Test Drive Reviews Toyota 

2018 Toyota Camry Test Drive Review

Since it was introduced more than 20 years ago, the Camry has been a sales leader. However, buyer’s tastes are changing, with upstarts like Toyota’s own RAV4 crossover starting to steal some of the Camry’s sales thunder. For 2018, Toyota is injecting more style, sophistication, and technology into the Camry at every trim level. It’s also worth nothing that the new TNGA platform the Camry is based on provides more interior room and a quieter ride as well as significant weight savings versus the outgoing model.

2018 Toyota Camry Exterior:

The new Toyota Camry makes a much bolder, more cohesive statement than the outgoing model. That said, Toyota knows that some customers would rather blend in, while others like to make a splash. With the new Camry, both are an option depending on which trim level of Camry you select- bold, or subtle.

The L, LE and XLE model styling is sporty without looking too “boy racer.” The nose has an aggressive look, and from the side profile as well as the rear three-quarters view it is muscular and lean. Choosing the SE or XSE means there are more sporty styling cues to make the Camry really stand out. They include a different front end styling, large side intake vents, small rear spoiler, and the option of two-tone paint that adds a black metallic color to the roof along with matching paint on the rear spoiler and the rear view mirrors. SE and XSE come with 18” alloy wheels with 19” alloy wheels as an option.

2018 Toyota Camry Interior:

The all-new Camry is built around the cockpit theme. Instruments, dials, knobs, and switchgear are all angled at the driver to make it as easy as possible to see, touch, and feel exactly what you are looking for.

Materials have received a nice upgrade from the previous generation, and are now very competitive with the best in the segment. L and LE trims have nice cloth seating, SE trim gets SofTex seating material, and XLE, XSE get leather seating with XLE receiving a quilting pattern to give it a more high-end appearance.

Toyota has also upgraded the trim pieces as well with different wood or metal materials depending on trim level and packages. SE gets embossed mesh interior trim while XSE gets textured metal materials. L and LE have a layered wood trim, while XLE receives “Tiger Eye” trim based off the Tiger Eye gemstone. XLE and XSE interiors are very nice, and while they might not be at Lexus levels, they aren’t far off and come at a much-reduced price.

Standard on L, LE and SE Camry’s is a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment screen in the center stack and a 4.2-inch multi-information display in the instrument cluster. XLE, XSE and V6 models receive an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system in the center stack and a 7-in multi-information display in the instrument cluster.

A new and exciting option on the new Camry is a 10-inch Heads Up Display. The HUD can project audio, speed, driver assistance and navigation onto the windshield.

2018 Toyota Camry Powertrains:

With the 2018 Toyota Camry, you have the choice of three powertrains. It starts with an all new 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. While the displacement and number of cylinders may be the same as the outgoing Camry, this is an all new engine. The long stroke high compression engine with both direct and port fuel injection delivers 203 horsepower at 6,600 rpm and 184 lb/ft of torque at 5,000 rpm.

Next up is a 3.5-liter V6 engine. This engine is a carryover with some technology upgrades. New variable valve timing enables greater fuel efficiency without sacrificing performance. The V6 is rated at 301 horsepower at 6,600 rpm and 267 lb/ft of torque at 4,700 rpm. Both the four-cylinder and the V6 use a new eight-speed automatic transmission.

The final powertrain is the Hybrid system. Total power between the engine and hybrid power is rated at 208 horsepower. The big news with the hybrid are the fuel economy numbers. In the LE trim (lighter vehicle weight and more efficient battery pack) the Camry Hybrid is EPA rated at 51 city/53 highway/52 combined.** In SE and XLE it returns 44 city/47 highway/46 combined.** If you were looking at the Prius for fuel economy, the 2018 Camry Hybrid LE will return very similar fuel economy numbers in a more “standard” looking car for around the same money.

Fuel economy for the four-cylinder Camry is EPA rated at 28 city/39 highway/32 combined, while the V6 is rated at 22 city/32 highway/26 combined.**

2018 Toyota Camry Safety:

The 2018 Camry comes with a standard suite of safety systems starting with Toyota’s Star Safety System which includes, Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), 4-wheel Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA) and SmartStop Technology®(SST) with 10 airbags. Also available is Safety Connect® — this includes Emergency Assistance, Stolen Vehicle Locator, Roadside Assistance and Automatic Collision Notification available by subscription.

2018 Toyota Camry Technology:

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are not available on the 2018 Toyota Camry. Instead, Toyota uses their own Entune 3.0 system. Entune offers Scout GPS Link through an app on your phone for navigation and comes with a free three-year trial, Entune App Suite, Siri Eyes Free, and Google Voice Control along with voice recognition and Bluetooth audio.

Other trim levels and options packages offer XM Radio, HD Radio, Gracenote album cover art, Safety Connect, Service Connect, Remote Connect and a built-in WiFi hotspot. Available with the upgraded JBL Audio system is a feature called Clari-Fi. Clari-Fi takes streaming audio from apps like Spotify, Pandora, Google Music and Apple Music and upconverts it to higher quality audio.

2018 Toyota Camry Overall:

The 2018 Toyota Camry is really three different cars depending on trim and powertrain chosen. The four-cylinder Camry feels light, composed, and sporty. While you would not call it a sports sedan, it can certainly handle back roads without effort. The ride is very composed and interior noise levels are very pleasant. The V6 Camry drives and rides like a very substantial car that feels more planted to the road. That is not to say the four-cylinder is lacking in driving refinement, it’s that the V6 takes it to a higher level, near Lexus-quality ride control. On the other hand, the Hybrid Camry combines the best of both the V6 and the four cylinder. The overall feel of the car along with the ride quality is right in line with the V6, yet the steering is light as in the four cylinder. Where the V6 gets up to speed very quickly, far quicker than you’d expect, the hybrid is not far behind and is almost silent in doing so. Make sure to visit your local AutoNation Toyota dealership and test drive the 2018 Toyota Camry to see which trim level suits your needs best.

Reviewed by Eric Trytko.

 

*MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.

**Based on 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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