Imagine you were one of the Toyota engineers assigned to completely redesign the No. 1 best-selling car in America for 15 years running. You’ve been told to tear up a car that has sold more than 18 million units since 1982 and make it completely different. And better.
A new Camry rolls off the assembly line every 60 seconds, so there’s no pressure, Right?
Now that the new Camry is about to be arriving at dealerships, here’s an open letter to the Toyota engineers assigned to the Camry project:
“Dear Camry engineers,
“You can take a breather now. Get reacquainted with the family. Sleep in. Your new Camry turned out good. Really good. It’s not perfect of course, nothing ever is. But your work should mean the Camry continues to be a huge success for Toyota.
“Your bosses showed the car to automotive journalists from around the country at the Camry’s west coast launch recently, and your bosses seemed pretty proud of your effort.
“You made the eighth-generation Camry look remarkably different from the previous generation. It’s sportier, wider, longer and it has more power. You gave the 2018 Camry Toyota’s New Global Architecture (TNGA), which is the new way your company now designs, engineers and packages its vehicles.
“One of your vice presidents had high praise for the new Camry at the west coast launch. “We are convinced this is the new benchmark for mid-size sedans,” said Lisa Materazzo, Toyota’s vice president of vehicle marketing and communications. She said that while sedan sales have slowed in the wake of increased SUV and truck sales, said the company remains very optimistic about the Camry.
“The front end is where I think y’all did your best work. I like the big side intakes that flank the lower bumper and the new gloss black mesh grille. In the back, the new bumper with distinctive corners and smoked combination lamps is cool. I’m also digging the new rear logo: C A M R Y spelled out on the trunk lid between the taillamps.
“Nice job too, making the Camry quieter by adding more sound absorbing materials and designing a new rain gutter to lower wind noise.
“And to you guys who worked on the engines, I liked your 3.5-liter V6 the best. The 4-cylinder isn’t bad with its 206 horsepower and 186 lb.-ft. of torque. But for my money, your V6 with its 301 horses and 267 lb.-ft. of torque is the best choice. The gas engines are mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission – a good choice – while the hybrid has a CVT transmission.
“The hybrid’s claim to fame, of course, is its fuel economy: 51 mpg in the city/53 mpg on the highway and 52 mpg combined on the LE grade. The 4-cylinder on the L trim is next at 29 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway. The V6 on the XSE will get you 22 miles down city streets and 32 miles down the highway on a gallon of gas. All of those fuel economy numbers seem pretty good to me.
“Cabin designers, your new Camry interior is comfortable, measured and pleasing to the senses. The leathers aren’t the finest around and there’s still some hard plastic, but the durable materials in the cabin seem like they’ll hold up through years of use.
“You also added a nice upgrade with Toyota’s Entune 3.0 system for infotainment and connectivity. Included are apps for navigation, remote start and door unlocking, vehicle status notifications, a guest driver monitor and vehicle finder. The public will love the Wi-Fi option that will allow up to five devices to connect using 4G LTE. People will also appreciate JBL premium audio system with a subwoofer and nine speakers.
“Anyway, I just wanted to say nice job guys. Now, get ready for the next big project.”
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.
All 2018 Camrys will get 10 airbags and Toyota’s Safety Sense system, 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
EPA mileage estimates:
28 mpg city/39 mpg highway/32 mpg combined
Estimated highway range: