Automotive

Toyota lets the imagination run wild(ish) on new 2018 Camry

Toyota lets the imagination ru...
2018 Toyota Camry: a sportier new philosophy underscores a big shift in how Toyota sees its biggest selling car
2018 Toyota Camry: a sportier new philosophy underscores a big shift in how Toyota sees its biggest selling car
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Toyota's new 2018 Camry is launched at Detroit NAIAS 2017
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Toyota's new 2018 Camry is launched at Detroit NAIAS 2017
Toyota launches the 2018 Camry at Detroit NAIAS 
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Toyota launches the 2018 Camry at Detroit NAIAS 
Toyota's NASCAR team at the Detroit NAIAS Camry launch
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Toyota's NASCAR team at the Detroit NAIAS Camry launch
Toyota's Camry Hybrid for 2018
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Toyota's Camry Hybrid for 2018
Toyota's 2018 Camry NASCAR competitor
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Toyota's 2018 Camry NASCAR competitor
2018 Toyota Camry: instrument panel and info screen
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2018 Toyota Camry: instrument panel and info screen
2018 Toyota Camry: Hybrid model on the left, XES model on the right
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2018 Toyota Camry: Hybrid model on the left, XES model on the right
2018 Toyota Camry: hybrid model
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2018 Toyota Camry: hybrid model
2018 Toyota Camry: passenger dash 
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2018 Toyota Camry: passenger dash 
2018 Toyota Camry: steering wheel and instrument panel with 7-inch info display
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2018 Toyota Camry: steering wheel and instrument panel with 7-inch info display
2018 Toyota Camry: sporty looking seats
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2018 Toyota Camry: sporty looking seats
2018 Toyota Camry: 8-inch multimedia and climate control panel
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2018 Toyota Camry: 8-inch multimedia and climate control panel
2018 Toyota Camry: redesigned asymmetric interior looks terrific and brings the Camry right up to date
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2018 Toyota Camry: redesigned asymmetric interior looks terrific and brings the Camry right up to date
2018 Toyota Camry XES: nice rear light details
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2018 Toyota Camry XES: nice rear light details
2018 Toyota Camry: front view shows aggressive grille
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2018 Toyota Camry: front view shows aggressive grille
2018 Toyota Camry: rear wheel arch and shoulder show a hint of muscle
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2018 Toyota Camry: rear wheel arch and shoulder show a hint of muscle
2018 Toyota Camry: if you want something to look interesting, don't light all of it
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2018 Toyota Camry: if you want something to look interesting, don't light all of it
2018 Toyota Camry: sportier look underscores a new direction for the conservative Camry
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2018 Toyota Camry: sportier look underscores a new direction for the conservative Camry
2018 Toyota Camry: a sportier new philosophy underscores a big shift in how Toyota sees its biggest selling car
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2018 Toyota Camry: a sportier new philosophy underscores a big shift in how Toyota sees its biggest selling car
2018 Toyota Camry: lower hood and wider stance accentuates the Camry's sportier new character
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2018 Toyota Camry: lower hood and wider stance accentuates the Camry's sportier new character
2018 Toyota Camry: good looking taillights
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2018 Toyota Camry: good looking taillights
Just look at that face! The new Toyota Camry on show in Detroit
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Just look at that face! The new Toyota Camry on show in Detroit
The new Toyota Camry on show in Detroit
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The new Toyota Camry on show in Detroit
The new Toyota Camry on show in Detroit
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The new Toyota Camry on show in Detroit
The new Toyota Camry on show in Detroit
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The new Toyota Camry on show in Detroit

The conservative, dependable Camry is getting a kick in the backside for 2018. Toyota has jazzed up America's best selling sedan with a thoroughly modern interior, a new engine platform and a surprisingly sporty new look, coupled with dynamics changes that might make the consummate family car actually fun to drive.

As the perennial top selling vehicle in America that's not a pick-up truck, Toyota's Camry is a sales megalith. You could describe the Camry as many things: dependable, solid, practical, comfortable, but "exciting" would be a stretch. Full disclosure here: I bought one myself, when my wife was pregnant. Why not? They're affordable, they go forever and they make life easy, and hey, I'm not much to look at myself.

