“2018 Toyota Camry XSE V6”
Emotionally Charged Design Finally Raises Bar
The Toyota Camry sedan for 2018 is all-new, and finally raises the bar from “Ho-Hum” to “Wow” with its emotionally charged design and improved driving dynamics. For the past 15 year, the Camry has been the best selling car in America. It’s assembled in America, by Americans and is designed for Americans. The exterior styling reflects Lexus-like cues with bold athletic exterior character lines and ground-hugging stance. The interior is s more sumptuous and provides enhanced space, while featuring an advanced focus on the driver.
This latest iteration Camry (the 8th generation) has been Toyota’s flagship since its introduction in 1982, comes in four distinct levels of trim: the base LE, SE, XSE, and the top-of-the-line XLE. The Hybrid Camry comes only in LE, SE and XLE trim grades. All are four-door, five-passenger sedans and all come standard with Toyota Safety Sense P. The new Camry utilizes Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), which represents a completely new strategy in the way the company designs, engineers, and packages its vehicles.
During the national Press launch, my driving partner and I were able to experience wheel and seat time in an XLE 4-cylinder base priced at $26,310 and an as tested total of $27,195; an XSE V6 with a base sticker of $30,140 and a final total of $31,025.. Our Hybrid unit had a base cost of $30,140 and a final tag of $32,255. Later on my home turf, I was able to spend more time with an XSE trim level Camry with the exterior finished in Ruby Flare Pearl and the interior done in Black. The base sticker read $34,950. with the final price totaling $38,230 after factoring in options and the Delivery, Processing and Handling fee.
There are new Gasoline and Hybrid powertrains that produce more horsepower, but with higher EPA estimated fuel economy excluding the NASCAR version. The two Gasoline versions; a 2.5-liter inline four cylinder that produces 203 or 206 horsepower at 6,600 rpm along with 184 or 186 pound feet of torque at 5,000 rpm depending upon the trim level; and a 3.5-liter V6 that delivers 301 horses at 6,600 rpm while also generating 267 pound feet of torque at 4,700 rpm. The engines are front mounted in a transverse orientation, driving the front wheels, geared through a Direct Shift 8-speed ECT-I automatic transmission with sequential shift mode.
In seeking to broaden the visual appeal of the new Camry, the development team aimed for a styling and design concept that would achieve a strong harmony between refinement and a sensual athletic image, creating a new approach to the market. This resulted is a new signature design language that has taken the car to a desirable, futuristic new direction. In penning the new Camry’s design, there were three primary goals: a distinctive, low center of gravity that resulted in a firm wide stance; a practical-yet-emotionally styled cabin profile, and a sporty and upscale image both inside and out.
The result? A new type of Camry that’s exciting to behold and, more importantly to drive, which is likely to reestablish it as the new standard in the mid-size sedan marketplace.
Up front, the new Camry’s face is accentuated by a two-piece grille comprised of flowing thin and thick treatments – key elements of the Camry’s “Keen Look” design philosophy. The curvaceous 1.6-inch-lower aluminum hood sits neatly above the grille’s uppermost section, which accommodates a commanding Toyota emblem. For the Hybrid model, the emblem is tinted in a blue hue. The trifecta combination of grille, hood, and emblem blends smoothly into the A-pillar, producing a more aggressive than that of any Camry predecessor.
The Camry’s profile is more aerodynamic than that of the current model. Striking character lines around and along the body emphasize the aggressive front and rear fenders, giving the car a sporty aura that it’s never had.
In the rear an athletic motif melds flowing lines and complex shapes forming a sculpted image. A distinctive crease extends from the slim multicolor taillights down to the bumper, effectively “pushing” the wheels outward, creating a wide athletic stance akin to that of a premium sports sedan. A newly designed “C A M R Y” badge tends to give the car an upscale identity.
Moving into the cabin, the completely redesigned interior displays a blend of functionality, futuristic styling, and a high degree of personal space and craftsmanship. Drivers are situated in a sporty cockpit-type environment, with gauges angled them, while the front passenger enjoys a sense of openness.
