By on June 12, 2017

2018 Toyota Camry Canada reveal - Image: Toyota Canada

The all-new 2018 Toyota Camry’s new 2.5-liter four-cylinder base engine generates 203 horsepower in the entry-level model, 206 horsepower in the 2018 Camry XSE.

This means the eighth-generation Camry offers the most standard horsepower of any car in America’s midsize segment, at least for the time being.

We know not yet what the 2018 Honda Accord will bring. Honda released some engine details last Friday, including information that reveals the death of the Accord’s V6 and future reliance on the 1.5-liter turbo from the Civic and CR-V — as well as the 2.0-liter turbo from the Civic Type R. But we don’t know how much power Honda, notoriously not a participant in any horsepower war, will allow the Accord’s basic 1.5T to produce.

Meanwhile, the Camry’s upgrade engine continues to be a 3.5-liter V6, and Toyota’s gone and done the right thing with that powerplant, too. Moar powah.

For 2018, the Camry’s 2.5-liter inline-four base motor is a direct-injection unit that produces peak power at a lofty 6,600 rpm. Torque peaks at 186 lb-ft at 5,000 rpm in the XSE; or at 184 lb-ft in lesser trims. Fuel economy figures are embargoed until June 21.

As for the 2018 Camry’s 301-horsepower 3.5-liter V6, only the Ford Fusion Sport’s 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 (325 horsepower) produces more power in America’s midsize category.

Again, the upcoming Honda Accord’s 2.0T produces 306 horsepower in the Civic Type R, but it remains to be seen whether Honda will allow the Accord to punch that hard.

Both of the 2018 Camry’s engines will be linked to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The Camry Hybrid will continue to send power to the front wheels via a continuously variable transmission.

As for the 2018 Camry’s rivals, the entry-level four-cylinder engines in the 2017 editions of Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Mazda 6, Nissan Altima, Subaru Legacy, and Volkswagen Passat range between 160 and 185 horsepower, averaging 177.

Upgrades in the Malibu, Fusion, Accord, Sonata, Optima, Altima, Legacy, and Passat — turbocharged four-cylinders and sixes in the Accord, Altima, Legacy, and Passat — range from 245 to 280, averaging 259 horsepower.

The 2017 Toyota Camry’s 2.5-liter four-cylinder produced 178 horsepower; the V6 268.

2018 Toyota Camry XSE rear - Image: toyota

Horsepower is by no means the only upgrade that will affect performance, or the feeling thereof. Riding on a new TNGA platform, the Camry’s occupants will also sit substantially lower.

The 2018 Toyota Camry, America’s best-selling car in 15 consecutive years, arrives at a time when Americans are turning away from passenger cars, and midsize sedans in particular. Toyota is attempting to counteract the drift by making the Camry even more obviously a car.

More power in a lower four-door body? That’s certainly no RAV4.

[Image: Toyota]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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79 Comments on “The 2018 Toyota Camry Has the Most Standard Horsepower in America’s Midsize Sedan Segment – for Now...”


  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    No wonder, it’s trying to outrun its own face.

    You didn’t tell us how much the V6 will make.

    Quad tips? Really?

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I am strangely attracted to this…

    Now I want to see Car & Driver do their “Lighting Lap” with highest available HP family sedans. Eff the supercars.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Long live V6 Camry.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      Hat tip to them for offering it after the Accord V6 dies. Pity Honda doesn’t have an *Avalon competitor* to keep the V6 alive in Honda sedans.

      • 0 avatar
        cblais

        The tlx? Now with an actually different engine then the accord.

        Honestly for the Camry it’s going to be the transmissions making the big difference. Look at how much faster the roughly same powered I4 Accord is then the Camry today thanks to the cvt vrs the old (if smooth) 6 speed. Plus probably much better fuel economy.

        • 0 avatar
          Corey Lewis

          I think the TLX is a bit too small to compete, and not comfort oriented.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          I liked the Camry’s 6spd, they had it dialed in fairly well. I’m a fan of the CVT in for this type of car, but one thing they do poorly is launch from a stop–the Camry is actually a bit quicker to 30 than the Accord. Perhaps the CVTs have a higher minimum ratio than the geared autos, because the first second or so from a stop is a tad sluggish. Curious to see how the 8 speed does.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            8 speed debuted in the Highlander for the 2017 refresh. The biggest criticism I’ve heard of Toyota transmissions is a tendency to “hunt” for the correct gear.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Agreed, the 2.5+6A pairing in the Camry was very well-tuned and cohesive. With the aggressive torque converter lockup (which arguably can negatively affect longevity), there is a satisfying amount of torque and direct feeling response away from a stoplight. My wife’s 2.5L+6A is overall peppier and more responsive than the 3.0L V6+4spd in my departed ES300, while getting at least 7mpg better in mixed driving. The ES had a very refined and butter-smooth way of accelerating and going down the road however, and the transmission at 21 years and 209k miles showed no signs of ill health. On these 2012+ 6A Camries, there was some concern and even a TSB affecting the TC lockup and how it might adversely affect longevity.

