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One of its biggest selling points, however, is its versatility. Its model range is very wide, from relatively basic entry-level models to high-end near-luxury trims. Along the way, a dazzling selection of engines, packages and standalone options allow you to easily find a Camry that matches your car requirements well.
The fully redesigned 2018 Toyota Camry follows the same formula, offering a full seven trim levels without including the separate hybrid model. This is a strong advantage for a car that can suit everyone, but it can sometimes make it difficult to decide on exactly the right combination of trim levels and packages.
In this article, we will go through all seven of the trim levels that the 2018 Toyota Camry offers in order to answer some of the common questions that come up when deciding to buy one, such as whether it makes sense to upgrade to the next trim level or choose a certain package. We will wrap up by giving you an overall assessment of which trim and package combinations are top choices when it comes to performance, comfort or value.
Compare the 2018 Camry L vs LE Trim Levels. What is the difference?
The new Toyota Camry offers a very strong selection of standard equipment on its base Toyota Camry L model, which gives it a great advantage over other entry-level mid-size cars.
LED headlights and running lights, a 7-inch touchscreen, 4.2-inch digital instrument cluster display and Bluetooth are the major features that you get on all Camry models, but the biggest of the standard features is the safety suite.
Called Toyota Safety Sense - P, it includes a forward collision warning and automatic braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, dynamic cruise control, high beam control and a rearview camera. This combination of safety features is rare on cars in the Camry’s price range and is, in many cases, limited only to the high-end models.
The fact that the Camry L includes it as a standard feature makes a strong case for the trim level, as does the fact that it actually gets the best gas mileage out of all of the non-hybrid Camrys, beating out the other four-cylinder models by 1 mile per gallon in the city and 2 mpg on the highway.
The upgrade to the Camry LE may not seem that impressive by comparison, though it is also only accompanied by a $500 increase in MSRP. The LE replaces the 16-inch steel wheels of the L with 17-inch alloys and the manual controls for the driver’s seat with power adjustments, as well as making the rear seat more convenient to fold down.
It is also slightly nicer on the inside, with little extra touches like wood-grain trim pieces. The LE is also the first model to really showcase the Camry’s versatility by offering several optional packages. The L offers no package options whatsoever, but the LE can be equipped with one of three options.
The Convenience Package contains Blind Spot Monitors, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and an auto dimming rearview mirror with a compass and a HomeLink universal transponder. The Moonroof package adds a moonroof, and the Audio package upgrades the audio system, as well as adding dual zone climate control, wireless charging and an 8-inch touchscreen.
The downside to these packages is that they are sequential. In order to get the moonroof package, you have to also get the convenience package, and the audio package requires both of the other options.
For many drivers, the choice between the L and the standard LE is going to come down to preference. The price difference, both in terms of the base price and the fuel economy, is fairly negligible between the two, but so is the difference in features. If you absolutely need power seating, which some people do, then go with the LE. If you are going for maximizing your fuel economy, pick the L.
In most cases, however, the choice will be made for you by the models’ availability. Toyota plans to release relatively few Camry L cars, while expecting the LE to be the top-selling model. That often means that you might be able to get the LE for the same price or less than an L because it is what the dealer has in stock. Or there might simply be no Ls available on the market at all.
When it comes to packages, the LE with the convenience package is probably the best value for most drivers between the two models. It adds pretty much the only major safety features that Toyota did not include as standard and is a mandatory stepping stone for the moonroof package, which is a common preference as well. Either of those two choices offers a solid return in features per dollar for most buyers.
Compare the 2018 Toyota Camry LE vs SE Trim Levels. What is the difference?
The Toyota Camry SE is Toyota’s sporty trim level among the Camry options. That translates primarily to visual options. The SE trades in the LE’s 17-inch wheels for blacked-out 18-inchers, the wood grain accents for carbon-esque mesh, and cloth for sporty synthetic leather. The SE also comes with its own blacked-out grille, single-zone climate control, a sport steering wheel and a spoiler.
The major performance improvement that it offers is a more aggressively tuned suspension. It also offers slightly more freedom when it comes to choosing packages. The same three main options are available - Convenience, Moonroof and Audio - but the convenience and moonroof packages can be chosen separately and the audio package is available either with or without the moonroof, though it still requires the convenience package in either case.
The SE commands a $1,200 premium over the LE in list price in exchange for primarily visual upgrades. If the styling of the model appeals to you more than that of the LE, that could be a good reason for moving up to the SE. Similarly, it can be a good choice if you specifically want the audio package without getting a sunroof or prefer a leatherette interior to cloth or leather. In most other cases however, either the lower LE model or the higher XLE model might be a better value.
Compare the 2018 Camry SE vs XLE Trims. What is the difference?
In many ways, the Toyota Camry XLE is more of an upgrade from the LE model rather than from the SE, which is closer to it in price point. The XLE does away with most of the appearance features added by the SE, such as the spoiler, the mesh grille and the leatherette upholstery, replacing them with real leather and Tiger Eye wood trim.
In addition to looking nicer, it also gets technological upgrades across the board. The XLE has more advanced headlights, a larger digital instrument cluster display, a smarter rear cross traffic alert system and rearview camera, more USB ports, and high-end JBL audio. It also allows you to choose between three driving modes: Normal, Eco and Sport, as well as using a more advanced version of the dynamic cruise control and automatic emergency braking system that also activates at low speeds.
The Camry XLE includes all of the contents of the Convenience package from the LE and SE models as standard equipment, and can be equipped with the Moonroof and Audio packages from those models. Both are available independently or together, and if you get both you can also add a 360-degree camera and heads-up display package into the mix.
For buyers looking for a high-end version of the Camry, the XLE is the one to choose. The leather interior, smarter technology and the included convenience package are easily worth the roughly $4,000 bump in MSRP. It also includes almost all of the features that the Camry has to offer among its standard equipment and optional packages. Unless you are looking for the XSE styling or the V6 engine, there is little reason to upgrade beyond the XLE model.
Compare the 2018 Toyota Camry XLE vs XSE Trim Levels. What is the difference?
The Camry XSE combines the visual style of the SE model with the technology and comfort features of the XLE. Just like their LE and SE counterparts, the differences between the XLE and the XSE are minor and come down primarily to styling.
The XSE is only $550 more expensive than the XLE and has all of the same features. Its wheels are 19-inch versions of the SE, its blacked-out grille combines mesh and alloy and its interior accents are textured metal. The rear spoiler, tighter suspension and the sport steering wheel from the SE also make a return. Otherwise, the XSE is identical to the XLE model and offers the same optional packages.
Just like the choice between the LE and the SE, whether the XSE is a good choice comes down to its visual appeal. If you like how the XSE looks compared to the LE, the difference in list price between the two models is practically negligible. Test driving both before you choose one is a good idea, as the aggressive suspension is a little more noticeable on the XSE than the SE model, thanks to its larger wheels, but is still unlikely to be the deciding factor for most buyers.
Compare the Camry XLE vs XLE V6 Trims. What is the difference?
The most obvious difference between the XLE and the XLE V6 model is exactly that - the V6. Replacing the 2.5-liter, 206-horsepower four-cylinder engine, the 3.5-liter six-cylinder increases the Camry’s performance to 301 horsepower, resulting in a very noticeable increase in power and responsiveness. In addition to the power boost, the XLE V6 also folds in the moonroof package into its standard features and includes an advanced version of the infotainment system. The only package options on the XLE V6 are the 360-degree camera and a navigation system, which requires the camera upgrade as well.
For most drivers, the power of the four cylinder should easily be enough, but if it is not, the XLE V6 should easily fulfil your needs for anything short of a dedicated sports car. That said, it costs nearly $6,000 more than the regular XLE model, so unless you are really looking for a high-powered mid-size car, going with the regular XLE will definitely be a better return on your investment.
If you are set on getting a V6 Camry, then the XSE V6 could be a better choice as well. The price difference between the two is very small, but the better suspension makes it slightly more of a sporty vehicle than the XLE.
Compare the Camry XSE vs XSE V6 Trims. What is the difference?
The differences between the Camry XSE and the Camry XSE V6 are the same as that between the regular XLE and the XLE V6: six-cylinder engine, moonroof and a better infotainment system. The XSE V6 retains all of the XSE’s unique styling, as well as its sport-tuned suspension. That makes it a slightly better performance car than the XLE when equipped with a V6, as the stiffer suspension makes it a little more responsive and agile around turns.
At just $500 over the XLE V6, it is easily worth it. When choosing between the XSE and the XSE V6, the same considerations apply as with the XLE models. If you want the power, the XSE V6 offers it, but otherwise it is a very expensive option. Between the XLE V6 and the XSE V6, the XSE V6 is almost always the better choice unless you prefer the styling of the XLE. In that case, go with the XLE V6, as you probably won’t miss the suspension that much.
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Which Trim Level to Choose?
Of the seven trims that the 2018 Toyota Camry comes in, each one has something unique and special to offer and each one can be the right choice depending on your needs.
For most buyers, the LE model with one of the available package choices will probably be the best balance of price and features. This combination includes much of what the Camry has to offer. Those willing to sacrifice a little in the looks department could also take advantage of the more basic Camry L, though the savings are not huge.
The XLE, on the other hand, is a good choice when it comes to having high-end comfort and technology amenities, and deciding between the SE and the LE varieties comes down to which styling you prefer. Ultimately, the flexibility of the trim and package setup of the 2018 Toyota Camry makes it relatively easy to put together a Camry that has all of the features you want without too many unnecessary extras.
• Why buy a 2018 Toyota Camry? w/ pros vs cons