By on April 10, 2018

Image: Steph Willems/TTAC

2018 Toyota Camry SE Hybrid

2.5-liter inline-four, DOHC (176 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm; 163 lb-ft @ 5,200 rpm)

Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motor (118 horsepower; 149 lb-ft)

Combined system horsepower: 208

Continuously variable automatic, front-wheel drive

44 city / 47 highway / 46 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

5.3 city / 5.0 highway / 5.1 combined (NRCan Rating, L/100km)

36.8 mpg [6.4 L/100 km] (Observed)

Base Price: $30,395 (U.S) / $35,832.50 (Canada)

As Tested: $32,975 (U.S.) / $35,832.50 (Canada)

Prices include $895 delivery charge in the United States and $1,842.50 for destination, A/C tax, and environmental fees in Canada.

“When the mind houses two personalities, there’s always a conflict. A battle.”

So says the psychiatrist in the third-last scene of Psycho in an attempt to explain the curious behaviour of an odd motel proprietor. It’s an age-old internal conflict depicted time and again in novels and film — Norman and Mother, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Golyadkin Sr. and Golyadkin Jr. in Dostoevsky’s The Double, that Black Swan girl — and it’s perfectly embodied by the sportier of the “green” Toyota Camrys.

In SE Hybrid guise, America’s best-selling midsize sedan tries to be two things. At its core, it’s a competent, mature sedan, endowed with all the attributes needed to make it a first pick among car buyers. But it’s also conflicted, pressured to be something it’s not.

If these past stories tell us anything, it’s that the dominant personality always wins.

The Camry SE Hybrid dons the clothing of the standard Camry SE, and it’s not a wardrobe that dazzled me during the model’s launch. Instead of the wide, uninterrupted whale’s mouth grille seen on non-SE Camrys, this trim delivers a front fascia that’s the dictionary definition of complex. Busy, festooned with plastics of contrasting colors, meshes of different patterns. Gaping faux air intakes gulp nothing, but look sporty doing it.

Since its debut (where Toyota seemed to love showing the SE off in unfortunate white paint), I’ve called it the Scream mask grille. Take my word for it — the darker the paint, the better.

Image: Steph Willems/TTAC

The SE Hybrid’s grille, like that of the SE and XSE, is part of a makeover that includes a rear lip spoiler, side sills (for that lowered look), attractive 18-inch wheels, and egregious phoney vents cut into the rear bumper. Poke your finger in there and you’ll find a flimsy piece of gray plastic that feels like it could come loose any day. That superficial sportiness carries over to the lower bumper, where twin exhaust tips emerge from the agressively molded plastic — but only on one side.

But inside? Inside, this Camry is exactly what you’d expect of a Camry. Only the existence of discrete paddle shifters and a “sport” button to the rear of the shift lever gives any pretense of athleticism or scrappiness, and it’s not like you can’t find those features in any number of family sedans. It’s simply a comfortable place to spend a great deal of time. Larger Toyotas always seem to get the front seats just right, and this car didn’t fail that tradition. Hell, I’d wear pants made of SofTex if I could.

Image: Steph Willems/TTAC

While the cabin of this tester does its best to look mildly upscale, adorning the dash with textured metal trim shining from a sea of soft-touch black, look closely — especially at the lower door panels — and you’ll spot evidence of “affordability.” Outside, I noticed a rough gap with missing paint between the rocker and rear passenger-side wheel arch. If such factory imperfections existed on my (descended from Heaven) ’94 model, I never noticed.

Where the Camry SE Hybrid’s internal battle becomes clear is behind the wheel. While snugly nestled in the tester’s vastly comfortable driver’s chair, any attempt at sporty driving quickly falls victim to the car’s inherent persona — a sedate, mild-mannered nature that attempts to lull an aggressive driver into calm tranquility at literally every turn. This is a Camry first, a hybrid second, and nothing else third.