  • avatar
    hamish42

    I live in a big city, Toronto, which is crammed with cars like the Camry. The thing is, when you live like this you spend 98% of your time in bumper to bumper on our ridiculous free ways or one-ways downtown. 50 mph once per day on the commute to work is an achievement. You get a chance to use power about once a month, when you head north to the cottage for a day. So the whole power race is nice, and it’s interesting but to almost everyone in this huge city it is meaningless. Nice to know, no chance to use. It doesn’t move me to buy one – my Civic handles the conditions just fine. Except the audio sucks.

  • avatar
    JimC2

    Some people who buy these will still insist on ambling down the freeway onramps and tapping their brakes while “merging” with the traffic moving 20mph faster than them…

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      My then soon-to-be wife and I drove her Pontiac Vibe across country for her to meet my family. I-40 through OK I passed so many 3 series BMWs being driven like they were on ice.

      Yes there will be many of the blue hair crowd babying these high hp beasts along on their way to Denny’s.

      But at least those of us in the know will be able to think of a reason that we might find a Camry interesting.

  • avatar
    Fighter835

    Aside from the front it’s really not a bad looking design, kudos Toyota for keeping the V6. Not a bad daily at all if you’re looking for V6 power in a practical, reliable sedan.

  • avatar
    SoCalMikester

    staying the course. less polarizing than the current honda designs. i like toyotas design language.

    now is this seating going to be back to “on the floor” style? if so, theyre going to lose sales to people that arent as flexible anymore.

    if its going to be lower but still upright with a moderate hip point, itll do just fine.

    • 0 avatar
      bhtooefr

      My guess is that they’re realizing that that market is shifting to the RAV4 anyway, so they need to pivot to pushing the Camry as a sport sedan, for it to survive.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Actually really looking forward to this. We’ll see if they continue with interior quality improvement trajectory from the pits of the ’07-’11 cars, somewhat improved but still pretty bad in the ’12-’14s, finally tolerable for the ’15 refresh. Also curious to see what the new platform looks like underneath. The old K platform, for how old it is, is fantastically laid out. Big trunk, lots of rear seat space with big doors. Sturdy and corrosion resistant underbody with big fat longerons running most of the length of the car that can easily be used as jacking points, as well as having central jack points on the front and rear of the car. Mac-strut front end and Toyota’s very long lived and smooth riding multi-link rear (more or less the same from the ’92 cars right through the last K-platform cars). If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      We were musing the other day:

      True/False – The best Golden Era 1996 Camry is the 1999 Avalon.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        First-gen ES300. ’99 Avalon’s not bad, but necessarily had to sell in a lower price bracket than the ES.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Hmm yeah I prefer the first few years of the gen 1 Avalon, pre-refresh with the more classically 1990s-Japanese taillights and front optics. All Kentucky-made goodness with an available bench+column shifter. If we’re broadening the definition to include platform-mates, then I’d argue the ’92-’96 ES300 is the best Golden Age Camry: twin projector lights (fantastic lighting at night even by modern standards), extra insulation (countered at this age by slightly leaky/noisy seals around the frameless windows). Avalon’s extra space is nice though, and I’d love to try driving one with the column shift.

        • 0 avatar
          Corey Lewis

          You make good points about those lights, which I forgot. But the frameless windows to me are a big negative, for the aforementioned air leakage. We were just discussing a good, cheap used sedan buy from around that period, since the Avalon has three additional years after that Camry got revised.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Yeah the Avalons through ’04 are a really nice choice. They’re easy to find with higher miles (150k or so) but very complete service history. Excellent value for the service one can expect to get out of one (to 200k+ and beyond).

          • 0 avatar
            bumpy ii

            Just have to look out for the sludge monster.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      I highly approve of this perspective, I think you should go smack the sh*t out of the Car and Driver staff who seem to have no clue about what makes a decent automobile.

      They’ll dislike this Camry too since it still doesn’t carry the correct Japanese brand on the grill.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        I’m always impressed when I poke around a Camry (or Camry based vehicle). My ’96 ES300 still had almost spotless subframes and body rot was strictly isolated to the very corners/lips of the rear fenders, nothing structural whatsoever (this was parked in a heated garage for 18 years while serving year round commuter duty, worst case scenario for salty climates IMO). All of the bushings in the suspension were basically like new with very little signs of cracking or looseness. Looked at a coworker’s ’07 recently with 138k miles, basically the same story as the Lexus (a lot of similar/reused designs between XV10/20 and XV30 “K”). The damn things wear like iron. The ’07 actually had a bit more of what looked like dry rotting on the lower control arm bushings, but they were still plenty safe and functional, car rode great (soft, admittedly). Between how easy they are to work on, and the wide availability of US-based suppliers providing affordable and quality replacement parts, it’s a DIY-er’s dream. OEM parts are definitely priced high. The very same $350+ OEM rear hub assy (includes ABS/speed sensor) made by Aisin in Seymour Indiana can be found for $130 packaged in a Timken box. Same for front wheel bearings. My brother and I misdiagnosed initially before we did the rear, wife hit a curb with the right rear wheel but it was a very faint bearing noise. Anyhow I was able to buy a nice OEM-supplier Koyo front bearing in a Timken box for $30 on Amazon. When your car is made of 80% US-made components, finding those components in the aftermarket at good prices is a lot easier.

  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

    The design is a hot mess, with the exception of C A M R Y across the back like 1994.

  • avatar
    deanst

    It’ll be interesting to see the mpg on these things – likely near the top, if not best in class. Add in highest power and best reliability, more market share is likely – despite the hideous face.

  • avatar
    2drsedanman

    If they road test the Camry with the V6/auto combination against the Accord 2.0/6-speed manual, it will read like a 1967 Motor Trend:

    “Big block torque versus high winding small block! Which delivers the best performance?”

  • avatar
    TwoBelugas

    I can’t be the only one that wouldn’t mind the return of the XV30 design with the newer engines.

  • avatar
    pmirp1

    I predict the new Camry to be a runaway success. It looks sexier inside and out (sure not saying much but really looks better design wise and interior looks). And engines are perfect for America. Double wishbone suspension. No CVT transmission(you hear that Honda?). Lower and wider. V6 and V4 naturally aspirated engines (Camry spits in the face of GM, Ford, Honda, Koreans).
    It is as though every other car company agreed to give the crown to King Camry. Still the Leader of mid-size sedans, in reliability, performance, quality, and being American. Well done Toyota.

  • avatar
    Featherston

    Not surprising but worth noting is that it looks like the 2.5 is getting D-4S dual injection, not just direct injection.

    https://youtu.be/cWHq-Qr903g?t=99

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      This is very interesting. The fact that Toyota felt the need to include those port injectors kind of supports some suspicions I was having about how well the pure-DI systems are managing carbon buildup on intake valves from PCV blow-by and combustion residue in general.

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        I think that you and I are two of the resident paranoids about DI-only. Not that carbon build-up is going to leave you stranded, but the extra expense and inconvenience of de-carboning is something I’d prefer to avoid if given a choice. Audi, I believe is starting to roll out dual injection in Europe but not in North America yet. I can’t remember which engines have it/are getting it, but Ford is moving to in with the next-gen EcoBoost.

        I think the port injection helps with emissions too; it’s not just a valve cleanser.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          Interesting. I knew that Toyota designed a dual injection system for the FR-S and in Toyota’s fairly conservative nature is being slow to adopt DI in general.

          That will be something to watch. Especially for those of us looking to buy a new vehicle in the next few years.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Toyota has used dual injection in the Lexus RWD V6s for a while. They’re just letting the 90% have it now.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I believe Lexus/Toyota utilized DI and mulitport simultaneously.

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        @ bumpy ii and 28 – Yep, with only a couple of exceptions Toyota/Lexus has had dual-injection RWD V6s and port-only-injected FWD V6s for a few years now. So for example, aside from the obvious difference in orientation, the ES 350 and the GS 350 have V6s that are very similar yet have different injection systems. Kind of kooky in this era of extreme powertrain standardization.

        One of their few DI-only engines, the little 2.5 V6 in the IS 250 (the 4GR-FSE) apparently is prone to carbon buildup. From maintenance standpoint, I’m guessing the dual-injected I4 turbo in the IS 200t is a step forward. (I’m a sometime-borrower of an NX 200t, and I think the 2.0t is a good engine, even if it lacks the 3.5 V6’s wonderful smoothness.)

  • avatar
    DearS

    Loving it.

  • avatar
    Higheriq

    Most horsepower? So it is a turd with more polish – but it’s still a boring turd.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    I gotta say I am liking the looks and engine options in this new Camry. I will have to give it a try when the time comes. I think they are generally decent cars but on test drives in the past have been underwhelmed with performance and interior materials. We will see.

