2018 Toyota Camry Review

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2018 Toyota Camry Overview

For 15 years, the Toyota Camry has been the best-selling sedan in America. But that accolade is losing its luster, as car buyers flock to a new crop of crossovers that are more efficient, capable, and affordable than ever before. To keep it feeling fresh, Toyota has completely redesigned the Camry for 2018, from the powertrains to the font on the badge. The changes are immediately recognizable even on the entry-level LE trim, with a new Prius-like exterior that truly makes this midsize sedan stand out. The sporty SE and XSE trims are even more striking with their mesh grilles and additional exterior trim.

Not every difference for the new Camry is visible, however. The 2018 model is built on entirely new bones—the same Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) modular platform that underpins the current Prius—and gets an all-new standard powertrain with an 8-speed automatic transmission. The result, according to Toyota, is a more efficient car that’s also more fun to drive.

The 2018 Camry comes in four trim levels—LE, SE, XLE, XSE—with three powertrain options. The base powertrain is Toyota’s all-new Dynamic Force 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, which comes standard on all trims. Horsepower and fuel-economy ratings haven’t been released yet, but Toyota claims a thermal efficiency of 40 percent thanks to upgraded variable valve timing and direct fuel injection, as well as an improved exhaust design and reduced friction from moving parts.

Hybrid Camry variants receive the same 4-cylinder engine, although it’s tuned slightly differently for more efficiency and is mated to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) instead of the 8-speed automatic. It works in tandem with an electric motor, and its batteries now sit under the rear seat for better weight distribution and more trunk space. The hybrid Camry comes in LE, SE, and XLE trims and, according to Toyota, is expected to offer best-in-class, Prius-like fuel efficiency. The final powertrain in the Camry lineup is a 3.5-liter V6 engine, which is only available on the XLE and XSE trims.

The 2018 Camry boasts a striking new exterior design, with a lower hood and roofline, wider stance, and bolder, more athletic body lines. The SE and XSE trims have an even sportier look to complement their enhanced driving dynamics, with an aggressive front bumper, a sculpted rocker panel, a rear spoiler lip, and a rear bumper with a built-in diffuser. The XSE even gets 19-inch alloy wheels in a black finish. According to Toyota, it should be possible to visually differentiate an SE or XSE from an LE or XLE from 200 yards, and inside, both “sport” trims will allow drivers to choose their own gears via steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

The interior of the Camry was redesigned with the driver’s comfort and convenience in mind. Available in a variety of colors and high-quality materials inspired by home interior design, the cabin centers around a waterfall center console with an 8-inch touchscreen. For ease of use, the Camry features Toyota’s new Human Machine Interface (HMI) technology, which will connect the infotainment touchscreen with other systems like an optional 10-inch color heads-up display and an available 7-inch display that sits in the gauge cluster.

While the new Entune 3.0 infotainment system brings standard navigation and app connectivity to the Camry lineup, it still lags behind that of nearly every other midsize sedan by not featuring Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Available Entune 3.0 add-ons include Wi-Fi for up to 5 devices; Service Connect with maintenance updates; and Remote Connect with remote locking, unlocking, and vehicle monitoring.

In terms of active safety features, the 2018 Camry receives Toyota’s Safety Sense P as standard equipment. The suite includes automatic braking, forward-collision warning, pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, and lane-departure warning with lane-keep assist.

Pricing and further details about options have yet to be announced, although you won’t have to wait long to find out—the 2018 Camry goes on sale this summer.

Updated

A member of the New England Motor Press Association who has owned everything from a Town Car to a Prius, Keith has contributed automotive coverage to outlets including Wired, Car & Driver, and USA Today.

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