Image: Steph Willems/TTAC

Sure, you can switch into sport mode, call up those phoney gear ratios on the continuously variable automatic and downshift to your heart’s content heading into a tight turn, but this Camry only grudgingly obliges. Are you sure you want to do that? it asks. Fine, if you must. Without a traditional tach staring you in the face and with just 208 combined horsepower (and 163 lb-ft of torque) from the 2.5-liter four-cylinder/electric motor combo doing the pulling, there’s little point in trying to hustle. It gets around just fine, but quick launches under heavy throttle meet with lag from the CVT. Passing power is adequate; it’s better when “sport” mode inflates the revs, but you’ll have to fumble for that button first. The steering is nicely weighted but somewhat lacking in feedback. Navigating the infotainment system? A straightforward affair.

Never is there much drama, which is a Camry strong suit.

And it’s a hybrid, for God’s sake, so why would you want drama? Next to that sport button are others labelled “Normal,” “Eco,” and “EV mode” (the latter of which is pointless). Get the V6-powered XSE if a ballsier Camry fills your dreams. No, this one is for flashy looks and sedate — yet confident — motoring.

Image: Steph Willems/TTAC

On the generously frost-heaved and broken asphalt surrounding this northern burg, the SE Hybrid’s suspension is exactly how you’d want it. While only slightly on the stiffer side around town, the car’s legs flexed athletically while traversing the rough stuff at speed, never bottoming out or bouncing the Camry onto the shoulder, but not shaking loose any fillings, either. However, get too exuberant, and this so-called sport edition quickly implores you to put a stop to all this nonsense, young man. Again, it’s a Camry. Effortless driving and excellent ride quality rule the day, but if you’re looking for sport DNA, the turbos and stick shifts are over that backwards-hatted Honda crowd.

It’s too bad the below-seasonal March temps and soft snow tires kiboshed a perfect-conditions test of this hybrid’s green potential. It took a pretty feathery right foot to keep the car in all-electric mode during gentle acceleration, and a week of mixed, fairly placid driving (the car’s default mode) returned a combined 36.8 miles per gallon. The EPA rates this model at 46 mpg combined. In contrast, a V6-powered Toyota Highlander Hybrid I drove last summer returned 35 mpg combined.

Image: Steph Willems/TTAC

Should a buyer choose looks over Mother Earth, the basic SE — rated at 32 mpg combined — keeps an extra $4,300 (USD) in the buyer’s bank account, but don’t expect the same level of content. Toyota knows it takes more than ecological sensitivity to lure buyers up the price ladder, and value remains a time-honored motivator. So, the Camry’s hybrid line packs on the optional features available in lower-rung trims.

For the mid-pack SE Hybrid, this means standard dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, full-speed adaptive cruise, smart key entry and push-button ignition, and electronic parking brake. Take note that Canucks don’t see the same differences as their American counterparts. Up here, Camry SE buyers make do with 17-inch wheels, so going green really does improve the car’s looks. The Canadian SE Hybrid brings the features enjoyed by U.S. buyers (via a $2,900 convenience package) and adds upgraded Entune audio, an 8-inch touchscreen, and a moonroof for good measure.

As one of the most diverse sedan models in the business, there’s little mystery why this perennial frontrunner remains at the head of the midsize pack. Toyota hasn’t forgotten what works. If buyers truly cared about driving dynamics and unassailably sexy sheetmetal above all else, you’d see a hell of a lot more Mazda 6s on the road.

For Toyota, it’s a good thing the dominant personality wins.

[Images: ©2018 Steph Willems/The Truth About Cars]

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88 Comments on “2018 Toyota Camry SE Hybrid – Acknowledge Your True Nature...”


  • avatar
    DEVILLE88

    GEEZ THAT THING IS UGLY!!!

    • 0 avatar
      Da Coyote

      Thanks, Thought I was the only one that avoids Toyotas and Lexi due to their beyond measurable fugliness. I think that their cars are of the highest quality, putting the Germans to shame. However, as much as I’d like and can afford a Lexus/Toyota, nope, no sale.

