The Toyota Camry sedan was all-new for the 2018 model year; and it had finally raised the bar from ho-hum to wow with its emotionally charged design and improved driving dynamics. The exterior styling reflects Lexus-like cues with bold athletic exterior character lines and a ground-hugging stance. The interior is more sumptuous and provides enhanced space, while featuring an advanced driver focus.
The Camry has been Toyota's flagship since its introduction in 1982. Now in its eighth generation, Camry comes in four distinct trims: the base LE, SE, XSE, and top-of-the-line XLE. The Hybrid Camry comes only in LE, SE, and XLE trim grades. All are four-door, five-passenger sedans and all come standard with Toyota's Safety Sense Package.
My test vehicle was a 2019 Toyota Camry in XSE trim with the 301-horsepower V-6 and Direct Shift eight-speed automatic transmission with sequential shift mode. It came with a Blue Streak metallic body and black top and a black interior with patterned cloth seating surfaces. The base price was set at $34,600, while options and the delivery and handling fee bumped the final count and amount to $38,874.
Toyota seeks to broaden the visual appeal of the new-generation Camry, so the development team aimed for a styling and design concept that would achieve a strong harmony between refinement and a sensual athletic image resulting in a bold signature design language that takes the car in a more desirable direction. In penning the Camry's design, there were three primary goals: a distinctive, low center of gravity that resulted in a firm wide stance; a practical-yet-emotionally styled cabin profile; and a sporty and upscale image both inside and out.
Up front, the new Camry's face is accentuated by a two-piece grille comprised of flowing thin and thick treatments. The Camry's profile is more aerodynamic, with striking character lines around and along the body emphasizing the aggressive front and rear fenders, and giving the car a sporty aura that it never had before.
In the rear, an athletic motif melds flowing lines and complex shapes into a sculpted form. A distinctive crease extends from the slim multicolor taillights down to the bumper, effectively "pushing" the wheels outward, creating a wide athletic stance akin to that of a premium sports sedan.
-- POWER CHOICES
Power continues to be supplied by gasoline and hybrid powertrains that produce more horsepower and higher EPA estimated fuel economy ratings. Two gasoline versions are available, starting with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 203 or 206 horsepower at 6,600 rpm along with 184 or 186 lb.-ft. of torque at 5,000 rpm (depending upon the trim level), as well as a 3.5-liter V-6 that delivers 301 horses at 6,600 rpm while also generating 267 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,700 rpm. The engines are front-mounted in a transverse orientation, driving the front wheels, geared through a Direct Shift eight-speed ECT-I automatic transmission with sequential shift mode.
-- COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE
Entering the cabin, the interior displays a blend of functionality, futuristic styling, and a high degree of personal space and craftsmanship. The sporty cockpit-type environment angles the gauges angled towards the driver, while the front passenger enjoys a sense of openness.
Toyota's latest in-vehicle information technology consists of state-of-the-art displays, providing a heightened level of integrated information with minimal distraction by relaying information through three available interlinked displays. Convenient operation is assured through customizable features and smart-phone-like touchscreen icons that create a connection and user workflow between the in-vehicle information technology and other digital media. The infotainment system is user-friendly and delivers an impressive suite of driver assistance programs, and Apple CarPlay is now standard.
Driving scenarios for my test 2019 Camry XSE V-6 consisted of freeways and beautiful twisting wine country back roads. The ride quality was comfortable, yet planted and stable with excellent road-holding and handling characteristics. The 3.5-liter, not surprisingly, delivers the sportiest all-around performance, while the four-cylinder proves to be adequate.
Is the 2019 Toyota Camry the best ever? You bet it is -- not only in the eye-candy department, but also in terms of driving dynamics and enhanced technological features. It is one of the best all-around cars in its class. It's pleasant to drive, provides good fuel economy, and offers a full suite of tech and safety features.
Copyright © 2019 Motor Matters
|Base price||$34,600 (as tested: $38,874)|
|Curb weight||3,571 lbs.|
|Engine type||24-valve V-6 w/TDI|
|Epa mileage rating||22 mpg city, 32 mpg highway|
|Fuel capacity||16.0 gal.|
|Horsepower (net)||301 at 6600 rpm|
|Overall length||192.7 in.|
|Torque (lb.-ft.)||267 at 4700 rpm|
|Vehicle type||5-passenger FWD midsize sedan|
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