Toyota is apparently through playing safe when it comes to design and performance. The latest proof of the Japanese automaker’s sportier intentions comes in the form of the all-new 2018 Camry, which makes its world debut at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show.
Toyota’s eighth generation of the best-selling sedan wears more appealing sheetmetal, while chassis changes promise to deliver a more exciting drive character. To look the part, the new Camry is lower, wider and curvier, with a sleeker, more aerodynamic profile. The design change also warrants a new Camry logo.
To give the sporty SE and XSE versions more visual pop, they receive more aggressive bumpers, rocker panels, mesh grille insert, rear lip spoiler and rear diffuser. The XSE sets itself apart from the SE with 19-inch black machine-finish alloy wheels.
For the interior, designers wanted to provide a more visually appealing look, too, while retaining a practical and intuitive layout. Front seats were redesigned to be more comfortable and supportive, and refinement is up with the use of higher grade soft-touch materials on major surfaces like the dash, center console and door trim.
The latest Toyota Entune 3.0 system handles infotainment duties with standard navigation. Options include a JBL premium audio system, 10-inch color head-up display and 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot. Missing from the options list are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities.
A precollision system with pedestrian detection, radar cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist and auto high beams are equipped on every 2018 Camry. Blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert come standard on higher trim levels.
Backing the Camry’s sportier looks is a new platform that makes use of more ultra high-strength steel and new molding techniques to increase structural rigidity. Combined with a re-engineered rear double wishbone suspension, 2-inch longer wheelbase and lower center of gravity, Toyota promises substantially improved driving dynamics.
Serving as base motivation for the 2018 Camry is a new 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine working with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Toyota hasn’t quoted power figures, but says the engine will offer more power, and anticipates it returning best-in-class fuel economy. For context, the four-cylinder in the current Camry is rated at 178 horsepower and 170 pound-feet of torque.
As many competitors like the Chevrolet Malibu, Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima have turned to turbocharged four-cylinders as an engine upgrade option, the Camry will be sticking with an updated 3.5-liter V6. Output figures aren’t available yet, but it should punch in at around 268 horsepower, which is what the V6 in the outgoing Camry is rated at.
Toyota also upgrades the hybrid drivetrain to go along with the new four-cylinder promising a more exciting drive character with a Sport mode.
Sport yields better acceleration with an electric boost from the hybrid system, and quicker simulated gear changes from the continuously variable transmission. The hybrid battery pack also moves from the trunk to the beneath the rear seats to improve handling. With the new Camry Hybrid, Toyota is eyeing best-in-class fuel ratings that it says will be Prius-like.
The 2018 Camry will go on sale late this year but pricing details aren’t available yet.
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