One’s sharp, one’s modern, and both are significantly more efficient than the outgoing 7th gen. Wayne Gerdes – CleanMPG – June 21, 2017 2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid LE – $28,685 incl. the $885 D&H charge to start offers owners a 51/53/52 mpgUS city/highway/combined rating. 44/47/46 mpgUS city/highway/combined for the SE and XLE Hybrids. 2018 Toyota Camry LE – $24,885 incl. the $885 D&H charge to start offers owners a 29/41/34 mpg city/highway/combined rating. 2018 Toyota Camry XSE This is the week that an all-new Camry, the number one selling car in America for the last a decade and a half, is revealed. As the most American made car in America, the all-new 8th gen 2018 Toyota Camry was designed to impress in a number of areas. It is the first Toyota built completely upon the TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) which provides a higher quality construction and better handling car for less $s. Adding to the platform, three new drivetrains, higher quality interior appointments and materials with an overall more modern design, plus an all new infotainment system are part of the bargain. The details begin with pricing. The Camry I4 arrives in five trims: L ($23,495), LE ($24,000), SE ($25,200), XLE ($28,450), and XSE ($29,000). The Camry Hybrid will be offered in three, the LE ($27,800), SE ($29,500), and XLE ($32,250). I am leaving out the XLE and XSE V6 equipped Camry's for another write-up. 2018 Toyota Camry Exterior This is the best-looking Camry ever released. The SE and XSE are the sharp looking trims leading the all-new Camry variants. Up front large side intakes, a slim upper intake with large Toyota badge, and a gloss black mesh grille. The good-looking L, LE, and XLE trims include a wide-open mouth lower black chrome slat grille. 2018 Toyota Camry XLE Large lower opening and slim upper with pronounced Toyota Logo. Considering the profile, the two sporty trims include a black roof and roof line, black window surrounds, and a black floating roof into the C-Pillar keeping with the blacked-out grille treatment. All include new dual edged character “bulges” beginning just below the A-Pillar/Hood junction, running up through both body colored and shapely door handles and disappearing into the rear quarter before the all-new wrap around taillamps. By lowering the hip points (0.8-inches in the front and 1.2-inches at the rear), the car’s overall vehicle height was dropped by an inch. A lower sculpted rocker panel cutout between the 19” black machined-finish alloys on the XSE, adds to all trims side appearance while the longer 111.2 in wheelbase provides a better ride and more passenger volume. Moving to the rear, the Sport trims add a lip spoiler, and rear bumper with lower diffuser and smoke-tinted rear combination lamps. All include a new “C A M R Y” badge. 2018 Toyota Camry SE Hybrid All in the two sport trims look great and the standard trims look modern. I would say they are some of the best looking affordable mid-sizes available today. About even with the Fusion and Optima, and better than the Sonata Accord, and Malibu. Just another opinion. 2018 Toyota Camry Chassis The all-new Camry provides a number of improvements to the ride and handling characteristics thanks to a 50+ HSS construction and urethane adhesive to both the windshield and rear window where it meets the vehicle body provides 30 percent more rigidity. An aluminum hood and thinner body panels for the roof, hood, trunk lid, front and rear doors and front fenders lower weight. Work on the front suspension tower brace improves front wheel rigidity for the front struts and additional bracing out back adds rigidity to the all-new double wish-bone rear suspension. Both improve handling with less body roll, a quieter cabin, and better road feel. Sound absorbing/insulation include a hood insulator, upper and lower fender separator, foam/vibration dampening materials throughout the vehicle along with a thicker dash silencer mat across the firewall. A special vibration-damping coating has been applied over a wider area of the underfloor, joined by noise-proofing material of the interior’s ceiling. Wind noise has been suppressed through a new rain gutter molding and a reduction in the step at the bottom of the windshield. These additions make the Camry the quietest and most luxurious yet plus the body roll has been reduced, impact harshness has been lessened, the steering is much quicker and there is even more road feel. Even on my hard left, hard right shimmy test, the transition from one to the other is much more confident with less understeer than Camry's from the past. Moving inside… 2018 Toyota Camry Interior An all-new layout provides a modern view to occupants. The gauges are all angled toward the driver with the central display angled about 7 degrees towards him or her. Sweeping bright trim bisects the instrument cluster and central display from the driver’s side bisects the center console from the passenger side dash. The passenger dash inserts are unique with either a perforated metal or 3D wood like color, texture, and pattern. This is the most unique dash insert I have seen in a car to date in fact and stands out. An optional 10-inch color Head-Up Display (HUD) is easier to read than any other HUD I have seen to date while the base 7” display within the instrument cluster, and an 8” audio/navigation/HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) display can be easily controlled and easy to see even in harsh light. While the front- and rear-seat seats have improved ergonomics, new patterns and stitching, the fronts short lower seat bottom is still in force making longer legged drivers a bit less comfortable over a longer drive due to lack of full lower thigh support. A modern appearance with some standout design ideas. That passenger side insert is really cool! If only those seat bottoms were longer. The Non-hybrid/Hybrid passenger volume is listed as follows: 100.4 cu. ft./99.9 cu. ft. 99.3/98.8 cu. ft. (w/moonroof) 2018 Toyota Camry Front and Rear Seating The rear-seat ergonomics were also improved with the leg and knee room much improved over the previous gen. See where that 2” longer wheelbase shows up? 2018 Toyota Camry Drivetrain(s) I will skip the 3.5L V6 for now. The all-new 206 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque 2.5L I4 is now 40 percent thermodynamic efficient thanks to the following: VVT-iE (Variable Valve Timing intelligent system by Electric motor) D-4S (Direct and Port fuel injection) Variable cooling system Full variable oil pump Cooled Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) Laser-clad valve seats Longer stroke Higher compression - 13:1 (14:1 for the hybrid) 0W-16 Crankcase oil 2018 Toyota Camry non-hybrid 8-Speed AT Both the 2.5L I4 and 3.5L V6 are equipped with the new Direct Shift 8-speed AT with fast and smooth shifting providing better performance and better efficiency. The std. 2.5L I4 was the real standout of three available drivetrains. Even with a small amount of hunting between 6th and 8th at 50 to 55 mph, the engine and AT were quiet, composed and certainly powerful enough for American roads. When asking for acceleration, the exhaust note is not going to make people turn their heads and who cares about that 99.999 percent of the time anyway? Besides improved performance and efficiency, lower NVH is also a benefit of the 8-speed and all-new four-point engine mounts. The new gearbox torque converter offers a wider range of lock-up (when compared to the previous 6-speed AT). And the Hybrid Drivetrain? 2018 Toyota Camry LE Hybrid Under the hood. The 2.5L I4 Hybrid engine is nearly the same 40 percent thermodynamically efficient unit used in the non-hybrid other than a 13:1 vs 14:1 CR. The heavily atkinsonized Hybrid engine outputs 176 hp and 163 lb.-ft. The electric motor is rated at 118 hp and 149 lb-ft. of torque although only a fraction of its output is used. Together they supply a system net 208 hp. The new Toyota Hybrid System (THS II) includes a new Sequential Shiftmatic technology that allows the driver to “shift” the continuously-variable transmission (CVT), mimicking a 6-speed AT via paddle shifters on the sportier SE trim or with the console-mounted shift lever. Like past Toyota hybrids, the engine sounds strained when accelerating with the two MGsets interacting to come up with the appropriate output ratios. This does not mean there is slow acceleration by any means. Just the standard Toyota HSD engine rev up rubber band feel is still there. Higher NVH during this and only this phase is a byproduct of the sky high lifetime efficiency. Getting into the LE Hybrids EPA 51/53 mpgUS city/highway rating vs. the SE and XLE’s much lower 44/47 mpgUS city/highway rating, there are significant traction battery differences. The 2018 Camry Hybrid LE is equipped with a smaller and lighter 1.03 kWh Lithium-ion (Li-Ion) traction battery while the SE and XLE are equipped with a larger and heavier 1.59 kWh Ni-MH traction battery? I asked multiple people why the more expensive, smaller and lighter weight Li-Ion battery was included in the lowest cost LE with no good answer? The only other significant change between the LE vs. SE/XLE is the 16” steel wheels w/ P205/65R16 tires vs. the 18” alloys w/ P235/45R18s. 6 mpg combined difference with a wheel switch and a smaller cap Li-Ion? I cannot answer that question either? Both traction batteries are located beneath the rear seat allowing a full 15.1 cu. ft. trunk for both the hybrids and non-hybrids. Another item the new traction battery location adds is a pass-thru rear seat! I looked for over 5-minutes for the handle or knob to lower the seats from within the cabin and did not find any. There were two small pull knobs in the trunk that allowed the seats to drop. The lower and forward traction battery location provides both a better front to rear balance and lower center of gravity helping at the limit handling. Hybrid trunk on top with