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2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid

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2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid Expert Review

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The Toyota Camry is all-new for 2018, ushering in its eighth generation and 35th year in existence. For its latest act, Toyota's iconic midsize sedan has reinvented itself with bold new looks and athletic manners. The latter narrows or nullifies the fun-to-drive gap that once existed between the Camry and its Honda Accord archrival, all without sacrificing the Toyota's reputation for comfort, convenience and ease of use. The Camry remains available with 4- or 6-cylinder engines and as a gasoline-electric hybrid, all of which have been revamped for admirable power and efficiency. The Camry's driving manners have never been better, but Toyota's reluctance to integrate Apple CarPlay and Android Auto could be a chink in the Camry's otherwise impenetrable armor.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you want a midsize sedan with a sterling reputation for reliability, satisfaction and ease of use, the Camry continues to fit the bill. The latest version of this Toyota sedan further benefits from an impressive roster of standard safety features and driving aids, plus enhanced power and efficiency.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If your next new car must have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto smartphone integration, look elsewhere. While every other major automaker has gotten on board with Apple and Google's systems, Toyota is going its own route with its Entune infotainment setup.

How It Ranks
What's New for 2018

The Toyota Camry sedan is all-new for 2018. Now in its eighth generation and 35th model year, the latest Camry emphasizes style and better driving dynamics. A variety of trims and three powertrains are available: the standard 4-cylinder, a powerful V6, and a hybrid that earns over 50 mpg.

Driving the Camry Hybrid
Driving Impressions

For as long as we can remember, the Toyota Camry has been comfortable and compliant, but not exactly invigorating to drive. It was essentially the vanilla ice cream of family...

... sedans. That changes with the new Camry. A double-wishbone rear suspension, lower center of gravity and stiffer body structure with a 30-percent increase in torsional rigidity translate to a more dynamic and ultimately fun-to-drive experience. The 2018 Camry feels tauter than the outgoing model, and the steering is more precise. The new 8-speed automatic transmission is a solid partner and in some models can even be shifted via paddles. The standard 4-cylinder engine that powers the majority of Camrys will suffice for most buyers and has a satisfying blend of performance and efficiency. The optional V6, now making over 300 horsepower, can easily chirp the front tires. Our surprise favorite is the Camry Hybrid (see Favorite Features).

CAMRY HYBRID
Given Toyota's massive success with the Prius hybrid, it's no surprise the latest gasoline-electric Camry Hybrid is better than ever. The new version has a fuel-economy rating of up to 53 mpg, packs more power than the standard 4-cylinder model and is satisfying to drive. It's the best of all worlds.

TOYOTA SAFETY SENSE P (TSS-P)
The 2018 Camry has an impressive suite of safety and driving aids. More impressive is that it's standard. Even the lowest-priced model has dynamic radar cruise control, the ability to detect pedestrians or objects and apply the brakes, keep the vehicle from drifting in lanes and automatically adjust the high beams.

2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid Details
2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid photo Interior

The 2018 Camry's 5-passenger interior didn't get quite the extreme makeover as its exterior, and that's perfectly fine. The cabin carries over its best traits: roominess, comfort and easy-to-use controls. Regarding controls, small touches like placing the tune/scroll audio knob directly below the volume knob make a big difference. Likewise, the steering-wheel-mounted controls are easy to see and use. Most models have only one USB port, while higher trims are better-stocked with three. Even the standard 7-inch touch screen looks good. In lieu of navigation via CarPlay or Android Auto, Toyota offers its Scout GPS Link App.

Exterior
2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid photo

Toyota continues to up its game with the Camry's exterior style, and this newest model is its most daring yet. From front to back, the new Camry aims to show off its newfound athleticism and attitude. Its large front grille is hard to miss, and the Camry's new, 1.6-inch-lower aluminum hood shows off interesting creases. One of the most surprising features is found on the sporty XSE models, which boast four -- count 'em four! -- chrome exhaust tips. One of the most distinguishing style elements is the 2-tone Midnight Black Metallic roof, also only available on XSE models.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2018 Camry’s lineup consists of L, LE, SE, XSE and XLE, with SE and XSE the sportier pair. The least expensive 2018 Toyota Camry L is a solid buy that includes automatic transmission, 6-way-manually adjustable front seats, the TSS-P suite of safety and driving aids, and an infotainment system that bundles a rearview camera and 6-speaker AM/FM audio system with Bluetooth and USB/auxiliary inputs. For $500 more, we recommend the LE as it includes a power driver's seat, 60/40-split folding rear seats, alarm system and 17-inch alloy wheels. Toyota Care (two years/25,000 miles of complimentary maintenance and 24/7 roadside assistance) is standard.

Optional Equipment

SE models have sportier exterior aesthetics, 18-inch wheels, paddle shifters, sport front seats and sport-tuned suspension. XSE and XLE models have dual-zone climate control, 7-inch configurable instrument display and 8-inch central touch screen, leather seats, selectable drive modes (Eco, Normal, Sport), blind-spot monitoring, panoramic glass roof with moonroof, and electric parking brake. Among the various options are JBL premium audio system with navigation, bird's-eye camera, Qi-compatible wireless phone-charging cradle and head-up display. The standard Entune 3.0 infotainment system has built-in Wi-Fi, and while it lacks CarPlay or Android Auto integration, it does offer Siri Eyes Free and Google voice control.

Under the Hood

Three powertrains remain available, and all have been revamped. Most popular is the standard 2.5-liter 4-cylinder that now boasts 203 horsepower (206 in XSE models) and earns up to 41 mpg. The most powerful Camry is the V6, now packing 301 horsepower. Both of those engines are mated to a new 8-speed automatic transmission. The 2018 Camry Hybrid pairs a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine and a battery-powered electric motor for enviable fuel economy of up to 53 mpg. Camry Hybrid LE models actually use a pricier lithium-ion pack, while the higher-trim Camry Hybrid SE and XLE variants use a nickel-metal hydride battery. Toyota reps say the rational for this has to do with fuel-efficiency goals and pricing strategy. All Camrys are front-wheel drive.

2.5-liter inline-4
203 horsepower @ 6,600 rpm
184 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy, 29/41 mpg (L), 28/39 mpg (LE, SE, XLE, XSE)

3.5-liter V6
301 horsepower @ 6,600 rpm
267 lb-ft of torque @ 4,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy, 22/33 mpg (V6 XLE), 22/32 mpg (V6 XSE)

2.5-liter inline-4 gasoline-electric hybrid
208 horsepower total
Total torque output: NA
EPA city/highway fuel economy, 51/53 mpg (Hybrid LE), 44/47 mpg (Hybrid SE, XLE)

The 2018 Toyota Camry has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $24,380, including destination charge. For just $505 more, we recommend the better-equipped LE model. The sportier Camry SE bows at just over $26,000, while the very well-equipped XLE and XSE trims start just under $30,000. The V6 Camry, only available in XLE and XSE trim, begins over $35,000, and the new Hybrid is $28,685. At these prices, the Camry is in line with a comparably equipped Honda Accord. The Camry's starting price is slightly higher than those of the Nissan Altima, Hyundai Sonata, Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion, Mazda6, Kia Optima and all-wheel-drive Subaru Legacy. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for their Toyota Camry. The Camry's resale value is another bright spot, as Toyota's midsize sedan has historically held its value at or near the top of its class.

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