2018 Toyota Camry: Monthly Update for December 2017
by Matt Jones, Senior Consumer Advice Editor
Where Did We Drive It?
We added around 1,600 miles to our 2018 Toyota Camry in December thanks to two long trips, one to Arizona and another to San Diego. We missed our goal of 1,700 miles for the month, but we're confident we'll be on schedule to hit our 20,000-mile goal by October when our long-term trial concludes.
Why are we so confident? Because people around here really seem to dig the Camry, so it's a safe bet that Blue will get its fair share of miles. As expected, the Camry performed as intended. We experienced no major foul-ups, problems or gremlins as 2017 came to an end. We did notice a few weaknesses in the Camry armor, however.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
At the beginning of December, the Camry was averaging 30.5 mpg. The 1,600 miles we drove throughout the month did little to change our fuel economy, but our overall average increased to 30.7 mpg. That's respectable, but it's nearly 1.5 mpg lower than the EPA estimate of 32 mpg combined.
Average lifetime mpg: 30.7
EPA mpg rating: 32 combined (28 city/39 highway)
Best fill mpg: 36.2
Best range: 487.7 miles
Current odometer: 5,602 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
"Not sure who designed the windshield wipers on the Camry, but they seemed to have skipped a step. You can't fold up the driver-side wiper while it's in the down position. This means no changing the wiper blade and no lifting the wiper to clean the windshield because the wiper arm is stopped by the hood. It also means you have to leave this wiper down in a snowstorm, also less than ideal. Sure, you can stop the wiper midaction while it's perched vertically on the windshield, but that's a hassle." — Travis Langness, automotive editor
"'When you do your write-up thingy on this car, say that if it had heated seats, it would be just about perfect.' — The Missus
"I think she's right. For most people, the Camry would be just about perfect, and you can include me in the 'most people' category. I do have a few gripes, though:
"1) Stereo controls on the steering wheel. The volume control is on the left side of the steering wheel; the song control is on the right. These controls should be in the same space.
2) I know the Camry means well, but there are too many beeping alerts. And they are insistent.
3) If the sun hits the infotainment system, the reflection from the display is impossible to ignore.
4) The Missus is right. Packaged at $29,699, this thing should have heated seats.
"Small gripes aside, I am a big fan of this new Camry. It does just about everything right." — Matt Jones, senior consumer advice editor
"Saturday. We hopped in the Camry and prepared to be on our way. I put Blue in reverse and heard what can best be described as a baritone clunk. 'Hey, honey, did that sound right to you?' I asked. She shook her head no.
"My personal vehicle is a 1998 Chevy Tahoe LT two-door. Sometimes I'll hear that same kind of clunk when backing up ol' Bessy. Seems appropriate when driving something from the Clinton era, but completely out of place in a nearly new ride.
"Sunday. On the holiday-empty Interstate 405, I witnessed the 2018 Camry's eight-speed transmission do its best CVT automatic imitation. It couldn't seem to find its proper place, and for a few moments it got really rev-happy. As quickly as it started, the transmission righted itself, and all was well.
"The Camry is due for service soon. I'm hopeful we can ask our service tech to check these things out. My only fear is that he or she will need to 're-create the problem' in order to authorize a repair. These two incidents happened (and ended) in the span of about 10 seconds spread out over two days and 400 miles or so of driving. It's going to be hard to duplicate this." — Matt Jones
"Our friends at Toyota have determined that the ability to change songs while driving is of paramount importance. So important that there are no fewer than four ways to skip from 'Beat It' to 'Billie Jean.' You can do it from the steering wheel, the tune/scroll knob, the seek/track buttons, or the touchscreen. And if you're streaming from your phone, I guess you can count your phone as a song switcher, too. As a guy who says the same thing over and over, again and again, I don't mind the redundancy." — Matt Jones