      Hopefully, perhaps in the near future, Toyota will hire some stylists.

      Yes, it’s just my opinion, for however little that’s worth.

    • 0 avatar
      Middle-Aged Miata Man

      The relatively tasteful side profile – and look, real windows! – makes me yearn for a version without such horribly exaggerated front and rear treatments.

    • 0 avatar
      MrIcky

      Was it ugly? I’m sorry I missed it- I fell asleep half way through the title.

    • 0 avatar
      slap

      Toyota/Lexus – They don’t just hit them with an ugly stick, they use the whole freaking forest!

    • 0 avatar
      turf3

      Well, I think that for the last few years all the manufacturers seem to have set a goal of exceeding 1958 for sheer ugliness of designs.

      If we wait long enough maybe they will get over it (in other words, the cell-phone-addled teens they have designing this crap now, will grow up and get tired of Transformers).

    • 0 avatar
      dantes_inferno

      >2018 Toyota Camry SE Hybrid – Acknowledge Your True Nature

      You mean that of an octogenarian driver???

  • avatar
    BoogerROTN

    A little OT, but I saw a new Camry XSE V6 in a parking garage this weekend with the window sticker still on it; the MSRP read $37K+. I may be as tight as a Dutchman, but that came across as truly shocking for a Camry…

  • avatar
    thegamper

    I rather liked the white Camry in original press photos. Looks good with contrasting black roof.

    In general I like this Camry. It is a little busy but if I could get a fairly loaded V6 for a good price, I’d definitely consider it.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I do like that shade of blue.

    Sounds like a freight train. Slowly build momentum and be loathe to lose it. I hate those kinds of cars on the hwy because if a semi whips out to pass another semi at a 0.05 mph differential in speed, stomping on the go pedal after it is all done is an unpleasant experience.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      With 208hp, even with a 3500lb curb weight, I wouldn’t call this car “slow.” The gas engine should top out around 130mph and the gas + electric should have plenty of oomph between 50-90, including going up steep hills to get around the two inconsiderate contestants of the 36 wheeler snail race/rolling roadblock.

      I’m disappointed you have to get the big, goofy 18″ wheels with the SE (LE has the 16″ wheels).

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      It should have plenty of torque to move nice and fast when needed.

      (I’ve driven a slightly earlier Camry hybrid, and found it *quite* responsive if you put your foot down, especially if you turn off “Eco Mode”.

      I’m going to assume “passing power is adequate” is gearhead talk for “really, it’s just fine for every normal person and I just can’t shake my conviction that every car should secretly be an M3” or something like that.)

  • avatar
    CarnotCycle

    Grill looks like standard-issue Lexus maw tarted ‘down’ with strategically placed black plastic strip and the logo. Usually the Lexus tries to fool public about not being a Camry – but this aesthetic is other way around.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    Me thinks I’d rather up-spend to new Avalon hybrid or same spend to ‘Bu or Sonata hybrid. I’m not impressed with Accord interior quality on the new gen.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      The Avalon projects the image of “over 55 years of age” but it is better than being seen in a similar Buick product which projects the image of “over 65 years of age.”

      This Camry will have a following, but only in the well-heeled class.

      For everyone else there is the ultra-reliable, value-retaining, four-banger, gasoline-powered L, LE, XLE, SE and XSE.

      Great value for the money, especially if you can find a volume dealer interested in cranking them out to Happy Campers.

      • 0 avatar
        dantes_inferno

        >Great value for the money, especially if you can find a volume dealer interested in cranking them out to Happy Campers.

        Happy Campers – see South Park’s old drivers episode.

  • avatar
    Blackcloud_9

    ““When the mind houses two personalities, there’s always a conflict. A battle.”
    So says the psychiatrist in the third-last scene of Psycho in an attempt to explain the curious behaviour of an odd motel proprietor.”

    Played by the great character actor Simon Oakland. Also known for playing Carl Kolchak’s (Darren McGavin) boss in The Night Stalker.

