The Camry is the archetypal midsize family sedan. Though it has grown larger over many generations, the latest, redesigned 2018 model checks in at roughly the same exterior dimensions as its predecessor. That’s fine — it’s plenty big enough already, thanks. The 2018 Camry’s styling is a big departure from the norm, however.
You can sense the difference from 10 paces away. The uninspiring styling we’ve come to expect on the Toyota Camry has been replaced with a lower and sleeker look. But sleeker doesn’t mean reduced headroom and reduced visibility because the seats, hood and side glass have dropped a similar amount. In fact, we figure that interior space has been enhanced.
Much of the credit goes to the stiffer platform and its double-wishbone rear suspension, the key element that makes this Camry different from any produced in the last 30-plus years. Past Camrys relied on a rear strut suspension because of its low cost. But rear struts are bulky and compete for space with the back seat and trunk. The more sophisticated rear suspension was recently used on the Toyota Prius, and the positive effects on that car’s ride comfort, road noise, handling and even steering feel were substantial.
As before, there will be three powertrain choices, all of which are either new or significantly revised. The all-new 2.5-liter four-cylinder base engine makes 203 horsepower, while the optional 3.5-liter V6 now cranks out a stout 301 hp. Both come paired with a new eight-speed automatic transmission that further helps improve fuel economy. The fuel-sipping Camry Hybrid (reviewed separately) is new as well.
On the safety front, you’ll find a common array of features including 10 standard airbags and a rearview camera. But the most impressive safety feature on this new Camry has to be the standard inclusion of the Toyota Safety Sense-P, which means that even the cheapest 2018 Camry will have traffic-adapting cruise control, automatic emergency braking in case of an imminent forward collision, lane departure warning and mitigation, and auto-dimming LED headlights.
While we appreciate the Camry’s newfound attention to style, safety and handling precision, Toyota’s Entune infotainment and smartphone integration won’t please many people. It just isn’t as easy to use as rival systems. It’s the most glaring shortcoming of this otherwise well-rounded family sedan. If you’re in the market, the Camry is going to be one of your best choices for 2018.