The new front seats provide improved ergonomics, providing enhanced comfort
Toyota’s latest in-vehicle information technology consist of next-generation displays, offering a heightened level of integrated information with minimal distraction by relaying information through three available interlinked displays: a
10-inch color Head-Up Display (HUD); a seven-inch multi-information display within the instrument cluster, and an eight-inch audio/navigation/HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) control panel integrated into the center console in a, flush-surface design. Convenient operation is assured through customizable features and smart phone-like touch screen icons that create a connection and user workflow between the in-vehicle information technology and other digital media.
Safety and convenience features abound with: standard Toyota Safety Sense package that includes Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Full-speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control System, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Automatic High Beam; available Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Intelligent Clearance Sonar with Rear Cross Traffic Braking; available Bird’s Eye View Camera with Perimeter Scan; and enhanced body structure/platform through a new high-strength body that offers increased occupant protection in the event of a side or front collision/impact in offset or head-on collisions.
SUMMARY: Driving scenarios for our three test 2018 Camrys (we weren’t permitted to drive the NASCAR example on display) consisted of freeways and beautiful twisting Cascade mountain back roads at various elevations.
The ride quality of all three was superlative – comfortable, yet planted and stable with excellent road-holding and handling characteristics. Later at home, I was able to spend more time behind the wheel and in an XSE Camry. It’s base sticker was set at $34,950., with the final total rising to $38,230. The exterior was finished in a Ruby Flare Pearl, whle the interior was done in Black. Extras included: the Driver Assist Package with Bird’s Eye View Camera; the Navigation Package that came with Entune 3.0, Premium Audio with JBL featuring Clari-Fi, Dynamic Navigation and App Suite and the special paint color finish. Destination and Handling was $895.
The 3.5-liter not surprisingly, delivered the sportiest all around performance, while the 4-cylinder was no slouch. The Hybrid’s electric boost provided quick off-the-line acceleration.
Is the 2018 Toyota Camry the best ever? You bet it is – not only in the eye-candy department, but in terms of driving dynamics and enhanced technological features. According to Bill Fay, Toyota senior vice president of automotive operations,“It is, quite simply, the best Camry ever and the benchmark in the mid-size sedan segment. With an exhilarating design, refined interior, stirring driving performance, cutting-edge safety and technology, and class-leading fuel efficiency, the all-new Camry retains its excellent value while raising its level of fun and excitement to new heights,”
Basic Limited Warranty Coverage: A 3-year/36,000-mile Comprehensive warranty; a 5-year/60,000-mile Powertrain warranty; a 5-year/unlimited-mileage Corrosion Perforation warranty; 8 year/100,000-mile Hybrid-related Component Coverage and Toyota Care – Complimentary maintenance plan with the purchase or lease of every new Toyota. For 2 years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first, every new Toyota will be covered for all normal factory scheduled service, as well as 24/7 roadside assistance.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Toyota Camry XSE V6
Base Price: $34,950.
Price as Tested: $38,230.
Engine Type and Size: 3.5-liter, DOHC, 24-valve V6 with dual VVT-i and TDI.
Horsepower (bhp): 301 @ 6,600 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 267 @ 4,700 rpm
Transmission: Direct Shift 8-speed ECT-I automatic with sequential shift mode.
Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine / Transaxle/Front-Wheel Drive.
Suspension: Front – Independent MacPherson strut suspension with 24.2 mm tubular stabilizer bar.
Rear – Double wishbone with 25.0 mm tubular stabilizer bar.
Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel discs (vented front) with ABS. / Hybrid Electronically Controlled Brake system-4-wheel discs (vented front).
Tires: Michelin Primacy MXM4 P235/40 R19- mounted on multi-spoke machine face and Black alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 111.2 inches
Length Overall: 192.1 inches
Width: 72.4 inches
Height: 56.9 inches
Curb Weight: 3,571 lbs
Turning Circle: 38 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 16.0 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 22 mpg city / 33 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: Not listed.
0 – 60 mph: Not tested.
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.