2018 Toyota Camry: Monthly Update for May 2018
by Jason Kavanagh, Senior Road Test Engineer
Where Did We Drive It?
Our long-term 2018 Toyota Camry rolled an additional 1,381 miles onto its odometer in May, helped by a sojourn to Arizona and back to Los Angeles. This was in addition to its usual duties of ferrying editors and their families around the greater metropolitan Los Angeles area.
In fact, this kind of local use has dominated the Camry's time with us. For all its merits, this sedan has eluded frequent use as a road-tripper. Meeting our 20,000-mile bogey for the year will require driving it some 2,400 miles each month from now through September. That level of sustained long drives is not likely to happen.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
May was the Camry's best full month yet for fuel economy. It averaged 30.8 mpg in combined driving, which is one-tenth higher than its next best full-month result. Yet despite a freeway-heavy road trip this month, it still did not quite reach the 32 mpg combined printed on its window sticker. And almost certainly for the reason stated above, we've never had a single fill that came anywhere close to its EPA estimate of 39 mpg highway.
Average lifetime mpg: 29.2
EPA mpg rating: 32 combined (28 city/39 highway)
Best fill mpg: 35.2
Best range: 487.7 miles
Current odometer: 11,963 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
"Man, this car is slow to respond. Whether it's leaving the line or trying to pass, you have to floor the pedal. Is it the engine or transmission? It ultimately doesn't really matter from my point of view because there's such a long pause between pedal input and actual power." — Mark Takahashi, senior writer
"The month of May means it was time to check out the annual Overland Expo West held just outside of Flagstaff, Arizona, at the Fort Tuthill Recreation Area. As the destination show for people west of the Mississippi interested in overlanding (think off-road car camping), it may seem odd to arrive in our Camry. But a limited time schedule meant I wasn't going to have time to do any off-roading in my Land Cruiser while I was there, so choosing a steed with solid on-road comfort and space to bring back souvenirs became the priority.
"The Camry responded in kind with a comfortable drive on the long stretch of the interstate from Los Angeles to Flagstaff. Square-edge bumps and heaves pass straight through into the car, though, so it's not all perfect. You notice these types of bumps once you get up into the snow line or on concrete surfaces. Handling isn't the Camry's forte either, but when all you're doing is navigating Flagstaff's numerous one-way roads and using the adaptive cruise control on the highway for hours on end, you tend to not care about a little numbness in the steering." — Calvin Kim, road test editor
"We're eight months into this long-term test and the Camry's interior already seems out-of-date. I like how Toyota tried doing something different with the design, but I just don't find it very attractive or refined. The asymmetrical dash and odd seat upholstery scream 'last generation' to me. It does at least seem to be holding up to daily use just fine, though." — Mark Takahashi
"Speaking of souvenirs, I picked up a Dometic 12-volt fridge/freezer. While it could fit in the trunk, I would've had to disassemble the exterior box. So, it went into the Camry's spacious rear seat instead. Plenty of rear kneeroom meant I could take my fridge, cozy and protected in its gigantic box, home with me." — Calvin Kim
"Our Camry's Entune system, Toyota's smartphone connected environment, isn't used all that often. I know this because I have to download and update the system each time I connect my phone up to the Camry. I don't blame my fellow editors. The system is clunky to use. For example, here you see the system stalling and rendered unavailable even though my phone is connected and the app recognizes the connection to the car. But it has one convenience that I appreciate: You can find and store points in your phone and access them when you connect to the car." — Calvin Kim
"I like wireless charging pads now that Apple has finally hopped on that bandwagon. I have some issues with the Camry's, though. The surface is mostly hard plastic, which doesn't grip the phone well. When you accelerate or brake, the phone slides to and fro. That normally wouldn't be a problem, except the phone won't charge if it isn't situated in the center of the pad. I would suggest to the designers that they add either grippier surfaces or some sort of spring-loaded holder." — Mark Takahashi