2018 Toyota Camry 4-door XSE

1226 Toyota Camry Front Side

2018 Toyota Camry 4-door XSE

An Automotive Love Affair
By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2018 Toyota Camry 4-door XSE. When we buy a product it’s always good to look at the philosophy of the company, to the extent we can. I’ve spent time in the manufacturing process in Japan and have reported, to you in the past, on their culture and thus its influence on work ethic. Here is a short look into how a company mission or philosophy can lead to the processes they employ in making the car you may own.

The push towards lean manufacturing originates from the Toyota Production System which is often referred to as Just-In-Time (JIT) Production. The Toyota Company became successful after World War 2 when Japanese factory owners adopted many American production and quality techniques. The manufacturing techniques of Henry Ford and the Statistical Quality Control ideas of Edwards Deming became the foundation of Toyota’s production process.

Unlike the American automotive industry, Toyota encouraged employees to be a part of the production process. The company introduced quality circles, which was a group of workers who meet to discuss workplace improvement. Quality circle members make presentations to management with regarding the quality of production.

Toyota developed a set of procedures that reduced the time required for setup and changeovers. Unlike Ford’s production, Toyota developed manufacturing in smaller batches and this required a set of processes that reduced setup and changeover times. The resulting procedure was Single Minute Exchange of Die (SMED). There are seven steps used in the SMED method for the changeover, including streamlining the external and internal activities.

The developments made by Toyota were adopted by other Japanese manufacturers but none were as successful. In the 1980s, American companies began to adopt some of the processes developed by Toyota and gave these names such as Continuous Flow Manufacturing (CFM), World Class Manufacturing (WCM), and Stockless Production.

It is this playing off one another’s experiences that has been the foundation of our world society today. You know, the invention of the wheel. As simple or basic as things are, the rest could never follow to evolve without beginnings. I suspect we need be very careful of thinking ‘we’ did this or that, unless the “we” includes those who came before us.

General Information:

Assembly: Georgetown, Kentucky, USA; Classification is: Midsize; Vehicles from Toyota: 4Runner, 86, Avalon, Camry, C-HR, Corolla, Corolla iM, Highlander, Land Cruiser, Mirai, Prius, Prius C, Prius Prime, Prius V, RAV4, Sequoia, Sienna, Tacoma, Tundra.

Handling & Performance:

There are three driving settings, ECO, Normal and Sport. Select sport and it will ‘rocket’ your driving experience. It is a quick and fun performer, while the ECO setting will get top fuel economy, thus it fits all driving choices with a touch of a button. I like it – and Normal is good too.

Styling:

Toyota has always been in style and has led the way in many respects. This ‘Flag Ship’ of their fleet has attractive clean lines. Some may be off-put by some unusual accent lines but the look grew on me over the week of testing.

Fit and Finish:

Very good and consistent with a maturing reputation of Japanese quality. Remember Avis’ advertisements in competition with Hertz rent a car battles? Avis smartly said, “We’re #2 – We Try Harder”. Today reflects that slogan in that there are some ‘also rans’ to Toyota that are challenging their perch on the top spot.

Cost:

Toyota is at the upper end of the cost spectrum and for sure Hyundai will impress you as well for the money.

Conveniences and comfort:

All the hi-tech equipment features I recommend and generally very comfortable seating. I really enjoyed the ride.

Consumer Recommendations:

Toyota has earned their many years of consumer recognition of Toyota as a quality product. People have embraced the product, over those years, and thus they have been included in our test drives. They have become the standard of excellence image for foreign cars to America just as Cadillac has been the standard of excellence for domestic cars in America.

All here listed are worthy of your consideration. Try them all and you’ll make the most informed decision about the best car in your future.

Recognised Competition:

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Avg Seating Doors Country/Origin Assembled
Toyota Camry 36,000 26 5 4 Japan USA
Ford Fusion 35,000 20 5 4 USA Mexico
Acura TLX 37,000 24 5 4 Japan USA
Hyundai Sonata 33,000 26 5 4 Korea USA
Chevrolet Malibu 32,000 26 5 4 USA USA
Kia Optima 31,000 25 5 4 Korea USA

Good News:

Quality product with consumer endorsement, Camry has matured nicely over the years and this is a good example of that progress.

Bad News:

Annoying seat belt bell that goes from a gentle ding to a louder unnecessary gong. I get it. Perhaps if they provided a ‘variometer’ so I could adjust the reminder bell to decibels more suited to my sensibilities. I do wear my seat belt but I object to an obnoxious reminder.

Standard Equipment:

3.5 liter V6 301 hp engine, 8-speed automatic transmission, sport tuned suspension, pre-collision system, dynamic radar pedestrian detection, cruise control with lane departure detection, steering assist, ABS with brake assist and smart stop technology, traction control, ten airbags, electronic brake force distribution, blind spot detection with cross traffic alert, anti-theft system with alarm, 19” black machined finish alloy wheels, auto on/off LED headlights, panoramic glass roof with power moonroof, 8” touch screen with connected Nav and App suite, USB, AUD, 10” color heads up display, sport leather trimmed heated front seats and leather trimmed steering wheel with audio, Bluetooth phone and voice command controls, backup camera with dynamic gridlines, 7” multi-information display, tire pressure monitor, wireless charging pad, smart key system with push button start and dual zone climate control.

Gas Stats:

22 City and 32 Highway MPG

$3.25 / Gal avg. February 11, 2018

www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

Pricing:

MSRP $34,950.

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