What words do you think of when you hear “Toyota Camry”?
As a former Toyota Camry owner, I’ll start: solid, reliable, enjoyable, boring.
Yes, I said boring. Looking for a midsize family sedan? You’re probably focusing more on practicality than pizzazz. Been there, done that. Although, to be honest, when I bought my Camry, I fell in love with it because it was a hybrid that didn’t look like a hybrid.
But all that is changing for 2018 because my first look at the new Toyota Camry made me take a second look.
The 2018 Camry showcases what Toyota is calling their “new design language” and what better car in which to implement it than one that’s been around for 35 years.
Highlights of the 2018 Toyota Camry
If the look of the Camry wasn’t enough to draw you in, let me fill you in on a few highlights that caught my attention.
- Inspired by catamaran architecture
- Built on TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) with a focus on improved fuel economy, power, and driving dynamics
- Includes the Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P) standard across the entire line-up
- Available engines include a 2.5L 4 cylinder, 3.5L V6, or hybrid
- Up to 39 mpg for gasoline engines and 53 mpg for hybrid engines
All of that simply reinforces the notion that the Camry is a good, solid car. But Toyota was smart enough to show us the new sport package (available as XSE trim or SE trim for hybrid) and that’s when it started to get interesting.
You might already be noticing a few things that make this Camry XSE stand out: an optional two tone body color that puts a midnight black metallic roof on the car, a spoiler on the rear, and side mirror caps. Not a bad option for $500.
But even the standard features of the XSE will impress you. There’s a dual exhaust with quad chrome tips. It means you look like you’re badder than you are.
And can we talk about those rims? Standard on the XSE are 19″ black machined-finish alloy wheels.
You’ll also notice a gloss black front grille with mesh insert and smoke-tinted LED lights
Look at the Camry XSE, it looks like the reliability of Toyota got together with the sportiness of Lexus and decided to have a baby. And most of us are thinking, it’s about damn time.
This is the Camry that’s making teens actually get excited about a family sedan (shhh – they probably don’t even know the 35 year history).
Oh, and they didn’t even see the interior. You’ll see that it’s been completely redesigned for a more driver focused feel. And if you can get over the asymmetrical design (it’s bugging me a little tiny bit), you’ll appreciate the cockpit feel they’re providing the driver.
And yes, that is RED you see peeking out. Cockpit Red is one of the choices for the leather-trimmed seats in the XSE.
BUT… what if this isn’t your look? What if you want a nicely appointed family sedan without looking cool as you roll down the highway? You’ll still find the Toyota Camry L, LE, and XLE with the same body lines and redesigned center stack. It’s still a nice looking car. Just not, you know, cool.
Now, the real question is how did it drive. We pushed it as best we could on this small stretch of radar-checked road near Mt. Vernon. The acceleration was impressive (but I kept it sport mode for maximum performance) and the ride was smooth. And the attention to detail was noted (even the A pillars have been reversed with the wider end at the top to provide greater visibility).
Looking to step up your sedan game? I’ve brought you the first look at the 2018 Toyota Camry but you just might need to take a second look.
MSRP on the gas engine Toyota Camry ranges from $23,495 (L) to $34,950 (XSE V6) while the hybrid Toyota Camry ranges from $27,800 (LE) to $32,250 (XLE).