The Camry has an image problem. It perpetually gets hated on as a dull, limp, slow, soulless, beige appliance. That’s despite the fact that it has consistently been competitive in its dynamics, never mind its more practical qualities; the V6 SE version is widely acknowledged to be a competent and quick sports sedan; quicker than a Lamborghini Countach, even, as we proved here.
But perception is reality, and Toyota has decided to make a more dynamic looking replacement Camry. It’s the first all-new Camry since 2002, and it’s bucking the trend by being lower, wider and longer. The new TNGA platform (also shared with the new Prius) includes a more ambitious new suspension to reinforce the looks with improved handling. it’s already transformed the Prius’ handling, steering and chassis dynamics.
The Camry has another problem: sedan sales are shrinking, and the Camry may lose its #1 sales spot this year. So this new model has quite the headwinds to buck. Toyota thinks it can reinvigorate interest with its new Camry. Interested?
It’s really been quite an accomplishment, a highly profitable one too, keeping the same basic platform body hard points competitive for a full 15 years. Especially since seemingly none of its competitors could ever best the Camry’s exceptional interior space utilization. The current Camry’s back seat is particularly as commodious and spacious in its class. And Toyota accomplished that in part by making the XV30 2002 Camry taller than average, which also contributed to the ease of ingress/egress.
So it will be interesting to see how a lower Camry will do. Especially with its loyal following, which does skew a bit older. Walking the line between being the Buick LeSabre of its time as well and a competent sports sedan to appeal to younger buyers is a challenge.
There’s two distinct front facias on the new Camry; the SE and SXE (right) sport a more aggressive front end along with more deeply sculpted rocker panels and different rear end too.
In two somewhat surprising move, Toyota bucking the down-sized turbo-wave by keeping the V6 (with even more power) as well as the naturally-aspirated 2.5 four (substantially revised with more power and greater efficiency), both backed by an eight-speed automatic. That should please a number of buyers skeptical of tiny turbo engines under the hood. As well as CVTs.
There will also be an improved hybrid version too.
The interior is of course also new. And rather appealing, from this shot.
Ergonomics are claimed to be better, and naturally the electronic suite offers a significant improvement. There will be a number of different displays available, smart-phone interface via the Entune 3.0 system, which also afford 4G LTE in-vehicle Wi-Fi for up to five mobile devices. Audio systems are also improved. And then there’s Toyota’s Safety-sense system with pre-collision warning, with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning with steering assist, and automatic high-beams, plus adaptive cruise control and a backup camera. This will be standard on all 2018 Camrys; blind-spot monitoring and cross-traffic alert are available on some models.
There you have it. Well, that’s just the preliminary highlights. Like it or not, Toyota has kept its promise to make its cars less boring.