REDESIGNED 2018 TOYOTA CAMRY
Demands respect at every corner.
The 2018 Camry comes in four trim levels: LE, XLE, SE, and XSE. The SE and XSE get a set of Sport appearance upgrades that go beyond trims and finishes, with Toyota designers targeting differences that could be spotted from 200 yards away. Rocker panels are more sculpted, front and rear bumper designs are different (with a diffuser down below and a trunklid lip up above in back), and the face has a more exaggerated, aggressive look with the same catamaran-style lower-bumper accents that Toyota has used elsewhere, to mixed results. They’ll also get a mesh grille and smoke-tinted rear combination lamps, with 19-inch black machined-finish aluminum wheels reserved for the Camry XSE.
To complement the new structure, it boasts a lower center of gravity. Toyota takes the Camry into new chassis-tuning territory by ditching the struts in the rear for a multilink suspension setup, while a four-point engine-mounting system should help keep the cabin experience smoother and quieter.
Perhaps the greatest surprise in all of this, to gearheads, is that Toyota still hasn’t killed the V-6. Toyota has subbed in the latest direct-injection 3.5-liter version for its flagship Camrys. The base 2.5-liter Dynamic Force inline-four has a higher compression ratio, a variable cooling system, multi-hole direct injectors, and variable valve timing, and Toyota says it will have higher power and torque ratings, although it has not yet specified those figures. It also claims better fuel efficiency than with the outgoing engine of the same displacement—and phenomenal 40 percent thermal efficiency. A new eight-speed automatic transmission, with faster and more decisive shifts, should make the V-6 and four-cylinder versions more enjoyable.
Camry hybrid models will also get a version of the new four-cylinder, and they should have improved powertrain drivability with their continuously variable automatic transmissions programmed to simulate a six-speed automatic, with paddle shifters included in the SE model.