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2018 Toyota Camry first drive: Toyota’s redesigned best-seller goals at two patrons

2018 Toyota Camry first drive: Toyota’s redesigned best-seller goals at two patrons

The development these days is that individuals are shopping for extra SUVs and fewer sedans, making it more and more much less related which sedan is the best-selling one in America. For the document, it’s been the Toyota Camry for the final 15 years, which is one heck of a run. Final 12 months, Toyota bought 388,618 Camrys, greater than every other sedan in America.

However that determine is down 40,000 gross sales in comparison with the 12 months earlier than. All midsize sedan leaders are down: Fusion is off by 34,000, Altima by 26Okay, Sonata by 14Okay and Accord by 10,000. Solely the Chevy Impala grew in gross sales, going from 194,854 in 2015 to 227,881 final 12 months. What’s rising? SUVs, that are up throughout the board, largely as a result of they’re extra sensible and make you seem like an journey sports activities mannequin featured in adverts in Males’s Well being.

So if gross sales are falling off, now’s the right time to introduce new merchandise into the midsize sedan section. And in reality, all the key playahs are doing simply that: A brand new Altima is due round February; a brand new Accord is due quickly and the all-new Camry goes on sale in July. Now granted, midsize sedans comply with the identical mannequin cycle as every other car, in order that they have been all attributable to change. It’s not like Akio Toyoda all of a sudden noticed the gross sales charts and stated, “What the …? Get me a brand new Camry pronto!” These items take time. Toyota has been engaged on the brand new Camry for about six years.

That is the XLE Hybrid mannequin. Notice the grille slats.

The important thing factor with the Camry is that it’s all-new. “Every little thing however the emblem,” Toyota individuals prefer to say. The automotive sits on the TNGA — Toyota New International Structure — Toyota’s first full software of that platform (RAV4 and Prius have components of it however not all). Toyota says the TNGA gives a “enjoyable driving expertise.” Sure, enjoyable and Camry have been simply utilized in the identical paragraph.

Whereas the entrance is MacPherson strut, the rear has — brace yerself, Bridgette — double-wishbone suspension. Now, we crawled beneath a Camry or two and whereas we wouldn’t precisely say it was pure double wishbones like you’ve gotten in your race automotive, it was not less than totally impartial, with higher and decrease hyperlinks. This alone is trigger for rejoicing.

And so long as we’re speaking in regards to the suspension, here is one other massive factor in regards to the new Camry: It has two separate and distinct setups for the suspension. The L, LE and extra loaded XLE are aimed on the conventional (i.e., older) Camry purchaser. They’re softer, extra luxurious, snug, quiet and coddling. The SE and XSE are aimed on the youthful purchaser, the one all of the advertising and product planning individuals assume can be drawn to this new Camry. It’s “sporty.” The 2 setups have their very own springs, dampers, antiroll bars and tires.

Toyota Camry SE

The Camry SE four-cylinder can be sporty

The engine decisions are the identical regardless: a 203-hp (206 within the SXE) 2.5-liter direct-injected 4 and a 301-hp three.5-liter DI V6. The direct injection in all circumstances is Toyota’s superior D-4S, which injects air/gas combine each into the cylinder and upstream of the valves as wanted. Each engines are mated to a “Direct Shift” eight-speed automated with paddle shifts, although the ratios are completely different. Curb weights vary from three,241 within the base L mannequin (good luck discovering a type of!) to three,549 within the XLE.

The Camry Hybrid, in the meantime has a 176-hp 2.5-liter 4 mated to a 118-hp (88-kW) everlasting magnet synchronous motor for a hybrid system web horsepower ranking of 208 hp. It’s mated to a constantly variable transmission.

All new 2018 Camrys are decrease and wider than the outdated: 1 inch decrease, half an inch wider and with the middle of gravity introduced down by nearly an inch. That modern new exterior introduced drag down by a tenth to zero.27. All of this bodes nicely for the driving expertise.

2018 Camry red seats

These purple seats are an possibility

The Execution

First out of the parking zone we tried an SE Four-cylinder, the non-hybrid. The within is completely snug and accommodating, with a seating hip level that is been lowered by three-quarters of an inch. The steering wheel adjusts greater than earlier Camrys and felt extra even than rivals. The journey is quiet however not remoted, and a little bit software of spirited driving — switching to sport mode and utilizing the paddle shifters — breathes life into it. Downshifting with the paddles into corners brings it out extra.

Subsequent we bought in an SE Hybrid. Right here the CVT is making an attempt onerous to be sporty and responsive however feels neither. A gander on the spec sheet lists mileage at a powerful 52 mpg mixed for an LE Hybrid. This could be well worth the lack of street really feel, particularly in case you can’t actually really feel the street anyway, relying on the way you drive. The SE and XLE Hybrids are rated at 46 mixed, which can be excellent. If gasoline mileage is extra vital to you than sportiness, that is your journey. The straight-up gasoline-engine fashions, even with direct injection, get solely 34 mixed for a uncommon four-cylinder L entry mannequin to 32 for the opposite four-cylinder Camrys and 26 mpg mixed for the XLE and XSE.

Then we bought into an XSE V6. From a driver’s standpoint, that is the most effective of the bunch — probably the most energy (301 hp) and that livelier S suspension. Second greatest is the four-cylinder SE. The SE and XSE really feel nearly enjoyable, definitely manageable. Nearly tossable, although the tires on all of the Camrys really feel a little bit slippy, a little bit onerous, as in the event that they have been made for mileage, not grip. The SE and XSE tires maintain on higher, after all.

Camry interior

Camry inside is sweet.

The Verdict

Autoweek readers who’re shopping for Camrys (what number of of you might be on the market?) will need the SE or the XSE. They’re extra enjoyable than you ever thought you’d have in a Camry. Everybody else will need to choose from the remainder of the lineup based mostly on how a lot cash you’ve gotten and what number of mpgs you want.

Costs begin at simply $24,380 for that click-bait L mannequin, however once more, we kinda doubt you’ll discover one in your vendor’s lot. The LE is $24,885 and a well-equipped XSE V6 is $35,835. That’s a broad vary of costs. Juggle collectively possibility packages and see if one in every of these Camrys is sensible to your wants. You could be shocked.

On Sale: July 2017

Base Value: $24,380

Drivetrain: 2.5-liter inline 4, Eight-speed automated, FWD

Output: 203 hp at 6600 rpm; 184 lb-ft at 5000 rpm

Curb Weight: 3241 kilos

Gas Financial system: 29/41/34(EPA Metropolis/Hwy/Mixed)

Professionals: Feels extra enjoyable to drive than ever

Cons: No person drives sedans anymore

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