    Car review? What car review?

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    … what were they *thinking* with that grille?

    Is Camry. Is not wannabe sports-car for racer kids.

  • avatar
    VW4motion

    Sorry but anyone who drives this version or any other version of a Camry has given up on life. And this new edition is not changing any stereotype. Besides, Camry drivers have to be one of the worst drivers on the road, outside of a Corolla driver.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Hmm, you’re talking about me there. That smarts a bit, so I’m trying to decide if my life would be more full or any less of a stereotype if I took your route and became The Most Interesting Man in the World by continually sniping at an auto brand and my perception of their owners online.

      I just wrapped up a unique and very memorable week aided in no small part by the other Toyota in my driveway, so the answer to that question is probably ‘NO’.

      • 0 avatar
        VW4motion

        It’s not the brand. It’s the Camry and Corolla. Seriously you must be one of a few that have not given up on life and still drive one of those two cars. The main case by most people is the car last a long time. This pretty much explains giving up on life if the only reason you drive the car is because it could last a long time. And currently the only new Camry’s on the road are rental vehicles.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          My wife doesn’t really care much about cars, and drives the crap out of her ’12 SE. As a medical resident (with little in the way of a life outside of the hospital at the moment), she’s coming up on anything but a “giving up on life” situation here shortly once she starts practicing. Why would you conflate car enthusiasm with someone that just doesn’t care about anything at all?

          Going off your username, should I start asking about what “bathhouses” you frequent, or how much you paid your indie mechanic last month?

          • 0 avatar
            VW4motion

            You seem to take things a bit to personal. And your mean spirited comments fit perfectly for the average tool that drives a Camry. When it comes to your wife. Making her drive a Camry could come back to haunt you after she is done with her “ medical residency” what ever that means. And given Camry owners usually have asexual relationships you probably already understand what I’m talking about.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            “probably already understand what I’m talking about.”

            No, I don’t. Care to enlighten us?

          • 0 avatar
            VW4motion

            gtem, one thing is for sure. The depression of driving that Camry helped motivate your wife to get through school and get a better vehicle.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            My wife cares about just a few things about her car:

            Good gas mileage, she hates dealing with pumping gas. Prime candidate for a plug-in hybrid.

            Heated seats-solved with a $10 plug-in heated seat cover from Meijer on her current car.

            Worrying about pothole damage- our downtown streets are third-world tier at the moment and it is indeed stressful to drive down there in the dark.

            Minimal other hassles in regard to reliability or any sort of issues.

            She simply prioritizes completely different things in life. She doesn’t care about cars, but we’re ponying up for a suite at the Aria in Vegas this June, as well as a trip to Spain. We also prioritize paying off her student loans (which we just paid off as of a day ago).

            But wait, she’d really be the life of the party, if only she had bought a VW!!!

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          Disliking the Camry doesn’t make someone interesting, VW, as commenters on car sites the web over have proven time and again. And stereotypes are often as dull as a corolla.

          Is a Malibu or optima owner living the high life? How about a GTI owner stuck in traffic and straight in-town roads restricted to 35mph? Or the middle aged banker lady on my street smiling placidly as she cautiously pilots her auto 4pot Accord thrill machine to another day of desk work?

          Match the tool to the job. A used XSE Camry for below book was the good one for the job occupied by the other half of the driveway. I understand the difference between it and a used G37 or 328i. I also know it’s close enough to a Passat that any additional hassle is absolutely not worth it. Mazda6 and Fusion 2.0t, though, I might have put up with some minor issues for them if I hadn’t stumbled on such a low price on the Toyota.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            People continue to buy the Camry because it spells great value for the money, coming and going.

            It doesn’t matter if people dislike the Camry, as long as it continues to sell.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            “People continue to buy the Camry because it spells great value for the money, coming and going.”

            And it’s hard to spell for some, who think it is spelled Camery, like Camero. Hehehe, I made a pun.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            JimC2, I get ribbed a lot about my Japan-built 1989 Camry V6 which I bought used.

            But I tell the ribbers, “as long as it runs, I’m gonna keep going in it.”

            Yesterday, at the local Toyota dealership waiting to take a friend home who was having her Camry serviced, one of the pocket-pool players came over to chat with me and said, “why don’t you trade your Camry and we’ll put you in something a little more modern.”

            After we chatted a while he came away with the knowledge that they don’t build the Camry like they used to, and I’m not letting go until the wheels fall off.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            A tractor mechanic that my father worked with replaced his Lincoln Continental (in the mid 90s – was the first FWD Continental) with a new Accord.

            Being in the Midwest he got lots of $hit about buying a “foreign” car. He would respond by opening the door and pointing to the “made in the USA” sticker on the door jam.

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            @highdesertcat, I laughed about everything you just said (“why don’t we put you in something more modern” and the rest of it).

            Yep. I just changed my transmission filter, 200k+ miles, changed brake fluid, power steering fluid, etc. last year. Don’t know if I’ll keep the car for another 200k but I’m not worried about the next few years. Not worried about trade-in value either.

            I’m not so much “drive it until the wheels fall off” as maintain it so the wheels stay on.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            JimC2, sometimes, when you got a good thing, you just have to keep it going.

            We’ve had excellent luck with Toyota products and this Camry is the oldest of the bunch.

            One year while we were out of the country, I had that Camry on a 2-amp automatic battery maintainer and it fired up first crank after six months on storage jacks.

            I give a lot of credit to the Interstate 24F wet-cell battery I have in there, but the Camry never asks for much, like I haven’t changed oil and filters in two years, because I put so few miles on it when we are home.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I dunno, there are plenty of rotten VW drivers around where I live.

      Come to think of it, there are plenty of rotten drivers in every make.

      But I think you knew that.

      • 0 avatar
        VW4motion

        Agreed, awful drivers for every make and model. Just the Corolla and Camry drivers take the cake. Also hilarious watching people defend a toaster.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          One could argue its even more hilarious watching a troll pretend his canned, rental-fleet grade appliance references are in any way original or indicative of an interesting life.

          VW4Motion: The beige Corolla of internet trolls.

          • 0 avatar
            VW4motion

            @30mile, Not canned when it’s the truth. Do some research before typing. Go rent a car and attempt to get a sedan that is not a camry or corolla. And why is someone’s opinion about a vehicle so damaging to you? Get over it.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            Definitely beige Corolla. The only question is whether 4 speed auto or CVT. Both are ubiquitous and boring, but which is more annoying?

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      My parents drive a dark gray ’16 Camry. I hate it’s boring appliance like nature, but that’s because i’m a “car guy”. They like (not love) it because “it rides nice and Camrys are known to be dependable”. They aren’t car people. Like over half of America they can barely tell the difference between makes and models. And much to my chagrin, my parents haven’t given up on life.

    • 0 avatar
      turf3

      Ah yes, another lonely guy who thinks his transportation choices can make him more interesting.

      Lemme let you in on a secret here:

      When you are sitting in 20 mph traffic on a congested freeway, every car around you is exactly the same. Unless you are driving something like a 1920 Maxwell, you are not a jot or tittle more interesting in your VW than the person next to you in their Camry.

      I bet you have neon colored lights around the bottom of your car, too.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        But… advertising… excitement… lifestyle!!

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        4Motion’s “gave up on life” talk is overstating things, but you’re guilty of understating it.

        They still have roads out there that aren’t 20mph gridlock and owning vehicles that I enjoy driving is a legitimately positive aspect of my life.

        It doesn’t matter to everyone, but it absolutely matters to me.

        • 0 avatar
          VW4motion

          @ajla, I honestly didn’t think “gave up on life” would hit home with so many people. Unfortunately deep down those words upset a lot of people due to some truth in the statement.
          As for driving an older one as a beater. Sure, makes sense. Buying a new Camry on the morals of that 1989 rock solid Camry. Well that is pure marketing by Toyota that has worked brilliantly on those that cannot look past the largest American flag out of all the dealers. Which is also the Toyota dealer. Marketing owns the Camry not the quality of the car.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            “Unfortunately deep down those words upset a lot of people due to some truth in the statement.”

            In the same way my bathhouse comment seemed to really ding you, eh?

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            “Unfortunately deep down those words upset a lot of people due to some truth in the statement.”

            I have no doubt there is even more truth in the statement that interesting cars do not make interesting people and that you are a case study in it. You have written nothing interesting, original, witty, observant, or insightful. Your comments are featureless clones that can be found thousands of times on other forums. You come across as a boring guy who dislikes a boring car and believes that dislike is an interesting virtue.

            Tell me that isn’t upsetting.

          • 0 avatar
            VW4motion

            gtem, I’m not exactly sure what your version of a bathhouse is so I’m to upset. Is this something you did college? Google only comes up with spa and hot springs. Which hot springs are very nice in Utah, family gathering places not weird stuff.

          • 0 avatar
            brandloyalty

            “I honestly didn’t think “gave up on life” would hit home with so many people. Unfortunately deep down those words upset a lot of people due to some truth in the statement.”

            The person who would post such a sentiment would also be the last to realize how dumb a statement it is, and how obvious that is to most others. Another bit of the personality pattern is that they always have another not-so clever quip. Eventually everyone else tires of the asinine exchange, whereby the person in question feels they have prevailed by having the last word. Just try not responding to this, VW4motion.

      • 0 avatar
        VW4motion

        That neon is added to about 50% of the lowered Camry’s around town. As for driving a VW, haven’t done that for years. Newer models are promising.

    • 0 avatar
      dantes_inferno

      >Sorry but anyone who drives this version or any other version of a Camry has given up on life.

      And Toyota provides several models of giving up on life:

      Corolla = Jr. Camry
      Camry = self-explanatory
      Avalon = Sr. Camry
      Prius = Camry shaped like an atomic egg.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I wish Toyota would sell the more natural XLE appearance with the SE suspension, which is just tuned better.

    But I’d never buy anyway. I like hybrid sedans (in a theoretical world where either I had no kids or my wife liked to drive our big vehicle), but I like Honda’s take on the segment better than Toyota’s.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Camrys used to be just boring and soul-sucking. Now they are boring, soul-sucking, AND insanely ugly. I would still rather walk than own one.

    Completely pointless. If you want economy, just get a Prius already. Otherwise, some flavor of CUV is more practical, and since neither is any fun to drive you might as well go for max CUV practicality.

    And I personally find Toyota seats to be torture devices.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Man that side shot is brutal. Reminds me of old guys in tight Under Armor and Vibrams at the gym, distended guts and all, moving little to no weight. Old Camry, even the SE’s, were better… the old guys in sweatsuits and New Balances, prompting higher and higher eyebrow raises as they warm up to rep out 275 on the bench with confidence.

    Sportiness isn’t garish fascia, aggressively named trim levels and do nothing “sport” buttons. It’s how the car drives. I think Toyota missed an opportunity here. Would have been interesting to pair the V6 with a hybrid powertrain driving the rear wheels. Instead we get this.

  • avatar
    MoparRocker74

    Only at Toyota could something be so boring yet aggressively ugly at the same time. That said, ‘sport’ and ‘camry’ shouldn’t be in the same sentence. Ever. Toyota may as well start selling dishwashers and dryers too…but then again, people might get confused as to whether they bought a washing machine or a camry.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      Use of the word “sport” in car marketing is code to associate health and vitality to mass produced industrial transportation products. Even if sitting in a car is in some ways the antithesis of healthy behavior. That it is almost universal indicates how successful this ploy is, or at least the marketing people think it is. That car enthusiasts don’t laugh the sillyness off the car landscape indicates how deeply conditioned to the game they are.

  • avatar
    Rengaw

    As much as I appreciate the quality engineering of most Japanese brands, these busy, gaudy…..trying to make a futuristic impression designs are lost on me. I am a fan of form follows function and simple clean designs ala some VW’s and such win my dollars. However, these car manufacturers know most customers attach to an image of themselves in their vehicles and the car builders play on that to an extreme. For instance, I have a friend who loves the Subaru Forester. It fits everything he desires in a vehicle and he has really enjoyed his several test drives. He was all set to buy one when someone mentioned the Forester was the preferred car of lesbians. Now he doesn’t want a Forester just because of this stigma of the vehicle. I told him….”who the hell cares what other people think of the Forester. You like it so buy it”. No, he is looking elsewhere.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      While not a VW fan, I like that they convey a brand image without making cars that look like they are crashed into each other as they come out of the factory. As for the Forester and lesbians, we really are a silly bunch, aren’t we.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    The (deserved) critique of the front end styling only applies to the SE. The LE and XLE get the full width grille, and look a bit less busy and pretentious.

  • avatar

    The quadrilateral center stack really bothers me, and I don’t like it. All very incoherent and disorganized.

    And the exterior styling means this particular generation Camry will age quite poorly, methinks. They just aren’t trying as hard as they used to with this car.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Being well-versed in the automotive world makes you more attentive to detail than the vast majority of Camry buyers.

      • 0 avatar

        Well thank you!

        Also I have an OCD attention to small details, which isn’t helping here.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          Kind of like my extreme dislike of the new, rimless electrochromic mirrors from Gentex which are finding their way into pretty much every automaker’s wares, with the exception of GM, Ford and HyundKia.

          They have an inverted trapezoidal shape which gives them a goofy, “smiley” appearance. So ever since the first time I saw one, in an Acura TLX, I cannot “un-see” a demented, goth, bucktoothed clown staring at me from the windshield post! (The new ones feel flimsy to boot, not good when you’ll knock it out of position a little each time you open your garage.)

          My next car (hoping for a 2019 or 2020 Accord Touring) will likely have one of those abominations, and I will actually spend money to get a more “conventional” one (like the one here in the Camry) installed, then take it with me from new car to new car, provided it will work with the wiring harnesses.

  • avatar
    ernest

    Somewhere, someone at Toyota is chuckling at this thread. Here’s the deal, car fans. Toyota is the ONLY manufacturer that’s figured out how to stay in the mid-size sedan segment without losing sales. Yes they did it with incentives. Yes they did it with Fleet Sales. And yes, they did it with a car that the typical non-gearhead consumer can relate to. And they offered it in enough trim levels that almost anyone could find something tolerable.

    The wife has a Camry, and I haven’t given up on life. I did give up on Germanic repair bills and Service Managers named Klaus a long time ago. The wife prizes comfort and reliability above all else- and why shouldn’t she?

    • 0 avatar
      deanst

      It’s funny how people will defend 20year old panthers, but driving a new Camry is “giving up on life”. Yes, the car makes me ill just looking at it, but as long as it last 10 years with only oil changes, the target customer will remain content.

      • 0 avatar
        dantes_inferno

        >but driving a new Camry is “giving up on life”

        When renting a car in this class, I absolutely REFUSE to drive the Camry. I would gladly take a Nissan Altima, or Hyundai Sonata (not exactly my top choices) just to avoid the appearance (and stigma) of driving a Camry.

        “A man’s got to know his limitations…”
        – Dirty Harry Callahan

  • avatar
    deanst

    “Next to that sport button are others labelled “Normal,” “Eco,” and “EV mode” (the latter of which is pointless).”

    Today’s grammar lesson: latter is used with 2 alternatives. An alternative is “the last of which is pointless”.

    • 0 avatar
      JimC2

      Heheh, grammar aside, I can see the EV mode being useful for:

      – I just want to move to a different parking spot and I don’t need the gas engine for that.

      – Teenagers busting curfew and the trusting parents are fast asleep.

