Exciting isn’t an adjective one typically associates with the Toyota Camry, but Toyota wants to change that with the all-new 2018 Camry it revealed here in Detroit. The all-new car has an interesting design story and appears to have the hardware to converge to make a very competitive midsize sedan.
“We’re actually a fun company,” asserted the car’s lead designer on the show stage after the car’s reveal. The designer went on to say that they wanted to reflect the company in the 2018 Camry, while still trying to target a new type of Camry buyer (read: younger). The comment made clear the motive behind a design that is absolutely bolder than any Camry in the past.
While the new design basically includes two faces, one for luxury and one for sport, both share the car’s bold sheetmetal. Amongst that sheetmetal is a very stylized C-pillar that includes some fairly dramatic creases, so dramatic in fact the Camry designer claims Toyota’s had to develop new stamping processes for it.
In person the car looks attractive from every angle, but the bolder the design, the more polarizing the reaction from the public. Some may find the busyness too much, particularly true of the XLE and premium trims, which features a very large grille that sort of looks like a bunch of cheese slicers stacked together.
On the other hand, sport versions of the car are less controversial. The body-colored trim and optional two-tone paint are downright handsome for a midsize sedan. The 2018 Camry unquestionably rivals the sporty appearance of the likes of the Kia Optima and Mazda6 for the first time ever.
Inside the 2018 Camry looks equally as bold. The dash design features sort of a “pod” layout that’s not unlike other Toyota models. From an ergonomic perspective design works as well as it looks, but it is worth noting that some interior dimensions have shrunk from the current car. Toyota is even offering an optional red leather interior in the Camry, which looks absolutely fantastic.
Where the boldness of the new Camry begins to fade is in the powertrain area. The car is now a rarity in the midsize sedan segment in the fact that it still offers a volume V-6 model. While power figures are not yet known, it’s likely a safe bet that the V-6 will struggle to meet the power and fuel economy numbers of it’s turbocharged four-cylinder competition. This application is highlighting Toyota’s lack of progress in the area of turbocharged engine development.
The Camry formula has also remained unchanged in the area of features. Toyota has thrown all the latest features and gadgets to the new Camry, including a new heads up display and active safety features.
There’s going to be two things to watch with the new Camry. The first will be if it is good enough to keep the midsize sedan buyer from flocking to a crossover segment (which is happening now). The second thing to watch is if Toyota’s bet on bold is enough to attract younger buyers to the Camry fold.
At first glance, we think Toyota has a winner here, it just has to buck several consumer trends.