small pass-thru and XSE non-hybrid on the bottom. The conversion efficiency of the lighter and more compact PCU and the transaxle/electric motor reduce energy loss by approximately 20 percent and cooling system efficiency reduced energy loss by about 10 percent compared to the previous gen Camry Hybrid. The PCU includes a revised DC-DC converter reducing the vehicle’s overall power consumption. NORMAL, ECO, EV, and new SPORT modes allows an increase in efficiency or power with a change to throttle input to output. I live in Eco but Normal and Sport are fine for highway drives if you have a light foot. The Camry Hybrid also includes a new Auto Glide Control (AGC). Engine braking will normally slow the vehicle down when the driver lifts off from the accelerator pedal. To avoid aggressive engine braking, AGC limits the loss of vehicle speed through an automatic drive setting that acts more like a neutral gear, allowing the vehicle to coast to the stoplight. Do you think the Toyota engineers have been listening to our “It’s all about the Glide” mantra we employ here on CleanMPG? It really works and I cannot wait until you try it for yourself. 2018 Toyota Camry SE AGC Indication While climbing up to a local reservoir, notice the green mimic under the iFCD whenever letting off the accelerator on a downhill with only mild regen. The AGC alerts the driver that less deceleration torque than normal is currently being used. AGC can only be activated when the vehicle is being operated in the ECO drive mode setting. First drive of the 2018 Toyota Camry LE Hybrid. This short drive included about 5-miles of stop lights in downtown Newberg, OR and 8-miles of 45 and 55 mph limit two-lane roadways. SoC dropped 1-bar so I estimate the result was about 80 mpg indicated. This is not a calibrated result. And a quick and dirty Speed vs FE graph of the two major drivetrains. Some detail is needed before even thinking about making any comparisons or conclusions with the generated graph(s). 2018 Toyota Camry XLE Speed vs FE – The results were garnered with heavy afternoon traffic on the I5 near Newberg, OR with temps from 63 to 64 degrees F w/ a slight tailwind and only in one direction. Meaning quite a bit of Traffic Side draft adding 3 to 7 mpg to any of the speeds recorded. The raw data was not calibrated so the aFCD could be off anywhere from +1.5 to – 10 percent. The raw data was recorded in only one direction as explained above and I did not have a Garmin to lock down both the actual speed and the flying reset elevation at the beginning of end of the runs at any speed. In addition, at 50 mph, the 8-speed AT was hunting between 6th and 7th gear depending on the slight ascents and descents on the I5 so I pulled the 50-mph data as it was lower than the 55-mph result. 2018 Toyota Camry LE Hybrid Speed vs FE – The results were garnered between Midnight and 02:30 AM on the I5 between Portland and Salem west of Newberg, OR. Winds were calm while temps ranged from 60 to 62 degrees F for the 50, 55, and 60 mph NB and SB runs with very light rain beginning with the 55 mph runs. The 65 and 70 mph NB and SB averaged results were recorded with calm winds and temps from 56 to 59 degrees F in medium rain. This raw aFCD data was not calibrated so the trace could be off between +1.5 and – 10 percent based on calibration alone. I also was having to take into account un-calibrated SoC changes from start to finish with the largest swings occurring during the 65 mph runs including the loss of 3-bars during the NB run and 2-bars during the SB run. All actual speeds were 1 mph under displayed. Meaning at 50 mph actual, the speedometer and CC were indicating 51 mph indicated, 55 mph actual = 56 mph indicated, 60 mph actual = 61 mph indicated, 65 mph actual = 66 mph indicated, and 70 mph actual = 71 mph indicated. Again, this is raw un-calibrated data taken under very uncontrolled conditions so do not make hard conclusions from either trace. The 41-mpg highway rated non-Hybrid Camry looks pretty good while the Camry Hybrid may fall short of its 53-mpg highway rating. I will need a week-long review to provide more solid conclusions. 2018 Toyota Camry Safety All OEMs target the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ and NHTSA 5-Star crash test rating. To achieve the top rating on the IIHS, you not only need to achieve Good ratings across the board including the very dramatic small overlap crash test, you need to offer an autonomous forward braking action and going forward, better lighting. Toyota is expecting the all-new Camry to earn both agency's top ratings with their Safety Sense P (TSS-P) safety equipment. This includes a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD), Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC), Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/SA); and Automatic High Beams (AHB). We shall see soon. XSE and XLE trims include Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA). The available Intelligent Clearance Sonar (ICS) also includes a new Rear Cross Traffic Braking (RCTB) system. I give kudos's to the Carmy product planners for including rear outboard passenger side airbags along with the front, side, side curtain and knee airbags for the driver and front passenger. Like all Toyota's, the all-new Camry also includes the Star Safety System including a rear-view camera, Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Brake Assist, Anti-lock Braking System, and Smart Stop Technology. 