The Toyota Camry was getting long in the tooth and the Japanese automaker just gave the popular sedan a complete makeover. Camry fans will love what Toyota has done both outside and inside by giving Camry a redo. It’s worth your time to take a look. It gets impressive new exterior styling and suspension upgrades, with enough of each to leave behind Camry’s ho-hum past. It’s more fuel efficient than before with a premium feel inside.
This week, we drove the upper-trim 2018 Toyota Camry XSE V6.
What’s New For 2018?
The 2018 Toyota Camry has been fully redesigned with upgrades that include a longer wheelbase, sleeker styling, revised rear suspension geometry, and two distinct styling themes depending on the trim level. The sportier XSE gets a special nose and rear bumper, along with a small spoiler on the rear deck and shaped sills along the sides. On its new chassis, the 2018 Camry is one inch lower, and a bit longer and wider for a sleeker, more firm stance.
Features & Options
The 2018 Toyota Camry XSE V6 ($34,950) gets a personality shift toward keener driving dynamics, courtesy of a sport-tuned suspension and revised steering calibration. The XSE variant also receives larger 18-inch wheels, and steering wheel paddle shifters for a sportier look and feel.
Other standard features include dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heads-up display, blind-spot monitoring, keyless ignition, a power-adjustable front passenger seat, extra USB ports, a bigger 8-inch touchscreen, a premium JBL sound system, and Qi wireless smartphone charging.
This 2018 Camry tester came with the optional Driver Assist Package ($1,050), plus Bird’s Eye Camera view and Navigation ($940). Total MSRP including destination: $38,220.
Like the exterior, the interior of the 2018 Camry feels more stylish and premium, especially on this upper-trim XSE model. It gets more soft-touch materials and new colors that give it a more luxurious feel. The front seat bottoms have been redesigned and offer up extra comfort for longer trips in the sedan. We went to my daughter’s house for Christmas and felt rested even after the long drive.
The Camry XSE gets a new 8-inch touchscreen that’s easier to see, and the dashboard is bigger with contemporary lines. The new sleek look sets it apart from the outgoing model.
The XSE gets 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 drivers 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.
The only complaint we have is with Toyota’s Entune infotainment and smartphone integration. It’s just not that user-friendly or as easy to use as rival systems. It’s the most noticeable shortcoming of this otherwise fully-redesigned family sedan.
Engine & Fuel Mileage Specs
The 2018 Toyota Camry XSE is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine, producing 301 horsepower and 267 lb-ft. of torque. The V6, now equipped with direct injection, comes paired to a new eight-speed automatic transmission to further improve fuel economy. EPA estimates are 22/32 city/highway and 26 combined mpg.
After getting behind the wheel of the 2018 Camry, the first thing we noticed was the heads-up display. It comes standard on the XSE trim and it’s a nice addition, allowing the driver to keep their eyes on the road. We didn’t know why the display also had a compass showing the direction we were going. Toyota could leave that off and we wouldn’t be disappointed.
The Camry has a newly-updated 3.5-liter V6 and we took advantage of the extra power. We pushed the new sedan hard up the I-70 corridor into the mountains and could feel the available 301 horsepower when we needed it. The V6 delivers smooth power at any time and the eight-speed transmission works perfectly without the need to downshift and hunt for the right gear. We used the steering wheel paddle shifters all week and found the driving experience enjoyable. Not something we could say before this model year.
The new sport-tuned suspension offers up a more engaging driving experience versus the outgoing model. We took the mountain curves in full stride with minimal body lean. The XSE does come with a plethora of safety aids, but they can be overly sensitive at times, especially if you like to hug the outside lines.
The 2018 Toyota Camry XSE has a luxurious interior, comfortable ride, and comes with plenty of safety features. Overall, it looks more stylish and feels more premium, especially on this upper-trim XSE model.
Denis Flierl has invested over 25 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. Follow his work on Twitter: @CarReviewGuy