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    Wow, 200 whole horsepower. It’s competitive, but not exactly impressive.

    The torque peak at 5,000 rpm is a solid 500-1,300 rpm later than the NA competition. The torque value of ~185 ft-lbs isn’t exactly impressive, either.

    How will it be geared and how much will the car weigh?

    I would guess the Accord’s new 1.5T will have no more hp/tq than the Si, maybe even a little detuned from the Si.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      Just looking at this a different way, but I wouldn’t get too hung up on that 5,000rpm stat. Torque curves are much, much flatter now than in cars from the 1980s and 1990s. The big blocks of yesteryear had their peak torque at 2,000rpm or even lower because their breathing was awful.

      Toyotas nowadays usually have two wide humps on their torque curve with their version of variable valve timing. I’d say there’s a good chance that this engine also has another peak of about 180 somewhere in the 3500~ish range.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      I’ll bet the new Accord 1.5T will still outrun the new Camry 2.5

  • avatar
    turbo_awd

    Gotta admit – if there’s a “sport” edition out there with snappy manumatic mode and LSD (I can always replace the suspension), this is probably good enough for 99.5% of my driving..

  • avatar
    slap

    This new Camry usurps the Pontiac Aztek as ugliest vehicle.

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    If only Mazda would just give in and accept this V6 and automatic combo from Toyota and place it in the Mazda 6 and CX9…..the world would be a better place. Just keep the price in check and boooom.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    I have a feeling that this car will do quite well, not so much based on Toyota’s improvements, but because everyone else is using the same recipe. Small 4 cylinders, maybe with a turbo strapped on. Who would have thought Toyota would be the one moving in a different direction?

    But I suspect this will do well for the reason that these engine and trans choices are probably going to drive better, last longer, get the job done, and I bet will have better real-world economy than everyone else running turbo 4s. Maybe people won’t notice, but for those shopping upgrade engine choices, the smooth V6 I think is going to be noticeable when comparing to those turbo 4s as well. It is simply going to feel more premium.

    It is too bad Honda is dropping the V6. As a Honda fan for a long time, it pains me to see that I feel like Toyota is actually doing things better.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    25 more ponies and an 8A are the kind of legs that make me overlook a challenging nose. Paging Jack Baruth to an updated SE track test.

  • avatar
    otaku

    Wish I could’ve had the chance to observe whether this slightly more powerful and efficient 2.5L/8-spd auto powertrain would’ve enhanced the overall performance of the recently departed Scion TC.

  • avatar
    VTECV6NYC

    They’ve definitely got my attention by keeping the V6. If it drives and handles better than the Camrys of yore, I’ll be back @ Toyota for lack of a mainstream V6 option @ Honda.

  • avatar
    Offbeat Oddity

    Having the car sit lower lower to the ground wasn’t a good idea, especially in the CUV craze, but otherwise the car looks like a winner.

  • avatar
    zip89123

    Um, the Ford Fusion has the most standard horsepower in America’s mid-size segment. The Fusion honorable mention buried in the article tells the reader that the headline isn’t the truth.
    If the headline was edited to say the Camry has the most standard base horsepower then folks could read TTAC.

  • avatar
    pmirp1

    Jack Baruth should replace his rusted Accord with a new V6 Camry. But he won’t admit king Camry is the new superior entry in the class, until he buys one, at which point his two generations ago Corvette becomes the best buy in America.

  • avatar
    maxxcool7421

    WHAT THE HELL DID THEY DO TO THE FRONT END !? ACURA+CAMARY+CORROLLA+IS 350??

  • avatar
    Noble713

    I really like the styling of the new Camry. I think it’s the sexiest FWD commuter vehicle on the market, with the Honda Civic Si a close second. I’ve told my main chick it should be her next car….but I wouldn’t want to buy one brand new here anytime soon. The Camry is expensive in JDM-land; about a $6,000 price premium compared to stateside, IIRC…

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    I could hardly care less about “most standard horsepower” as long as the existing horsepower can move the car effectively. You’d be surprised at how well 200 horses will do with a 3500# car, especially if it’s reasonably aerodynamic.

    On the other hand, the look of the car is important to me, as well as its reliability. And while Toyota’s reliability is semi-legendary, the looks simply don’t appeal. I admit, though, that I saw an image of a Camry (supposedly) with a waterfall-like grill in place of that nearly-flat-black and it reminded vaguely of some of the ’30s and ’40s vintage cars and actually caused me to take a second look (but only a second, nothing in depth.)


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