Toyota | David Dewhurst
The 2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE represents the top hybrid sedan on the market with its impressive fuel economy ratings, more than adequate power, and the Japanese automaker’s continued dedication to comfort, reliability and ease of use.
The model MLive’s Detroit-based Trending News Reporter Benjamin Raven drove for a week for this review was silver metallic that came in with an MSRP of $37,363. The base 2018 Camry starts at about $23,000 and ranges all the way to $34,950 for the XSE V6 ECTi Camry.
The Hybrid models are priced as follows, according to Toyota:
- Camry Hybrid LE — $27,800
- Camry Hybrid XLE — $32,250
- Camry Hybrid SE $29,500
The XLE Hybrid that Raven drove came with the added driver assist package, power tilt moonroof, audio package, carpet/mat set and the flashy illuminated door sills to bring it all the way up to $37,363.
The 2018 Camry represents Toyota’s’ eighth-generation of the best-selling car. The Japanese automaker unveiled the vehicle back at the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
The Camry has been America’s top-selling car for 15 consecutive years, and has served as the company’s flagship vehicle since 1982.
The 2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE comes equipped with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes a Hybrid net horsepower of 208.
It came with top of its segment ratings of 46 mpg combined, 44 mpg city and 47 mpg highway. The Camry Hybrid XLE measures in with a wheelbase of 111.2 inches, length of 192.7 inches and width of 72.4 inches. Toyota’s 35th Camry seats five people, and tips the final scale north of 3,500 pounds for the XLE trim. Some added features that come along with the XLE trim include LED headlights and taillights, bright metallic front grille, 18-inch chrome machined-finish alloy wheels, and color-keyed heated outside mirrors complete with turn signal and blind spot warning light.
Easily the fuel economy.
After a week of normal driving in and around Metro Detroit for work and errands, I had used a little more than a quarter tank of gas. This was one of the instances that surprised me and made me question myself whether I had filled the tank up and had just forgotten. The 47 mpg highway, 44 mpg city and 47 mpg combined makes this a Hybrid that stands out from the rest of the pack … especially when considering the performance.
Seriously, this might be a Toyota Hybrid but don’t label it in the same category as the Prius. The Camry Hybrid packs more of a punch than the standard four-cylinder and has enough power to made the switch to hybrid an easier one.
The four drive modes of EV, Eco, Normal and Sport gave the car a different feel and more of a personality. Sport mode clearly opened everything up while Eco and Normal were just different enough to justify using each in certain situations. Nearly everything regarding the performance and handling of this vehicle was smooth, quiet and easy.
On the inside, I was impressed with the comfort and roominess offered with the Camry Hybrid. Pairing the organic head and shoulder space with the extremely adaptable seats make this one of the more comfortable sedans on the market, hybrid or not.
As a 6-foot-6 driver I typically have trouble finding legroom in the driver’s seat, especially with passengers in the rear. With the Camry Hybrid, I was not only able to drive comfortably on my own but with passengers in the backseat. For once, I didn’t have to pretend like I was comfortable because I actually was comfortable.
The only thorn Toyota left in my side when it comes to the Camry — or any of their models — is the fact that they are falling behind the rest of the major automakers in infotainment technology and connectability. Continuing to refuse partnership with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto in lieu of its own Entune setup is leaving their fantastic vehicles feel like something is missing.
This is a 2018 high-tech Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE and I was not able to plug in navigation on the digital dashboard or do things that I am routinely used to doing while driving this car. When you look at the big picture for the Camry Hybrid XLE, this is a glaring omission that the Japanese automaker is clearly not taking serious.
Even with the impressive fuel economy, powerful hybrid engine, fresh exterior design and inviting interior, people might say no to this car based on its failure to cater to connectivity. To me, that’s just holding a fantastic performing, fuel efficient and fun to drive car back from fully succeeding.
Fresh off of the “What I didn’t like” section of this review let me make one thing clear, if I were buying an all-new hybrid vehicle the 2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid would be my first choice. Now, I understand that people will quickly look for something else when they realize their glued-to-their-hands smartphone won’t work as well with this car as others, but this remains my first choice.
The fuel economy, performance, comfort and aesthetics of the 2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE put this ahead of the pack regardless of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto connectivity. I drove this vehicle everyday for work in the terrible weather between Feb. 1 and 8, and only used a quarter tank of gas and never had an issue with getting around in the ice and snow.