– Article/Photos by Rod Fuller –
Fear not, fellow fleet drivers and fleet managers a new Camry is with us. And it has brought with it all that we know and love about Camry. Except that the new model looks better, goes better, is better appointed and has better service intervals. In my opinion the new 2018 Camry is the best yet.
The new Camry unlike the previous models looks lower, sleeker and aggressive. Its design borrows heavily from Lexus’s design cues and gives this Camry an air of excitement and a quality feel we have not seen in Camry before.
Toyota kindly provided the SL model for review, which while it is the top of the line model the vehicle also had the 2.5 Lt (135kW 235Nm) 4 cylinder engine with six speed auto which is the same as provided in the entry level Ascent model.
Cruising about town or out on the highway the six speed auto is wonderfully smooth and couples well 2.5 Lt engine. Hybrid versions get the CVT transmission but the six speed still does the business nicely. V6 engines enjoy an eight speed transmission.
Engine responsiveness is much better than previous Camry’s I’ve driven, but take the tip, slip it into ‘Sport’ mode, as it does liven it up. The ‘Eco’ mode will leave hanging, waiting forever for the engine to respond to your mashing of the accelerator pedal.
Camry as always is comfortable to drive, well-mannered and smooth on the road and is predictable when pushed. Press on hard and you will feel some front end wallowing but nothing more than you’d expect in a family sedan.
The wheels are 17″ on the Ascent and Ascent Sport, 19” on the SX and 18” on the SL with 235/45R18 Bridgestone Turanza tyres. Interestingly, only the Ascent gets a full size spare and it’s an alloy as well! All other models get a temporary spare/space saver wheel. But in the SL they do give you a clever little ‘Boot Floor Clip’ that attaches to the boot lip below the rear window, so as to hold the boot floor up while you are fishing the temporary spare out from under the boot, should the need to change tyres arise.
Camry SL is beautifully appointed inside with ambient cabin lighting, panoramic sunroof, heated leather seats (ventilated in the front) and soft leather trim panels. The new dashboard layout is a big improvement from the previous model and the eight inch touchscreen infotainment system is easier to use. It all feels very “Lexus like”.
Bluetooth easily connects your phone and there is wireless charging in the front along with a 12V outlet and USB and 2 USB
points in the rear. A quality six speaker sound system keep the tunes flowing and it has a DAB radio that actually works!
TSS+ (Toyota Safety Sense+) is standard across the Camry range incorporating Lane Departure Alert, Automatic High Beam, Active Cruise Control and a Pre-Collision Warning system (Forward Collision warning, Brake Assist and Autonomous Emergency Braking.). Camry SL also features Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Hill Start Assist and Brake Hold and a ‘Heads Up’ display that really helps keep the driver’s eyes on the road.
So whether your fleet manger is about to issue you a new company car or you are looking for a novated lease, this Camry will please and surprise you. It just does what it does well, just as a Camry should. The 2018 Camry – the best yet.