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2018 Toyota Camry SE Test Drive Review

The Toyota Camry is the best-selling car in the U.S., and has been so for the last 15 years. During this time, almost every adjective of “bland” has been associated with this midsize family sedan, but the all-new redesigned 2018 Toyota Camry ushers in a new era for this nameplate. Following our first look overview of the entire lineup last month, we are now getting a closer look at this car courtesy of the sporty and affordable 2018 Toyota Camry SE.


2018 Toyota Camry Exterior
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Hands down, the 2018 Toyota Camry is the best-looking Camry of all time. Using the bold design language introduced on the current Toyota Prius, the 2018 Toyota Camry is a sharp car from every angle, and it finally gives rivals like the Mazda6, Kia Optima and Ford Fusion a run for their styling money. The new Camry is longer, lower and wider than the current sedan, and it has eye-catching body lines on the hood, doors and C-pillar giving this midsize sedan a surprisingly athletic appearance. Even the font of the Camry lettering has been redesigned for a more contemporary, upscale look.

The 2018 Toyota Camry is available in eight trim levels (not including the Hybrid), and each features its own distinct look. The Camry SE stands out with its black grille with mesh insert, dual chrome exhaust tips, 18-inch alloy wheels with black accents, a body-color rear spoiler and sporty rocker panels. For a more visual impact and optimal safety, all 2018 Camry models come standard with LED headlights. Bottom line, Toyota has hit an absolute home run with the 2018 Toyota Camry!


2018 Toyota Camry Interior
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Despite having bigger exterior dimensions than the current car, the interior of the 2018 Toyota Camry is incrementally smaller (about 2 cubic feet overall). Most passengers probably won’t even notice the difference, though, since there is still plenty of room for five adult passengers. Likewise, cargo capacity is down by .3 cubic feet, but its 15.1 cubic feet of trunk space is still extremely cavernous. Although interior space is down on paper, everything else about the 2018 Toyota Camry is a stark improvement over its predecessor from the styling to the materials to the technology.

In terms of tech, all 2018 Camry models come with the latest Entune 3.0 infotainment system, which means that all 2018 Camry models also come standard with some sort of built-in navigation function. While the higher end models get an actual navigation system, all other trim levels get the Entune Audio with Connected Navigation and App Suite with a seven-inch touchscreen display, six-speaker audio system, Connected Navigation Scout GPS Link App. This system pairs a user’s smartphone with the headunit to provide an in-car navigation, and it works so well that I’m guessing most buyers won’t notice (or won’t care) that there is no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto availability.

Just like the exterior, the interior of the 2018 Toyota Camry has a more appealing look and feel to it. Toyota hasn’t gone as extreme as Honda or Mazda with this interior, but loyal and conquest Camry buyers alike will have no problem feeling at home in this car. My favorite part of the interior is the attractive character line on the center stack that starts near the gauge cluster and runs diagonally to the passenger side of the center console. The seats have a faux leather SofTex seat fabric with mesh-like inserts, and they provide excellent comfort and support.


2018 Toyota Camry Powertrain
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At least for now, Toyota is staying away from the trend of downsized, turbocharged engines that many midsize sedans currently use, but the new lineup of engines used in the 2018 Toyota Camry are more powerful and more efficient than the previous engines. This tester was equipped with the base 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that benefits from Toyota’s advanced D-4S fuel injection system (a mix of direct and port fuel injection). The new engine technology gives this engine an output of 203 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, which is an increase of 25 hp and 14 lb-ft compared to the 2017 Camry. More importantly, the Camry SE with this engine has expected (but unofficial) EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 28 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway** – a 4 mpg increase in both city and highway. This improved efficiency allowed Toyota engineers to give the Camry a slightly smaller fuel tank (16 gallon vs. 17 gallon) to maintain range but keep weight down.

Driven along a mix of twisty back roads and wide-open interstates, the ride quality of the 2018 Toyota Camry far exceeds that of the previous car. The new Direct Shift eight-speed automatic transmission helps provide great acceleration, while delivering excellent real-world fuel economy of 37.6 mpg in combined driving. Furthermore, the suspension tuning allows the Camry to feel far sportier than its predecessor, but I was only able to test the SE trim level – the SE and XSE trim levels come with larger front and rear stabilizer bars. As tested, this 2018 Toyota Camry SE might be enough to give the Mazda6 – the best-handling sedan in this segment – some serious pressure.


2018 Toyota Camry Safety
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Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have had a chance to crash test the 2018 Toyota Camry, but this car is expected to score top safety results. The Camry gets the Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P) suite of safety technologies (which includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist and Automatic High Beams) as well as the Toyota Star Safety System (with Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Brake Assist, Anti-lock Braking System, and Smart Stop Technology). On top of these safety features, the 2018 Camry also comes standard with 10 airbags and a backup camera, and optional safety features include Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and the Intelligent Clearance Sonar with a new Rear Cross Traffic Braking system.


2018 Toyota Camry Overall
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The 2018 Toyota Camry is still the same dependable, affordable family sedan that has allowed the Camry to remain the most popular car in the U.S. for the last 15 years, but it now has a bold design, stylish interior and more exciting powertain options to keep ahead of the pack. The 2018 Toyota Camry goes on sale later this month with a base MSRP of $23,495*, while this well-equipped SE trim level starts at just $25,200.

Make sure to visit your local AutoNation Toyota dealership and test drive the all-new 2018 Toyota Camry today!

*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2018 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.

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