There is something to admire and respect about the Toyota Camry. Like the factory worker who punches the time clock every week for 40 years to provide a good life for his or her family. Sure, there might be sexier opportunities out there, but for day-to-day responsibilities, the Camry, like the factory worker, focuses on being solid and dependable.
Here to discuss the redesigned 2018 Camry midsize sedan are a couple of guys who regularly turn up on these pages, former Wheels editors Jimmy Dinsmore and Dave Mikesell.
DAVE: Being an inch lower to the ground, a bit longer and wider are just the dimensional differences between this Camry and last year’s model. There are more curves along the side, a winged opening with the Toyota badge along the hood opening and an expansive lower front grille. Throw on 19-inch alloy wheels and trunk spoiler on upper trims, and the mundane has been ushered out.
JIMMY: Slowly and surely, the Camry has improved on its already solid interior. With this redesign, the Camry hits the nail on the head. The change in the Camry’s exterior dimensions are felt inside with a back seat that offers more legroom. The Camry already didn’t want for interior space and now feels even more spacious. As for interior quality, Camry makes tremendous strides in offering a distinctive cabin, with nice touch points. The infotainment system is adequate but unspectacular.
DAVE: The base Camry engine is a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder that turns out 206 horsepower. I was fortunate enough to try out the new 3.5-liter V6 that produces 301 hp, which is an increase of more than 12 percent from the previous comparable and is standout in this segment. Paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission that has taken the place of a 6-speed automatic has helped to fine-tune performance and increased fuel economy. EPA ratings are now 22 mpg/city and 32 mpg/highway. I’m breathless from all the numbers, so I’ll let Jimmy relay how the Camry rides and handles.
JIMMY: Catch your breath for a minute there, Dave. Rest assured, the Camry handles better than it ever has. Toyota has done a good job of making the Camry seem sportier. I love the commercial with the Queen song “Don’t Stop Me Now” (an underrated song) and it honestly epitomizes this new generation of Camry. It’s not a sports car, but it’s certainly more exciting than it has been. For performance and overall handling, I give the Camry my full endorsement.
DAVE: Another area that shows Toyota’s aptitude for attracting customers to the No. 1 selling midsize sedan are the price points for the Camry. The entry-level L trim starts at $23,495, with LE, SE, XLE and XSE increasing incrementally and still coming in under the $30,000 mark. All of those come with the 4-cylinder engine. The V6 can be substituted on the XLE and XSE, with the latter topping the list at $34,950. The $6,000 upcharge for the V6 also brings with it a panoramic sunroof, head-up display, 8-inch touchscreen instead of a 7-inch screen, upgraded sound system and wireless charging, among other items. There are also hybrid versions, which are not covered here. Like the gas-powered models, you can expect the same quality.
JIMMY: Remaining relevant in a competitive segment is quite an accomplishment. Toyota continues to be rewarded with high sales for the Camry. The made-in-America midsize star for several decades shows it still has plenty of pizzazz and life left. With a new generation, it’s clear why it was a finalist for North American Car of the Year. It’s a spot it’s held and won in the past, and now the 2018 Camry works toward establishing itself for another generation of buyers. As Freddy Mercury sang, “I’m gonna go go go; there’s no stopping me now.”