2018 Toyota Camry: Video Review and Road Test
Rumors of the death of the midsize sedan are in the words of Mark Twain, “greatly exaggerated.” A spin in the redesigned 2018 Toyota Camry is all that it will take to demonstrate that there is plenty of life left in traditional family cars. With an all-new look and stepped-up competition from the redesigned 2018 Honda Accord and Chevrolet Malibu, the new Toyota Camry has what it takes remain relevant, as Micah Muzio shows in this Video Review and Road Test.
2018 Toyota Camry Transcript
With the 8th-generation Camry, Toyota has bathed their perpetually strong selling sedan in sassy style. Does that mean the sensible, sober Camry we know is a thing of the past? Well, no. Think of the new Camry more like you're responsible cousin that has the stable job down at the City Planning Office. Except what they're like on the weekend when things get crazy.
The practical trappings of a Camry are all here. The seats are contoured for comfort both front and rear, passenger space is plentiful though more foot space under the front seats would be cool, critical touch points feel nice, center console storage is generous, there's a convenient spot to stow your phone near the standard USB outlet, the volume and tune knobs are placed conveniently together and within easy reach of the driver, just don't mix them up, and all the other controls are simple to use and clearly labeled.
But hey, here comes the weekend! Dig that swoopy dash. Swoopiness aside, this cabin is no more polarizing than the Camrys that preceded it. One area that might cause by our concern is the infotainment system. I'll just copy and paste what I said in another review. "We continue to marvel at the lack of modern smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. While most car makers offer these technologies Toyota remains a stubborn holdout".
The Camry does offer Siri Eyes Free, Google voice control, and a 3-year subscription to a Scout navigation app. But those are imperfect stand-ins for proper smartphone integration. To be clear, the interface is laid out just fine. It's totally easy to use. If you don't care about accessing your phone's navigation, entertainment, phone, and texting abilities conveniently through the vehicle's touchscreen please ignore everything I just said.
Camry trunk space is a reasonable 15.1 cubic feet in all but the L trim, which is one cubic foot smaller for some reason. For bringing home long items the seats fold but it is not a flat transition. Of note, Toyota moved the Camry hybrid's battery from the trunk to beneath the rear seats, giving the Hybrid the exact same trunk and pass-through as the standard Camry.
Where propulsion is concerned, the Toyota Camry uses a 3.5-liter V6 on higher trims, unlike most of its competitors whose high-power thrills come from turbocharged 4-cylinders. At a touch more than 300 horsepower, the Camry V6 is a great way to light the tires when leaving the Costco parking lot. But most Camrys will come with the standard 4-cylinder, which for domestic duty does the job just fine, offering a good blend of performance and efficiency. That was less efficient.
That efficiency is impressive across the board. In fact, stick with the base L trim and the EPA estimates better than 40 mpg on the freeway. Of course, the V6 is notably less efficient but again if you want to make a scene leaving the post office, elevated fuel costs might be worth it. Both the V6 and the 4-cylinder come joined to a very nice 8-speed automatic transmission whose torque converter features a multi-plate lock-up clutch for more direct throttle response and improved efficiency. And if you're the kind of person who needs manual control of that down here, but on SE trims and higher there are paddle shifters that I'm guessing you will never use. Shame. Shame! Shame. Yeah, I guess there's some shame on me now isn't there?
Rounding out the powertrain roster is the Camry Hybrid whose electric torque enables lively acceleration and superior fuel economy. Keep in mind if efficiency is your number one goal the less expensive LE trim with its strangely pricier lithium-ion battery pack is the superior hybrid choice.
Like its forebears, the Toyota Camry remains a compliant driving sedan but that smooth riding nature is now complemented by more precise steering and slightly more athletic road manners. This is not a sports sedan but it is a Camry with a spritz of dynamism. Buy the base, slightly more than $24,000, Camry L trim and along with that spritz of dynamism it'll come with 10 airbags, a backup camera, Bluetooth, two years complimentary maintenance, and Safety Sense P, a suite of active safety aides that includes dynamic radar cruise control that'll automatically keep pace with vehicle ahead, lane keeping assist to keep you from inadvertently departing your lane, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and automatic high beams.
The Camry L is fine, but for only $500 more the LE trim adds 60/40 split-folding rear seats with a center armrest, an overhead console with sunglass storage, and power front seats with driver side lumbar support. Higher trims and the option sheet round out the Camry’s equipment roster with wireless phone charging, three USB ports, navigation, keyless access with push button start, a 360-degree camera system, an 8-inch touchscreen replacing the standard 7-inch unit, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather seats, blind spot monitoring, a panoramic moonroof, and AC vents for rear-seat passengers, though they only come on the high-end XLE and XSE trims.
Speaking of the sporty XSE, both it and the SE trim elevate the Camry's swagger with sport-ily revised styling along with an optional two-tone roof and four exhaust tips. Before you scream fake news about those four exhaust tips you should know the XSE has a 3 horsepower and 2 lb-ft advantage over the standard Camry. Use that power wisely.
Spend without limits and you can load up a Camry XSE V6 to the tune of nearly $38,000. The mid-sized sedan field is saturated with great choices including the similarly priced Honda Accord and slightly less expensive choices like the Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Ford Fusion, and Nissan Altima among others.
Choosing the right car from this field is less about good versus bad and more about your personal tastes. That said, many buyers just want a car they won't regret. Something reliable and uncomplicated that's easy to drive and live with that won't torpedo their personal finances over the long haul. The Toyota Camry is still that car. Consider it proof that the responsible choice is a little bit more palatable when you wrap it up in some emotion.
A spirit of dynamism. A scent for a man or a Micah. Pretty self-deprecating cologne. I dare you to find a more self-deprecating cologne.