But at this year's Detroit NAIAS, Toyota pulled the covers off its 8th-generation Camry to reveal a fundamental shift in philosophy: the 2018 Camry just got a bit sporty.

2018 Toyota Camry: sportier look underscores a new direction for the conservative Camry
2018 Toyota Camry: sportier look underscores a new direction for the conservative Camry

It's not just a styling makeover, although that's certainly the first thing to hit you, with its subtly muscular lines over the rear wheel arches, integrated rear diffusers and lower, more aggressive hood design.

But the car also takes advantage of the Toyota New Global Architecture platform, a new structural philosophy that makes upcoming Toyotas more dynamic, sporty and fun to drive. For the Camry, this manifests in a lower, wider stance with a lower center of gravity for improved cornering, as well as a new double wishbone rear suspension system that splits its focus between sporty handling and a composed luxury-style ride for passengers.

Engine-wise, most Camrys will roll with a new 2.5-litre 4-clyinder engine, with an 8-speed direct shift auto transmission. There's also the option of a naturally aspirated 3.5-litre V6, and a Hybrid system that runs with a CVT, although you can treat it like a regular automatic if you like by using a simulated six-speed sequential transmission.

2018 Toyota Camry: redesigned asymmetric interior looks terrific and brings the Camry right up to date
2018 Toyota Camry: redesigned asymmetric interior looks terrific and brings the Camry right up to date

The interior frankly looks terrific, particularly the adventurous asymmetrical dash and touch screen design, which brings the Camry right up to date. A 10-inch, full colour HUD and a 7-inch info display between the dials take care of driving, while audio, climate and connectivity are looked after through the 8-inch touch screen off to the side. There's a WiFi hotspot for up to five devices, and multimedia is handled by an Entune 3.0 system with Bluetooth, self-updating GPS maps and a JBL audio system with a 10-inch sub built in.

Driver assist systems include adaptive cruise control, lane departure warnings with steering assist, automatic high beam headlights and a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection. There's no self-parking option, but certain models will roll with blind spot warnings in the mirrors and a rear cross-traffic alert to tell you if it's safe to back out of a perpendicular park. There's an optional birds-eye camera as well. All models get a reversing camera, stability control, traction control and ABS braking.

No information on pricing is available, but the 2018 Camry will hit showrooms in the US "in late summer 2017." If it strikes the right balance between the Camry's traditional conservative character and a slight spark of sporty energy, there's every chance it'll remain a top seller for years to come.

Source: Toyota

7 comments
Milton
Very cool looking re-design. Probably just enough of a sporty look. Awaiting the Hybrid specs to see if it has any chance economically against a Prius.
KaiserPingo
The fronts are pathetic looking. Especially that slizer/barbeque version... Everything else is quite well designed, especially the interior. Much better than anything from Lexus !
WilliamSkibinski
I don't like the front end either, with that down-turned mouth looking front and where's the bumper?
DavidRogerBrown
About time. Toyota turned into a boring "Buick." No young person would set foot in one willingly. Surprised your wife would,Loz. Keep on writing,your the best from down under. Had a Aussie lady tell me the same thing ("not much to look at"). And she's right.:-).
Bob
The grill on the front end is horrid. It makes the car look like a bottom sucking carp. Until a couple years ago Camry was my favorite car.
ljaques
I'm surprised, too, Loz. I imagined you in an Ariel. I guess that wouldn't do with a preggo wifey, would it? OK. I, too, think the front end needs dental work. A friend bought a 2013 Camry and said the seats are like cardboard. That's precisely what went through my mind when I saw the video above showing the black seats. I'm certainly glad Toyota offers something other than the seagullchit gray everyone else offers. I ordered my '07 Tundra has the tan interior and I love it. Now that I'm retired, I'm eyeing the Camry Hybrid.
jjsmail
Horrible front end - what are the designers at Toyota/Lexus drinking with that "Predator" look that ruins all their cars? HUGE mistake. Looks like part of the car is missing.