2018 Toyota Camry Preview
- Completely redesigned midsize family sedan
- Offered in LE, SE, XLE, and XSE trim levels
- 4-cylinder, V6, or gas-electric hybrid engines
- More dramatic styling, interior design
- Improved driving dynamics, fuel economy
- Upgraded safety, technology
- Built in Kentucky
By total sales, the Toyota Camry is the best-selling car in America, and has been for 15 years. Now, the automaker prepares to fortify its position with a completely redesigned 2018 Camry.
According to Toyota, the new 2018 Camry is about more than value, comfort, safety, and dependability, the midsize family sedan’s hallmark traits. With this redesign, Toyota aims to provide some sizzle to the styling and some dynamism to the driving dynamics.
“The all-new 2018 Camry is, without a doubt, the most captivating mid-size 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 jaw-dropping design, more advanced technology, cutting-edge safety systems, and stirring performance that raises it to an unparalleled level of excitement.”
This could prove to be more than marketing hyperbole. The 2018 Toyota Camry is built on the company’s new global architecture, which it shares with the current Prius. Called the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), it provides a more rigid structure, lower center of gravity, and a wider stance, all of which translates into more engaging driving dynamics. It does for the Prius, anyway, so why shouldn’t that be true of the new Camry?
With the new Camry’s styling, Toyota aims for harmony between refinement and sensual athleticism with the brand’s new “Keen Look” design language.
Compared to the outgoing Camry, the hood is 1.6 inches lower, and a bold Toyota emblem sits proudly on the grille. The front styling sweeps dramatically into the windshield pillars for what Toyota characterizes as an aggressive appearance.
In profile, the Camry measures an inch lower than before, and Toyota claims the car is more aerodynamic. Prominent fenders and deep character lines emphasize expressive design, and the Camry benefits from a two-inch wheelbase stretch.
Around back, designers attempted to visually push the rear wheels out to emphasize the Camry’s width. Thin multi-color taillights and a redesigned Camry nameplate are designed to convey an upscale identity.
The new Camry is offered in LE, SE, XLE, and XSE trim levels. The SE and XSE are the sportier versions of the car, and Toyota says this is visually evident from 200 yards away. The SE and XSE get more dramatic body detailing for the bumpers and rocker panels, along with a mesh grille, a subtle lip spoiler, and smoke-tinted taillights. The XSE sits on black, machined finish 19-inch wheels.
Toyota says the Camry’s interior is designed to be functional and futuristic, reflecting a high degree of craftsmanship.
A cockpit-style dashboard features instrumentation and controls angled toward the driver. Premium and soft-touch materials are used liberally throughout, according to Toyota, as well as a mixture of tones and textures modeled on the approach taken with high-end home furnishings.
Lower hip points and seating positions allow for a more dramatic exterior design, but they do not assist with comfortable entry and exit. Once you’re in, however, Toyota claims the new seats will provide maximum comfort. Drivers sit lower and closer to the center of the car, enhancing driving enjoyment, and Toyota promises improved outward visibility. Rear seat space is said to be more accommodating than the previous Camry.
Under the Hood:
“In order to create something that stirs people’s soul, we’ve laid out the concept of a new sedan that provides fun and excitement behind the wheel,” said Masato Katsumata, the Chief Engineer of the new Camry. “In developing the next-generation Toyota Camry, we were able to start with a clean slate, which allowed us to create a true driver’s car.”
While it remains to be seen if this is an accurate reflection of the Camry, engineering improvements certainly point in the right direction.
A new direct-injected 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine debuts in the 2018 Camry, and Toyota says that it makes more horsepower and more torque while delivering best-in-class gas mileage. A new 8-speed, direct-shift automatic transmission is designed to deliver quick gear changes, similar to an automated manual gearbox.
Toyota’s next-generation hybrid drivetrain sits in the 2018 Camry Hybrid, which is offered in LE, SE, and XLE trim. Based on the new 4-cylinder engine, the hybrid system is equipped with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), and Toyota estimates that the car will return class-leading fuel efficiency. For now, Toyota isn’t revealing what type of battery powers the Camry Hybrid. The company does confirm that the battery is relocated from beneath the trunk to under the rear seat, helping to better center and balance the car’s weight.
Activating the Camry Hybrid’s Sport driving mode provides an electric power boost from the hybrid system and six simulated gears for the CVT. Hybrid SE models even get paddle shifters for greater driver engagement.
A new direct-injected 3.5-liter V6 engine with an 8-speed direct-shift automatic transmission is available for the 2018 Camry, similar to what is offered in the current Highlander crossover SUV. This engine, combined with the Camry’s stiffer structure, more precise steering, and new double wishbone rear suspension design, hold the most promise of driving enjoyment.
Toyota expects the Camry’s more robust vehicle architecture to improve crash-test ratings, and 10 standard air bags help to protect occupants in the event of a collision.
Of course, it is best to avoid getting into a wreck in the first place, and to that end the new Camry is equipped with standard Toyota Safety Sense technologies. In addition to the car’s standard reversing camera, Toyota Safety Sense adds full-speed-range dynamic cruise control, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, and automatic high-beam headlights.
Additionally, the new Camry is available with a blind spot warning system, rear cross-traffic alert, and automatic rear braking.
Toyota’s next-generation Entune 3.0 infotainment system debuts in the new Camry, featuring a flush-surface eight-inch display screen. In standard specification, it controls the stereo and climate system and includes a connected navigation service. Camry V6 models have an embedded navigation system that can be updated wirelessly.
Entune 3.0 can be upgraded with a JBL premium audio system with nine speakers, a 10.1-inch subwoofer, Clari-Fi music restoration technology, and a new Sound Staging feature to emulate the effect of attending a live concert.
Available features include Remote Connect with a vehicle location service and a “guest driver monitor.” Remote Connect also provides remote access to vehicle locks, remote engine starting, and vehicle status updates. Service Connect allows the driver to check current fuel level and more, while WiFi Connect provides a 4G LTE hotspot for up to five devices.
Additionally, the new Camry includes a 7-inch driver information display nestled within the instrumentation. A 10-inch heads-up display is an option, and the new Camry is offered with a 360-degree top-down-view camera system with perimeter scanning capability, as well as Intelligent Clearance Sonar.