The Toyota Camry has been the best-selling car in America for 15 years running. More than 18 million have been sold since 1982, and a new Camry rolls off the assembly line every 60 seconds or so.
So can you imagine how many sleepless nights must have been in store for the engineers responsible for redesigning the Camry?
Well, the 2018s are now on dealer lots, and the Toyota engineers can finally relax. My guess is the new Camry will be flying out of showrooms.
First, the Eighth Generation Camry is sportier, wider, longer and has more power than its predecessor. Two engine choices are available – a 4-cylinder and a V6 – and a hybrid version is also available.
The 4-cylinder develops 206 horsepower and 186 lb.-ft. of torque, while the 3.5-liter V6 kicks out 301 horses and 267 lb.-ft. of torque. Gasoline-powered Camrys get a smooth-shifting 8-speed automatic, while the hybrid Camry gets a CVT.
Last summer I was able to drive both engines during the launch of the new Camry, and I came away super impressed with the V6. That’s the one I’d go with. The 4-cylinder delivers better mileage, of course, at 29 miles per gallon in the city and a whopping 41 mpg on the highway. The Hybrid, though, is the mileage champ at 51 mpg in the city and 53 mpg on the road.
But I just found the V6 to be more fun, and I’m not gonna apologize for wanting to have some fun behind the wheel of a car. As we plunge headlong into autonomous, self-driving vehicles, some of us are going to miss the good old days when we actually drove ourselves. Besides, the V6 mileage is still pretty good at 22 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway.
My test week recently with the V6 Camry confirmed my original impressions. I loved driving this car.
The new Camry will be available in five grades: L, LE, XLE, SE and XSE. The base L will start at $23,495, the LE starts at $24,000, the SE at $25,200, the XLE at $28,450 and the XSE (4 cylinder) will run you $29,000. The XLE with the V6 starts at $34,400.
For my money, the new Camry is far better looking than the previous generation. The front end is where designers did their best work. Big side intakes flank the lower bumper and the mesh grille in the SE and XSE trims. In the back, there’s a new bumper with distinctive corners and new badging with C A M R Y spelled out on the trunk lid.
The cabin of the new Camry is completely redesigned for 2018. A big touchscreen atop the center stack has crystal clear graphics, and various buttons float around the screen. It’s a well-designed and intuitive set up with lots of space – maybe too much – between the buttons.
Soft-touch materials are in all the right places, and the leather seats were comfortable and seemed durable. Headroom in front is 38.3 inches, and in back it’s 37.5 inches. The power dual pane sunroof means back seat passengers can enjoy a beautiful sunny day.
Connectivity is by Toytoa’s Entune 3.0 system, and USB, AUX and 12v ports are conveniently located at the bottom of the center stack. A Head’s Up display for the driver is an excellent addition for 2018.
Everyone in the car will appreciate a Wi-Fi option that allows up to five devices to connect using 4G LTE. A JBL premium audio system and Bluetooth are nice as well. Additional sound-absorbing materials are used in the cabin, making the Camry quieter than ever before too.
When it comes to safety, the top-rated 2018 Camry has 10 standard airbags and Toyota’s Safety Sense system, which is a suite of sophisticated safety technologies, as standard equipment. The system includes a collision avoidance system with pedestrian detection, dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist, and automatic high beams.
2018 Toyota Camry XSE
$34,400 ($37,680 with options & freight)
EPA mileage estimates:
22 mpg city/33 mpg highway/26 mpg combined
Estimated highway range: