The 2018 Toyota Camry Has the Most Standard Horsepower in America's Midsize Sedan Segment - for Now

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
the 2018 toyota camry has the most standard horsepower in americas midsize sedan

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.

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 and the founder and former editor of Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

Join the conversation
2 of 80 comments
  • Vulpine Vulpine on Jun 21, 2017

    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.)

  • Nomad Man Nomad Man on Nov 16, 2017

    I just got done renting a 2018 Camry LE with the 2.5/ 8 speed. I'm no fan of Toyota's generally speaking, though i also have no problem with them either. I was so impressed with the drive train in this car, that I had to take pictures of the engine and emissions tag under the hood so that i could look up what the horsepower was rated at. Don't get me wrong, it's doesn't go like the supercharged LS 1 like in my Vette, or any of my other hot rods for that matter, but it was a very impressive surge of power when you gassed it for a naturally aspirated 4 cylinder. It also pulled down excellent mileage, averaging about 35 MPG, at mostly highway speeds of 75 to 80 in Georgia on I 75, with occasional back road excursions of about 100 miles or so, of the 463 miles we put on the car. We used about 12 to 13 gallons during that time, going by the rental companies estimate. We returned the car with a 1/4 reading on the gas gauge of a 16 gallon tank. In general, I found the car to be a pleasant driving experience, with very good to excellent handling, (though I really didn't push it that hard in the corners, since it wasn't mine), a nice ride, and a quiet cabin. I found the radar cruise control completely annoying, and the lane departure warning even more so, (so I shut it off), but otherwise I would consider buying this car just as it was equipped, and I am usually "that" guy that has to have the biggest engine.

  • SCE to AUX The solid state battery is vaporware.As for software-limited pack capacity: Batteries are obviously the most expensive component of an EV, so on the rare occasion that pack capacity is dramatically limited (as in your 6-year-old example), it's because economies of scale briefly made sense at the time.Mfrs are not in the habit of overbuilding pack capacity just for fun, and then charging the customer less.Since then, pack capacities have been slightly increased via software because the mfr decides they can sacrifice a little bit of the normal safety/wear margin in the interest of range. We're talking single-digit percentages, not the 60/75 kWh jump in your example.Every pack has maybe 10% margin built into it, so eating into that today (via range increases) means it's not available to make up for battery degradation tomorrow. My 4-year-old EV still has its original range(s) and 100% SOH, but that's surely because it is slowly consuming the margin built into the pack.@Matt Posky: Not everything is a conspiracy to get your credit card account, and the lengthy editorial about this has nothing to do with solid state batteries.
  • JLGOLDEN In order for this total newcomer to grab and hold attention in the US market, the products MUST be an exceptional value. Not many people will pay name-brand money for the pretty mystery. I can appreciate the ambition of selling $50K+ crossovers, but I think they will go farther with their $30K-$40K offerings.
  • Dukeisduke They're where Tesla was when it started - a complete unknown. I haven't heard anything about a dealer network. How are they going to sell these? Direct like Tesla? Franchises picked up by existing new car dealers?
  • Master Baiter As I approach retirement, and watch my IRA and 401K account balances dwindle, I have less and less interest in $150K vehicles.
  • Azfelix With a name that sounds like a bad Google translation, problems appear to permeate every aspect of the company. I suggest a more aggressive advertising campaign during The Super Terrific Happy Hour show to turn things around.