By Lethbridge Herald on September 29, 2017.
Toyota gives its mid-sized sedan a massive makeover
The Toyota Camry was always a great car, by far one of my favourite sedans to drive. Completely redesigned for 2018, it is now beyond fantastic.
Sharing zero parts — yes, zero — with the 2017 model, the 2018 Camry is built on what the manufacturer calls Toyota New Global Architecture.
This new manufacturing philosophy is now behind all Toyota vehicles and to understand the new Camry, one also needs to understand a bit about this so called “architecture.”
In the company’s words: “Just as athletes build their core strength to maximize their performance, we have worked on improving the cars’ core components. To enhance each model’s unique features to accentuate its appeal, we share their highly functional core components. Our aim is simply making ever better cars.”
And better the new Camry is. The car is available with three new more powerful engine combinations — four-cylinder, six- cylinder and hybrid, each also delivering improved fuel economy. The base engine is a 202-horsepower 2.5-litre four- cylinder. There is also a 3.5-litre six-cylinder cranking out a whopping 301 hp, up from the 268 hp of its predecessor and a hybrid synergy drive powertrain combining a battery pack with a 2.5-litre, four-cylinder with Atkinson Cycle timing to crank out 212 net horsepower. The hybrid engine is mated to a continuously variable transmission while the traditional gas powerplants use a smooth new eight-speed automatic transmission.
This week’s tester, provided by Lethbridge Toyota, is a stunning grey Camry XSE with red leather interior powered by the V6. Priced at $41,531.25, this Camry comes fully loaded with numerous creature comforts and a safety suite called Toyota Safety Sense P which includes goodies such as pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert with steering assist, automatic high beam headlights and dynamic radar cruise control.
This cruise control system uses radar and a camera to maintain a pre-set distance behind a vehicle in front then automatically adjusts vehicle speed. In some models, the system doesn’t work below 40 km-h but the XSE has all-speed DRCC which is available on select Camry models.
The tester also has the available Birds Eye View Monitor and Clearance Sonar. Activated by pushing a button on the dashboard left of the steering wheel, this system literally provides a birds-eye view of surroundings so a driver knows it’s safe to either back up or proceed into traffic. The system activates, along with a rearview camera, when the Camry is put into reverse. A large dash-mounted screen — which also provides access to the infotainment system — provides a clear view of surroundings. The Camry also has blind spot monitoring, which is extremely helpful when changing lanes in rush-hour traffic.
Power heated front seats, a telescoping steering wheel and Toyota’s Entune 3.0 connectivity suite, are also included in the XSE, which along with several other Camry models, has a handy 10-inch Head-Up Display on the windshield.
I’m a huge fan of the heads-up display which reduces distraction and the Camry’s is visible in all lighting conditions as I learned from an overnight test. The car also has a configurable multi-information display in the instrument cluster so a driver can keep track of various functions including fuel economy. And the V6 is frugal on gas with Transport Canada ratings of 26 mpg city and 38 mpg highway.
The Camry is a roomy car capable of carrying five adults in comfort. Seats are sculpted and well-bolstered. Leg and shoulder room are bountiful both front and rear. A dual panel moonroof in the XSE seems to make the car even more spacious.
The Camry XSE is quiet on the highway with shifts imperceptible when that 302 horsepower V6 comes to life. Press the throttle and the car rockets forward with impressive impetus. With a new exterior bodywork suggesting athleticism and aggression, the Camry XSE is designed for enthusiastic drivers with a sport-tuned suspension and stabilizer bar. It rides on 19-inch aluminum wheels. Front discs are ventilated and the car is equipped with ABS, electronic brake force distribution and even an electronic automatic parking brake.
Traction control, hill start assist and vehicle stability control are also part of the package. The tester also has steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters for the manual experience.
Cargo capacity is excellent with a deep 15-cubic-foot trunk and split folding rear seats which are activated from the trunk. With those seats down, the Camry’s cargo capacity is truly impressive.
Around town, the car is a joy to drive with superb sightlines and visibility and great manoeuverability. It has all-day comfort and is a car that will give driving enthusiasts and people who want comfort and luxury a car that stands out in a crowd for all the right reasons.
With this massive redesign, Toyota is sending a clear message to consumers that the sedan is alive and well. With the power, comfort and space of the Camry, this is a car for everyone. Follow albeebHerald on Twitter.
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