CARS.COM — Gas mileage is one of many areas where Toyota upped its game on the redesigned 2018 Camry. Up is definitely the direction fuel economy went for 2018, with as much as a 12-mpg increase on the Toyota Camry Hybrid’s combined EPA ratings. The popular non-hybrid LE and SE, both with a four-cylinder engine, gain a substantial 5 mpg compared with the outgoing car — taking the Camry’s gas mileage from unremarkable to competitive, and even class-leading, on some trim levels.
More than just a few tweaks have added up to the Camry’s massive jump in mileage. The Camry is constructed on an all-new platform, has an all-new 203- or 206-hp (XSE trim), 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a new eight-speed automatic transmission. At the heart of the engine is techy stuff like direct and port injection (Toyota’s D-4S system), variable valve timing with an electronic motor instead of oil actuation (intake valves only) and a 13:1 compression ratio (14:1 on the Camry Hybrid) along with other ways thermal efficiency has been improved to use fuel more efficiently.
The result is a whopping 41-mpg EPA highway rating on the base Toyota Camry L (29/41/34 mpg city/highway/combined) that even bests the former Camry Hybrid’s highway fuel economy rating in XLE and SE trim.
2018 Toyota Camry Fuel Economy
2.5-Liter Four-Cylinder City/Highway/Combined MPG
- L: 29/41/34 mpg (+7 mpg combined from base 2017)
- LE: 28/39/32 mpg (+5 combined mpg)
- SE: 28/39/32 mpg (+5 combined mpg)
- XLE: 28/39/32 mpg (+5 combined mpg)
- XSE: 28/39/32 mpg (+5 combined mpg)
3.5-Liter Six-Cylinder City/Highway/Combined MPG
- XLE: 22/33/26 mpg (+2 combined mpg from 2017)
- XSE: 22/32/26 mpg (+2 combined mpg)
Hybrid City/Highway/Combined MPG
- LE: 51/53/52 mpg (+12 combined mpg from 2017)
- SE: 44/47/46 mpg (+8 combined mpg)
- XLE: 44/47/46 mpg (+8 combined mpg)
The L has the highest fuel economy but the fewest features, forgoing a folding backseat, power driver’s seat or any optional equipment that keeps its weight lowest of the bunch. Four-cylinder versions of the better-equipped, and heavier, LE, SE, XLE and XSE are rated at 28/39/32 mpg, which is still entirely respectable in the mid-size sedan class. A 2018 Hyundai Sonata 2.4-liter is rated at 25/35/28 mpg; a 2017 Chevrolet Malibu with a turbocharged 1.5-liter is 27/36/30 mpg; and a 2017 Nissan Altima is 27/39/31 mpg. The 2017 Honda Accord is rated at 27/36/30 mpg, though a redesigned 2018 Accord is on the way and gas mileage numbers aren’t available at the time of publishing.
An optional 301-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 on XSE and XLE Camrys has 33 more horsepower than before and more bang for the buck at the pump with gas mileage improved 2 mpg in combined ratings to 22/33/26 mpg on the XLE and 22/32/26 mpg on the XSE. The Camry’s 301 hp is more powerful than competitors’ V-6 engines and turbocharged four-cylinder V-6 alternatives — Malibu, 2017 Ford Fusion (except the Fusion Sport) and Accord — but with similar fuel economy.
The 2018 Camry Hybrid sees more substantial fuel-economy gains using Toyota’s more efficient, next-generation hybrid system capable of reaching higher speeds on electric-only power. The hybrid’s fuel economy is up 12 mpg on combined ratings for the base LE to 51/53/52 mpg, which uses a lighter lithium-ion battery pack than the nickel-metal hydride in the Hybrid SE and Hybrid XLE that are up 8 mpg to 44/47/46 mpg. A Hybrid LE is as high as a non-Eco Toyota Prius hybrid (54/50/52 mpg). The Camry Hybrid LE is on another level with the competition, but the SE and XLE are more like the 2017 Malibu Hybrid (49/43/46 mpg), Accord Hybrid (49/47/48 mpg) and Fusion Hybrid (43/41/42 mpg).
The 2018 Camry — with its massively improved fuel economy — goes on sale in late summer.