Sedans are losing their appeal in America as SUVs and crossovers take a lion’s share of the market, but this sedan will get you to look twice. The 2018 Toyota Camry has received a complete makeover and it’s a good one. Camry needed a redesign and Toyota engineers excelled with the popular sedan,with new styling inside and out, and improvements to bump up fuel efficiency. If you don’t need a lot of cargo-carrying room, this newly-redesigned sedan will save you boatloads of money at the pump.
We recently drove the all-new 2018 Camry Hybrid XLE.
Toyota Camry gets a complete redesign and the Hybrid gets an updated version of the 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. Various tweaks provide an improvement in fuel economy and a slight increase in power. The 2018 Camry Hybrid also gets a new suspension, giving it a smoother ride over uneven pavement.
The 2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE ($32,250) comes standard with automatic LED headlights, keyless ignition and entry, a rearview camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power-adjustable driver’s seat (with power lumbar adjustment), heated front seats, adaptive cruise control, forward collision mitigation with pedestrian detection, a rearview camera, lane departure warning and mitigation, and Toyota’s Entune Audio interface. Entune Audio includes a 7-inch touchscreen display, voice controls, a USB port, Bluetooth, and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack.
The XLE Hybrid also gets unique 18-inch alloy wheels, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather upholstery, a power-adjustable passenger seat, wireless smartphone charging, a heads-up driver display, two extra USB ports, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and heated exterior mirrors.
This Hybrid tester came with the optional Driver’s Assist Package ($1,050), which included the Bird’s Eye View Camera, Power/Tilt Moonroof ($845), Upgraded Audio Package ($1,800), and Adaptive Headlights ($415). Total MSRP including destination: $37,255.
The Camry’s interior is all-new and trimmed with quality materials, making for nice improvements when compared to the outgoing model. The fit and finish is on par with what we’d expect from Toyota. The cabin has a more premium feel and is more stylish like the outside, thanks to the use of softer touch materials and more attractive colors. The touchscreen has been updated with a 7-inch version of Toyota’s Entune interface as well, although it’s not the most user-friendly system.
Hybrid models get comfortable, heated leather-trimmed seats with 8-way power adjustments, so any size driver can find the perfect position. The cabin feels light and airy, and there’s lots of head, shoulder, and elbow room for driver’s to get comfortable. Front and rear passengers have ample space around them, and rear passengers won’t feel encroached on if the front seat is all the way back.
For a sedan, we felt visibility in almost every direction was quite good from the driver’s seat. Mirrors, both inside and out, are appropriately sized, and blind spots are kept to a minimum. The standard rearview camera helped us see shoppers who were too busy to slow down as we backed out of the shopping mall lot on Black Friday.
Engine & Fuel Mileage Specs
The 2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid gets an updated 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, paired with the brand’s latest hybrid system with two motors. It develops 176 horsepower alone and 208 horsepower with the hybrid’s additional net power. XLE hybrids use the nickel-metal-hydride batteries to achieve 46 combined mpg, with an EPA-estimated 44/47 city/highway mpg.
You won’t buy the Camry Hybrid for its driving dynamics, but you will want it for its excellent fuel mileage. We pushed the hybrid hard in the mountains while driving west of Denver and achieved 41.3 mpg through the higher altitudes. We were also impressed with hybrid’s power and torque, which propelled us up the mountain roads without issue. We don’t particularly like the continuously variable transmission that revs up as you press the pedal down, but passing and merging with traffic was never a concern
On the flats, and even at medium speeds on the highway, the batteries allow the car to run in electric-only mode quite frequently. When driving slowly through parking lots for example, the vehicle will use strictly battery power. We hardly noticed the transition from the electric mode to when the gas engine took over. The Camry Hybrid isn’t the fastest sedan, it’s just smooth and quiet, and it offers up a comfortable commute as a result. In the mountain curves, body roll isn’t excessive, and on dirt roads leading to our house, the sedan soaked up the bumps with ease. The XLE’s standard heads-up display was a pleasant addition, making it easy to keep our attention on the road.
The best reason to check out the 2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid is the excellent fuel mileage. You’ll save money at the pump and it’s a pleasingly comfortable commuter. If you want more luxury, the XLE is the model to get with heated leather seats, heated steering wheel, and extra safety features.
Denis Flierl has invested over 25 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. Follow his work on Twitter: @CarReviewGuy