2018 Toyota Camry Infotainment Entune 3.0 Multimedia based on the open source Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) platform is standard across the lineup and feature navigations and Entune 3.0 App Suite Connect. All Camry I4 and hybrid models arrive standard with the Connected Navigation Scout GPS Link with Moving Maps. The AGL infotainment platform provides 80 percent of the starting point for a production infotainment system including the operating system, middleware and application framework. Toyota then customized the other 20 percent. Regarding GPS Scout, I can only say when you are without cell service, you get a turn by turn list. It kind of sucks. No Apple CarPlay - also a middling experience - and no Android Auto. The exclusion of the second is a mistake IMHO. Camry V6 models will offer the new embedded Navi with better map accuracy and only so so voice direction. The wireless map updates provide over-the-air map downloads of recently added roads and point-of-interest not contained in the existing head unit map. Remote Connect (optional) allows remote start and door unlock capability, vehicle status notifications, a guest driver monitor, and vehicle finder. Service Connect (optional) provides up-to-date vehicle information on fuel level, maintenance alerts, and more. 4G LTE Wi-Fi Connect on the Verizon network for 5-users is also available. 2018 Toyota Camry XLE Hybrid Small tuning knob and GPS Scout… Not a fan. At least in this first iteration anyway. Regarding the audio, the first upgraded JBL premium audio system that I would call acceptable as an upgrade is finally available inside a Toyota. A clean 10.1-inch sub; Clari-Fi; and nine speakers that tuned to the Camry’s cabin dimensions and materials finally add a sound stage that is pretty good. There is both a PWR and Tuning Knob but I found the tuning knob underneath the PWR button to be a little small with less tactile feel. Fortunately, the infotainment systems are built on fast processors and spinning through 200 channels in a few spins vs. others where it can take tens of turns. The base audio is not bad either. About tome Toyota is getting this right. 2018 Toyota Camry First Drive Conclusions Like all new entrants into a given hyper combative segment nowadays, the OEMs A-Game is front and center. After all, Toyota had a number of targets. Meaning the top 5 sellers in the midsize segment. Accord, Altima, Fusion, and Sonata along with the Camry. On the exterior appearance, I think they are going to gain a number of sales vs. the aging 7th gen. And than there is pricing. Retail is a tough sell in today’s environment and Toyota will surely try and hold retail pricing for a few months with new demand for the all-new model. When the $28.6k Hybrid LE can be purchased for $22,500 by early next year, it begins to look tempting vs. the Fusion and Sonata Hybrid with similar levels of equipment. Remember both of these competitors can be picked up for under $20k right now. The added efficiency may or may not pan out vs. these two competitors. And then the elephant in the room is the Accord. With the all-new 10th gen just weeks away, pricing will be everything. The Accord Hybrid with an even more efficient drivetrain over the current Accord which today offers best in segment efficiency and may still top the all-new 2018 Camry Hybrid in LE trim w/ the Li-Ion traction battery. An even more efficient drivetrain could take that to another level. The standard 2.5L Camry’s 29/41 rating looks solid and places everybody in the rear view. This is the bread and butter of the brand and unless Honda pulls a rabbit out of their own hat, Toyota may hold the lead until mechanical refreshes due by 2019 or 2020 actually arrive. Beyond pricing and efficiency, there will be some very happy new Camry owners based on the new more modern exterior and interior design. Integrated flow across the dash, artistic inserts, and decent ergonomics for front seaters and better than the segment out back. Infotainment is of sufficient quality to not be a nuisance other than the GPS Scout integration. I will need some time with that to make a better assessment but first impressions are it’s a dud and thank goodness for Garmin. Safety will surely be a plus as I do not believe Toyota want to go through the poor IIHS ratings from earlier in the decade. Meaning I suspect solid top ratings from both the NHTSA and IIHS when the Camry is finally tested. Would I put one in my drive? With a bit of a discount, I certainly would!