Monthly Update for April 2018 - 2018 Toyota Camry Long-Term Road Test

2018 Toyota Camry Long-Term Road Test

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2018 Toyota Camry: Monthly Update for April 2018

by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing

Where Did We Drive It?
We added 1,159 miles to our 2018 Toyota Camry in April and pushed it beyond the 10,000-mile threshold. That said, we'll have to pick up the pace and take full advantage of the upcoming summer road-trip season if we hope to total 20,000 miles by its year anniversary at the end of September.

By all rights the Camry should have accumulated more miles this month, but out of necessity it spent much of its time in the suburbs running here and there. It never got much of a chance to stretch its legs on any sort of road trip.

2018 Toyota Camry

What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
Our Camry's overall average mpg was not helped by the city-heavy nature of this month's mileage. The Camry began April averaging 29.1 mpg, but that dropped slightly to 28.9 mpg by month's end.

This car carries an EPA rating of 32 mpg combined, so it's quite possible that a lack of road-trip mileage, or even long-distance commuting, is skewing the results. That theory seems especially plausible in light of the Camry's EPA highway rating of 39 mpg. It's also possible that the Camry is simply rated too high, but it is far too early to make that conclusion.

Average lifetime mpg: 28.9
EPA mpg rating: 32 combined (28 city/39 highway)
Best fill mpg: 35.2
Best range: 487.7 miles
Current odometer: 10,582 miles

Maintenance and Upkeep
Our Camry was delivered with synthetic oil, and that means its oil change service interval is 10,000 miles. Right on cue, a reminder light illuminated as we approached that milestone. The odometer read 10,421 when we finally found time to bring it in to Santa Monica Toyota. Once there, we handed the keys over to our friendly service adviser Elvis and told him that nothing was amiss. He agreed that all we needed was the regularly scheduled maintenance.

And that's just what we got. The dealer rotated the tires, reset the tire pressure, and conducted the usual checks of the wiper blades, brakes and fluid levels. It also changed the synthetic oil and the oil filter, of course, but also swapped in a fresh cabin air filter.

The cost for all of this was zero, zip, zilch. This wasn't much of a surprise because new Toyota purchases come with ToyotaCare free scheduled maintenance for the first two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first. Still, it felt good to see a bill for $138.78 discounted to zero.

2018 Toyota Camry

Logbook Highlights

Interior
"For the money, our Camry SE's interior is interesting, attractive, and made from materials that do not disappoint. And I like the clever way they've hidden the joints between the various components using the layering in the design. What's more, the logic of the radio and HVAC buttons and controls is really clear and obvious." — Dan Edmunds, director of vehicle testing

Technology-Audio
"I've become used to seeing Apple CarPlay in newly redesigned products. The lack of such plug-and-play connectivity really stands out here, especially since the 2018 Toyota Camry is a fully redesigned model. Instead, we get Entune and the captive Scout GPS Link navigation app, both of which feel like dinosaurs. I can ignore Entune and still use the USB interface to listen to music and podcasts through a serviceable interface, but the only navigation workaround is to suction-cup my smartphone to the windshield."— Dan Edmunds

We're not alone in this. The Edmunds Consumer Review page for the 2018 Camry lists numerous comments from owners similar to this one:

"This car, with the exception of uncomfortable seats, would be exceptional if it wasn’t for its horrid Entune system. The Entune app itself doesn't work very well and constantly crashes. Pandora is very unresponsive and doesn't work half the time. The Scout navigation system is horrible, one of the stupidest designs I have ever seen. If Toyota addresses these issues and ditches the Entune system, then this car would be exceptional." — Matthew, Camry buyer and Edmunds Customer Review author

Toyota is getting the message, and fast. But not everyone will be satisfied with the automaker's response. CarPlay will soon be added alongside Entune on upcoming Toyota and Lexus products, such as the 2019 Avalon, 2019 Corolla Hatchback and 2019 Lexus ES.

What of the 2019 Camry? Can the 2018 Camry be retrofitted? No, on both counts. This is more than a simple software change. Is Android Auto part of the deal on those redesigned 2019 models? Sadly, no, but they will have Alexa support instead.

There is a counterpart to this Entune and CarPlay talk. If you're not a smartphone user and just want to listen to the radio, use the CD player or simply connect your phone via Bluetooth, the Camry's radio controls and buttons are big, obvious and very easy to use. Baby boomers may well find no fault with it.

That said, those who don't favor smartphones will probably sorely miss the lack of built-in navigation, which the Camry does not offer unless you go for a loaded V6, an expensive version expected to account for less than 5 percent of all Camrys sold.

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