The Toyota Camry has never really been called aggressive in appearance? Boring? Sure. Bland? Yes. Forgettable? Many times. Aggressive? The Camry and the word “aggressive” have never really been used in the same sentence without irony.
That’s changing in 2018. Toyota has taken a lot of those criticisms to heart, noted what a lot of other midsized sedans are doing these days in terms of aesthetics and have penned a new Camry that will challenge what people think a Camry should look like.
A new lower, sleeker and more athletic – dare we say aggressive – look graces the new Camry with body lines never before seen for the model. Sharp creases, hood bulges and scoops abound. It all comes together well, at least on the non-hybrid levels. The Camry Hybrid’s unfortunate grille treatment, all horizontal lines and gaping body-width mouth, just make me wonder how soon they’ll schedule a refresh to address the grille, but for now the non-hybrid cars are spectacular in visual punch.
Under that bulging and nicely creased hood you’ll find one of three new, but completely different from each other, engines: A 3.5-liter V-6, a 2.5-liter inlne-4 or the next generation of the Toyota Hybrid System. These are all bolted to a new four-point engine mount system that Toyota says cuts back significantly on noise, vibration and harshness in the cockpit.
While the I-4’s mpg stats haven’t been released as of yet, Toyota says that they expect it to be extremely fuel-efficient and to be the best in its class regarding fuel economy. Mated to the engine is a new 8-gear Direct Shift-8AT transmission, which provides a lower gearing for first gear, enabling better acceleration from a dead stop while also yielding lower RPMs at highway speeds in eighth gear for quieter long distance driving.
The interior is focused toward the driver, with an asymmetrical, sporty-looking center binnacle canted toward the driver and multiple available interlinked displays providing navigation, head up information, infotainment and sundry other functions. Toyota’s Entune 3.0 provides the entertainment and several other new optional applications, such as Remote Connect – which will start the car and unlock the doors via a smartphone app – and a guest driver monitor. An available JBL premium audio system with Sound Staging, a 10.1-inch subwoofer and technology that upgrades digital music for better sound will keep your ears happy as you coast on down the road.
Last, but not least, for those of us with a sports car hear but a sedan lifestyle, and never before seen from the factory, red leather was present in the white XSE on the NAIAS dais and has been confirmed by Toyota to be available on this new generation.
Pricing hasn’t been announced yet, but expect it to be relatively close to current pricing levels when the newest Camry hits dealerships in late summer, 2017.