2018 Toyota Camry Review & Compare in Lemon Grove, CA

The 2018 Toyota Camry Isn't Your Average Midsize Car

Toyota has a tradition of releasing durable vehicles that provide excellent performance, and the 2018 Toyota Camry is following right along. Being a complete redesign from the 2017 version, it improves upon everything that needed to be, adding even more for customers to appreciate: more power, a fresh look, an updated interior. The new redesign has shed some of the bland looks of the past and transformed into a sportier and more fun option. It is ranked as the top midsize car by U.S. News and World Report, and it is evident why.

The Camry has been around for decades, being a staple in the Toyota lineup. It isn't out of the ordinary to see a Camry from the 90s on the road today, this is a testament to the reliability and durability that Toyota vehicles provide. There are many that have lasted well over the average lifespan that a vehicle usually lives, and the 2018 Camry doesn't seem to be any different. Customers have always responded well to it because it has the capabilities that many drivers look for, and the updated performance continues to broaden that range. Even though it is priced a bit higher than its competition, it provides enough standard features to make up for the difference. There are new trims that come along with the redesign, adding a fresh set of features to a model that otherwise might have been getting predictable.

The new lineup of trims includes: L, LE, XLE, XLE V6, SE, XSE, XSE V6.

Most Aggressive Styling in a Camry Ever

When Toyota said the 2018 Camry would be sportier, nobody expected it would end up like this. Your eyes follow the lines that are distinct and defined. First to the front, where you find a gloss black grille or a sport mesh insert depending on the trim you choose, then they are pulled back through the LED headlights, all the way to the rear, showing off the available dual exhaust with quad chrome tips. The L and LE look good, but the SE and XSE really bring it all together for those of you looking for the sportiest and most aggressive look possible.

Some people are critical of the redesign, saying that the new look goes too far towards a sporty feel, which could hurt the idea of it being a family vehicle - but why can't family vehicles be sporty? The Camry moves to end the trend of boring designs in midsize vehicles. It also looks to open up to a new demographic, appealing to younger drivers who could appreciate a vehicle that has room for their friends, family, and gear, while still allowing for room for growth. With all of the features that are included in the Camry, it wouldn't be a surprise to see it start gravitating towards a younger generation of drivers. Their parents sure wouldn't mind thanks to the safety the Camry provides.

Why Should Safety be Anything but Standard?

Toyota has a suite of safety features that they have included standard in every new Camry: Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P). No matter which trim you choose you will be getting Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist, Automatic High beams, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. These systems use radars and cameras to make sure you stay where you are supposed to be on the road, keeping you as safe as possible. While technology is important to help drivers stay safe, there is much more that goes into it.

The 2018 Camry has been named a Top Safety Pick Plus from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), meaning it is in the top tier of safety ratings. TSS-P is only one of the reasons for this, the others include top crash test scores, as well as good headlights and an easy to use LATCH system. Available with a Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, ten standard airbags, the STAR safety system, and available ToyotaCare, you can be sure that the Camry deserves the recognitions that it has earned.

The IIHS wasn't the only organization to remark on the safety of the Camry; the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rated it with an overall score of five stars, the highest rating possible. These ratings should instill confidence in parents who are looking to drive their family around, young drivers, and anyone who sees a Camry near them on the road. Toyota has made safety one of its top priorities, and other manufacturers should follow suit.

Driving Options

The new Camry has put an emphasis on providing the most comfortable drive. It includes a double-wishbone rear suspension, lower center of gravity, and a stiffer body construction. And for the majority that doesn't know what that means: a more fun, smooth, and responsive drive. Changing platforms, the Camry is now on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) that can currently be seen on the Prius hatchback and the C-HR, providing a lower ride and wider wheelbase. The lower center of gravity helps control during curves and provides an overall better experience. With the new engines available in the Camry, we think you might be enjoying your ride more than you expected.


Available Engines and Trims

  • 2.5-Liter 4-cylinder 203 horsepower (L, LE, SE)
  • 2.5-Liter 4-cylinder 206 horsepower (XSE, XLE)
  • 3.5-Liter V6 301 horsepower (XSE V6, XLE V6)

The 2.5-liter engines give you a blend of power and efficiency- with up to 32 miles-per-gallon combined- while the 3.5-liter engine focuses more on power, really embodying the sporty attitude from the redesign, but only providing 26 miles-per-gallon combined.

As should be expected, the V6 packs a much-needed boost in power, making it great if you are someone who likes that distinct feeling of being pushed into your seat when you are accelerating; the 4-cylinder options provide practical power that can merge you onto the highway, pass a truck that is going too slow, or help with any other ordinary task with an efficiency that keeps you away from the pump for as long as it can.

Gas Isn't Your Only Option

With the success seen with the Prius, it isn't a surprise to see Toyota incorporating more of that technology across their lineup. The Camry Hybrid is available in several different trims, providing impressive efficiency with up to 52 miles-per-gallon combined. It isn't a slouch with power either, using a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder paired with an 88kW electric motor to net 208 horsepower. The electric motor gives you more responsive acceleration when you press the pedal than just the gas engine.

The Camry Hybrid offers some of the trim options that you will find in the gas-only model, allowing you to get sportier if you would like with the Hybrid SE, or to choose the base Hybrid LE for the standard features at the best price possible. You can get more technology and advanced features in the Hybrid XLE, but that starts to push the price up towards a point that some people might not want to pay.

Improving On an Already Strong Point

One area that the Camry has never slacked is the interior, being one of the favored traits of the model. It has always been roomy and comfortable with controls that are easy to use, and the minor updates it sees are nowhere near as extensive as the rest of the redesign. We are seeing things like moving the tune/scroll knob closer to the volume knob so everything is in one place: simple ease-of-use changes. While the dashboard knobs have been repositioned, the steering wheel can still control the majority of what you might need to do. Keeping everything within a finger's reach makes for a safer and easier drive if you are alone when commuting to work, or when your navigator takes a nap on a long journey.

Toyota includes some of the most desired technology like the 4.2-inch TFT Multi-Information Display that shows all kinds of different things that you could need to know, including temperature, distance until empty, warning messages, Tire Pressure Monitoring System and more. You will find between one and three USB ports depending on the trim that you choose, helping keep all of the devices your passengers are bringing along charged, and there is a standard 7-inch touchscreen to help control your apps, media, navigation, and other such things, but Toyota doesn't let you control them with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

Toyota continues to use its Entune Infotainment system which does everything that it needs to, but doesn't mimic the screen of your smartphone. It is really a minor complaint at this point, but the majority of other manufacturers have included the Apple and Android system; Toyota is holding strong though.

Key Takeaways

The Camry has always been one of the top models from Toyota, and it is about time that the full update has hit it. The 2018 model manages to improve upon every aspect, even the ones that were already among the most impressive.

Some people might find it to be a big turnoff that Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are not included, we highly recommend going out for at least a test drive in the Camry, you won't regret it. If you have ever been curious if the Camry provides everything that you want it to, it has never been a better time to find out.

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