2018 Toyota Camry XSE new car reviews

How important is the new Toyota Camry? For the past 15 years, it’s been the best-selling vehicle in America that actually looks like a car.

How important is the new Toyota Camry? It’s the basis for both their NASCAR and NHRA efforts.

How important is the new Toyota Camry? Toyota recently dropped a $1.3 billion investment in the Kentucky plant that churns them out.

And that all-important Camry is all-new for 2018.

Highlights: exciting style, more technology and eight-speed automatic transmission. Plus Toyota’s letting this one be a little sportier than usual. The standard engine is the inline-four. “The Camry’s new, Dynamic Force 2.5-liter inline-4 cylinder remains remarkably quiet, but it does let out a melodious growl when the throttle is mashed,” the press materials state. ORLY?

Then there’s the optional engine: a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 301 horsepower along with 267 lb.-ft. of torque. Remember when those were supercar numbers?

More from the press kit:

“The all-new 2018 Camry also has a wild, sporty side, but unlike before, it’s evident upon first glance. Whereas the Camry L, LE and XLE carry the air of a dapper gentleman or proper lady, the two sport models, the Camry SE and XSE, are all about unleashing our inner playfulness or letting our hair down, and being unapologetic about it.”

Our test vehicle was the XSE, complete with that 301-horse V6.

Other staff views

Tim Suddard Tim Suddard
Publisher

As SUVs increasingly dominate consumer’s minds and wallets and make the sedan increasingly irrelevant, Toyota has just brought out their best Camry ever. Sharp-looking and way quicker than a Camry needs to be, this 301-horsepower masterpiece might just go the way of the dinosaur.

At just a tick under $40,000, this Camry is not a cheap date. Options include the driver’s assist package at $1050, navigation at $940 and an amazing two-tone paint and paint protection package that might just be worth the $895 that they cost. Even at the base price of just under $35,000, the Camry, at least in XSE trim, is not the cheap car it once was.

What struck us most on this car was the styling and unique two-tone paint scheme. The Camry is a truly handsome car. Set off by 19-inch allow wheels with rubber band-thin tires, this is not your grandpa’s Camry. The interior, too, is stylish and comfortable. The controls are remarkably simple and easy to use in this world of confusing-for-confusion’s-sake controls in modern cars.

While quick, the sport-tuned suspension is an item only on the features list, as the car’s handling is not up to the rest of the package. While most likely safe and adequate by middle America’s standard, this is no BMW. All in all, the Camry is a nice, comfortable, fast and good-looking sedan. If it was 10 percent less expensive and 20 percent more competent on the twisties, Toyota might really have something that the sportier side of mainstream America could embrace.

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MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt PowerDork
7/20/18 10:05 a.m.

Those air extractors on the back are probably functional, but connecting them to the taillights doesn't seem to work visually.

It looks like Toyota's gotten back on their cycle of half-hearted efforts at doing something about the Camry's stogy image:

  1. Toyota decides to "do something" about Camry's lack of sporting image.
  2. New "sporty" package planned.
  3. "Sporty" package isn't allowed a performance drivetrain package like a turbo or pairing a V6 with a manual.
  4. Suspension tuning comes in too soft to give impressive handling.
  5. Toyota can't figure out why "sporty" package fails to generate any interest.
  6. "Sporty" package is dropped.
  7. GOTO 1
stafford1500
stafford1500 HalfDork
7/20/18 12:44 p.m.

In reply to MadScientistMatt :

unfortunately the mileage numbers really hit the manual gearboxes right in the jewels, at least for the effect to of the fleet averaging.

RyanGreener
RyanGreener New Reader
7/20/18 12:49 p.m.

I've driven the new Camrys and I like how they drive/handle considering what Toyota used to put out in the past for these Camrys. Unfortunately, its crossover time in USA :(

Duke
Duke MegaDork
7/20/18 12:52 p.m.

I notice you picked its only decent angle for the cover shot.

Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA SuperDork
7/20/18 12:59 p.m.
Duke said:

I notice you picked its only decent angle for the cover shot.

That looks like a stock photo.  I don't think there's that much terrain variation in FL

Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA SuperDork
7/20/18 1:13 p.m.

Also, has Toyota redesigned the V-6 so it doesn't 'splode?

Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA SuperDork
7/20/18 1:17 p.m.

Also Also....Even though this is "not (my) grandfathers' Camry,"  my grandfather's Camry still runs great.

spitfirebill
spitfirebill MegaDork
7/20/18 1:47 p.m.
Jerry From LA said:

Also, has Toyota redesigned the V-6 so it doesn't 'splode?

I have three Toyota with V6s, one has 170+k miles, one has 160+k miles and the third has maybe 80k.  None has 'sploded as of today. 

RyanGreener
RyanGreener New Reader
7/20/18 1:58 p.m.
Jerry From LA said:

Also, has Toyota redesigned the V-6 so it doesn't 'splode?

Which of the V6's do that? My mom's Avalon (same engine) has 230k miles and hasn't done that yet.

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
7/20/18 2:17 p.m.
RyanGreener said:
Jerry From LA said:

Also, has Toyota redesigned the V-6 so it doesn't 'splode?

Which of the V6's do that? My mom's Avalon (same engine) has 230k miles and hasn't done that yet.

The one's owned by GRM do apparently.

spitfirebill
spitfirebill MegaDork
7/20/18 2:22 p.m.

Well they bought their Camry with a bunch of miles on it and then bought junkyard engines as replacements.  What could go wrong with that?   

Stefan
Stefan MegaDork
7/20/18 2:27 p.m.
spitfirebill said:

Well they bought their Camry with a bunch of miles on it and then bought junkyard engines as replacements.  What could go wrong with that?   

Not only that, they abused the heck out of them.  So yeah they did just about everything they tell us not to do :)  Makes for great editorial content though!

Honestly, keep the oil changed with good oil, maintenance up to date and it should be a happy and healthy motor.

RyanGreener
RyanGreener New Reader
7/20/18 2:50 p.m.
Stefan said:
spitfirebill said:

Well they bought their Camry with a bunch of miles on it and then bought junkyard engines as replacements.  What could go wrong with that?   

Not only that, they abused the heck out of them.  So yeah they did just about everything they tell us not to do :)  Makes for great editorial content though!

Honestly, keep the oil changed with good oil, maintenance up to date and it should be a happy and healthy motor.

My family gets busy and can't even change the oil on time sometimes so we do 10000-15000 mile oil changes. Still chuggin at 230k like a champ.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin PowerDork
7/20/18 3:07 p.m.
Stefan said:
RyanGreener said:
Jerry From LA said:

Also, has Toyota redesigned the V-6 so it doesn't 'splode?

Which of the V6's do that? My mom's Avalon (same engine) has 230k miles and hasn't done that yet.

The one's owned by GRM do apparently.

I'm angry at everyone, apparently.

The 1MZ V6 had those issues, and they are track oil starvation related.  It hasn't come in a Camry since 2006

drainoil
drainoil HalfDork
7/20/18 3:08 p.m.

Did I miss the curb weight of these?  300 hp and a decent weight could make for some fun.

grover
grover HalfDork
7/20/18 3:50 p.m.

A Camry with the v8 from my gx460 would be glorious. 

dean1484
dean1484 MegaDork
7/20/18 4:39 p.m.

Make that it in to a hatch back and you have your self a watered down stinger

dean1484
dean1484 MegaDork
7/20/18 4:40 p.m.

On a side note I saw a Stinger last week in person and sadly it just did not live up to the photos.  Especially from the rear.  

rodknock
rodknock New Reader
7/20/18 4:52 p.m.

Every time I see one of these in person I can't help to think what it would look like slammed on bags with the VIP treatment. 

Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA SuperDork
7/20/18 4:57 p.m.
RyanGreener said:
Jerry From LA said:

Also, has Toyota redesigned the V-6 so it doesn't 'splode?

