2018 Toyota Camry

2018 toyota camry – DOC694511

Initially launched as a four-door version of the Celica in 1979, the Camry became a stand-alone nameplate in 1982. Since then, it has evolved into one of the most reliable and popular sedans on the market, especially in the U.S., where Toyota has delivered more than 200,000 units a year since 1988 and in excess of 350,000 examples since 1996. Currently the best-selling passenger car in North America, the Camry is set to drive into a new generation for the 2018 model year.

The next-gen Camry has been spotted testing on public roads since early 2016, but it took a few months for the sedan to lose some of its camouflage. Come November and Toyota ditched the black, thick wrap for a thinner camo that reveals some of the car’s new design lines. Fortunately, our paparazzi were at the right time and place when the new Camry was taken for a ride and we have several spy shots to place under the magnifying glass.

Styling-aside, the new-generation Camry will also get a new platform. The lighter underpinning could clear the path for new engines, increased performance, and better fuel economy. New technology is also on the table, alongside a revamped interior that should move the Camry upmarket for a bit. An official debut is expected at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show in January, while production should commence in second part of the year. Stay tuned for more details.

Exterior

Although the test car is completely wrapped in camouflage save for the wheels, windows, and part of the headlamps and taillights, a few important details are visible through the wrap. Up front, it appears that Toyota went with an evolutionary styling that borrows some features from the Corolla, including the narrower, sharper headlamps, and the bumper grille. The latter is smaller than the outgoing model and gives the sedan a sportier stance. On the other hand, the deep side creases that house the daytime running lights are still there, albeit in a reshaped form.

Up front, it appears that Toyota went with an evolutionary styling that borrows some features from the Corolla.

Onto the sides, we can notice a more prominent character line just below the windows, which are also larger than before. The sedan also features slightly beefed-up side skirts and newly design wheels that are finished in black. The rear haunches are also more prominent, an effect that’s more evident due to the narrower trunk sections. There’s also a redesigned trunk lid spoiler and brand-new headlamps, which are slimmer and have a different cluster design with LED lights.

Interior

The interior is a complete mystery at this point, but based on what we’ve seen in recently unveiled Toyotas, the new Camry should benefit from a fresh, clean design, more upscale materials, and the company’s latest technology. While it might not be on the revolutionary side of things, the dashboard will get a new shell that will include revised A/C vents and a more ergonomic center stack. The reason why I think Toyota won’t meddle too much with the interior is because the Camry features one of the best layouts on the market.

Toyota Camry

But based on what we’ve seen in recent Toyotas, the new Camry should benefit from a fresh design and more upscale materials.

Beyond the revised dash and more modern instrument cluster, look for revised seats for increased comfort and lateral support, a wide center console with more storage room, and redesigned door panels. Materials should improve just about anywhere, from the plastic on the dash and panels to the cloth and leather offered on the seats. Much like any new-generation vehicle, the upcoming Camry should boast increased knee and shoulder room in the front and significantly more legroom in the back. Also expect lower-priced trims to bring better value by means of additional equipment.

Drivetrain

This where the Camry will get its most important upgrade. The next-generation sedan will ride on the company’s new TNGA underpinnings that made their production debut with the Prius. The modular platform, which will find its way into about half of Toyota’s vehicles by the end of the decade, will bring a significant weight reduction and make the Camry a much more dynamic car.

Lexus NX

The venerable 3.5-liter V-6 will be phased out, most likely replaced by the turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder found in the Lexus NX.

More changes are expected to occur in the engine department. For starters, the venerable 3.5-liter V-6 will be phased out, most likely replaced by a revised version of the turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder found in the Lexus NX. The four-banger should be at least as powerful as the outgoing V-6, so expect it to crank out at least 270 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque. In the NX, the turbo-four generates 235 horses and 258 pound-feet.

Below the turbo, the Camry will probably continue with the naturally aspirated 2.5-liter as a base engine. The unit will get an update that will probably push the output beyond the current 178 horsepower and 170 pound-feet, but not above the 200-horsepower mark. The next-gen should also get a hybrid version, but it remains to be seen whether this drivetrain will continue to use the 2.5-liter four-pot.

Lastly, there are rumors of a higher performance model with input from TRD, Toyota’s in-house tuning shop. This scenario is backed by the spy shots, which show a quad exhaust layout and sportier, black-painted wheels. A more powerful Camry would be a good idea now that Ford offers the 325-horsepower Fusion Sport.

Prices

Pricing for the Camry will increase with the upgrade, but it will not rise much. With the outgoing model priced from $23,070, the next-generation sedan could start from around $24,000. A higher sticker could slow sales down and Toyota doesn’t want that.

Competition

Honda Accord

Honda Accord

Redesigned for 2016, the current Honda Accord is a significant departure from the previous model design-wise. Sportier but also far more elegant, the restyled Accord is quite fresh compared to the outgoing Camry, something that Toyota must change in order to remain competitive. The interior is also a better proposition thanks to a larger touchscreen display, softer materials, and an overall more upscale look. Under the hood, the Accord comes with two engines, and both are more powerful than what Toyota offers with the current Camry. The base 2.4-liter four-cylinder cranks out 185 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque, while the 3.5-liter V-6 generates 278 horses and 252 pound-feet. Needless to say, unless Toyota comes up with two powerful units, the new Camry needs to ditch a lot of weight in order to give the Accord some heat in terms of performance and fuel efficiency. Pricing for the Accord starts from $22,355.

Ford Fusion

Ford Fusion

The Fusion isn’t as new as the Accord, but the update it received for 2017 will keep it fresh for a few more years. The sedan now has LED accent lighting, new wheels, and trim-specific front grilles to brag about on the outside, while the interior boasts an updated digital dash, sporty steering wheel, and a new rotary shift dial. The large touchscreen and SYNC system keeps occupants connected, while drivers can use their smartphones to start, lock or unlock the car. Pretty much on par with its competitors as far as convenience features go, the Fusion rises above when selected in Platinum trim, which adds antiqued and hand-stitched leather, and driving aids such as pedestrian protection and hands-free parking. The engine lineup is quite diverse. A 2.5-liter four pumps 175 horsepower and 175 pound-feet in the base model, while a 1.5-liter turbo-four delivers 181 horses and 185 pound-feet. Next up is a 2.0-liter four-banger with 245 horsepower and 275 pound-feet, while the 2.7-liter EcoBoost churns 325 horses and 380 pound-feet in the range-topping Fusion Sport model.

Conclusion

Obviously not much is known right now about the next-generation sedan, but as a fan of the Camry nameplate, you shouldn’t worry much. Granted, there have been several situations when automakers screwed up big time with their best-selling model, but Toyota has been pretty reliable lately and I have a feeling that the new Camry will be an improvement over the outgoing model. The new tech, the new engines, and the lighter platform should move the sedan in line with its rivals, while pricing should remain competitive. Hopefully the design will be more youthful, but the Corolla-inspired cues visible under the camouflage bring good news in this department.

LOVE IT

  • Lighter platform with aluminum parts
  • Sportier exterior design
  • More upscale interior with new tech

LEAVE IT

  • Not much is known right now
  • Tough competition from Honda and Ford
  • Needs a higher performance version

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