The Toyota Camry sedan for 2018 is all-new, and finally raises the bar from “Ho-Hum” to “Wow” with its emotionally charged design and improved driving dynamics. For the past 15 years, the Camry has been the best selling car in America. It’s assembled in America, by Americans, and is designed for Americans. The exterior styling reflects Lexus-like cues with bold athletic exterior character lines and ground-hugging stance. The interior is s more sumptuous and provides enhanced space, while featuring an advanced focus on the driver.
This latest iteration Camry (the 8th generation) has been Toyota’s flagship since its introduction in 1982 and comes in four distinct levels of trim: the base LE, SE, XSE, and the top-of-the-line XLE. The Hybrid Camry comes only in LE, SE and XLE trim grades. All are four-door, five-passenger sedans and all come standard with Toyota Safety Sense P.
During the national press introduction for the car, my driving partner and I were able to experience wheel and seat time in an XLE 4-cylinder base priced at $26,310 and an as tested total of $27,195; an XSE V6 with a base sticker of $30,140 and a final total of $31,025. Our Hybrid unit had a base cost of $30,140 and a final tag of $32,255.
In seeking to broaden the visual appeal of the new Camry, the development team aimed for a styling and design concept that would achieve a strong harmony between refinement and a sensual athletic image, creating a new approach to the market. In penning the new Camry’s design, there were three primary goals: a distinctive, low center of gravity that resulted in a firm wide stance; a practical-yet-emotionally styled cabin profile, and a sporty and upscale image both inside and out. The result? A new type of Camry that’s exciting to behold and, more importantly to drive, which is likely to reestablish it as the new standard in the mid-size sedan marketplace.
Driving scenarios for our three test 2018 Camrys consisted of freeways and beautiful twisting Cascade mountain back roads at various elevations. The ride quality of all three was superlative – comfortable, yet planted and stable with excellent road-holding and handling characteristics. The same held true for handling characteristics of the trio.
The 3.5-liter not surprisingly, delivered the sportiest all around performance, while the 4-cylinder was no slouch. The Hybrid’s electric boost provided quick off-the-line acceleration.
COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE
Safety and convenience features abound with: standard Toyota Safety Sense package that includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Full-speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control System, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Automatic High Beam; available Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Intelligent Clearance Sonar with Rear Cross Traffic Braking; available Bird’s Eye View Camera with Perimeter Scan; and enhanced body structure/platform through a new high-strength body that offers increased occupant protection in the event of a side or front collision/impact in offset or head-on collisions.
Moving inside, the completely redesigned interior displays a blend of functionality, futuristic styling, and a high degree of personal space and craftsmanship. Drivers are situated in a sporty cockpit-type environment, with gauges angled them, while the front passenger enjoys a sense of openness. The new front seats provide improved ergonomics, providing enhanced comfort.
Toyota’s latest in-vehicle information technology consist of next-generation displays, offering a heightened level of integrated information with minimal distraction by relaying information through three available interlinked displays: a 10-inch color Head-Up Display (HUD); a seven-inch multi-information display within the instrument cluster, and an eight-inch audio/navigation/HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) control panel integrated into the center console in a, flush-surface design. Convenient operation is assured through customizable features and smart phone-like touch screen icons that create a connection and user workflow between the in-vehicle information technology and other digital media.
TFLCAR’s TAKE: Is the 2018 Toyota Camry the best Camry ever? You bet it is -– not only in the eye-candy department, but in terms of driving dynamics and enhanced technological features.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Toyota Camry
- Base Price: $26,310.- XLE 4 cyl / $31,370. – XSE V6 / $30,140. Hybrid XLE
- Price as Tested: $27,195..- XLE 4 cyl / $32,255. – XSE V6 $31,025.-Hybrid XLE
- Engine Type and Size: 2.5-liter, DOHC, 16-valve inline 4-cylinder with dual VVT-i and TDI.
- Horsepower (bhp): 203@ 6,600 rpm (LE,SE,XLE)/206 @6,600rpm-XSE Torque (ft./ lbs.): 184@ 5,000 rpm (LE,SE,XLE)/186@5,000rpm-XSE
- **Engine Type and Size: 3.5-liter, DOHC, 24-valve V6 with dual VVT-i and TDI**
- Horsepower (bhp): 301 @ 6,600 rpm
- Torque (ft./ lbs.): 267 @ 4,700 rpm
- Hybrid System Net Horsepower = 208
- **Engine Type and Size: 2.5-liter, DOHC, 24-valve V6 with dual VVT-i and TDI**
- Horsepower (bhp): 176 @ 5,700 rpm
- Torque (ft./ lbs.): 163 @ 3,600-5,200 rpm
- **Electric Motor: Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor**
- Power output: 88 kW (118 hp) Torque: 149 lb.-ft
- Hybrid Battery Pack: Lithium-ion (LE) – 259.0 V Nominal Voltage 70-3.7V cells – 4.0 ampere hour capacity.Nickel-Metal Hydride (SE,XLE) -244.8 V Nominal Voltage – 204 1.2V cells – 6.5 ampere hour capacity.
- System Voltage: 650 volts maximum.
- Transmission: Direct Shift 8-speed ECT-I automatic with sequential shift mode. / CVT-Hybrid
- Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine / Transaxle/Front-Wheel Drive
- Suspension: Front – Independent MacPherson strut suspension with 24.2 mm tubular stabilizer bar
- Rear – Double wishbone with 25.0 mm tubular stabilizer bar
- Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel discs (vented front) with ABS. / Hybrid Electronically Controlled Brake system- 4-wheel discs (vented front)
- Tires: Bridgestone Turanza P235/40 R19-XSE / P235/45 R18-XLE mounted on alloy wheels
- Wheelbase: 111.2 inches
- Length Overall: 192.1 inches
- Width: 72.4 inches
- Height: 56.9 inches
- Curb Weight: 3,351 lbs.-XLE / 3,571 lbs.-XSE / Hybrid-3,472-3,571
- Turning Circle: 38 ft.
- Fuel Capacity: 14.5 gallons- 4-cyl. / 16 gal. –V6 / 13 gal-Hybrid
- EPA Mileage Estimates: 28 mpg city / 39 mpg highway-4-cyl ./ 22/33-V6
- Hybrid XLE – 44 mpg city/47 mpg highway/46 mpg combined