, which also owns Volvo and makes electric London taxis.

And on the other side of the world…

…There was a hat-trick for Jaguar’s all-electric I-Pace, named World Car of the Year as well as best design and ‘green’ car at the New York Motor Show this week. That’s on top of European and British Car of the Year accolades.

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