2018 Toyota Camry: New take on an old standby
UPDATE: We've since driven the 2018 Toyota Camry, and you'll find our first review, official pricing and on-sale timing right here.
It’s no secret that sedan sales have suffered at the hands of more popular crossover SUVs. Still, Toyota managed to crank out nearly 400,000 Camrys during 2016, which saw record industry sales. And while consumer preferences seem to be straying from the traditional 4-door family car, Toyota is making a big bet that the redesigned 2018 Camry could be just the ticket to draw buyers back.
The eighth-generation of this bread-and-butter Toyota has undergone perhaps the most dramatic change in its storied history, moving over to the Japanese automaker’s Toyota New Generation Architecture (TGNA) that promises a stiffer structure, better handling and lower weight. All which will contribute to a Camry that is roomier, handles better and is more fuel efficient than the car it replaces. These attributes are a must in its bid to stay atop a segment crowded with fierce rivals like the Honda Accord, Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion and the Korean upstarts Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima.
“The all-new 2018 Camry is, without a doubt the most captivating midsize sedan we’ve ever produced,” said Bob Carter, Toyota senior vice president of automotive operations. “It delivers on everything Camry owners have come to expect from America’s best-selling car, and adds to it with jaw-dropping design, more advanced technology, cutting-edge safety systems and stirring performance.”
Looking to shake off a reputation for being a boring design but a safe buy, the 2018 Toyota Camry has an edgier and more expressive exterior. Up front, there’s a new two-piece grille with crisp character lines flowing from the nose seamlessly through the A-pillar.
The new platform permits a lower beltline, larger glass area and a leaner exterior. The car’s overall height has been reduced by an inch over the previous model and the Camry has a wider, lower and more planted look that underscores the fact that this new model has a much lower center of gravity, which will contribute to improved dynamics.
The flowing lines continue through the vehicle’s profile and a distinct C-pillar detail has multiple surfaces that reflect light from all angles. A prominent character line in the rear taillamps extends outward and down through the rear bumper accentuating the vehicle’s wider stance.
There will be again four trim levels, LE, XLE SE and XSE, with the latter two benefiting from sculpted rocker panels, a subtle rear spoiler, more aggressive front bumper and a rear fascia with an integrated diffuser. The XSE also sports new 19-inch black machine-finish alloy wheels.
Thanks to a 2.0-inch longer wheelbase, the 2018 has more cabin space. The interior reflects an all-new design to complement the exterior changes. The cockpit-style configuration of the dash has the instruments angled towards the driver and the center console features a distinctive waterfall shape. Toyota also has increased the amount of soft-touch surfaces and premium materials on the dash, instrument panel, center console and doors and blends colors rather than taking a monochromatic approach to the interior. New front seat designs improve comfort and ergonomics, while the rear also benefits from upgraded materials, additional room and more accommodating seating.
Buyers can opt for a head-up display that also links with a 7.0-inch multi-function display in the instrument cluster and an 8.0-inch infotainment screen located in the center of the dash. The 2018 Camry also introduces Toyota’s Entune 3.0 multimedia system which features navigation and App Suite Connect for everyone.
Two new engines
The front-drive Camry will have new 2.5-liter 4-cylinder and 3.5-liter V6 engines mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. Both engines are equipped with direct injection for greater power and fuel economy. The Toyota Camry Hybrid also will return as the fuel economy leader in the lineup with its 2.5-liter 4-cylinder backed by a CVT and electric motor.
The new engines find a home in a more willing chassis thanks to the fully-independent suspension that features a more handling-oriented double-wishbone setup in the rear in place of the previous semi-independent torsion beam. This new chassis promises both a better ride and more engaging dynamics giving the car the handling chops of a sport sedan and the comfort of a luxury car.
Toyota has put a big emphasis on safety with the 2018 Camry making the Toyota Safety Sense suite of features standard on all models. The TSS system includes pre-collision warning with pedestrian detection, adaptive radar cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist and automatic high beams. Higher trim Camry variants will be equipped with blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert standard.
The 2018 Toyota Camry is expected in dealerships by late summer. Pricing and additional specs will be released closer to the on-sale date.
More New and Redesigned Models for 2018