The Toyota Camry clearly needed some sort of renaissance. For 15 years, Toyota has been making incremental updates to its popular mid-sized car, while sticking to the core approach that has kept the Camry a bestseller.
But of late, more families have been switching from sedans to SUVs. Toyota took notice and decided to take the plunge with its 2018 model. Here’s what we think when we drove five Camrys for about 25 to 30 miles each.
This new Camry is somewhat smaller inside, probably because of its move to the TNGA architecture. The rear legroom and shoulder room lose 0.9 inch, while and front headroom is smaller by a half-inch. Make no mistake though, the car still feels big and open due to its lowered beltline.
Gasoline versions lose 0.3 cubic foot of trunk space, but the hybrids are larger by about 2.0 cubes and a 60/40 split-folding seat, thanks to moving the battery to under the rear seat.
There’s an 800-watt JBL sound system. Horn tweeters help brighten the highs from the bass emanating from the massive 10.1-inch subwoofer.
Unfortunately, the Camry doesn’t support Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. Toyota had a fallout with Apple and Google, which refused to fully disclose the inner workings of their back-end programming. So Toyota made its own app, named Scout GPS.
And naturally, Scout GPS works in tandem with Toyota’s Entune app to provide phone-based navigation. The problem? You need to tether your smartphone via both Bluetooth and the cord, and Scout GPS needs to be live on the screen. Plus, it’s fussy to push an address from your phone to Scout GPS.
Under the hood
Some impressive details about the Camry engines:
- The 2.5-liter variant makes 25 more horsepower and an additional 14lb-ft of torque than its predecessor. It does this by boosting its fuel economy by 4/6 mpg city/highway.
- The four-cylinder XSE models, on the other hand, get an extra 3hp and 2 lb-ft in addition to these gains, and the basic L model gets an additional 1/2 mpg city/highway.
- The 3.5-liter V6 has 33 more horsepower and 19lb-ft while increasing mpg. The hybrid’s 2.5L engine has 20 more horsepower and 7 more lb-ft than the older model. Somehow, the output increases by 8hp, and fuel economy goes up from 40–42/37–38 city/highway to 44–51/47–53 city/highway.