TodayApril 15, 2022

2018 Toyota Camry – The Crown Jewel

Toyota reliability

My husband, Stretch, owned the ugliest vehicle Toyota has ever made. Inside Toyota, the vehicle was referred to as the pig but was sold as the Chinook to the rest of us. It was a 1973 Toyota pickup with a camper. It was Stretch’s pride and joy; he could go cross-country in that vehicle. Stretch was probably the first person to use his camper as a home in Silicon Valley.

Stretch didn’t see the rusted out bottom or the missing gasoline pedal. It was the functionality and freedom of the vehicle itself, and the 22R engine. To me, it was a rust bucket, and the more I complained, the more adamant Stretch got that the Chinook was his last vestige of independence. It didn’t help that Toyota’s President, Bob Carter, sent him a 1973 manual on how to repair the Chinook, really how could I make him sell the Chinook now?

In 2009 the Federal government created an economic stimulus program called cash for clunkers. I was elated; now I would be able to talk Stretch into trading in his old Chinook for a new Toyota truck. I had him all talked into the idea, and the news came from on high, a 1973 vehicle was too old and didn’t qualify for the program. I was thwarted again!

Stretch had long told me the vehicle wasn’t worth anything, which was another reason he cited as keeping it (reasoning that belied any common sense to me but somehow made sense to him, “it’s a guy thing, you wouldn’t understand, Lou” That part was true.)

Finally, in 2015 I was having a garage sale, and I convinced Stretch to let me put the Pig in the sale. We agreed that if I could sell the barely moving vehicle with hardly any brakes that he would let it go. I put a sign on it for $700 and lo and behold the Chinook sold for $600. A 1973 Toyota Chinook with a resale value of $600 in 2015.

Before and after Toyota Camrys - now stylish and reliable

Before and after Toyota Camrys – now stylish and reliable

Anyone who owns a Toyota wouldn’t be surprised that Toyota had a great resale value. It’s one of the reasons Toyotas are so popular. The other reason always heard is because Toyota is reliable. Reliability is a big factor in a Toyota buyer’s decision. That bland but reliable car has sold about 400,000 units annually. Imagine, this sedan has been the number one selling car in the United States for fifteen years and was named the most American made car in the United States in 2016 by There is a new Camry produced every sixty seconds!

It was a girl’s drive as five women assembled in the driveway of The Allison Hotel. We all thought we were driving with each other and then we decided to do just that. All five of us packed into the Camry. Off we went, missing turns, talking make-up, boys and driving the new Camry, feeling the spaciousness of the vehicle. Heather Willis, the product sales specialist, was one of the ladies in the car. Willis talked about the Camry she was getting; I like the black with red interior. I’m not sure I sold her.

The Camry is a lower center of gravity, more sporty and upscale. It has every comfort you could want in a commuter car with the best fuel efficiency in its segment.

Artificial Intelligence and Autonomous Stuff

There is more technology on this Camry than any previous Camry. It was Jackie’s turn to drive the car. Jackie had never, in her entire life, driven a Camry. She complained about the lag in the car. We drove a little further, and after about thirty minutes she noted the lag was gone. I explained to her that the Camry’s ECU was almost like artificial intelligence; it changed the driving habits of each driver. It learned how to drive by the way she drove.

2018 Toyota Camry for commuting and racing

2018 Toyota Camry for commuting and racing

Standard on the 2018 Camry is the Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P) suite of safety systems and technologies including Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD), Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC), Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/SA); and Automatic High Beams (AHB). Select models will also come with standard Blind Spot Monitor (BSM) with Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA). The available Intelligent Clearance Sonar (ICS) also includes a new Rear Cross-Traffic Braking (RCTB) system.

All 2018 Camry’s have ten standard airbags and Toyota’s Star Safety System, which includes Enhanced Vehicle Stability Control, Traction Control, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Brake Assist, Anti-lock Braking System, and Smart Stop Technology. All Camry’s also come equipped with a backup camera.

Toyota has mastered economies of scale, and the 2018 Camry is built on Toyota’s new platform, called Toyota New Global Architecture. The new Camry rivals the Fuel efficiency numbers of the Toyota Prius, which is also built on the TNGA platform.

To anyone other than a Toyota owner the phrase “bland but reliable” would be an insult, but to Toyota owners, it was almost a badge of honor. In 1983, when Toyota brought out the first Camry that is what they bought, functionality and reliability. The Camry is in its eighth generation, and it is the most sophisticated looking Toyota Camry yet, and the most fuel-efficient, another attribute Camry owners look for in the new Toyota.

2018 Toyota Camry SE

2018 Toyota Camry SE

The 2018 Toyota Camry will be available in five grades: L, LE, XLE, SE, and XSE

L $23,495
LE $24,000
SE $25,200
XLE $28,450
XSE $29,000
XLE V6 $34,400
XSE V6 $34,950

There are two engines; the 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder can produce 203 horsepower @ 6,600 rpm (LE, SE, XLE) and 184 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm (LE, SE, XLE) or 206 horsepower @ 6,600 rpm (XSE) and 186 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm (XSE) with an EPA fuel estimate of 29/41/34 (L) 28/39/32 (LE/SE/XLE/XSE). The entry-level Camry gets 34 mpg combined, a 26 percent improvement over the last generation.

The 3.5-liter, V6 can produce 301 horsepower @ 6,600 rpm and 267 lb.-ft. @ 4,700 rpm with an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 22/33/26 (XLE V6) or 22/32/26 (XSE V6).

The 2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid will be available in three grades: HV LE, HV SE, and HV XLE

HV LE $27,800
HV SE $29,500
HV XLE $32,250

There is one engine for the 2018 Toyota Camry hybrid. It is a 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder that can produce 208 net horsepower (176 hp @ 5,700 rpm) and Electric Motor Power Output 88 kW (118 hp) and 163 lb-ft @ 3,600-5,200 rpm. The EPA-estimated fuel economy is 51/53/52 (LE) and 44/47/46 (SE, XLE). The entry-level Camry hybrid is 30 percent more fuel-efficient than the previous generation, producing 52 mpg combined, the same as the Toyota Prius.

The emoticon on the JBL is not an exclamation point, it's a horn

The emoticon on the JBL is not an exclamation point, it’s a horn

The 2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid is equipped with a Lithium-ion (Li-Ion), battery pack on the LE grade, and a Nickel-Metal Hydride (Ni-MH), battery pack on the SE and XLE.

The SPORT drive mode setting is new for the hybrid and has been added for an increase in power from the hybrid system. The NORMAL, ECO, and SPORT modes can each be used while EV mode is activated. Try it, it’s fun.

The sweet sounds of the Camry are courtesy of the JBL Audio concert sound with a nine-speaker layout with the emphasis on the driver. The 10.1 subwoofer is the largest subwoofer in any Toyota, creating a wider cleaner sound. Oh, and by the way – that emoticon on the JBL image is not an exclamation point, it is a horn!

“With an exhilarating design, refined interior, stirring driving performance, cutting-edge safety and technology, and class-leading fuel efficiency, the all-new Camry retains its excellent value while raising its level of fun and excitement to new heights,” said Bill Fay, Toyota senior vice president of automotive operations. “It is, quite simply, the best Camry ever and the benchmark in the mid-size sedan segment.”

And it’s not boring, or bland, but the Camry will still have a great resale value.

Just don’t wait forty years to sell it.

2018 Toyota Camry refined interior

2018 Toyota Camry refined interior

Lou Ann Hammond

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a founding member of the Women's World Car of the Year #WWCOTY, and board member of the Women in Automotive.

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