Words: Calvin Chan
Published: January 10, 2017
Little do people know that the Camry was Canada's best selling car in its segment for the past two years, so it’s hard to blame Toyota for taking a careful and strategic approach into redesigning the most important vehicle in their lineup. But here it is, the eight-generation Camry refreshed and revitalized at the 2017 North American International Auto Show with new engines, a modernized interior, and surprisingly good looks.
Offered as a 2018 model year, the new Camry is no longer “just” a Camry – Toyota designers seemed to have stolen some emotion and expressive appeal from their luxury brother Lexus and offered an invigorating new take on their bread and butter sedan. Up front it’s got the shadow of a spindle grill and the Y-shaped rear lights are clearly inspired by Lexus too.
The silhouette has also been transformed into a sleeker coupe-like image – quite a feat that the designers were able to lower the overall vehicle height without sacrificing interior space. This pushes the new Camry into the modern age, as the outgoing model was aging faster than a banana at room temperature. The new Camry is a breath of fresh air from its traditionally conservative designs.
Everything else is also new – the engine, transmission, suspension, safety technology, and platform. There are three engines to choose from: a 2.5-litre naturally aspirated four-cylinder and a new 3.5-litre V6 – both mated to an 8-speed automatic – and a next generation hybrid system that pairs the four-cylinder with a battery pack and CVT to maximize the car’s efficiency. Of note, the battery pack has also been moved from the trunk to below the rear seat to free up some storage space and lower the car’s center of gravity for better handling.
Toyota engineers were keen on offering a sporty driving experience with the new Camry, and have focused on stiffening up the platform with rigid materials, retuning the suspension with a new double wishbone setup, and to reduce noise, vibration, and harshness with a four-point engine mounting system.
The Camry will be available in five trims: L, LE, XLE, SE, and XSE, the latter two being the sportier variants with different body styling, 19-inch wheels, rear spoiler, and more aggressive bumpers. Regardless of trim, all Camrys come standard with Toyota Safety Sense, a combination of safety features like a Rear View Camera, Pre-Collision System, Lane Departure Alert, and Automatic High Beams. Only certain models will come with standard Blind Spot Monitors and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
Will the Camry’s sharp new looks, improved driving dynamics, and suite of technology keep this mid-size sedan on top of the hill? You won’t have to wait long to find out, as the 2018 Toyota Camry will arrive in dealers summer of 2017.