For years the Camry has been a wallflower in the midsize sedan segment, it’s reliable and priced well, but it’s never really been that exciting. Back in 2015 Toyota gave the last generation Camry a major refresh to inject some excitement into the boring sedan. Now with the all-new 2018 Camry, Toyota has amped up the style quotient and it couldn’t come any sooner, since sales of midsize sedans have continued to falter as buyers trade in their sedans for crossovers.
With increased competition from crossovers, this is basically the last stand for the midsize sedan. Even Honda knows this, which is why the Accord also received a major redo for 2018 and even the Hyundai Sonata got a facelift for the new year.
Will the #notvanilla 2018 Toyota Camry succeed in retaining midsize sedan buyers? Or will buyers continue to check the box for a crossover? Only time will tell, but either way, the new Camry is bucketloads better than the last generation, the one before that and the one before that.
Style, style, style
We saw this with the refreshed 2015 Toyota Camry, but its even more at the forefront now. The 2018 Camry is all about what’s on the outside now. Under the skin the Camry has always been a dependable and comfortable sedan, while the outside just said blah. Now Toyota’s designers have been given the freedom to finally give the Camry the style that’s its always needed.
There are so many curves and angles with the new Camry’s design, that from some angles it may look a bit odd, but overall the package is an improvement. From the expressive grille, to the sculpted roofline and unique taillights, there is nothing boring about the Camry’s exterior.
The 2018 Toyota Camry is based on Toyota’s new TNGA platform, which is already used by the latest Prius and the C-HR crossover. It will eventually be used for the next-generation Avalon, Corolla and Highlander as well. The 2018 Camry is now lower and wider than before with a stiffer chassis, which gives it a more hunkered down sporty feel that you’d probably ever expect with a Camry.
The four-cylinder is less inspiring
With nearly every automaker making the switch to turbocharged engines, it’s a little surprising that the 2018 Camry continues on with only naturally-aspirated engines. The base 2.5L four-cylinder generates 203 horsepower and 184 lb-ft. of torque or 206 horsepower and 186 lb-ft. if you choose the XSE model. With an extra 25 horsepower and 14 lb-ft. of torque the 2.5L four-cylinder is more than adequate, but it’s also not as exciting or bold as the Camry’s exterior is.
The four-cylinder is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, which may be one of the biggest downfalls with the new Camry. The automatic transmission is slow to downshift and even in Sport mode, the powertrain doesn’t feel that much more “Sport” has actually been ordered. One is that the Camry’s 4-cylinder is rated at 28/39 mpg, which is higher than some compact sedans achieve.
If you want a bit more fun, the Camry is offered with a 301-hp 3.5L V6 and if fuel efficiency is your thing, the Camry Hybrid is rated at 51/53 mpg.
Actually not boring to drive
Anyone that’s driven a Camry from the past knows that the Camry has placed a higher emphasis on comfort than sport. But times have changed and the 2018 Camry will actually surprise you with its more engaging driving experience. The steering isn’t overly light like in the past and its lowered belt line not only provides better visibility, but also makes the 2018 Camry feel a bit more planted on the road.
Should you buy one?
Toyota has pulled out all the stops with the all-new 2018 Camry. Not only is it more stylish, but Toyota has tried hard to inject some excitement into the Camry. It now stands out in the crowd, which is something you’d hardly ever say about a Camry before and it’s not completely boring to drive. The biggest issue with the 2018 Camry is that its biggest rival, the 2018 Honda Accord is also completely revamped and also has more modern engines under the hood. A new Nissan Altima is also expected early next year, which will also add even more competition in the segment.
Only time will tell if the revamped Camry will be able to not only keep its sales crown in the midsize segment, but also steal would-be SUV buyers. Either way, the 2018 Camry is easily the best Camry yet with sleeker exterior and more fun to drive platform.
Pricing for the 2018 Camry starts at $24,000 for the base Camry LE, while the top Camry XSE V6 starts at $34,950.