You can sense the difference from 10 paces away. The uninspiring styling we've come to expect on the Toyota Camry has been replaced with lines that are bold and athletic. That's because the new 2018 Toyota Camry is longer, lower and wider, a move that gave the designers a better proportioned canvas to work with.
But lower doesn't mean reduced headroom and reduced visibility, because the seats, hood and side glass have dropped a similar amount. In fact, we figure that interior space has actually been enhanced because the new Camry's wheelbase has been stretched a full 1.9 inches. No interior dimensions have been released, but we expect rear legroom to be the prime beneficiary.
Much of the credit goes to the stiffer platform and its double-wishbone rear suspension, the key element that makes this Camry different from any produced in the last 30-plus years. Past Camrys relied on a rear strut suspension because of its low cost. But rear struts are bulky and compete for space with the backseat and trunk.
The more sophisticated rear suspension was recently used on the Toyota Prius, and the positive effects on that car's ride comfort, road noise, handling and even steering feel were substantial. The new 2018 Camry stands a good chance of being simultaneously more comfortable, quieter and more engaging to drive than ever before, which would almost certainly broaden its already strong following.
As before, there will be three powertrain choices, all of which are either new or significantly revised. The all-new 2.5-liter four-cylinder base engine should make around 200 horsepower, while the optional 3.5-liter V6 was only recently unveiled in the Highlander, where it makes 296 hp. Both come paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission that is also making its first appearance in the Camry.
The Camry hybrid is the third powertrain option, and it pairs the 2.5-liter four with a next-generation version of the Toyota Hybrid System (THS II). It employs dual electric motors to regulate its continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT), but this year it gains a Sport mode with the added ability to simulate the shift points of a six-speed sequential automatic transmission, with paddle shifters available on the sport trim levels.
Fuel economy data has not been released for any of them, but Toyota claims that the Camry hybrid and the 2.5-liter four-cylinder with the eight-speed automatic will offer best-in-class mpg ratings. The V6 should be at or near the top of its competitive set, too.
Most specifications are still being withheld, but we do know that the 2018 Camry will be offered in the familiar LE, XLE, SE and XSE trim levels. And all will come standard with the 10 airbags, a revised Entune 3.0 multimedia interface, and the Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P) suite of active safety gear that includes forward collision warning, automated emergency braking, full speed-range adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and mitigation, and automatic high-beam headlight control.
Pricing has not been announced, and Toyota has nothing specific to say about the 2018 Camry release date other than it will arrive in dealer showrooms in late summer 2017.