      • 0 avatar
        brandloyalty

        The ev mode on a hybrid like this should not be considered a driving mode as it would be on a plug-in hybrid. It is not a means to save gas in the sense of using electricity instead of gas. Every bit of motive energy a regular hybrid has, sooner or later, came from burning gas.

        In fact, in general forcing a regular hybrid to be in ev mode more than the car is programmed for, wastes energy and therefore gas, through additional conversion losses.

        Ev mode on regular hybrids is useful because at times of low power demands and low speeds, it allows the car to move with the gas engine shut off instead of operating continuously at an inefficient low rpm.

        Interestingly ev mode on regular hybrids allows slow ev mode driving for a mile or two if you run out of gas. Like having a backup motor.

        Contrary to the article, having buttons to hold charge in a hybrid battery, or discharge it, can be useful for those living in areas with large hills. You can anticipate and create capacity in the battery to accept regen farther down a long descent, for instance.

        Since I started looking for the tiny badge on the back of Camrys that are hybrids, I’ve been surprised at how many of them there are. Anyone know what the proportion is?

    • 0 avatar
      dantes_inferno

      >“Next to that sport button are others labelled “Normal,” “Eco,” and “EV mode” (the latter of which is pointless).”

      Rumor has it that Toyota plans to add a “geriatric” button in future models.

  • avatar
    fincar1

    I’m pretty sure that the grille on this car is set up to look as much as possible like those that are painted on the Toyota Monster Energy Cup cars.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      The whole car is taking on the shape of NASCAR Toyotas. Makes sense in terms of streamlining and therefore mileage. How long can rear fender skirts be resisted?

  • avatar
    CombiCoupe99

    This is the epitome of Toyota’s “Garish” design language. I think it is meant to offend.

  • avatar
    JohnH

    Those rear bumper vents are horrible! On white cars I see around town they really look wrong. The versions that don’t have them are fine.

    • 0 avatar
      markmeup

      yes, they really are horrible, something that should only happen on a Matchbox toy. i think i may dislike them even more than Cadillac’s crying headlamp designs.

  • avatar
    MBdabest

    I think Toyotas overall designs and Lexus’s front end design looks like it was designed by a teenager. I would hate to have bought a Toyota Camry and then see I could have had something like the new Accord for the same price. I believe people that buy Toyota are just so brand brain washed that they do not look or test drive other vehicles…they just go to their trusty Toyota dealer and ask for another.

  • avatar
    MBdabest

    As far as life being over comments….I can see that. I picture a Toyota Owner being scared. So they fear their car breaking down. They fear the govt is out to get them. Fear that maybe aliens are taking over the world because well…..Toyota owners are easily brainwashed. So they do not care at all about enjoyment, they are locked into fear of life and therefore can not enjoy life. Every day is about surviving the day and enjoyment of life is not a priority.

  • avatar

    So this is the car that put both FCA and Ford out of the family sedan business. Must be an amazing car.

    Ford – what a disgrace!

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Sorry just not a fan. The blue paint is pretty. Offering a V6 is nice. And they have most of the model bases covered pretty well.

    Then you look at that front end and want to lose your lunch. Out back things improve but those fake rear bumper vents with flimsy plastic bits is comical at best. Then their are those weird 18″ wheels, the fake front air vents, the odd ball crying center stack that looks as if the designers left a black blob of plastic in the sun too long and it oozed down into the center console.

    I haven’t driven one yet but these are already showing up in LE trim at Enterprise rental agencies so will reserve judgement on the steering, ride, handling, braking quietness etc but it sounds like these are more of the same ol same ol appliance driving machines of yore with an improved structure if anything and comments of quick upshifting transmissions and numb steering will probably be the norm here.

    The fact that you can’t get Apple carplay and Android Auto is a bummer as is the lack of a power or USB port in the rear seat area and no model offers ventilated seats yet an XSE model quickly gets into the 38K realm with dealer add ons and that is FWD only.

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