Which of the V6's do that? My mom's Avalon (same engine) has 230k miles and hasn't done that yet.

Aside from the 1MZ that would get choked from dirty oil passages, there was a short run around '07-'08 or so when they were snapping cams.  I'm not hatin' on 'em.  We're awash in Toyotas in our family including my Scion tC.  There was some concern for awhile but it seems to be over now.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
7/20/18 5:01 p.m.
David S. Wallens said:

How important is the new Toyota Camry? It’s the basis for both their NASCAR and NHRA efforts.

Umm, guys. We are a motorsport crowd. We know that the NASCAMRY isn't exactly based on this laugh

I did find this on the NHRA website, though.

 

Camry vs. Camry: To file under Something You Don’t See Every Day, Del Worsham staged one of his test runs in the DHL Toyota Camry Funny Car in the lane opposite FOX analyst Tony Pedregon, who was driving a stock Toyota Camry rental car and was spotted a four-second head start. Worsham drove around him easily and recorded a 3.982 at 316.30 mph. For the record, Pedregon’s time was 12.215 at 88.69.

Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA SuperDork
7/20/18 5:30 p.m.

12.215 @88.  I'm trying to picture that run in my head.  The 60 time must've been great.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
7/20/18 5:51 p.m.

In a rental, naturally. The gearing may not be optimized for acceleration above 75.

RyanGreener
RyanGreener New Reader
7/20/18 5:58 p.m.
Jerry From LA said:
RyanGreener said:
Jerry From LA said:

Also, has Toyota redesigned the V-6 so it doesn't 'splode?

Which of the V6's do that? My mom's Avalon (same engine) has 230k miles and hasn't done that yet.

Aside from the 1MZ that would get choked from dirty oil passages, there was a short run around '07-'08 or so when they were snapping cams.  I'm not hatin' on 'em.  We're awash in Toyotas in our family including my Scion tC.  There was some concern for awhile but it seems to be over now.

That's good to know! My mom's is an '05 so I guess we got lucky. I also have a tC as well (but it's autotragic). Ahh well, beater life.

Run_Away
Run_Away HalfDork
7/20/18 6:34 p.m.

Personally, I like the looks of this Camry.

 

Also, 12.2 at 88mph does not compute at ALL. Trap makes sense - maybe a 15.6 for a 4 cylinder?

Wally
Wally MegaDork
7/20/18 6:38 p.m.

Are they still grounded to the ground?

barefootskater
barefootskater HalfDork
7/20/18 7:42 p.m.
RyanGreener said:
Jerry From LA said:
RyanGreener said:
Jerry From LA said:

Also, has Toyota redesigned the V-6 so it doesn't 'splode?

Which of the V6's do that? My mom's Avalon (same engine) has 230k miles and hasn't done that yet.

Aside from the 1MZ that would get choked from dirty oil passages, there was a short run around '07-'08 or so when they were snapping cams.  I'm not hatin' on 'em.  We're awash in Toyotas in our family including my Scion tC.  There was some concern for awhile but it seems to be over now.

That's good to know! My mom's is an '05 so I guess we got lucky. I also have a tC as well (but it's autotragic). Ahh well, beater life.

The 2GR is a good motor. It has had its share of teething problems though, but seeing as it has been in service for over ten years across most of the line the have most of the quirks sorted now. Only big thing I can think of is they leak out of the timing cover, right at the seam where block meets head. All my guys say they just skimped on RTV during assembly. Had an 18 Tacoma in just last week for this leak. Warranty, but still.

DeadSkunk
DeadSkunk PowerDork
7/21/18 7:08 a.m.
Run_Away said:

Personally, I like the looks of this Camry.

 

Also, 12.2 at 88mph does not compute at ALL. Trap makes sense - maybe a 15.6 for a 4 cylinder?

I'll bet they ran 1000 feet, not 1320. Funny cars can't run 1320 any more without exploding.

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