The Toyota Camry has always been about
getting from point A to point B reliably, so when Toyota tried to make the new
Camry sporty, it’s like a parent trying to be that awkward Cool Dad.
Hi, I’m George Kennedy for CarGurus, and as crossovers and SUVs become more and more popular, automakers are left trying to keep their sedans hip and relevant.
For the 2018 Camry, Toyota went for a sporty persona and some bold styling
choices. On the LE and XLE trims, the grille looks
like part of a Kylo Ren mask, but if you move up to the SE or XSE, it gets a lot
better. Massive vents in an upper grille that
seems to float separately from the rest of the front end do paint a questionable
picture up close, but if you take a step back and observe things from a distance,
the design of the Camry comes together. With its 19-inch alloy wheels and
painted this color, which Toyota calls Blue Streak, our XSE looks almost sexy,
but then you look out back and see the faux rear diffuser and quad exhaust tips, and
you almost have to laugh. That’s like an accountant getting a face tattoo – it just
doesn’t match the personality. Inside the Camry features a gorgeous cabin layout,
but it seems the designers at Toyota must have forgotten about the concept of
form following function. I’ve already received complaints about knees knocking against
this pillar on the right side of center console. Trims for the 2018 Camry are L, LE, SE, XSE and XLE. The L trim comes with remote keyless entry, Bluetooth hands-free
calling, and a USB port. Move up to the LE, and you also get 17-inch alloy
wheels, a power driver’s seat, an antitheft system, and a 60/40
split-fold rear seat. The SE adds a unique front end design also found on
the XSE, 18-inch black finish wheels, a rear spoiler, automatic climate control,
and SofTex sport front seats. XSE Camrys start there and add dual-zone
climate control, a trio of USB ports, a head-up display, and a large 7-inch
color information display between the gauges. Finally, the range-topping XLE
gets full LED headlights, a bright metallic front grille, leather-trimmed
steering wheel, and upgraded interior trim. Most models come with a 7-inch
touchscreen that comes with a host of apps as well as Bluetooth connectivity,
Siri Eyes Free, and Google voice control for Android users.
But here’s the thing: No Apple CarPlay, and no Android Auto. Some automakers
don’t offer these apps at the moment, but at least plan to in future models. With
the Camry and other Toyota models, the company has no future plans to include
these popular tech features, so if you’re an Apple or Android power user, the absence
of CarPlay or Android Auto could be a deal-breaker. We look to the XLE V6 or
our XSE test model, and you get the larger 8-inch touchscreen.
It features easy-to-read fonts and icons and pinch-to-zoom for maps, and if you get lost in the menus, you always have helpful buttons on the side of the screen to
navigate. The base engine in the 2018 Camry is a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder, which
makes a rather impressive 203 horsepower. If you opt for the XSE, output increases to
206 horsepower. A 301-horsepower 3.5- liter V6 is available on the XSE and XLE.
Power from either engine is sent to the front wheels through an 8-speed
automatic transmission featuring a manual shift mode. It’s important to note
that Honda has ditched the V6 with the new Accord in favor of a turbocharged
4-cylinder, so if you want V6 power, the Accord is no longer an option.
Some will prefer the ample power of a V6, but the 4-cylinder in our test model
pulls surprisingly well. Of course if fuel economy is a priority, the
4-cylinder Camry returns an EPA- estimated 29 miles per gallon city, 41
highway, 34 combined, whereas the V6 returns less at 22 city, 32 highway, and
26 combined. But what’s more important to you, the ample power of the V6 or the
better fuel economy of a 4-cylinder? Let us know in the Comments.
The Camry is actually great to drive – there’s positive steering feedback, it’s
level in cornering, and the acceleration from the 4-cylinder is surprisingly
strong. If you’re used to driving a performance car, the Camry incredibly
will not disappoint. MSRP for the 2018 Toyota Camry is $23,495 for an L trim, but that won’t come out until the fall, so for now the least expensive trim is the LE, which
starts at $24,000, and SE trim starts at $25,200 one XLE starts at $28,450 and XSE starts at $29,000.
Our XSE model came with the Driver Assist package, which includes a
360-degree camera, parking sensors, and a JBL premium audio system. With all the
options a range-topping XSE V6 can clock in at more than $37,000. We have to ask
ourselves who is this car really for? A true enthusiast might go out and buy a
base model BMW 3 Series or Lexus IS, and the average consumer might appreciate
the driving dynamics and looks, but just as likely they might not even notice or
even care. For all its performance, the Toyota Camry will always exist in a
segment full of conveyances. The rest is just window dressing. Thanks for watching. Subscribe to see more video reviews, comment if you think that Toyota went
too far down the performance path with the new Camry, and to read my full review on the 2018 Toyota Camry, go to CarGurus.com.