2018 Toyota Camry review with video

The Basics:
Base price: $26,590 + tax
As tested: $30,790 + tax
Average fuel economy over a week: 7.8 L/100 kms (30 US MPG)
Competition: Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Mazda6, Subaru Legacy, etc.

The eight generation Camry is a bit of a departure from its rather bland, milktoast predecessors. The styling is far more bold and Toyota promises that this is the most exciting to drive Camry they’ve ever built. From the platform to the engine to the infotainment system, pretty well everything is brand new for 2018. And here’s what we discovered after a week of putting it through its paces.

Pros:
– Standard equipment is impressive and now includes an 8 speed automatic transmission, LED headlights and tail lights, heated front seats, a 7 inch infotainment system featuring Toyota’s new Entune software and Toyota Safety Sense now comes on all trims, too – giving you pre-collision autonomous braking, pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and auto high beams
– The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, by the way, has released its findings on the Camry and has given it their very best Top Safety Pick Plus Rating
– The interior in the Camry is a big step up. The cabin looks far more contemporary, the cabin is quieter at ___ dB at 100 kms/hr and the ride is comfortable yet the car feels way more compliant in the corners. That’s thanks to the Camry now being built on top of Toyota’s new global design platform
– The new Entune infotainment system interface is a big step up. It looks good and is easier to use for things like changing the radio station or making phone calls


Cons:

– The new Dynamic Force 4-cylinder, 2.5-litre engine that you get in the base trims is designed to deliver power when you need it and efficiency when you’re just cruising. This should result in best in class fuel economy but we found our average skewing to the thirstier end of Toyota’s projected efficiency score. We saw 7.8 L/100 kms which puts it right on par with the Honda Accord’s turbocharged 1.5-litre engine we were in a few months ago
– The Accord, however, was a more exhilarating drive with a more consistent power delivery. The Camry’s 4-cylinder feels underpowered while passing on the highway or quickly accelerating off the line. The power delay is palpable and then when it does kick in, it can be rather abrupt and jarring. For more reliable power in the Camry, there’s also an optional V6 which delivers 98 more horsepower and would likely be the better choice if you plan to do a lot of highway driving in this car. Or if you’d rather have better fuel economy, there’s also an available hybrid powerplant in the Camry that should see an average of 4.9 L/100 kms
– One piece of safety kit you can’t get in this car at all though is all wheel drive – something that really sets that Subaru Legacy apart from others in this class
– While the interior may look better than past generations, when it comes to fit and finish much of the switchwear still feels chicklety under your hand and many of the plastic surfaces seem a bit cut-rate
– Then there are the seats – which (like many other Toyotas I’ve tested) don’t offer much support for longer haul drives and just feel rather flat-bottomed
– Toyota has been slow to adopt true smartphone compatibility in its infotainment system. Many have complained that Android Auto and Apple Carplay are not available in their cars. Well, for 2018, the Entune system now has more phone integration. But Toyota, siting privacy and data usage concerns, has opted to go with Scout GPS rather than Google Maps. Unfortunately, we’ve found it to be convoluted and buggy – it often often doesn’t give me the most direct route and requires multiple apps to be downloaded on your phone that regularly crashed on my newer Android phone
– The Camry has a modest amount of second row legroom. This has gone practically unchanged in the new generation. And it made rear facing car seats a tighter squeeze than we’d hoped
– Then, when you try to sit back there as an adult, it feels a little crammed (especially with tall people in the front row. The Accord offered far more space and heated seats aren’t an option back there on any trim

 

Family Wheels report card:

Family Wheels driver comfort score: 3.5/5
Family Wheels interior layout score: 3.5/5
Family Wheels infotainment system score: 3/5
Family Wheels interior noise score: 4/5 (63 dB at 100 kms/h)
Family Wheels performance score: 3/5
Family Wheels rear passenger score: 3/5
Family Wheels trunk test score: 3.5/5
Family Wheels fuel economy score: 4/5
Family Wheels build quality score: 3.5/5
Family Wheels value score: 4/5

Family Wheels overall score: 35/50= 70%

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