That Powerful New Four-Cylinder 2018 Toyota Camry? It's Not That Quick

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
that powerful new four cylinder 2018 toyota camry it s not em that em quick

Your excitement knows just cause. Upon reporting that the 2018 Toyota Camry would feature the American midsize segment’s most powerful base engine, the masses descended. We could see the hair standing up on the back of your neck through the series of tubes that is the internet.

In the 2018 Toyota Camry L, LE, SE, and XLE trims, the Camry’s new 2.5-liter four-cylinder produces 203 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, at 6,600 and 5,000 rpm, respectively. In the 2018 Toyota Camry XSE, however, the Dynamic Force 2.5-liter produces — wait for it — 206 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque, gains of three ponies and two lb-ft.

So what do those major power gains, up from 178 horses and 170 lb-ft in the 2017 Camry, get the owner of the new 2018 Toyota Camry?

Fuel economy, that’s what.

In a 0-60 mph test of the new 2018 Camry in 203-horsepower SE trim, the 25-horsepower increase netted a decrease of one-tenth of a second. The four-cylinder Camry, despite offering only seven fewer bhp than my in-laws’ famed 2004 Camry V6, did not become a quick car. Car And Driver says nought to highway speed takes 7.9 seconds, more than half-a-second off the pace of that still-vibrant 2004 Camry we’ve reviewed here before. (Specs say the 2018 Camry 2.5 SE weighs 40 pounds more than the equivalent 2017.)

More importantly, Car And Driver says the 50-70 mph test, the test that reflects the kind of power usage you require in real life, is four-tenths of a second worse in the 2018 Camry than in the 2017 Camry, dropping to 6.0 seconds because of what C/D says calls a “slow-to-downshift” eight-speed automatic. That’s substantially more sluggish than the Mazda 6.

What’s the big deal? To be honest, there isn’t one. When it comes to four-cylinder expectations, the 2018 Camry won’t prove underwhelming. Better yet, C/D’s fuel economy testing revealed a four-cylinder 2018 Camry SE that achieved 45 miles per gallon on a 75-mph highway test and matched the EPA’s 32-mpg combined rating over the course of nearly 1,200 miles.

Camry customers, of which there are bijillions, won’t mind the fact that all of that extra horsepower doesn’t make the new Camry any quicker (or slower). But they’ll be thrilled by the fact that the car is sufficiently powerful and stunningly efficient.

[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 and Instagram.

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  • Panther Platform Panther Platform on Sep 22, 2017

    As a near 60 year old who drove Malaise Era vehicles such as an 81 Mercury Cougar, a 78 Mercury Monarch, and an early Ford Escort it is mindboggling to me how powerful (and efficient) cars are now. I have fond memories of me flooring my "Cougar" before a base of a mountain (or really any steep incline) to get as much momentum as possible before the car ran out of steam. I would then need to shift down as the car almost came to a dead stop as it limped forward. Back then this Camery would have seemed like the child of a Ferrari and a rocket ship.

  • HotPotato HotPotato on Sep 30, 2017

    I can't believe I'm saying this in a year that is not 1992, but these new Camrys are impressive. Sportier styling and ampler power than you'd expect in a Toyota, and even more fuel economy than you'd expect in a Toyota. The hybrid is especially impressive, and may qualify as the first Toyota I've ever actually kinda wanted.

  • ToolGuy The dealer knows best. 🙂
  • ToolGuy Cool.
  • ToolGuy This truck is the perfect size, and the fuel economy is very impressive.-This post sponsored by ExxonMobil
  • ToolGuy If I were Jeep, I would offer a version with better NVH and charge more for it.And then I would offer a version with worse NVH, and charge more for it. (There is an audience for both.)
  • Szi65724742 Not saying dude's not a douche, but Google Maps doesn't show a stop sign at any of the three Walmarts dumping onto 60 - there's a stop-line at best. And while you nerd-rage at a random dude in a truck, a similar thing happens ALL. THE. TIME here - get Prius'd and Tesla'd every single day. I got hit while stopped at a stoplight. 7:30am, sunny morning, clear, straight sightlines for a couple miles. Was a loaded down work van. I don't rage and yell to get those off the streets. Blame the drivers, not the vehicles.