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Entry price: $23,495

Price as tested: $26,889

Likes: Standard safety galore, all-new design inside and out

Dislikes: Navigation system learning curve, not much else

This week, we’re driving the eighth-generation Toyota Camry, still America’s best selling midsize sedan. This 2018 Camry is indeed all-new with a wider, lower and longer stance available in five gasoline models and three hybrids.

Unlike the near $40,000 Camry XLE Hybrid we tested at the beginning of the year, this time we’re driving a more affordable Camry, delivered in LE trim with a four-cylinder engine under the hood.  

Camry gas powered models start with the entry L at just $23,495, followed by our tester’s LE that begins at just $24,150. The price then moves up to the SE at $25,350; XLE at $28,600, sporty XSE at $29,150, and the ultimate gas powered XLE V6 at $34,450. The Camry hybrids start with the LE at $27,950, then the SE at $29,650 and the top class XLE Hybrid, which we tested in March that starts at $32,400.

With year-end leftover specials now in play at your area Toyota dealers, and the fact that the 2019 Camry is identical to the 2018, now is a good time to snag a great incentive deal on the most popular car Toyota has ever built.    

Manufactured in Georgetown, Kentucky, Camry is assembled on a new platform that results in a more aerodynamic exterior, improved suspension and ultra-quiet, tasteful cabin. The new Camry is one inch longer while the wheelbase is two inches longer, making for better rear-seat legroom and an even more comfortable ride.

 Although previous Camry generational upgrades were mild at best, this eighth-generation unit breaks that mold and is very appealing to the eye. The new motif starts with a larger dark gray grille attached to a smooth hood arrangement leading to a more assertive windshield slope. The roof flows nicely to a new rear deck featuring LED tail lamps. Taken as a whole and be it hybrid or gas, this new generation Camry is the best looking ever produced. Moreover, even the lower price LE models arrive with a generous portion of Camry amenities, more than this scribe expected in the lower priced model.

Power comes from a 2.5-liter four that develops 203-horses and 184 lb. ft. of torque. Coupled to a new design 8-speed automatic transmission, the fuel mileage is very good at 28 city and 39 highway the EPA estimates. Both are impressive for the non-hybrid midsize class and few competitors produce highway ratings near 40 MPG. Notable is entry model Camry L’s EPA numbers of 29 city and 41 highway, attained thanks to a lighter curb weight.

Camry LE’s cabin is impressive as standard features galore welcome driver and passengers. Included are comfortable cloth seating, Toyota subscription free Entune 3.0 infotainment system with navigation, Bluetooth, SiriusXM with six speakers, 7-inch touchscreen with hand tune radio knobs, climate control air conditioning, tilt and telescopic steering and integrated rearview backup camera with projection path. There’s much more that your Toyota dealer is waiting to explain when you visit.

— Greg Zyla writes weekly for More Content Now and GateHouse Media. Contact him at greg@gregzyla.com or at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, PA 18840.

 

Auto bits

Tips for making a man cave at your tailgate party

The tailgate party has evolved significantly, and now football fans can further power up their tailgating experience to create a “mobile man cave” that rivals the comforts of home.

• An offensive line — of vehicles. A big tailgate party does not require a big vehicle. While a hatchback or pickup truck is certainly a plus, most important is to have the wheels that can deliver the goods. Tailgaters can team up by lining up a caravan of cars for a multi-stationed tailgate. This game plan can help tailgaters distribute the load of goods and equipment.

• Put in the QB of TVs. A TV is vital for the tailgating entertainment. There are many options for outdoor TVs that provide great pictures even in the sun’s glare and in extreme temperatures. Tailgaters also have plenty of choices for receiving a great picture, from portable satellite dishes or services to digital streaming or even old-fashioned rabbit ear antennas. 

• The cook’s playbook. Great food makes for great tailgates. Beyond the staples of chips and burgers and beers, tailgaters can step outside the regular playbook and bring new recipes. Look for inventive recipes easy to make in crockpots — mozzarella-stuffed meatballs, anyone? — or bring along a deep fryer for a new take on deviled eggs.

— Brandpoint

 

Did you know

AAA has started a new partnership with Lyft to offer free rides to its members to and from select AAA Car Care Centers.